One

Often when drawing, I listen to music. This was done around the holidays in 2018, on an afternoon between work projects. I don’t recall if I was listening to any particular album or maybe watching concert footage on YouTube, but “One” by Metallica came on. “One” is from their fourth studio album, …And Justice For All, which was recorded shortly after the death of the band’s bassist, Cliff Burton. “One” is a song about the experience of a dying a soldier.

This image is what popped into my head while listening on that day in December of 2018. There was no pencil underdrawing on this one. It was all Pilot V5 rollerball pen on paper. There may be some Sharpie marker to fill in some of the black on the boots, but I don’t recall exactly.

Today’s post is a reminder that while many of us romanticize violence, and fantasize about what we’d like the outcome of battles to be, the saying “war is Hell” exists for a reason. The people who actually fight go through experiences that most of us will hopefully never have to see or feel.

Below is the video to the song, which debuted on MTV in January of 1989, from the Warner Records Vault YouTube account. The movie scenes and voiceovers in the video are from the 1971 film, Johnny Got His Gun.

I’ve also included the lyrics to the song below the video embed, if heavy metal music isn’t to your taste.

I can’t remember anything
Can’t tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel to scream
This terrible silence stops me

Now that the war is through with me
I’m waking up, I cannot see
That there’s not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now

Hold my breath
as I wish for death
Oh please
God, wake me

Back in the womb, it’s much too real
In pumps life that I must feel
But can’t look forward to reveal
Look to the time when I’ll live

Fed through the tube that sticks in me
Just like a wartime novelty
Tied to machines that make me be
Cut this life off from me

Hold my breath
As I wish for death
Oh please
God, wake me

Now the world is gone,
I’m just one
Oh God,
Help me

Hold my breath
as I wish for death
Oh please
God, help me

Darkness
imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body: my holding cell

Landmine
has taken my sight
Taken my speech
Taken my hearing
Taken my arms
Taken my legs
Taken my soul
Left me with life in hell