It’s about time (revised)

August 23, 2011

I need to say, as I should have when I originally posted this writing, that this has content that is mature and may be emotionally disturbing to some folks. I respect others’ boundaries, but at the same time, this is a safe outlet for me to deeper deeper into my unknown. And it is my truth.

 Respectfully; thank you forstopping in. 


As I slowly skimmed the new carpet with “boat shoes,” as Annie called them

My eyes arose to see eight women gleaning my soul.

The obvious leader of these activists poured out;

“This is Dennis, the Army vet.”

“We know! We know! At long last we have met.”

     As they went ’round introducing themselves

     they spoke their names and their plans for me.

     Their mighty credentials for all to be impressed

     and the concepts they thought would bring about peace.

As they spoke I began to realize what I had become

a trophy, a token; something to wear for their friends.

“Look at me! I possess a conscientious objector,”

But I knew it would not do for me to serve their desires.

         Months passed when the phone rang and they asked me once again,

         “Will you please come speak at our international peace conference dear friend?”

         “What will I say? What do I have to offer? 

         “Just speak for two minutes telling what you know of peace.”


          But from that day to this, that word I could not speak.



           So finally, ladies,  it’s time I tell you what took me three years to think:

I cannot speak of peace because I’ve never known it.

I cannot speak of peace because innocent childrens’ ghosts haunt my room

each night.

I cannot speak of peace when every type of  rape has been visited and

engrained upon my being. 

I cannot speak of peace when my children ask why their mother doesn’t want

to see them. 

I cannot speak of peace because of the look in their eyes when I don’t lie to


I cannot speak of peace when my friends’ wife calls and describes how he took

half his head off with a shotgun. And yes, I was his only friend. And yes, we led

the same life. And yes, I have thought that his fate might be mine as well. And

yes, she wants me to be her therapist, spiritual advisor and friend.

I cannot speak of peace because I have no fuckin’ clue how to be anyone of


I cannot speak of peace when a mental rehabilitation center tells a retired  

police officer the reason he still has suicidal thoughts is that he has a poor

attitude, is not utilizing deep breathing properly and not working hard enough

at his recovery.

I cannot speak of peace when I know he killed himself the day he was


I cannot speak of peace when all I need to do is weep and honor a lifetime of

suppressed sadness. But that wouldn’t be a “healthy coping mechanism.” 

I cannot speak of peace because any second that I feel a moment of relief, I

remember that a monk is being forced to rape a nun on a public street. 

I cannpt speak of peace because there are women, AND men,  rape

victims who are still emotionally and mentally tortured because society has 

made them feel ashamed and weak.

(Yes, we are victims. Yes, we will remain one without help.)

I cannot speak of peace ‘cause noone ever taught me what that means.

I cannot speak of peace because a war still rages within my chest.

I cannot speak of peace at your international conference because you

wont let the homeless guy in to share his two cents.

I cannot speak of peace when you ask me not to talk about the war because

someone might get upset. 

Take a look around; someone should be upset.

I cannot speak of peace because if your fall into the lower-class

status, you’re not invited. And yes, you will be turned away at the


 I cannot speak of peace because I’m trying, for once in my life, to be honest.


But I can speak of something, that to me, is greater than any concept of peace

I’ve ever heard; the gift to feel.

To completely and unconditionally let go and fall into this moment without

regard or consequence.

To feel the unparalled compassion and warmth of someone you’ve

never met, but is still sending unguarded love your way because she knows it

is the truth of her heart.

To feel the shock, awe and power of a phone call from a man you’ve never met

telling you that there are more people (whom I’ve never met) pooling their

resources and time to give me the space I need to experience and honor this

great unfolding.

To feel tears cut a path of freshness down my face when a woman, whose heart

is bigger than the cosmos, tells me that I was the inspiration for her courage

and her journey.

To feel my children’s arms around me as they say with their eyes, “You are

the world to me.  You are an ocean of love. YOU are what I think of when I

hear the word peace.”


I still don’t know of peace.

But I know how to feel.



5 Responses to “It’s about time (revised)”

  1. Dennis, I had to have a good, gut-wrenching cry before I read this. “I cannot speak of peace,” because of all you have been dragged through… You speak the truth, especially about the homeless who would be turned away at the door. And many of those homeless are vets. The irony of this sickens me. I’ve worked side-by-side on food drives with ‘Nam vets and have stood with Veterans for Peace here in Madison.

    I honor your service. I honor your bravery. I honor… your honesty. And I hope this will help you know that I’m with you in solidarity. Peace, somehow may it find you. Amy

  2. woih said


    Thank you for YOUR honesty and your service and courage, truly. It’s a very, very sad thing to see a crippled soul that never had a chance to start with. This writing is a way to climb out of that old dead skin that has been stuck to my back. And honestly, I felt much lighter after I wrote it.

    Your service to those in need is far braver and of benefit than one with a weapon in and. So, again, thank you.


    …was kinda surprised someone read the whole thing to even comment, then I saw it was you. very genuine

  3. Elizabeth. said

    Dennis, thank you for making me cry. Your words are so strong and courageous. I salute you. x

    • woih said

      Thank you Elizabeth. I hope it was one of those cleansing cries where ya feel all crisp and open afterward.

      I just got back from a solitary meditation retreat and I can speak of peace now .

      Thanks for stopping in and taking the chance to let the writing be felt

  4. Elizabeth. said

    I am glad that the peace has entered… x

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