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Monday, May 25, 2015


by Paul Smith

Photography by David Jay from The Unknown Soldier. The Unknown Soldier is a series of large scale photographs of severely wounded young soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shot by photographer, David Jay, The Unknown Soldier documents the lives and stories of these young men upon their return home. The Unknown Soldier will culminate in a nationally traveling exhibition. A documentary is currently in production.

One cannot count how many
Unknown soldiers lie hidden
Nor their monuments
From Arlington to Vitkov Hill
To Shevchenko Park
There are more unknown soldiers
Than poetry slams
More unknown soldiers
Than tattoo parlors
More than churches
Their voices silenced
Their bones
White and intumescent
If they could talk
They’d say
‘You don’t know us
But we know you
And we know each other
The earth has joined us
By a seam of metamorphosed rock
Running from Verdun to Leningrad
And all the places in between
And outside of
A road map of futility
That you think leads to
War memorials and museums
But instead
Leads to cemeteries
You don’t visit
Where the known among us are
And to libraries full of books
You don’t read
Pages white and visceral
Inviolate and untouched

Paul Smith lives near Chicago.  He writes fiction & poetry.  He likes Hemingway, really likes Bukowski, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks and Slim Harpo.  He can play James Jamerson's bass solo for 'Home Cookin' by Junior Walker & the Allstars.