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James W Cotton

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Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world
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2009 Book Awards Winner- Indie Excellence Gay/Lesbian Non-Fiction / Gay poetry around the world in both English and French, by Albert Russo and Adam Donaldson Powell..  
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A Soldier Returns from the Front
by James W Cotton
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.
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I served some time in the Navy during the later years of the Cold War and during Desert Storm. After I left the ranks of the large 'family' that had been so much a part of my life, I wrote this in rememberance of those I was so close to for so long...

Soldiers fight their battles together

They count on one another, they forge a bond

A bond so strong, broken only by death

Stronger than that of normal friends, brothers, even fathers.

A soldier needs his comrades for cover from enemy fire

He needs his comrade to render aid in injury.

He needs their company to drink, to fight, to carouse

He needs them to help put aside the misery

Brought on from the violence surrounding him

When the last cannon is fired, the last bomb is dropped.

After the last column of troops occupies the bombed out towns

When the treaties of armistice are signed, and the ink dries

This bond is traded in for anticipation

As the soldiers make the final march

Not down the Halls of Montezuma, not up the hill of Iwo Jima

But to the train stations, bus depots, and airports

Of places less exotic. Places with more generic names,

Kenosha Wisconsin, Boise Idaho, Bellefontaine Ohio

Auburn California, and Nenana Alaska.

The troops leave the field, rifles held low and harmless

A single column, to that harbor, that station, that first airport.

Then it divides. Different planes, different trains.

Hundreds, then a few dozen, then one or two.

Until one lone warrior arrives at the airport gate.

The friends of childhood, the families, the loved ones may be there

But those who held his life in balance, they are gone.

That tight bond that meant difference between life and death

Broken, and a strange emptiness replaces.

Once again, the old bonds of family, community are restrung,

But a soldier never forgets those violent nights in the foxhole

When his life was so dependant on those others.

Others who were at first, strangers from distant towns,

Yet for those weeks, months, even years, were all together.

And now, when the turmoil is over, to go back home, back to life, as if nothing happened.

After the battle, he never quite gets out of the foxhole.


James W. Cotton, Author and Artist

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Reviewed by Charlie 3/11/2008
An important write. My husband served 6 yrs in the Navy... all of his family were military. His oldest brother, one of the "baby killers" in Vietnam, never got over it... some things just haunt you till the day you die.

Shame, what our guys have to go through for us, and the lack of support they really feel when they come home. A darn, crying shame. --Charlie
Reviewed by Theresa Koch 2/3/2008
wonderfully done tribute~`*
Reviewed by John Leko 1/26/2008
...beautifully written a family...held close...shoulders leaned upon...from all towns and all walks...and of a return...never forgotten in ones return again and again.
in appreciation and thanks...
excellent pen...
Reviewed by Karen Palumbo 1/21/2008
A most wonderful piece and a lasting tribute to yourself and all you served with. You served and served well and all of your commrades will remain in your heart and be a part of your life as you move forward. Your write expresses these feelings throughout. God Bless You.....

Be safe,
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/19/2008

As a Veteran, myself, I had to read this. Glad I did--a most compassionate write supporting our men and women from small town America willing to do their part. Thank you, Sir, for this write, and for your service. Welcome home, soldier.

And welcome to AD--you're among friends. :)

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
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