“Tom-Tom” Long Toms (A Young Marine’s Prayer)

I found this in the “Drafts” section of the Lost Journals today. That blog was created for “younger” selves, mostly teens and early 20’s (apparently). “This” post, written in 2011 and never published, caught my eye and attention like a magnet to steel . . .

It was originally titled “Tom Toms” and is a very real prayer said by a young Marine crouching in the rocks in the desert – one of my inner selves. It still calls to “me” emotionally on many levels, for I remember those old cannon – “Long Toms” – which as a little kid I took as “Tom-Toms” because of the drumming sound a battery could make, and then later, as a Marine underneath an overhead barrage – it “calls” to me with emotional contexts and impacts because we did lose guys despite this being in training. Once we had over 250 casualties over in ‘the Corridor’ located near 29 Palms, CA, all within about an hour. No mention in the news that I know of. I do know one thing about the Marine Corps, or at least the one from the late 70’s: we trained “for real”, and people got hurt or killed on every exercise. I still have a few scars from high velocity rocks thrown by a short round, though that’s not why I grieve, or “feel” these weird and diffuse feelings I should investigate – a type of nostalgia, longing, and regret, all mixed, plus the military WAS my childhood: I was born in it, and to it.

That, too, is a lifelong problem: I fit in great due to my DID giving me chameleon like skills when it comes to societies, persons, and cultures, yet I don’t fit in at ALL – except in the field (war games). In those I excel as I was trained to as a young child, then teen – warrior – military, Marine . . . So yes, the military plays a big role in my life, from my parents who gave me birth to me in it, to the soldiers that helped train, to those I worked with and around, and made friends with – now long lost due to time and the military’s insistance on keeping people moving around.

At any rate, given people’s renewed approval of most things military nowdays I figured it makes a good read. So instead of providing a link, I copied it from here)

Long-Toms drum in the darkness of the desert air,
their thunder rolling through the darkness
far to the rear:
Boom-ba-da-boom-ba-da-boom! Boom! Boom!

And there’s a soft swishing in the air
far above me in the night sky sprinkled with flowers
of evening stars.
In the night sky high above the shells are aloft.
I pray for no short rounds.
They softly swish over me.
like fifty-five gallon drums
tumbling through the sky.
Messengers of death and destruction
invisible to the eye:

And again I pray:
No short rounds.

The rocks surround me in the hard comfort,
their forms indistinct
as the shells swish from behind me,
my rifle crowds my chest.
I peer downrange through the darkness where stars glitter and shine
as the night sky above me glitters and glows
with a darkness of its own,
and stars sternly stare down.

No short rounds, I pray, looking down the valley in the further darkness there at the end,
until the valley erupts in silent flame and a fiery commotion.

Flares go up: star shells parachute back down,
their swinging lanterns glowing, lighting up desert for miles around.

The shells have arrived.
The thunder shakes my ears
and the ground under my thighs.

No short rounds.

I breath a sigh of relief, ears still cocked for that sound,
that swish-swish in the night
of a short round.

There are none.


About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3IVKK ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Boy-J-W/dp/1461022681). JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
This entry was posted in Alters, Art, creative writing, Marine Corps, Military, The Lost Journals, war and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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