This is a poem for the veterans of wars and other people
I’ve met over the years who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder—-
I am a career policeman.
Been one going on twelve years now.
I joined the force when I was twenty-six.
I was kind of an idealist back then.
But look at what the dark nights and lonely days have done.
You know, police work has a lot of perks.
there are many who think I’m bullet proof
and ten feet tall.
And people who smile at me every time I see them.
They shake my hand and say,
“I hope you’re having a very good day”
And there’s some who think I’m some kind of celebrity
here in the big city I work in.
Once, I thought that was really kinda cool.
But go ask Britney Spears,
hero worship gets pretty damn old pretty damn fast.
They only see the badge and the gun, not the man.
And there’s girls who fall pretty easy
for a man with a badge.
I tried marrying one of them once.
It didn’t last too damn long.
Lord, she expected to live with a television cop
but what she found was just a man.
Then there’s the downside
of life as a career cop.
There’s people who try to lie to me.
And I deal with how dumb or stupid or tragic
people can be sometimes.
Now, a soldier in the army
many times spends a few years in the service
And he sees some pretty bad stuff.
It changes him,
burns memories into his mind.
They used to call it shell shock.
Now they just call it a stress disorder.
After awhile the guy gets out of the army
and he can go home and try his hand at another job.
I’ve been a policeman going on twelve years now.
And I’ve seen some of the things people have done to each other.
Lord God, I’ve seen some of the things people have done.
Every day I get up, go to work
and listen to the dispatch radio in my car.
Every once in long while one of those calls come in….
Lord God, I’ve seen some of the things
people have done to each other.
I’ve seen some of the things people have done.
My God, I’m a career cop.
It’s the only job I know.
And every day I face the dispatch radio
wondering if today will be the day
I see one of the things that people have done to each other.
One of the things people have done.
How do I get my faith in humanity back?
How do I do that?
I just don’t know.
I met a man just the other day
who has walked these same streets in this same city
in peace for fifty years.
He pointed to thousands of houses
and streets full of people who’ve also lived
in peace year after year.
“But how do I get my own faith in humanity back?” I asked him.
I told him I’d seen a few of the things people have done to each other.
A few of the things people have done.
I told him “I want to build a wall around myself.
And I want to build walls around everyone else too.”
He said, “Wake up! Wake up!
Part of you is stuck in a bad memory.
You don’t have to be so worried.”
I said, “How can I get my faith in humanity back?
I’ve seen some of the things people have done to each other.
Lord God, some of the things people have done.”
He said, “Terrible things have happened to some people.
It’s true without a doubt.
And for every terrible thing that has happened to someone,
ten thousand things also happen that are good.
That’s where your faith in humanity is hidden
you only have to look
Dewey Dirks copyright 2009