I loved things that made my heart break,
Like annuals that bathe in the sun,
And withered away at the first frost,
I peeked my head outside the window,
To see if my friend would come back,
But dead leaves and snow marks its place,
I think of war as it has the same grace,
Those alluring moments that scares the hell out of us,
But continue to chase without a catch,
My lungs will never breath that deep again,
The sweat of my palms will never soak my gloves,
As metal meditation lulls the empty
Reservoir of youthful stupidity,
It’s cruel you know, to give young men that much life,
And cut it short with a plane ride home.


Boots Approved 

Boots approved,

Like a scab once removed;

A tank dances on pavement, 

Click-clink Click-clink,

A pirouette of massive grace,

Click-clack Click-clack,

Metal and asphalt,

Commune in a torrent love affair,

Young and despondent,

An adolescent praise, 

I thought I’d miss it,

The way youth burned my hands, 

Our hearts fell in love with a cure,

That normalcy couldn’t endure, 

Would write to you with inexbriant praises, 

Between the Arabian desolation,

You’d forget my name,

Through western chaos,

Things changed…

Boots approved,

I was once removed,

And came back with someone

I never knew. 

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You can also purchase my first collection of poetry titled War Poems: Over There digitally for $2.99 here.

War Poems: Over There is a gut-punching journey into the soul of a solider with striking imagery relating war experiences in Iraq and the latter acclamation to civilian life. It is a collection of deep and honest thoughts on war and its aftermath without glamour or flag-waving. Regret, suicide, love, lost, naivete, destruction, are deeply woven within the candid poetry of Over There. If you have ever wanted to feel and discover what Veterans face both in the great of battle and in the silence of suffering, Over There will open your heart.

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War Poems

In search of military Veteran writers and artists

I’m looking for Veterans who write poems/short stories to include in the hardcover version of War Poems. Works should range from gripping experiences overseas to the realities of returning home. Artists are welcomed.

If interested contact me below

You Said

You said you’d wait for him,
And wait for him you did.
Until the man you waited for cease to live.
He came back with the same eyes that won your soul,
But those eyes held no soul.
And you wonder if he’ll look at you the same as he did before,
If he was the same man who told you you were beautiful the year before,
Beneath a night sky,
Fuming with passion and abandoned,
Embraced in a farewell entrapped by a kiss that would nourish the dry spell.
You danced in a bar filled with breaking hearts,
Before a morning of tearful departs.
You listed all the things he liked,
His favorite sports team,
His car magazines,
The way his scent lingered on pillow cases.
A tribute to the man you knew before
Tremblings and temptations,
Defaced promise and youth.
A year of sacrifice has become unglued,
By rogue expectations and delegations that bury the truth,
That you can’t love what you can’t refuse.
And time is a leaving train,
Fixed on a destination,
Not deterred by our own lateness,
As we run to catch steaming metal,
And medal in contemptment,
Won by a dream derailed from the clutches of commitment.
But you said,
You said.

Call of Duty

We will not be written in books,
As names,
But numbers.
We will fade into the dust of time,
Our sweat dried from the escaping cracks
Of ground.
And we will carry whatever remnants
We have left,
In the coffers,
Brazen with smiles behind broken lives.
We hide in the early hours of the night,
Our faces enamoured with killing objects
on digial screens.
Yelling into a microphone “fuck you dude!”
Bitter between championed teams.
Mountain Dew fuels aggression and suppression of innocence stolen.
Chips are crisp with salt and plucked from fingers that pulled triggers.
Memories blare like trumpets inside lucid dreams,
And a drink soothes the nerves of a dream deterred,
Or so we heard.

We pray that light will shine,
Maybe for a few precious moments our minds drift off into a bliss of calm and contentment.
If we are mindful maybe our resentments will transform into forgiveness.
And addiction doesn’t run rampant,
Unchained in a field riddled with avoidance,
Transported to console the suffering.

Still in the lonely hours we needle every thread that quilts us to a time,
Where heroes dined on succulent dishes of mission.
Now we are confined to living our former lives through pictures,
Depicting a time where life and death were a line shorter than this sentence.

Volatile by Brenton Lee

Sometimes I dont know how I make it day to day. It seems as though I am in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance with only the briefest periods of respite. My few and infrequent sanctuaries of seeming normalcy only exascerbate the situation… I let them fool me just long enough to get comfortable, and then I am forced back into what I am starting to feel is my destiny. Dont get me wrong, the terrible things I have experienced didnt make me me. I always was. It isnt the storm that makes the ocean dangerous.

I stare at my reflection in the mirror everyday. The person I see makes my eyes burn, green webbed into a halo of golden brown, she said. The color of Thunderstorms and decay, she said. I dont recognize the face which stares back, warped and distorted in the shard of glass hanging from my wall. Somedays burning with an undying, unquenchable rage directed upon itself. Some days somber and solemn with dull, dead eyes. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of the person I once believed I was, buried under layers of unadressed issues and trauma, rising to the surface and desparetely grasping for air only to be pulled under again immediately.

We paint our insides black as the shadows ‘hind our flesh
And make all that we lack, the part of life that we forget

I am not sure if there is anything pure left inside of me. Am I nothing more than a jaded, bitter unapologetic asshole incapable of rising above my shortcomings? More often than not I find myself turning a blind eye to them or blatantly lying to myself, unconvincingly. Sometimes I feel the urge to destroy everything good in my life, its a sadistic self sabotage brought on by the fact that feeling good is so foreign. I react to love and happiness in my life like the immune system reacts to a foreign body or disease, relentlessly attack it until nothing remains. Tall, dark, desparetely unstable and charming, a recipe for tragedy.

