Note: I received a digital copy of Starved for Bullets from the author for review consideration.
This small book of poetry was sent to me by Ryan Goodrich, a former Marine, and the poems are pulled from military experiences–his own and others’ experiences. They are very powerful. It was so interesting to read through and feel the emotions that were portrayed–sure, there’s some pride of country in there, but most of the emotions are much more complex and bitter. I found this depiction particularly poignant:
I explained to the frightened chap that I would strip myself of my true blues and my bloodshed stripes and my costly medals, give him the powers I possess… my warrior strength, my years of training and my memories of the battlefield. “You can have them all!” I spat, “Except for my honor and my courage and my commitment. Those are mine.”
Goodrich also explores the difficulty of obeying orders that seem to go against everything right, such as killing children:
So in my head it came to be / one thought was enough to make me see / that a youngsters’ wrath when given chance / to grow up strong, a second glance / a risk that would put more at harm / they would avenge when given arms. / So life we took for freedom’s sake / a choice we knew we had to make.
It fascinated me how the soldier is portrayed–not always a hero, but sometimes bloodthirsty, sometimes carrying out orders that seem to harm the innocent, sometimes bitterly trapped in his own uniform.
A few of the poems were set in a specific rhyme scheme, and those were hit or miss with me. Several of them were well done and well organized, but a few seemed like the rhymes were forced and didn’t flow as well. Some were difficult to understand, but I’m not much into poetry and don’t always get the subtleties (much to my own disappointment). I really enjoyed the “Twas the Night Before Christmas” spoof, which was much more violent than the original. One or two of the poems portrayed the soldier’s weapon as his lover, which was an interesting thought as well. I feel a little inadequate while reviewing this book, since like I said, I’m not much into interpreting poetry, but if the feeling I got from reading through these poems is any indication, the majority of these poems are thoughtful, well-written, and evocative of a whole different world than most of us experience.
Definitely pick this book up if you’re interested in the military life, especially in the conflicts of the last couple of decades. If you’re looking for perfect poetry, this may not fulfill all your expectations, but if you want a powerful and emotional look into a soldier’s psyche, this book delivers.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good