Who am I?

Per Imp #140001

Who am I?

I am the interpretation of my scars – seen and unseen.

I’m told everyone has a story.

I do not know but mine.

The beauty of youth once graced the cover,

                    but scars have always been the text.

Twas’ once… and only once… I bore no scars.

That was the time I had yet to live.

The first scar to my name

                              came at the point of birth.

Had I known what was coming

                    I might’ve curled back up inside.

I have several scars through child’s play.

Then another here, and two more there,

                    from adults who misbehaved.

With skin to asphalt I learned

                    that road, like skin, does have a rash.

O’ fighting scars, my history holds,

                    three-hundredfold, no jest partake:

                                        though more within than out remain.

Till off I’m sent for our common uncle,

                    signed-up five days past seventeen.

I’m told adventure will be mine,

                                        a man I will become.

Per Imp #130001

Stepped on soil in foreign places:

                    learned a truth I want to forget,

                                        a truth no recruiter will tell a child.

In order to put away childish things,

                    a step taken to manhood,

                                        it merely cost the lives of others –

                    and my blood staining the sand.

My skin did part like the Red Sea

                    as Moses held hands high.

First once… twice… than twice again,

                    so many surgeries past.

Uncle Sam, he did disown me.

His promises were dust.

Though it was he who set the policy,

                    it was I who paid with pain.

Pain to me is life…

                    my daily diet.

Scars now live… inside and out,

                    these scars I know so well.

The unseen ones are just as real,

                    and oft-times they bear more honor.

I pity those whose visible scars

                    were self-inflicted.

All beauty is not appealing.

All scars are not unappealing.

Beauty forges vanity,

                    scars forge character.

It is the “beautiful” people who shun me the most.

Their character has never been tempered.

My scars testify to my courage.

Scars from heroism trump the beauty

                    so common on the model runway.

I’ll take my battle scars

                    over your beauty awards – any day.

Maturity understands

                    why battle scars are beauty marks.

There’s a reason pretty boys die in battle,

                    while this junkyard dog survived.

Beauty on the battlefield is merely cannon fodder.

Battle scars: a clearer fashion statement

                    than scarification, body piercing, or tattoos.

Per Imp #230001

Every masterpiece appears scarred

                    when still a work in progress.

Yet when it scars with age

                    it becomes no less a masterpiece.

Society urges me to bare my medals,

                    yet hide my scars.

While shunned by others

                    I’ve learned to cherish myself – scars and all.

“Vet” now rolls off my tongue,

                    no longer caught in my throat.

I am scarred for life,

                    yet feel no shame.

Who am I?

I am the interpretation of my scars – seen and unseen.

Per Imp #150001

© JW Thomas


2 thoughts on “Who am I?

  1. Mary Cathleen Clark January 15, 2016 / 3:35 pm

    This is a moving piece of work. I have my scars, (most inside, most old, but still bleeding) but I think they’re a tiny amount compared to yours. I wish you peace.


    • jwtatfbc January 16, 2016 / 5:12 am

      Thank you for the compassionate response. And believe me when I tell you that I have already reclaimed a lot of peace in my life. Though my body deals with pain constantly, my mind and spirit are, for the most part, at peace through my faith in God. And even though I may falter (after all, I’m still human) on occasion and allow my anger to rise when the memories come crashing back, it never lasts long anymore before getting back in control. And my experiences have taught me many things and allow me to see through the eyes of those who have gone through similar experiences. And I have been lucky to be able to help others along the way. In fact, it is more for others that I use my writing, artistic, and musical talents to relate the aforementioned experiences. When I see someone who is struggling with the awesome changes they face after tragic events and/or injuries it thrills me to no end to eventually see them overcome and make it through. And if I can play a small part in that recovery than all the effort is worth it.


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