Dear Joe

“It is the duty of every poet to speak fearlessly and clearly.”
– Sam Hamill
If you’ve been moved by this unjust war to write a poem, please consider submitting by email to or mail to SPC. Work on themes of war, the war economy, oppression and political injustice, and/or which celebrates more positive hopes and visions, will be considered.

I am begging you, my dear young friend, do not go and fight their war.
Their skillfully crafted promises of gold and treasure and glory
Are truly there but come at a price much higher than their worth,
And only made to ease your mind and your loving Mother's worries.

The pretty pictures of brave young men playing soccer,
And those dressed so neatly, clean and freshly shaved;
Giving candy and toys away to smiling children all around
Are grossly out of place and are events terribly misshaped.

What they will not tell or show you, is the blood upon them
Where they once held a dying friend in their arms.

They do not tell you of endless days and sleepless nights
Or of living in fear of the next explosion or alarm.
They do not tell you what it's like, to live a month or more
The only cleansing to be had, rain that falls upon the land,
Or what it's like to crave a cool place or a small piece of shade.
Or always sleep with a weapon of death held tightly in your hand.

They will not tell you of the screams of those who lay dying.
Close enough for you to help, but far enough to be beyond your reach.
They do not tell you that you learn not to feel or cry for the pain inside
For to do so would suck your strength and spirit like a bloody leech.

And they will make pretty speeches about "either him or me",
And how the evil one before you is just a nameless weapon of the war.
But they do not explain that that weapon walks and talks and dreams
And when you take that life it will remain in your mind forever more.

So, I beg of you, my kind young friend, hear the tears that fill my heart;
And please, oh I ask you please to consider the cost of all that glory.
Believe me for I know, it is not worth it, at ten times the bounty they pay.
To find yourself bathed in the blood of friend or foe, is not worth all their gold.

-M. DuBose \ Feb 2006

Michael served 23 years in the USCG, including two tours of duty in Viet Nam. His story "Welcome Home...Thoughts Thirty Years After My War" appeared in the May issue of the Peace Newsletter.