Hypervigilant

From behind my shades my eyes
Scan the crowd. I hear them talking
But don’t understand it. The market
Is packed and this is a ripe target,
I say to myself. That man with
The mustache has stood there too
Long. That guy there is digging
Through his pockets a little nervously
Why is that stand missing a vendor?
I don’t care for the way the
Children run, their movements
Are far too unpredictable and erratic
That mustached man is still…
Is he staring at me? I lean forward
And strain for a better view
Brow furloughed, knuckles white
From clenched hands… “Maty? Where
Are you, bro?” Concentration breaks
“Did you hear what he said?” It’s brunch
Now. Downtown with Tommy and Derek
“Did you hear what Tommy asked you?”
My heart continues to flutter.
No. Can we pay our tab
And leave, please

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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2 Responses to Hypervigilant

  1. If you look at things tactically everyday it becomes a habit. That’s a tough one to beat.
    Tactical becomes profiling and in a multicultural society it’s a living nightmare that can trigger a fight or flight response. It’s as you say, movement, positioning, that look, or just inaction, which all screams “DO SOMETHING” except you can’t as you are in your home town, a restaurant with your wife, a church, your kids school.

    At first I reacted, wife and child were screened and pushed into cover, in one case imaginary weapons drawn. Diving for doorways as a fast noisy bike passes me from behind.
    Jeez what a basket case I was.

    It was a fight to suppress the bile as the adrenaline flowed, my breathing went to pot, my heart hammering, eyes shimmering, ears howled, mouth always went dry, and the tension kept on rising along with the sweat.

    To stay is pain, to leave imperative, but even then it takes time to calm down.
    If you are lucky you are with someone who understands.
    If you are not they get confused, angry, overly protective, or just drop you like a hot potato.

    And all because you can’t just switch off the training or recent past which lives just under the skin.
    Yet I learned to cope. It just takes time.

    Liked by 1 person

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