There’s power in putting pen to paper. During National Poetry Month, we’re connecting you to the inspiring stories of Tyler Carroll and Keith Dow, both U.S. Army Veterans and co-founders of the publishing company Dead Reckoning Collective. Learn how they impact the lives of Veterans by encouraging a positive lifestyle through writing and storytelling.

Please see a selection of Veteran-focused poetry from Dead Reckoning Collective below.

“3495 Bailey”

Originally featured in Karmic Purgatory
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2021)

Light a smoke
Tell a joke
Order a beer
Wipe a tear
“Where you been?”
“Who’s your kin?”

Old man shares a smoke
Tells a joke
“Have a Miller”
“Can tell you’re a killer”

Take a gulp
Cold and hot
Been here a lot

“Don’t live in it forever
It fades like burnt paper “

Old leather looks a lot like scarred skin
Tells a story most can’t comprehend
Keith Walter Dow

“Warned Me”

Originally featured in Where They Meet
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2021)

Every step, a set of ribbons stitched on a hat
Reminds you of where they’ve been
And where you’re at
Wedged in a chair, relating to peeling linoleum
Narcotics more present than the fiends holding them
We are the resolve and we are the end result
We are the hammers, the scalpels, and the old salts
We are more though and moreover
We are walking, talking textbooks when the war’s over
As rattled as we wanna be
As broken as they all believe
When they read our story
What will they take away?
Will they know of the triumphs?
Or will they pity our decay?
Cokie

“Odes to the GWOT”

Originally featured in In Love… & War: The Anthology of Poet Warriors
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2019)

Here stands in the face of unprecedented transition
Testament to unchanging resolve
For which these warriors will be forever known.
Cities were our fought-for islands,
Desert and mountain, rather Grandfather’s shores.
A nation asked and thus was answered:
Our bravest men for its longest wars.
David Rose

“22 October 2021”

Originally featured in Poppies
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2021)

Ten years later and
We have insulated ourselves,
Turned shock and grief
Into calluses of the heart
A tree planted in your honor
Museum displays
Children named after you
Everyone pours out for you
In their own way
All I have are my words and
Ten years was too easy to count
But your legacy
Exponential through those that love you
Is immeasurable
Amy Sexauer

“Fact & Memory”

Originally featured in Fact & Memory
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2019)

Sometimes the two perfectly coincide
Sometimes separated by miles and miles
At times the obstacle is geographic
At times temporal logic is absent
There are times it’s a matter of when
There are times when it’s all that matters
Often times what we believe we lived different
Often times what we remember just isn’t
Keith Dow & Tyler Carol

“Hanging Up the Rifle”

Originally featured in Sober Man’s Thoughts
Published by Dead Reckoning Collective (2020)

They warned me of death,
and war’s evil endeavor,
but nobody told me
we’d chase it forever.
William Bolyard
WED-SUN 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.
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