A message to my soldier in the sky

Robert McGeeney in training at Camp Lejuene, N.C. in 1966.

Robert McGeeney in training at Camp Lejuene, N.C. in 1966.

I spent days trying to figure out how to start this. Explain the dream I had about you? Or, elaborate on your existence?

Once a person becomes a soldier, that’s what they are for the rest of their lives. Not only do the baby boomers have this characteristic of a one track path, but one who served in the military is either doomed or lucky.

Last week I interviewed two type of veterans for my job.

One was a World War II Veteran who captured the first POW on Iwo Jima. He also witnessed both flags being raised. The ones you talked about and the one you had a statue of that I probably broke a piece off of at one point.

In short, he returned to the U.S., continued on to get his Bachelors and Masters and started a steel business. I’d say he ended up well off – married his childhood sweet heart and had a kid. They were together for 69 years.

The other source was an Iraq veteran. He joined as soon as he turned 18 to fight the people who attacked our country on 9/11. Remember? You were getting me off to school the morning a bunch of planes were on the television. The impact of that never went away. We’re still at war.

He told me that World War I was the war to end all wars and that the government should have never had you go to Vietnam, just like they had their intentions wrong for Iraq soldiers. He said they lied to him. He saw a lot in combat, just like you. He was homeless for many years and can barely be around crowds, reminds me of you.

Two years later he’s back in the states with minor injuries and a permanent case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Depression. We’ve all heard of PTSD but some may have never experienced it like I had with you.

I never caught on to why you jumped when I came in the room and you didn’t hear me. I never even knew what shrapnel was, but you said you had it in your neck. I never knew you received a purple heart until it was inscribed on your grave.

Robert McGeeney serving as a Marine Corp, potentially in Vietnam between 1966 and 1969.

Robert McGeeney serving as a Marine Corp, potentially in Vietnam between 1966 and 1969.

The Iraq veteran didn’t get a purple heart. He didn’t qualify. He also isn’t getting the treatment he needs. My heart went out to him, while trying to remain unbiased. However, I asked him why he thought his life turned out differently than the WWII vet.

He didn’t really know how to respond.

“Maybe it was the different time period. Vets didn’t really talk about what they saw in the war back then.”

Maybe if you could talk about it more, in detail, you would have gotten better. Maybe if the VA took care of you better, you wouldn’t have damaged your health otherwise. Maybe if you had a better support system, you would have thrived.

I’m sorry your upbringing could have contributed to so many things and the environment in your adult life didn’t make it better. Now, I understand why you drank. I remember all the times I asked you to stop for me, like I was going to make you stop. It was a force greater than me.

It didn’t matter what was put in front of you, because you couldn’t let go of the past.

This Veterans Day, and every other day, listen to a vet, and if they don’t talk, give them a hug and be there for them, because they even if they’re there physically, their mind is elsewhere.

My fifth birthday at school.

My fifth birthday at school.

A cluster of thoughts on the meaning of life

“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Everyone else has the answers to our questions. With (man made) time we’ll eventually be able to tell.

My friend sounded like he was questioning his existence, but he was attempting to figure out the meaning of life – if there’s something more. It’s sounded a bit like being scared about dying, but what he was really looking for was the truth.

I just accept the fake lies society lives in.

There’s other planets out there, we know that. But he said “What if we didn’t know there weren’t any planets out there?”

How did we get here?


All thoughts aside from religion. Except, religion distracts the human from being scared of it all. It gives a reason to believe.

We’re born, we learn through love what our soul is, we practice and achieve a few things, or not, and then die. Even though the death bed last words might be about regrets, there will always be something unfinished.

I listened to a podcast the other day that featured a hospice chaplain, someone who spends time with people in the last days of their life. She said some people have the epic last words of wisdom and some don’t. Her advice: If you have to wait until your death bed to say something you’ve always wanted to, do it now so you have the chance to fully engage with the encounter.

I used to have a lot of trouble accepting things as is, and I’m sure people who aren’t as caught up in life as the next guy find themselves sounding ridiculous: “Like, how did we even get here? When will the world die?”

A lot of it has to do with time. It’s hard not to think about it. It shapes our entire lives in so many ways. Day-to-day, month long waits, coupled years labeled as successful stories. It never ends.


With time comes waiting. We wait for retirement to do nothing so that we don’t have to think about time. That’s the ultimate goal. However, it depends on the generation you live in and what you were taught growing up. My friend and I wondered why our parents are so complacent. We wish they would do more, something they’ve always wanted to do. We want to share our ambition with them. It’s more complicated than that because that’s not the society they grew up in. 

We’re never going to figure it out, but in the mean time, please find something to believe in. It makes this life living that much worth it. Value amplifies meaning and your physical purpose. It’s the mind and space that we don’t understand that functions in the meaning.

Natural word growth

writingA few months ago I discovered a local writing group. I’m not crazy about writing fiction, but I’ve recently started writing poetry. I’ve also never had the chance to write or critique outside of academia. I’ve been to three sessions so far and it’s been an amazing experience talking and listening to a diverse group of writers.

Senior year I took a poetry class and it opened up my eyes to a completely different style of writing and mentality for how to perceive situations in life. I always thought poetry had to be a structured piece with words strategically put together. I just couldn’t grasp it, but I also never tried.

I wrote my first poem after leaving a funeral. I posted it here about a year ago. It didn’t look like how a poem is usually structured. It was mores  so a flow of thoughts. At the time, I felt feelings that were overwhelming and on the car ride home, I couldn’t think about my anger anymore. I replayed the situation I was in over and over again, but I just described it in detail. I was chewing gum, stride gum, but I wasn’t allowed to because I had braces. There were layers to each word and every sentence folded into each other from out of my mind.

Since then, I plan to get to 100 poems and publish my second book. I’ve also started reading work by notable authors like Charles Bukowski, R.M. Drake and Rupi Kaur. I’ve found an appealing style just as I would for a genre of fiction.balance-poetry

But, as with any writer, there never seems to be a good time to find the time to sit down and write. The first prompt at the first writing group session I went to was “What what you write about if you had nothing else to do in life but write?” Almost every single person talked about all the things they would do before they took the time to write: i.e. construct a cabin in a forest to have a quiet place to write, find a desolate spot in the house, etc. There’s never a right time.

I decided to take to technology and use my notes app to write on the go. I’ve learned that with poetry, it can’t be forced. Emotions streamline the entire thought process. In the past I’ve found various subliminal drunk messages hidden in my notes and there’s never a better time to write than after a few drinks.

After joining the writing group, I found that other people do the same thing. They also tend to have the same inspiration as I do behind the craft. One individual keeps a tiny hand held notebook in his pocket at all times. The unfortunate part about using my phone to write is that it’s difficult to put pen to paper anymore. The only time I have to is when interviewing someone and its shorthand. It’s definitely less traditional and maybe it takes something out of the experience of creating a piece of writing. Painters certainly don’t create masterpieces on a screen, however, its convenient and makes the words more authentic, at least I think.

That being said, I’m at 62 poems in a year and a half. Some are ridiculous and others will need lots of editing before publication, but in every one there’s a story, a moment and an experience.  


how crazy to think

people impact each other,

in ways that are memorable.


when we’re about to sink

positivity reins,

vocal cues and physical comfort.


never hard to link

the connection.

it requires no effort.


ample time, we wished would go by,

now at the end, moving forward

flashing back.


More drinks,

can’t count,

the stars at daylight.

confusing shadows,

we forget.


reliving alter egos,

on the net.


ror now,

we live,

for us, today.