From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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Draftee (poem)

By rg cantalupo

I didn't give a shit about rifles, or flags,
or 4th of Julys, or patriotic parades.

I was into drive-in movies, and cruising
along Whittier Boulevard in my hopped-up

56' Chevy for excitement. I was a Patriot
of Love, of my sixteen-year-old wife,

and my single mother, and my friends
punching in and out of dead-end jobs.

I couldn't tell a mortar from an RPG,
an AK from an M-16, a guerilla from

a gorilla, or a commie from a homie.
I loved my life, as small as it was, and

for as little as I knew of death. I heard
about those who believed War was All,

one's "ultimate" sacrifice and duty.
They tried to tell me "what war was

was like", but it was never like that
for me. I felt no thrill in the kill, and

vomited the first time I saw what a
500-pound bomb does to a body.

No, I was done with War long before
War was done with me. I died and

came back to life and have lived all
of my nine cat's lives. One was lived

out in firefights and night patrols
where the sky fell with bullets, shrapnel,

and flesh. It's the one I keep waking to,
and the one I will forever mourn.

—rg cantalupo (aka Ross Canton)

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