Selections From "A Soldier's Poetic Response, A Slice of His Life" by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Adrian D. Massey


I didn't cry when I cut your umbilical cord, 

but today, in this dust and heat, 

I cried for the first time

because you are not here

with me, but you have taught me something.

Every day I still enjoy your growth,

Your discoveries, the first time you

recognized your own voice, the first time you

laughed. Watching you 

in my memories brings me

to consciousness

and the essence of my own 


For My Brother 

Emotionally arresting and deeply complained, he is burdened by his unfortunate rite of passage as a person of color in our country.
All of us experience it at least once. 

He is just like every other American; he seeks economic independence and social peace.

He does everything he can to improve himself daily with occasional humanistic slipups.
But if he were perfect we couldn’t call him human. 

He has a beautiful spirit; he is almost native; he is a young man of African descent. 

There is nothing thug about him at his counterparts may stereotype him

but maybe the 50 Cent shirt he sports. 

He is humble with a slowly hardening heart. 

He is molded into an “angry black man.” 

It is not his desire to be angry and untrusting but one nasty stare after another scorn him and harden his callous-covered heart.

One purse after another clinched out of fear, one head-to-toe stare after another, he is the invisible man in Ellison’s famous book.

What is this skin-deep ugliness, this crazy judgment and unresting
magnetic and foolish hatred of dark skin?
Skin is just skin. This does not define who we are as people. 

He should not apologize for his skin. He knows his skin is beautiful; he understands its richness and value. 

He can feel the heartbeat of those who come before him. 

He will never get over this pain. He is healing from this every day; his spiritual immune system cannot seem to win. 

Every day is a war within his soul to feel the way “Americans” call free! 

The collection of poetry by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Adrian Massey touches on different facets of life. The poetry ranges from light-heartedness to provocative reflection. To preview A Soldier's Poetic Response, A Slice of His Life, visit the book's page on the website of

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