Robynn Murray


I am your walking wounded broken toy soldier,

and your flag is burning and all your yellow ribbons have fallen down.
I cut open these festers to force your eyes to see the truth so damn it, LOOK!
Look at what has become of me, of us.

I will gladly reopen these wounds if there is change that will come of it.
So that no one else receives these scars.

We walking wounded broken toy soldiers
salute your burning flags, untie your yellow ribbons
and bind up our open wounds that are proudly on display for you.

But most bow your heads low,
and shut tightly your eyes
ignoring our evisceration.

What Was Baghdad Like?

A constant feeling of death
comparable to;
being bound tightly then
continuously dunked
into a shark tank.

A Day

Wake up
swallow pride
swallow pills
drink coffee
pull head out of ass
lather, rinse, repeat
blow dry
dress myself poorly
eat poorly
waste brain matter on T.V.
regain motor skills
think useless thoughts
do useless things
drag feet on ground
groan, sigh
pick brain up off floor
pick self up off floor
say “Self, fucking do something”
repeat, repeat, repeat

The Girl With Guns On Her Chest

Stare at the girl with the guns on her chest.
Doesn't she look beautiful when she cries?

The rosy color that circles her lids shows the color that becomes her melancholy.
Dark circles under her eyes carry the thoughts that haunt
her dreams.

Look deep into her tearing eyes,
They sparkle with a beauty that can only be rivaled by pink quivering lips.

Watch in awe while she falls down.
Love her sadness for all it's beauty.

Basically Trained

I am still me/I am unrecognizable
I am not mindless/I think when told to
I am not an automaton/I prefer robotics
Paranoid but no android/Scared shitless
I have a voice/Everyone around me is deaf
I am still capable of thought/I tell myself to keep breathing
I am not brainwashed/I have been indoctrinated
I can speak for myself/my words choke me
I will not be a cold hearted killer/I am comfortably numb
My heart still bleeds/Blue blood
My veins are not cold/freezing is not cold
I still believe in peace/I am losing hope
I fight for freedom/ I am being oppressed
I am still me/a ghost, a shell, what I never hoped to be.

The Monster I Became

It was a picturesque moment when I realized what a monster I had become. I was sitting in my mother’s car in our small town waiting for her to come out of the pharmacy. The sun was shining and the grass was shimmering. I looked up and standing under the waving American flag was a woman and her granddaughter. It looked like a Norman Rockwell painting.

In Iraq I pointed my weapons at families all the time. It was made “ok” for me because they were different. They were made my enemy, they were brown, they were hajiis1, they weren’t American to me or even human, so it didn’t matter.

Thinking of the faces of those people and how I stripped them of their humanity, tears started pouring down my cheeks and I felt like dying.

When my mother came out, I was in full hysterics slumped over in my seat. She asked me what was wrong and tried her best to comfort me. I couldn’t tell her the truth, because I was afraid she would see the monster I had become and be unable to love me anymore.

1Arabic word for someone who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca; slang used by the U.S. military for Iraqis, anyone of Arab descent, or anyone with a brownish skin tone in various contexts


What I Want

I’ll Carry That Burden For You

Robynn Murray

I joined the Army Reserve in October 2003 and was deployed to Iraq in May 2004 with the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion. I served as my team's machine gunner and security detail. I am a mother and who speaks out against the war and works for peace. I am an active member of Warrior Writers, Iraq Vets Against the War and I participated in Winter Soldier 2008 to get veteran stories out to the public. I am finishing a manuscript of my writing about the military and the war in Iraq.

I am the subject of Poster Girl, which was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Short Documentary Film, and have been traveling around the country with the film, speaking at screenings about PSTD and my experiences.

Press about Robynn Murray

Ms. Magazine