Sunday, June 21, 2009

Engineer Transition Song

Written by M. H. Skropka

Take the Castle off my collar.
I've done my sentence, I could scream.
I am now a proud civilian.
No more warrior, no more team.


Even in war and peace
I will drink my coors and bud light.


I serve the great Rat Race
and the Great American Dream.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009


A spledid little thing
Wanting, Demanding more
Than my tatered concienceness can offer.

Lived still-framed before my eyes
Each picture framing a moment
A half-remembered living Ansel Adams

The masses turn a brief wandering eye
at the liquid tangle of allergies falling from my cheeks.
Or so they tell themselves.
Will these white-hot flames ever stop falling from my eyes?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Time of Past Reflection

It is amazing what you will remember when you really try, no matter how much you try to block it out. That being said, lets talk about my father, the original Michael L. Skropka. A very average man that touched no one and had no effect on anything. Or so I wanted to believe.

I was watching Notorious tonight. All in all, great movie, but i digress. There is a scene very near the end where Biggie's Mother is riding in the funeral procession and she finally gets a glimpse of just how many lives her son touched in his short career. This scene took on a wicked flash-back trip to February 14th 1998. I am riding in a "family car" on my way to the funeral of my dearly-departed father figure.
I of course was brooding and numb inside. The last words I said to this now dead man was, "I can't believe you are doing this to us. How could you do this to Vickie? I will never forgive you. I hate you!" To my credit, that is a promise that I kept for SOME time, nearly 10 years to the day. But anyways, I digress yet again.

When we pulled up to the grave yard, I remember thinking that it was a busy day for the dead. There must have been at least 20 or so funerals going on that day, or so I thought. The graveyard was packed to bursting with mourners. which I later came to learn were all there for MY FATHER! There were people there that he had touched in one way or another through out his short life. There were people from his job: people he worked with directly, his parts suppliers, his catalog contacts. There were people people that he had befriended in high-school. There were people there that he had just casually talked to on a daily basis. There even people there that we never found out how they were connected. The fact remains that you never know how many lives you TRULY touch. Only upon death can we reflect, and by then it is too late.

There is one last thing that has to be said, but this absolutely the hardest thing I have ever had to say:

Im sorry, I forgive you.

Michael Louis David Skropka
September 29, 1950 - February 12, 1998
Brother, Son, Father, Friend

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Loud Sigh...

A swollen brain
A hole in the chest
Missing pieces of the body
Watching people stare
Seeing people point
Hearing tortured souls cry out in pain

Am I a victim of a trauma?
Was I on the wrong end of the 5.56 or 7.62?
Was I in the wrong place when the bomb went off?


I am the scared little kid with a head full of battle plans and too many acronyms.
I am the caring soul that gets the love slowly drilled out of them one "High-speed" at a time.
I am the soldier that is drawn and quartered, pulled in a thousand directions all at the same time.
I am the chosen few that attends the "Final Call" for a fallen friend.
I am watching down the rotating sights at the angry shouts of the people we came to help. "We come in peace...BOOM!"
Screams...shrieks...pained moans...

I am the lonely, counting down the days until normalcy:

365, 364, 363, 362, 361...135, 134, 133, 132...71, 70, 69...115, 114, 113, 112...

Starting over yet again.

A swollen brain
A hole in the chest
Missing pieces...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Iraq is a desolate, lonely, depressing place, so any moment of happiness, no matter how brief, stands out as a bright beacon to this forced vacation. Two of these happend not too long ago on a convoy.

I have no clue where we were, but we were going threw some villiage and i noticed an Iraqi mother and her 2 daughters. The daughters couldn't have been any older than 4 or 5, but they were absolutely the cutest things I have seen. The were all dressed in what we like to call their "Sunday Best" and seemed so happy. The bright yellow and red dresses seemed such a happy distraction from the bleak tan and tan of the desert.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Combat Stressed

They tell me it's normal. They say that it's not uncommon for multi-deployers, such as myself, to feel the way I feel. They say that what I'm experiencing is not uncommon. I say that they can be next on "the List."

Being on this forced vacation to the waterless-beach is stressful enough, but the fact that I have some coworkers that I want to reenact movie scenes with doesn't help. Let me elaborate without being to detailed and gruesome. If you have seen the new batman movie "Dark Knight". then you are well aware of the scene were the Joker makes the pencil "disappear." I want to recreate that scene with a couple of my coworkers, only with a fork. Could be fun.

I am going out on a mission sometime in the near future for God knows how long. If I still feel the way I do when I get back, then I am seriously considering seeking some professional help. Oh well, I guess time will tell

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Big Question..."How?"

I think Wifey stated it best when she asked the question, "How do I keep from going insane?" That is the question of the hour, how INDEED do I keep from going insane? I have three things that keep me from going off the deep end: Wifey, My music, and a Combination of the two.

Wifey: she is almost always there for me when I need her. I know the only real comfort she can give is in the form of words on a computer screen or threw a telephone receiver, but DAMMIT, that helps. She always knows just what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. I know that the arms she is hugging me with are nothing but megabytes...but DAMMIT, so what. Every little thing helps.

