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My Personal Thoughts

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My Personal Thoughts
By Jason Black
BUSB 301
July 25, 2011

Have you ever read or saw something so profound and riveting, you actually thought the writer crawled into your soul and translated it into words? This poem “Collected Thoughts” by Elena Avila had such an impact on me. From the moment the poem began with “I accept my death” (Avila, 1997, p.1) instantly brought me back to the first time I felt the cold reality of possibly not returning home to my loved ones, while deployed to Iraq in 2003-2004, subsequent deployments to follow in 2005-2006, and finally 2007-2009 to the place of misery. From the initial push into Iraq from Kuwait and the other two deployments thereafter still sends a shiver down my spine that hasn’t been expressed until I read this poem. She puts into words what I didn’t have the stomach to tell people. The opening stanza describes how I felt during a patrol or a raid I had to execute. I had to accept my death. I couldn’t wait for it, because I knew it was coming for me. I didn’t know when, nobody knows when, we just know that it will come. This poem delves into my deepest emotions of depression, anger, and loneliness, ultimately culminating in what I call PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD, which this poem describes in my terms, has taken me on a roller coaster ride, which I have yet to stop riding, but it is no longer, a magic mountain roller coaster, rather a ride from fantasyland. I am comfortable talking about my issues to family and complete strangers, however I must remain vigilant and remember that it is still a ride and it can surprise me when I least expect it. Whenever I did a raid or a patrol, I was the one volunteering to be the first assault squad or “point man”, which is the lead squad or the lead person in front of the entire platoon. By doing so I was accepting the fact that I was going…...

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