Brian Turner in his book of poems, Phantom Noise, gives readers a chance to experience the PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Through my work, I hear a lot about war stories, so when I saw the title “VA Confessional” I knew it was going to be a war-torn story of what it is like to occupy another country. The poem did not disappoint. The very next poem, “At Lowes Home Improvement Center”, launched right into a PTSD episode. The poem was laid out so vividly, I felt like I was watching a music video. Brian Turner’s voice is amazing in this collection of stories. There is one video that I kept thinking of when I read some of these poems.
The poems through out the book were varied. Some of the poems lulled me into a false sense of security until the military vernacular began to sneak out from between the lines, like soldiers. It gave me the feeling that I was suffering PTSD to a lesser degree in the extreme as I was always looking over my shoulder for that dark tide of feeling to wash over me and drown my sensibilities away in the awful power of the memories of war. I found this feeling the most in “Chinese Ink Brush Painting”.
When I separate myself from the power of the words that Brian Turner put in his poetry, I find that I am on the other side of Burning Bagdhad. I am no longer listening to a survivor and a victim. I am listening to a perpetrator…who is also a victim. Reading these poems makes me remember all the stories I have heard from friends who come home and realize that they have lost in this war too. Coming home as a hero means that you are a hero to some, and a killer to others. People will love you (but not really love YOU), and people will hate you (and they will really hate YOU) becuase you hefted a gun at the orders of others. The one resounding message that both Burning Baghdad and Phantom Noises gives is that no one wins in war.
Adams, Ren. Swimming. Chinese Ink Brush Painting.
Rise Against. Image. Hero of War.
Rise Against. Hero of War. Music video. Youtube.com 2004.
Shirt. No One Wins in War. Polyvore.com. http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=2763933
Wang, Jiashan. Chicken Peony Blossom. Chinese Ink Brush Painting. http://www.sell-arts.com/images/items/10018/1018169_0.jpg