Missed Golden Hours

Update:

Bob Schieffer, Face The Nation, reminded people that we still are in Iraq . . . . from Crooks and Liars, and bemoaned the recent findings of the Pew Research study.

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In a recent story on MSNBC, it was all about this statistic: 28% of Americans know the death count of American troops in Iraq.

Twenty-eight percent?! That’s not even, quite, every third person. Now, how fucking unpatriotic is that? How many of those with yellow or red, white, and blue flagged magnets know the count?

“As of March 10, the Department of Defense had confirmed the deaths of 3,974 U.S. military personnel in Iraq.” The study from Pew Research with some other interesting tidbits as well. The most unaware: 18-39 group.

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I ran across a book of poetry, ‘Here, Bullet’ – Brian Turner, some time ago. I don’t remember why I wanted it forthwith. Much of it is haunting . . . .

AB Negative (The Surgeon’s Poem)

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Thalia Fields lies under a gray ceiling of clouds,
just under the turbulence, with anesthetics
dripping from an IV in her arm,
and the flight surgeon says The shrapnel
cauterized as it traveled through her
here, breaking this rib as it entered,
burning a hole through the left lung
to finish in her back
, and all of this
she doesn’t hear, except perhaps as music —
that faraway music of people’s voices
when they speak gently and with care,
a comfort to her on a stretcher
in a flying hospital en route to Landstuhl,
just under the rain at midnight, and Thalia
drifts in and out of consciousness
as a nurse dabs her lips with a moist towel,
her palm on Thalia forehead, her vitals
surgeon-hands.jpg slipping some, as burned flesh gives way
to the heat of her blood, the tunnels within
opening to fill her, just enough blood
to cough up and drown in; Thalia
sees shadows of people working to save her,
but cannot feel their hands,
cannot hear them any longer
and when she closes her eyes
the most beautiful colors rise in darkness,
tangerine washing into Russian blue,
with the droning engine humming on
in a dragonfly’s wings, island palms
painting the sky an impossible hue
with their thick brushes dripping green . . .
a way of dealing with the fact
that Thalia Fields is gone, long gone,
about as far from Mississippi
as she can get, ten thousand feet above Iraq
and an exhausted surgeon in tears,
his bloodied hands on her chest, his head
sunk down, the nurse guiding him
to a nearby seat and holding him as he cries,
though no one hears it, because nothing can be heard
like a shadow guiding the rain, here
in the droning engines of midnight.

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*NPR: Army Medevac Unit Races Against Time; NPR: Brian Turner, poet-soldier

*Brian Turner’s page at publisher.

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