We were spawned into mayhem, dumb with fear.
This was all we’d dreamed about, and more.
We saw the smokestacks rising, vapour trails
crossing the sky. We heard the distant boom
of ordnance, and trembled at the possibilities.
We stood with our guns; awkward, all fingers
and thumbs – easy pickings.
We learned the landscape quickly,
every nook and cranny, swamp and sniper point.
We heard the wind whistle in the Slipgate Complex.
We saw the bloodbaths of DM4, the places
where we’d die: Chambers of Torment,
the Longest Yard. The slaughter was thrilling,
we were hooked on blood lust; the buzz of a head shot,
on walking through dead. We’d fight all night,
and as the dawn came up – when all we could see,
if we closed our eyes, were the butchered grunts,
when all we could hear were the screams –
we’d flick the switch to bring us back: the beer cans,
ashtrays piled high, neighbours heading to work,
and we’d sleep at last, through the daylight hours.