Idiolexicon: 7/23/2007

Rene Scheys

War Letters//Mechanical Translation
Lance Cpl. Lance Graham, 26
Died May 7, 2005

Well if your reading this, I guess this
deployment was a one way trip.
I just have a few things to ask. Please
don’t be mad at the Marine Corps. It
was my choice to join & come here.
Know that I did not die in vain or for some
worthless cause. We are fighting for those
who can’t fight for themselves and I
think that is the right thing to do.
Not all the people here are bad, so please
don’t fill your hearts with anger & hate.
When I was a kid my dad gave me
a Louis Lamour book, in the back of the book
was quotes from all his books. One that
really stuck in head & I tried to live by
since the day I read it was on courage.
“When ever there was trouble you never
had to look back to see if he was there,
you knew damn well he was.”
I hope I lived up to that.
I know that I haven’t been the best son,
brother, friend or boyfriend and I’m sorry.
If you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
Another thing I ask is at least
one of you travel see the world &
do things I never got to do.
This is really hard writing this.
Tell Ashley, Nathan, Kevin, Jason,
David, Denis that I could not have had
better friends. Tell Ashlea that I was
& I’m stupid
& I really did love her.
To my family I love you all.


Note: The original letter was published in a special issue of Newsweek magazine, one that focused on correspondence from Iraq. The one I used was from a section containing letters that soldiers who were about to be deployed on particularly dangerous missions wrote, to be opened in the event of their death. I used primarily Alta Vista and Babel Fish. I inserted Lance Corp. Graham's original letter into the mechanical translator on Alta Vista, translated it to the language indicated in bold above each poem, and then copied the result into the mechanical translator on Babel Fish, finally translating the words back into English.

In the interest of pacing, I excised a very small amount from Lance Corp. Graham's original letter; otherwise his words are untouched by me physically.


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