Flashback (Collaboration with Noura)

by Daniel   Dec 2, 2019

At night, thoughts are magnified
by the rattling of gunfire -
one thousand frenzied clocks.

On the battlefield,
he's a hero.

At home,
a shaking shadow,

an ugly, frightened creature
masquerading as a human
being, sunken in the corner
of the room.

Around her, he's petrified
she'll realise he's a hurricane,
a delirious demon,
a relenting psychopath,
a monster
who clutches his
rifle in his sleep.

She lays still beside him,
forces her fingers
between his.

Does she know that
someone lost a limb because of
the same hand she's holding?

Would that khaki suit still look
as charming if the spattered
blood of all of his victims
were still flecked
across it?

Does she know it
is blacker than red?
Does she know he cannot

Those frantic butterflies
in the stomach are now brittle.

It is fire. It is fear,
and it is perpetual.

The nightmares are the worst.

The "please don't,
please don't"s of all who begged
for their lives. The screams
of his brothers in a lost battle.
The hissing wind in a stormy day
up on the white mountains.
The trundle of boots on the

"When will you teach me how to use the gun?"
She asks him, playfully, holding his rifle. It feels heavy. It looks manly.

"I was hoping
you'd help me forget"
He thinks to himself.


Credit goes to the wonderful Noura for this.


Did You Like This Poem?

Latest Comments

  • 4 months ago

    by Star

    Judging Comment:

    I had goosebumps run all over me, and the more I read the poem the deeper it resonates. It is narrated efficiently, almost feels like one person wrote it.
    The struggles this man is facing and his woman who realizes she can never imagine how his day was, but is eager to make him feel better. She trues to let herself into his heart, but he is covered with doubt of how she may perceive him. They both want comfort in each other, but the reality blows away the two of them..

  • 5 months ago

    by Angie

    There is not much I can add to what Maryanne said in her comment.

    I just know that there are so many who struggle with this every day (a friend of mine does) and as hard as it was to read this, it was written wonderfully and makes you realize the horrors of the world we live in and how some must cope with this reality. Congrats to both of you on the win

  • 5 months ago

    by Angie

    ugh, double post, sorry

  • 5 months ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    I can only imagine that many of us on here have already read this piece many, many times this week, yet struggle to comment. How can one add any more thoughts?

    I'm just happy that both of you write and will always hope you continue to collab. The emotions in this, well how could one have words? The questions are stark, like ghosts and memories of blood spilled. Blood that once gave life, stories, everything.

    It also puts the image in my mind, no matter what you are for or against, that it's an endless cycle of war. And civilians, and soldiers, are trying to cope. Trying to do the best they can to protect their own people.

    This reminds me of the ugly reality of how people perceive guns. I feel like where I live, there is always contrast, either extreme pride and recognition of the importance of guns.... or distaste and refusal to ever use one. If more could realize the impact, the grey that is not always talked about. It also reminds me that no one remains unaffected by war, no matter who or what you fight for, no matter the country. Victims of gun violence, those defending their homeland, those with PTSD and so many other people know the memories it can trigger that we probably can not even come close to imagining.

    A sorrowfully intimate, shattering piece written by two amazing souls <3

    • 5 months ago

      by Daniel

      Your comments are always an absolute pleasure to read Maryanne. :) Noura was the brains behind this though.

      Being English, I can’t really imagine a life around guns. It still makes me cringe when I hear news about gun crime, or civilians hurt in crossfire, or think about the countless soldiers suffering from PTSD. Lives changed forever, like the man in this poem.

People Who Liked This Also Liked