“Truth” by Jason Burdick

People say “The truth shall set you free.”
The truth is
It can’t.
It can be dangerous
And sometimes deadly.
The truth is
People have tried to kill me
Sometimes they came really close.

The truth is
Getting shot at for the first time is scary
By the tenth time it’s kind of fun.
You come to rely on the whizzing sound by your head
And the crack of supper sonic lead in your ear.
The blood forcing adrenaline through your body
It’s better than any drug I have tried
And more addictive.

The truth is
When I got home from Iraq I never wanted to go back
Two months later I could not wait to go back
I longed for it
I missed the excitement and the danger.
Now instead of adrenaline in my blood
Its anger
Anger makes me feel something
Like I’m not dead inside.
Yet anger is an emotion
And I am not an emotional person.

The truth is
Now I’m afraid of the dark
I don’t mean the absence of light
But the blackness behind closed eyes
That’s when the faces come
And I remember that explosions are loud
And ringing howling tones echo in my ears
I don’t sleep much
Or very long.

Jason Burdick joined the US Army in 1996 and served over 11 years as combat medic. He was stationed at Ft Sill, OK. Ft Bliss, TX. South Korea, Ft Campbell, KY. New Hampshire Army National Guard, California Army National Guard. In 2004 he was deployed to Southern Baghdad, Iraq for an 18 month combat deployment. Currently he is finishing his B.A. in History at UCLA. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue a career in education.