November 11, 2013

Friendly Fire - Poem by CM Towsley

On this Veteran’s Day, we remember those brave men and women who served in the armed forces. We also take this moment to renew our efforts to bring America’s lone POW, Bowe Bergdahl, back home. The following poem, Friendly Fire, touches on a subject most people don’t like to talk about. And that’s what makes it a fitting edition to the Whiteout Press Poetry Section.

A decade ago, one in four homeless men were veterans. Today, an estimated 43 percent are vets.

Friendly Fire

By Christopher M. Towsley


Friendly Fire, what a quizzical term,

crouched there with your buddies,

by the perimeter berm.

Your weapon’s clean,

your ammo’s dry,

and friendly fire is the way you die.

The reasons you went there,

are varied I’m sure.

The duty bound honor,

was there to ensure,

You would be protected,

by the man at your back,

and you had his, against enemy attack.

In your squad you had confidence.

In your country your Love,

when friendly fire,

rained down from above.


You lay for a moment,

disbelief sinking in,

along with reality, and burning skin.

The screams of the wounded,

and a sickening sound,

of life’s blood pouring,

back into the ground.

You felt for your weapon,

even though you were numb.

From behind  you heard moaning,

someone crying, “Oh Mom.”

In the distance you heard,

through your ringing ears,

some Idiot on the radio,

confirming your fears.

Yes indeed there was contact,

target fired upon,

as the sound of twin aircraft,

disappeared into dawn.

You rolled to your side,

and as hard as you tried,

you couldn’t stop the rolling tear,

that came from your eye.

For Brothers in Arms,

all fight the fear,

of friendly fire,

year after year.

For the creed among soldiers,

amidst death smells so putrid,

is not fear of dying,

but dying stupid.


Well it’s not your fault brave warrior fair,

you and your courage will always be there,

in the form of a gleaming white enduring light,

that guides all brave soldiers as they catch their last flight.

The contradiction ‘Friendly Fire’ will continue to stand,

as  you soar like an eagle to the promised land.


Christopher M. Towsley


For more poems, visit the Whiteout Press Poetry Section.



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