“Angels, muses and sirens”
Angels, muses and sirens.
“Death did not beat me. I sacrificed everything to bring life and hope into this world. Death did not beat my dreams and hope. I sacrificed everything to protect them, a country full of strong people, can defeat oppression. They can find hope. They can find a way to fight death.”
Angels, muses and sirens
I was near death often in my life. I learn Death isn’t an enemy. We must be born and die, we must live and struggle. I bury my second brother in 1989. Twenty years old and the hanging rope was their only friend. Left me dead in heart and mind. I believed if I was kinder, maybe life would have been less painful and death less a temptation for them. Now I soaked myself in good booze and locked doors. I have my 30-30 on the table, I cleaned her twice daily and I write dead-man poetry and I’m waiting for no-one. I returned from work, I listen to the clock radio and drank alone. My journal laid open and no new words to be written. I caressed the 30-30 and I wondered would I be missed. I heard a knock at my door, I opened the door and dear Leona, a long time friend forced her way in. She saw the 30-30 and the empty rum bottles. She came to me and she shook me. What is wrong with you Johnnie? You going to kill yourself? She began to cry and she embraced me. She stayed with me for many days. She caressed my forehead like a lost child and told me often. I love you Johnnie, I love you Johnnie. Please stay with me in this world. Leona took my 30-30 away. Gave it to my good friend Steve. Me and Leona create a bonding contract. I would not do something dumb. Death didn’t win. I was saved by love and a kind muse.
A new war had started. Old Army didn’t want me at first. I was prior service. When the war kicked in. Old Colonel called me at the recruiting station. He told me, taking prior service now. If you want in, this is the time. Next day I retested and took the Army physical. I was leaving in two weeks. Leona was very sad. She knew I never came back after Jennifer and the suicide of my two brothers. She came to be often during my last two weeks in Ann Arbor. She would come at night and we would hold each other and talk. I told her, I will be okay. I need different, different places and faces. I will miss you and I will come back to you my Leona. Leona asked why would I joined a war to escape her? I told her, Jennifer was a siren. Made me wish for things I didn’t have. You taught me. I would be okay. I’m thankful for you dear Leona.
The plane landed in Kuwait. The pilot announced all water and gas soldiers off the plane first. I knew this to be a bad sign. Twenty soldiers gathered in the heat of the sun waiting to know their assignment. We were told we must move and tag the dead from Death valley. It was a three-month mission. We moved frozen Iraq soldiers into larger storage containers. It wasn’t a hard task. Dead men left no danger or problems. Us soldiers would discuss the dead. Old Joe, a religion man asked us to pray for the dead. He said friend or not. They are the children of God. To make Joe content and quiet, we did pray. After awhile, the prayers made the job easily. We were more gentle with men who died in a useless war and the poor families were missing and they did not know their ending. Today I’m thankful for Jo, he was our angel. He made us understand, every life had meaning. We must respect the dead and learn to live each day with the vigor. That could be our last.
I got home from the war and I returned to Ann Arbor. My friend told me he knew Jennifer phone number. I called her and requested to see her. She told me she had a child and she would love to see me and I drove at 12 pm to her apartment. She answered the door in long tee-sheet and beautiful long tempting legs for me to see. She embraced me and I told her. I was glad to see her. She tried to apology for the past. I told her, the past is just lessons for us. Today is a good day, I have found you again. She laid her head into my chest and I caressed her long legs. She told me she was going to be a nurse and she was in school. I listen and was falling into her blue eyes. I told her I was lucky, war was over when I got there. I was involved in the clean-up. We slept together and I held her tightly. We met almost everyday for my 30 days of my leave. We made no promises to be forsaken. She had turn colder, age and life can turn siren to muse. Muse to siren. Dear Jennifer became my muse.
Today death is far away. My brothers taught me. Live, not die. Lead with kindness, concern and love. We must listen to our friends and family. I have met death in many places. He wasn’t coming for me. Death can be woman or man. When death comes. He is just another friend we must know. Death taught me. Living and trying is the key to life. No honored life for a dormant life.