Lean and strong and

Sinew-taut bone.

Marched a hundred miles

Shot a thousand rounds.

Humped a ruck from

Forest green to desert tan.

Sharp as a tack


And it still feels that way;

A little less hair but a

Little more gut,

Tellin’ stories ’bout

“When I was…” and “Back

When we used to…”

E-mails replacing radio calls



Still wield that carbine

Weekends at the range but

It isn’t like it used to be; knees

Buckle a little easier, eyes

Strain to see farther but

In your mind you’re still hot-shit.


Watching videos online of

How they do it in Afghanistan

And imagine you too could

Climb those mountains taking

Fire all the while; Getting

Winded climbing four

Flights of stairs at the office now.




Rode a hatch in that Stryker

But riding the chair of a desk these days:

Sad state of life to be the warrior

You once were but still are –

Just only in your mind.

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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3 Responses to Rusty

  1. ruckwarrior says:

    This is some awesome work man!


  2. thewordonthestreetcorner says:

    Reblogged this on The Word on the Street Corner and commented:
    I really like this poem.


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