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Member since: Wed Sep 22, 2010, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 225

Journal Archives

Poems on Kindness in a Time of War

A Song of Ghosts

When I washed my hands for the 20th time that day
I stared in the mirror above the sink
as I dried my hands
a hollow eyed ghost stared back at me.

My lips parted to speak
and the ghost's lips parted, too
so I waited to hear what he had to say
but the words whispered out and I could not tell.

Once again I started to speak
and once again I waited in deference
and I strained my ears as he spoke
and he said "sorry, I'm sorry".

I nodded as if I understood
and waited longer to invite
any other word he cared to speak
but he slowly shook his head and I shook mine, too.

So at last I could say what I wanted to say
and as I spoke the ghost shook his head
his hollow eyes grew more hollow
his haunted face grew more haunted.

I spoke to the ghost and he shook his head
even I could not hear the words I spoke
I wondered if I'd become deaf after all
but the ghost assured me that I hadn't.

I caste my eyes up and down
I glanced from left to right
and turned my head to look over my shoulder
but there was no ghost nearby.

Then I stared straight ahead
into the mirror of the past
into the mirror of the future
straining for a glimpse of the now.

The ghost stared back without emotion
and when I started to speak he turned his head
so I hesitated
and washed my hands again.

The Animal Poems

When I Was an Animal

When I was an animal
I tasted the animal tastes
such as blood, feces and urine
and savored each in turn
my tongue delicate and wise
without disgust or revulsion.

When I was an animal
I smelled the animal scents
such as fear, anger and despair
and they prompted my responses
my nose leading my mind
without thought or reason.

When I was an animal
I saw the animal sights
such as teeth, claws and snouts
and was quick to react and attack
my eyes weak and dim
without true color or discernment.

When I was an animal
I felt the animal feelings
such as hunger, pain and cold
and each lesson learned lessened
my sensitivity ground down
without empathy or love.

When I was an animal
I heard the animal sounds
such as groans, grunts and howls
and the cacophony outside
my ears heard as a symphony
without rhythm or time.

When I was an animal
I thought the animal thoughts
such as then, now and when
and they built a senseless fury
my mind tied to my senses
without past or future.

Now I am not an animal,
isn't that nice?

Poems on Kindness in a Time of War


a violent boy
with a red-headed Irish temper
went to war
his gun repressed his anger
his rifle defined him
the grenade, lobbed far,
took bits of his rage with it
and exploded like fear

each step a step to madness
each bout of madness
stripped another layer of veneer
he laughed at death
and cursed the dead
both friend and foe
wondering at their smallness,
their insignificance

how could a man
be held in such a sad husk
he gloried in invincibility
that others might fall, but not him
death was all around him
and he killed always from a distance
crouching behind the splinter shield
of the twin fifties

he thought he knew death’s face
name, rank and number
though he had never brushed its hand:
then he met his enemy
stumbling over something soft
hearing the muffled groan
his rifle locked and loaded,
he met his enemy’s eyes

of course he pulled the trigger
it was what he was trained to do
but a moment of eternity passed there
and he learned fear
his red-headed temper swaggered still
yet he was a hollow man
living among other hollow men
each unaware of the others

he lived with this another 35 years
until his hand gave in
to the call of the gun
he had bought for no certain reason
to clear his mind
and bring the circle to completion
through the stench and the haze
to where he met his enemy once more

Poems on Kindness in a Time of War


"Who was he?"
just a fucking new guy."
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