Art by MFSO Members: Reflecting on 10 Years of War

On this page you will find examples of art made by members of Military Families Speak Out, reflecting on their experiences over the last decade of war.

“I’ve Come to Take My Boy Home”

a play by Dave Lambert, MFSO Indiana – click here to download

This is a short anti-war play, with two characters, Vivian and Jerry. Vivian is middle-aged, with a son in the military. She has been an activist for several years, protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a teenager she protested the Viet Nam war. Jerry, her husband, is not so much an activist, but tries, as best he can, to be supportive of his wife. The play is about the stress and frustrations of military families who have loved ones fighting wars they do not support, and the feelings of powerlessness they experience as their leaders turn deaf ears to their pleas for peace. The title comes from the song of the same name, by Jym Mooney. It is written to be performed in front of cameras, no audience.

Poems by Joe Ramsey, MFSO Massachussetts

On Bombings and Apologies

“I’m sorry,” said the captain
After killing your wife
Upon maiming your children
And wrecking your life.

“I’m sorry,” he said,
“The missile, it missed,”
Then took a step back
when he saw your clenched fist.

“That damn missile went left
when it should have gone right
–It’s so hard to see straight
in the middle of the night.”

“Dear friend, know America
did not want you dead…
That missile was meant
for your neighbors instead.”

One Promise Kept
(on the reported killing of Osama Bin Laden)

Yes, America, we can still offer you up
a death
after all these years:
A glorious kill
For all your patience and persistence,
suffering and sacrifice,
(for half your taxes, ten million airport pat-downs, a stadium full of hometown boys
Cut to shreds, and all those human stains on your nice clean boots):
Yes, we can still make good
on a promise,
Still bring home to you that sweet spectacle of
(Not your son, it’s true.) But at least
this digitized dream:
a Special Forces play-by-play,
a broadcast autopsy
To warm your red, white, blue toes by.
For “In America anything is possible,
If we set our minds to it.”

Are you not impressed?
Does the site of these sublime wounds not bleed joy
Right into your skipping heart?
Does your tongue not swell with spit
and does your throat not long to gargle
on that distant mountain blood
like popped champagne?
Patriot pulses quicken, eagle spirits rise
Tugged by the dusty beards
Of skeletons
rattling across precious metal mountain tops.

Have faith, America,
Yes. We. Can.
Still. Kill. Man (andwomanandboyandgirl)
and keep promises, too, yes:
Maybe not those concerning Education, or Jobs,
Equality, or Healthcare
Or Life that amounts to more than cavernous debt…
But we can still deliver on corpses
And that’s not nothing,
is it?

So when you’re feeling low
(low enough even to rise)
Know this:
We are there to buffer and to buoy you up
With bodies blown apart;
These bombs can blast the paint off the canvas
and give us a fresh start.

In the name of God,
In the shadow of new tomb-towers
blocking out the sun
And all that is sacred
Of America and
doesn’t everybody love a good show
and a party too?
to that.