F. I. N. E.

A couple weeks ago now I posted the first poem I’d written since forever, inspired by the Republican’s assault on our Constitution and rule of law.  I was encouraged to finish and post it after reading the following poem by Peter “Petey” Delacroix, a friend I met via the weekly Fark Writer’s Thread.

Petey is a veteran of the US Navy (Reserve) and went on multiple deployments in his 25 year career.  He served as a Corspman in Iraq during Desert Storm and in Afgahinistan at Bagram (twice), Camp Alerno, and Khost.  With such a long career, and being in the thick of things to help countless wounded, it is not surprising that he returned with PTSD. Indeed it is all too common amongst our veterans, and a travesty that their services continue to be cut, and their suffering overlooked.

Petey’s recovery has continued with the help of a local writing group amongst his fellow Veterans who are likewise afflicted with PTSD.  They are working towards publishing an anthology this coming summer which will include poems, essays, and short stories, and the poem below is Petey’s first.

It resonated deeply with me, and I think captures a struggle fought by many of us, but most especially those who have been taught to repress their emotions.

F.I.N.E.*

Alone again the morning after
Wondering,
Now what do I do and
Oh God what have I done?
Need sleep but
I cannot  cut
Nor can I shut
My noisy brain back down.

Too much
Too many
Unwanted things keep
Rolling ’round my head.
To Nobody I shout: I’m FINE!
Then suddenly
It comes to me
The last words that he said:

“All those ‘fines’ they will add up,
Not that you seem to care.
But in the end
The final cost,
May be more than you can bear.”

I know I should have listened
I just couldn’t –
Maybe wouldn’t –
Hear the Signs.
I was deaf and I was blind
But by my choice and only mine,
Only me and no one else
To take the blame.

And nothing could forbear me
Could not stop me or persuade me from
My cruel vivisection of,
My cold and clinical dissection of,
Every stupid fucking answer
And every second fucking guess.
Cut me make me bleed,
Make me feel like I feel like I’m me.
And then again I’ll be fine, just you wait and see.

Gently, he said to me:
“All those ‘fines’ they will add up,
Not that you seem to care.
But in the end
The final cost,
May be more than you can bear.”

Oh I know I made this bed of worms,
Of Martyr’s thorns
And regrets I love to hoard.
Morning light and time to sleep,
Churning, turning,
Pray O God my soul to keep
The dreams the screams at bay.
But I’m fine you know I’m truly fucking fine.

If I could only just break free
Of all these fucked up memories,
And all those times I finally crossed that blurry line.
In the end I did get straight,
Though it never killed the Hate.
Roiling, boiling just below
So close I know the taste.
But I’m fine I’m fine I swear to God I’m fine.

Patiently, he said to me:
“All those ‘fines’ they will add up,
Not that you seem to care.
But in the end
The final cost,
May be more than you can bear.”

Go to Hell!
You have no right
To wound me with your love,
Or touch me softly with your words
That pierce me deep inside.
Go away or maybe stay,
Either one will do.
But still I will be fine, that is, no matter what you say.

Finally, he said to me:
“All those ‘fines’ they will add up,
Not that you seem to care.
But in the end
The final cost,
May be more than you can bear.”

I was wrong I see, I finally see!
I know I’m late there’s no more time,
My bill is finally due.
A debt – a life! – of broken words,
I owe but cannot pay.
Now at last
The die is cast
It’s just Me and only Me.

All those ‘fines’ they did add up
And yeah, I should have cared.
Here at last
My fearsome past
Has finally come to bear.
I knew the cost,
And now I’m lost.
The price, you know, it really was quite dear.

Too late for me
But not for you
So beware your precious Pride.
For all those fines and promises
They add up scary fast,
‘Til at your End
All that is left, all that you own
Is Time and Loneliness.

— HM1 Peter “Doc” Delacroix, (USN Ret.)

From the collection, “On The Laughter of the Damned”
Asylum Poetry

*Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional

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