The Camo Men

detail of painting



Santa Fe celebrates July 4th by hosting a gargantuan pancake breakfast on the plaza put on by the city.

Think doughy and haphazardly flipped disks on chalky paper plates.

The din of human dining takes place amidst the trash of a throw-away culture.

Watching the men set up for tomorrow’s event just really heavied-up my heart.

I knew the busker who often sings so friggin’ badly in the early mornings will be displaced.

I am challenged by his attempt at entertaining yet he pushes out these crude lyrics with his emphysemic throat, extremely tone deaf,  day after day destroying my peace.

Me, me me…..

While the pseudo celebration of independence is marked in one way by incomprehensible amounts of ingested  undercooked batter

My vet friend with the shitty voice awaits a chance to sing to us again after the partying is all over.

Singin’ for his supper, he does.

I am quite sure his closet only contains camo.

He bugs me so much and I hate that he does as he is so broken.

And alone.

With few giving him the time of day.  

Including me.

My low-down life in my trusty wheelchair allows me the privilege of up close and personal contact with many of the challenged souls trying so hard to re-enter normal

After they went away to some god-forsaken place and put on their boots and walked out to serve us each morning

By braving the scariest of the scary in the name of freedom.  Ours.

How the hell could you not break?

How could you see what they saw and keep all your ducks in a row?

Could any of us sing in tune having lived through bombs and sanity blasting visions of lifeless friends crumpled just beside you?

They need us now.  They need us not to turn away from their weirdness.

Please join me in helping to do something for the broken among us.

Eye contact, a dollar dropped, a real smile…even proximity.

Reign in your judgement (this admonition to me) .

Look the broken camo -men in their brave, veiled and wounded eyes

And drop your head silently in gratitude for the freedoms we still enjoy

Which come at such a cost.

We never really thanked them.

Then eat your pancakes if you can.




4 Responses to “The Camo Men”

  1. dennis chamberlain on July 3rd, 2017

    I saw them today too, setting up for the pancakes. Seemed like a really bad idea as stated so eloquently by you. I’ll watch the rest of the week for your musician vet friend, if he starts his performance before my workshop begins!

  2. Joe on July 5th, 2017

    Occasionally one does make it back – mentally as well as physically. It has been my life’s work to make sure no one is left behind. Right as many wrongs as I can and stay devoted to God, my family & my friends.

    Drop Mike.


  3. Cathy on July 5th, 2017

    This is why you are my hero. Always. xxxx

  4. Monique Romero on July 7th, 2017

    Incredible. I am loving your work! These are things that needs to be said, that no one wants to hear or admit. But it’s good to admit these discomforts and to bring an awareness to them, even if you are an active part of that discomfort.

Leave a Reply