This poem is titled ‘Pavement Marine’. It is a poem about a United States Marine who commits suicide – one of the 5,000 US soldiers and veterans who committed suicide in 2018. I hope one day to read it out in front of the White House – on the Lawn with the President and those Veterans and serving military who have not committed suicide would be good but on the Pavement will do.
I am now developing ‘Pavement Marine as a Rock Opera. To learn of its progress go to
You wanted me to die for you.
Did you not?
Do you see me dying?
Each day my death for you a little nearer
You knew that which I did not.
But you never said.
No stark bloody truth you ever gave me.
I now be my own truth.
My dream of duty – a cherished pride.
You cheered me on – a triumphant vanguard
No solitude with my muted anger was ever promised.
I marched those stripes of red white and blue
‘Go get them’ you said
From your bars and Televisions.
‘Whip them boy. Give them one for me’.
My President too. Speeches to make me proud – and I was. I still am.
I lifted by your words and carried by my Nation.
‘Get the fucking medic now, Where is that fucking medic’.
Your fine words wasted on a dusty outpost of democracy.
From where my brotherhood lay to die.
‘Don’t die. You will not die. Medic. Medic where the fuck is the Medic’.
Now you no longer see me.
I am gaunt and grey, a silent embarrassment that haunts you.
I blend into the slabs of hardness I beg from.
I am your Pavement Marine.
First the bottle my solace,
Now the needle my constant companion.
‘You will not fucking well die. I brother am your love your life – fuck the medic, fuck you all’
I now shoot not my enemy but myself.
Your Federal programs my absent friends.
I love my needle like I loved my M16A4.
My life I see in my crystals of oblivious escape.
An irony of circumstances as you automate your feelings to me.
You do not hear my silent screaming as it engulfs my every thought.
It drowns my disciplined silence to your World.
A screaming disjointed harmony of my fears
It a confusion of light and dark deep swallowing sound.
Each disharmony a shudder to my mind’s fighting hole.
‘Medic, Medic’. There is no medic only me.
My hands deep inside the red hole of his chest.
Tears and anger. Cold fear my companion, my comrade now dead.
More my comrade; my brother, my union, my love and respect.
I am you America. Do you not see me?
I am that which you be and all that you will be.
America you have need of me; my stature is your belief.
I hold my head high. Your indifference will never defeat me.
For I die with ‘Semper Fi’ to my Nation.
Laughing, crying, silent, soulful that is I – all in one moment.
Your automation – a visual avoidance – your eyes never meet mine.
Your steps an echo of my solitude.
I seek to remind you.
I am the Nation.
Honour, Duty and the fight for freedoms.
I know who I am America. Do you?
Walk on by your dollars thrown at me.
I see your guilty eyes.
Is your conscience now appeased?
The worst of our Nation taunts me.
I laugh as they beat me.
I stand silent as they threaten me.
I crawl as they kick me.
I never beg for Mercy. For I am a United States Marine.
I sob alone in my loneliness.
Now I stare at my blood.
A river of escape for my pain.
With it a tide of relief.
My war with my Nation is nearly over.
The voices are calm now.
My lost brother nearby. He awaits me.
I feel the deafening tremors leave me.
I am proud. My pride alongside me – my dull and twisted heart of purple.
My duty will never die.
Now I will be at Peace.
Now you will know who I am.
Your goodbye to me? Full Military Honours.
You honour my death but not my life.
Now finally America I have your respect.
God Bless America.
Desmond Last copyright. 29.4.19. Sydney. Australia.