Brian Turner is the widely-acknowledged poet/witness of the Iraq war. I do not wish to further pigeonhole him into this double-edged accolade, but when it came to decide whom to feature on Poemocracy for Memorial Day, it was a great big "duh."
I've seen Turner read live from his first book, Here, Bullet. He's clearly a man wearied by the world, at least he was at that time. What sets Turner apart from most of the poets writing about the war is that Turner was actually there fighting. Perhaps for Memorial Day, it would be more appropriate to feature the work of a poet who died in a war (Keats?), but oh well, it's my blog, and I'm not waiting until Veteran's Day to feature someone as talented as this man. ~ EJP
The Hurt Locker
Nothing but hurt left here.
Nothing but bullets and pain
and the bled-out slumping
and all the fucks and goddamns
and Jesus Christs of the wounded.
Nothing left here but the hurt.
Believe it when you see it.
Believe it when a twelve-year-old
rolls a grenade into the room.
Or when a sniper punches a hole
deep into someone’s skull.
Believe it when four men
step from a taxicab in Mosul
to shower the street in brass
and fire. Open the hurt locker
and see what there is of knives
and teeth. Open the hurt locker and learn
how rough men come hunting for souls.