Sometimes I feel like I’m close but I never get there,
Does it mean I’m a ghost if I’m still here?

In the end my self destructive tendencies win out. I have no outlet here, no escape and no sanctuary. My best friend was scattered over five square meters of Afghanistan and there was not a damn thing I could do to help him, no way for me to pay him back for keeping me sane over the last eight months. Nothing to do but succumb to the destructive demon inside of me and let him wreak havoc.
I dont want pity. I dont want understanding. I dont want advice. I dont want a second chance. I want everyone that I have ever wronged, everyone that I have ever hurt to confront me and let loose, bring me back to where I am most comfortable.


Out There: Scene One (Draft)



Rob Marshall

Sounds of shooting, explosions, and war.

Radio transmissions

Fades IN.

Reflective emotional music starts playing.


Male is chopping wood.
Shirtless with jeans and boots.
Dog tags dangle as the axe swings.



Male collects chopped wood and carries it to the fire pit.
Positions wood into a pile ready for firing.
Male walks towards the cabin.


A table with a map sprawled across it.
Illuminated by dim lighting and sunlight.
Male is at the table, eating cereal while looking over the map. He looks focused and concentrated.
There’s a small notebook he begins to write in.
He jots down a couple of notes and begins to eat again.


Male is kneeling by the fire pit with kindling in hand.
A camp grill is over the fire pit with a percolator and a pot full of beans on top.

Fire starts to kindle.
Smoke ascends into the clear sky.
Male looks into the woods.
Trees are glowing in the dimming sunlight.

Fire roars.
Coffee is sputtering.
Beans are boiling.
Male is sitting on a tree stump.
Looking into the fire.
Weaving a strap made from Paracord.

Birds are singing their evening song.
Male pours coffee into a steel mug.
Leans back against the tree stump.
The steam of the beans are dancing in the air.


Male is illuminated by camp fire.
A pot of beans is half eaten on the ground.
Coffee cup is sprawled about.
Stars dance in the sky.


A weathered rucksack is opened on an unmade bed.
The room is sparsely furnished.
A folded piece of paper, a picture of two soldiers, and a pair of dog tags are bundled together.
Unfolded outdoor clothing is scattered about the room.

Male enters room.
He grabs the bundle of paper, picture, and dog tags.
He sits on the edge of bed.
He leans over.
He studies the items.

He rubs the dog tags with his thumb and index finger.
The dog tags are clasped within his fist.


A small chair, table, and couch furnish the room.
Dimly lit with lighting and shadows dancing between each other.
Weathered rucksack sits on the couch half full.
There’s a pile of outdoor gear and supplies.

Male inspects pile of gear with focus.
Packs gear.


The male is laying on bed illuminated by the morning light.
Male slowly rises.


Male emerges from bedroom dressed in outdoor gear.
Male travels to table where he sits.
There’s the bundle on the table.
The map is still there.

He takes the dog tags and places around neck.
He takes another look at the picture.
Examines it with more focus.
Softly rubs his fingers over it.

There’s a waterproof small bag.
He places the picture and letter inside.
He seals it.


Male exits cabin with rucksack on back.
He shields eyes to adjust to the sunlight.
Takes a few of steps.
Looks back to the cabin.
Turns and walks.


The Click

The sharp touch of metal,
Caresses my fist,
As the light,
Devours a lonely glimpse,
Of what life has become,
For the boy,
Who left the shielding arms,
Of Apple pie and Monday night football,
To save a world from evil,
Without a uniform or flag.
As the faucet drips,
The tune of the forgotten,
Is lulled to sleep,
By the lullaby of the safety.
Click, click, click,
Is the rhythm of thought,
That dances between,
The present,
And forever.

Ghosts Of The Past by Brenton Lee

I blink as the dirt lingering in the air slowly settles around me. Filling my mouth and nostrils with decades of death and grit, working its way into the creases of my face, accenting the expression of pain and confusion which has come over me. I roll from my back and prop myself up on all fours, coughing and spitting the dirt away and groaning in pain. Suddenly I hear it; shouting in the distance which is almost completely washed out by the deafening ringing in my ears. I strain to raise my head, and realize it is not far off shouts , its Josh standing over me yelling in my face. Screaming at me to stand up and get moving, Dave is hurt, and hurt bad. Ignoring the throbbing in my head and the ringing in my ears I force myself up and start to sprint, staying just a step behind Josh. I run as fast as I can, each step sending dull pulses of pain streaking through my head and deepening the burning that has clutched my chest. Just when I feel as though I can go no further we reach it, the smoking crater in the ground, two feet deep and four feet wide. Just moments ago Dave stepped on a pressure plate linked to a plastic jug containing six pounds of homemade Ammonium Nitrate and Aluminum explosives. I see a hole in the ground, the sole of a boot a few feet away, half of a foot lying in the dirt next to it. Scraps of a Multicam uniform flutter softly to the ground as we frantically search for our missing brother. To the right of the crater is a three foot mud wall which Josh quickly jumps to begin his search. The left side is a three foot ledge down to a ravine which I slide down to find Dave lying on the bank of. Both of his legs are gone below the knee, his right arm and hand mangled into a chunk of dangling flesh. His eyes burned black, empty sockets staring at me as he releases a terrible moan from his shattered face.
Continue reading “Ghosts Of The Past by Brenton Lee”