Rich Blake

Rich Blake served in the United States Marine Corps from 1999-2003 and was an infantry sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology studying posttraumatic stress disorder at Loyola University Maryland. He is also the Executive Director of The 6th Branch, a non-profit organization that unites veterans and non-veterans through collaborative community service projects. He is also the Veteran Outreach Coordinator for the Veteran Artist Program, a non-profit organization that propels talented veterans into the mainstream creative arts community.


So much yearning, but no such thing as turning back
A path of light forgotten, my life is now a burning map
Concerning myself only with the journey back
Rays of hope that shimmer, get dimmer, and return to black

One of few who stood in line, strong but too shook to look behind
A crook at times, a wrong turn, if only we had took our time
In nooks we find peace of mind in time we shared and cared for blind
Covered in sand in the land of the sun, blood on our hands and scared to shine

A turning page, a raging flame with the scent of sage
Put out by fountains short of mountains’ peeks beneath our perfect stage
Descending, falling, but stalling to remember all the laughter
Chapters wrote of endless hope, knots on friendship’s rope, and nothing captured

Said and done, the hour glass sands bled upon
Pressured but never measured up, still treasured when we’re dead and gone
A burning map; ties to distant lives are severed
Clever, those who remember details upon the trails they weathered