Buck Downs

Soldier's Joy

take the cap off that bottle
                                    and throw it away --
I won't need caps no more

all the fury in my hurting --
all the things I don't know
                        all the living goes so fast
                                    and soon I'll die slow --

                                                hey contrary
                                                            hey yourself
                                                down the middle
                                    & turn the corner
                                                set to cast off
                                    lead up & cross over
                                    & come back home alive,
                                                                        so-called alive --

and the girl I left at camp shelby
she can dance with friendly henry,
                                                sad & sore, sad & sore
                        that grand daughter of dixie
            the world turned inside out
she'll see her young soldier
                                    no more, no more

soldier's joy for a quarter --
all you can drink for a dime --
                        I broke a personal record
                        I did my personal best
                        you know what happened
                                                            to the rest
            I could write it down
            tomorrow tonight
            I can't hold the pen 

Buck Downs is an American poet, publisher, and editor. One of his chapbooks, Another Helping, is available here.


  1. God, I love the shape of this poem. Awesome.

  2. excellent poem! - all the joy and all the sorrow...