My music: the right song for the right mood. Pissed off at the world? How about a little Eminem or Marilyn Manson. Not sure how to express your over abundance of happiness? Try a little Southern Gospel or John Mayer. In a weird, unexplainable mood? Lord knows that calls for some Blood Hound Gang or maybe even The B-52's. Overwhelmed by a love-lorn heart? Jason Mraz or Charlotte Church definitely have the answer. There is always something out on the music scene to express whatever you are feeling. Not finding the right song to go with what you feel? Try the age-old art of creating your own!

Combination of the two: I have very good combination of the Wifey and My music. On my last forced vacation over to this waterless beach the Wifey gave me copies of a few of her CD's that are nothing but pure musical versions of quite a few old and new love songs. There are no words to any of them, but just listening to them, especially right before I go to bed, helps relax me so much. I can feel every beat of her heart in every single note that plays.

So if you are not married, if you for some reason don't have access to music, the true way to keep your sanity is to just find someone to latch on to to help you threw. Find your outlet, be it music, painting, drawing, sports, watching movies, find SOMETHING to take your mind off of things. Grab SOMETHING to keep a firm grasp on your sanity.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Only the Best Song EVER...ADMIT IT!

Admit it!Despite your pseudo-bohemian appearance
And vaguely leftist doctrine of beliefs
You know nothing about art or sex
That you couldn't read in any trendy New York underground fashion magazine
Prototypical non-conformist
You are a vacuous soldier of the thrift store Gestapo
You adhere to a set of standards and tastes
That appear to be determined by an unseen panel of hipster judges (bullshit)
Giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to incoming and outgoing trends and styles of music and art Go analog baby, you're so post-modern
You're diving face forward into a antiquated path
It's disgusting, it's offensive, don't stick your nose up at me

Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself? Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah
Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself? Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah

You spend your time sitting in circles with your friends
Pontificating to each other
Forever competing for that one moment of self-aggrandizing glory
In which you hog the intellectual spotlight
Holding dominion over the entire shallow pointless conversation
Oh, we're not worthy
When you walk by a group of quote-unquote normal people
You chuckle to yourself patting yourself on the back as you scoff
It's the same superiority complex
Shared by the high school jocks who made your life a living hell
And makes you a slave to the competitive capitalist dogma
You spend every moment of your waking life bitching about

Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself? Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah
And I say yeah, what do you have to say for yourself? Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah
'Cause I’m proud of my life and the things that I have done
Proud of myself and the loner I've become
You're free to whine, it will not get you far
I do just fine, my car and my guitar

Proud of my life and the things that I have done
Proud of myself and the loner I've become
You're free to whine, it will not get you far
I do just fine, my car and my guitar, yeah

Well let me tell you this,
I am shamelessly self-involved
I spend hours in front of the mirror, making my hair elegantly disheveled
I worry about how this album will sell
Because I believe it will determine the amount of sex I will have in the future
I self medicate with drugs and alcohol to treat my extreme social anxiety

You are a faker (admit it)
You are a fraud (admit it)
Yeah, you're living a lie (hey) living a lie (hey) you're life is living a lie
You don't impress me (admit it)
You don't intimidate me (admit it)
Why don't you bow down, get on the ground, walk this fucking plank (yeah!)

Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah
And I say yeah (what do you..)

Proud of my life and the things that I have done
Proud of myself and the loner I've become
You're free to whine, it will not get you far
I do just fine, my car and my..Guitar, guitar go!

I drift, drift, drift, drift, drift, yeah
I drift, drift, drift, drift, drift, yeah oh

And I am done with this
I wanna taste the breeze of every great city

My car and my guitar
My car and my guitar

So you'll come to be, made of these urges unfulfilled
Oh no, no, no, no, no
When I'm dead I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, lay still
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest

The Hurtiest Hurt

Tonight I have experienced a pain like no other. The pain of watching someone you love cry and knowing that you are absolutely powerless to stop the pain. My dear wife is completely broken hearted over a current loss...I'm not sure I am supposed to divulge any of the specific information, but suffice it to say it was a devastating blow.

I sat on the other end of this damned keyboard and watched every word representing tears fall out her finger tips. The only thing I could do was sit here and watch and offer empty "hugs" and "i understand's".

A love life, especially that of one involving a developing marriage, is extremely hard at 10,000 times my arms-length. I hate these moments, but I know with every good, there must be some bad, and with every bad comes some extremely crappy.

I know we will eventually get through this, but until said time sucks. How do I replace a broken heart at 10,000 miles away?

Friday, July 18, 2008

This, my fellow shoppers, is my next tattoo. I have coveted this picture for quite some time. I think, for me, it dates back to Junior High School. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the picture, but I did know that it had peeked my interest. If only I had known the meanings that this picture would hold for me down the line. Here I was, 14 years old (approximately), fascinated by this old Arabic calligraphy painting, and some ten to 15 years later I would be a forced vacation to it's homeland.

This photo represents not only a link to my past, but an insight into my present and how it will undoubtedly affect my future. The proverb told in this picture tells of the Lion and how he reaches out to all of Man. This links me to my religious past. The Arabic links me to my present situation of forced vacation on this waterless beach. It also links me to my future. The military, no matter how much I fight it, will with out a doubt leave me a changed man.

I will wear this picture with pride and honor, celebrating my past, honoring my present, and looking fondly on a future that I hope will be bright