By Mark Blickley

I resent when beheading videos go viral and zombie apocalypses top viewer entertainment lists as it makes it much too easy for them to ignore the walking dead sharing a subway ride on way to a final destination that proves being heads-up simply exposes one as too easy a target regardless of the helmet I first wear in boot camp when angry drill sergeants scream at me during squadron manoeuvrers to pull my head out of my ass so I don’t kill my buddies because of a lack of concentration though I was concentrating real hard when Happy Jack took the two shots to the head that exploded his Chicago style ghetto humour all over my face and flak jacket dripping down inside sand coated combat boots that allow me to walk away and proclaim heads you lose but tales you win if you’re alive and able to speak of them to a passenger audience who bury their heads in smart phone images and sounds to avoid their neighbour's headless pain of surrender seated alone across the aisle where no one else sits to coax a face from my torn and stained civilian clothes while the train chugs to the South Ferry final stop where a whiff of rusty river replaces my body odour and signals a free boat ride that promises freedom when midway to Staten Island it glides past the Statue of Liberty and I plunge towards the crowned Lady who will read my DD214 safely wrapped in protective plastic and pinned to my pants pocket along with instructing letter that will guide me towards my very own plot of land in lovely Virginia where I can sleep with silent brothers and sisters and share a peace my grateful government will mark and preserve with a uniformly crafted and informative headstone...

Excerpted from the 2019 text based art book collaboration Dream Streams, with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin.

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