Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Promotion Party!

The night was hot yesterday. The sun had set an hour or two previously, and yet the thermometer on the back porch still read 105 degrees. Two helicopters flew low overhead, tilting at the sliver of moon rising above our barracks. The rotor wash from the choppers turned the porch into a hellish wind tunnel. On the other side of the dirt-filled wall of HESCO barriers, the Marines were lining up for another mission out into Ramadi. Blue chemlights described glowing arcs through the night as Marines taped the markers to radio antennas and released them skyward, and the night thumped to the tune of Guns 'N Roses on some Marine’s stereo.
Mama put my guns in the ground
I can't shoot them any more
That cold black cloud is comin' down
Feels like I'm knockin' on heavens door
On our side of the HESCOs, the party was in full swing. We were on our second day back in Ramadi. Our platoon leader had just earned his promotion to 1st Lieutenant, and we were celebrating as hard as you can in Iraq. The humidors full of cigars were out, and melting ice leaked across the deck from open cases of non-alcoholic beer. Wood scraps sent twisting flames aloft from our fire pit set into the patio built of metal airlift pallets. Many members of the platoon made use of our most obscene amenity- an 8x6’ pool built by our predecessors out of a water tank that was hit by shrapnel during a rocket attack. We spent the afternoon cleaning the accumulation of dust and sand out of the bottom, and sent someone running after the water truck in anticipation of the evening.

Now the porch and patio dance with flames that cut through the swirling cigar smoke- the smoke that moves and throbs in time with the bass from the portable speakers. Members of other platoons in the company drift in to congratulate the LT, while our soldiers split off into groups and talk. In the back there's the shatter of glass and a brief curse- no worries, there's plenty more near-beer on ice. Ramadi's partying, and it's jumping for us.


  1. In NYC - and just came back from Yankees vs Bos Sox - Yanks won

    Nice to read you are partying too - truly...

    congrats on the your platoon's promotion ;)

    keep on writing!

  2. Thanks for including us in the party!

  3. Anonymous24/5/07 10:04

    The first paragraph of this post is very good. It is extremely visceral. Please keep writing. I enjoy your posts. And happy birthday.

  4. Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/24/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

  5. Anonymous25/5/07 07:25

    I knew you wouldn't give up the "partying". Just you wait... uh, Isaac's birthday is coming up. ;)

  6. the big 23 huh, we were all there once, happy birthday, reading three post at one time is really great.

    Stay safe, keep on keeping on..

  7. Anonymous29/5/07 21:37

    You have a lovely writing style -- it's evocative, with being over the top. I usually prefer my prose utilitarian, but I really enjoy the elegance of your posts.