They know of nothing if not of hell,
Of earth moved after brothers fell

Pvt. Paul Oglesby, 30th Infantry, examines the damage to the altar of a Catholic church in Acerno, Italy, as light pours through the bomb-shattered roof, 23 September 1943.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

War Bouquet

For all of my love cannot justice do
A rose slaughtered for a war bouquet,
For all the merriments of May
Where bugles cry the mornings thru
On love, and love as tragic as true,
Where eagles shed and talons slay
The blossoms where the petals lay,
All blood to soak the feathers through.
For all my heart cannot honor give
The blood of blood from petals bled
On fields, and fields where roses rest
Where all their memories relive
From heart to head and hand to shed
A boutonniere upon my chest.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Goddess In Me

There sings the scarp,
As unto suffering, this beauty calls for me,
All greatness the gods shall only grieve,
For no goddess so pretty as this goddess in me.

There shines the sun,
As run thru the tortured pine, her sorrow breaks to me,
From solace the gods shall only sing,
For no goddess so piercing as this goddess in me.

There storms the sea,
As unto sanctity, her spirit crashes on me,
All devotion the gods shall only dream,
For no goddess so precious as this goddess in me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Down The Shoulders of Sleeping Giants

Beat,  generation,  down a  concrete street
And pound your  head  with an  Eastern beat
And  from   your   dialect   of   disrepair
Grow   your   bountiful   beard  and   hair
Down  the  shores  of the   Western fronts,
Down   the  shoulders  of sleeping  giants.

Beat, generation, from  their  purple heart
And spill your blood for your  abstract art
And in  your  veins   enameled   with   ink
Prick your  skin  'til the  rose turns pink
Down  the  shores  of  the  Western fronts,
Down  the  shoulders  of  sleeping  giants.

Beat,  generation,  on the    open     road
And free your verse from  their lyrical ode
And  in  your   stream   of   consciousness
Flow  from  the   mountains  in  effloresce
Down the   shores  of  the  Western fronts,
Down  the  shoulders  of  sleeping  giants.

Beat,  generation,  from a   restless sleep
And find your   needle   in the heroin heap
And in  your veins running  black  with ink
Scratch the surface 'til your flesh is pink
And   from  your  intellect  of   disrepair
Grow  your   bountiful   beard   and   hair
Down  the  shores  of  the  Western fronts,
Down the  shoulders  of  sleeping giants...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Beautiful Day In The Shade

It's a beautiful day in the shade,
The Cascades for my glade,
In mass,
My glories weighed,
It's a beautiful day in the shade!

It's a beautiful day in the shade,
The scabbard for my blade,
In song,
My willows, swayed,
It's a beautiful day in the shade!

It's a beautiful day in the shade,
The swordgrass I am laid
And bloodroot,
Peace, remade,
It's a beautiful day in the shade!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Return of Happiness (Lilly of the Valley)

May O’ May, but a pantheon festoon
For the American poppy's platoon.

What flowers
            We stand 
On our canyonous breast, our amethyst mountains out west.
What laurels
            We lay
In our swordgrass and glades, their alabaster crosses like blades.

May O’ May, but a pantheon festoon
For the vestigial poppy’s in prune.

What flower
            We press
To our volcanic chest, to our Ponderosa Pines behest?
What flower
            We laud
As the spirit of earth, as the rubicund valley’s rebirth?

May, O' May, but a Pantheon festoon
For our alabaster lily in June.

For my niece, June Dixie Mannan, born on Memorial Day, May 27th, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sing the Ode of the Spirit of Old

What is man but a Marathon, a battlefield of old?
Or Boston but a blossom for a Massacre’s thorn?
Or Pheidippides running but an 8 year-old boy
Down the streets—of peace—from a mythical war?
Run through the blasts, the Massachusetts bomb,
For your father and mother and sister, boy, run!
For 27,000 and 26 strong,
Sing the ode of the spirit of old, "We won!"
What is victory for God but a war in our soul,
A triumph over earth but His flower in ode?
8 years of standing in a world for peace,
A symbol of hope 'cross the green fennel-field.
Run through the schrapnel of the Blood-April bombs,
The roses down Boylston abloom, boy, run! 
For 27,000 and 26 strong,
Sing the ode of the spirit of old, "We won!" 
Whilst the heart of your country at home still aches
And the minds in vengeance of your innocence wage,
What hope from the war of the heavens shall spring?
From God, which flower on His battlefield sings?   
Brave Messenger—run—as a soldier, a boy!
To the city abloom in the Massacre's thorn,
To your brothers and sisters still bloodied at home,
To the final blossoming of your breath, boy, run! 
For the hearts of peace to flower in song,
Sing the ode of the spirit of old, "We won!" 

-In tribute to Martin Richard who died in service to world peace on April 15th, 2013. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

For This I Am The Victory

I picture not infinity,
nor understand its galaxy,
I conquer not my enemy
nor understand internally
the waging war afflicting me…
I merely know I’m bleeding.

I fathom not eternity
nor comprehend its heavenly,
I arouse not awakening
the soul affray within me
nor cherish hope of ending
the flood of inward hemorrhaging.

I possess not serenity
without its touch of tragedy
and battle not my enemy
without him ever wounding me
nor enter life eternally
without him finally killing me…

for this, I am the victory.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Thousand Yards Away

A thousand yards away
in your battle-weary eyes today,
stands a flower where a minefield lays,
where a girl you love runs and plays
a thousand yards away.

A thousand yards away
in your sleepless fight against the day,
hides a foxhole from the howitzer's gaze,
where a boy you love lies and waits
a thousand yards away.

A thousand yards away
Thru your eyelids damning yesterday
runs a river from the foxhole's blaze
to the sea you loved in ol' dog days
a thousand yards away.

A thousand yards away,
in your sentimental eyes today,
fall the flowers where your body lays,
where the ones you love meet your gaze,
a thousand yards...
a thousand yards...
a thousand yards away.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Song of Fire

Hope of hope, of fire I fear,
a scattering soul from the hell I hear.

O hope of hope, of flames and flight,
the Cardinal's cry in the woodlands of white.

Hell of hell! Of scattering sting!
The song of fire is the smoke I sing.

Battle of the Bulge, Winter 1944-1945

Monday, April 9, 2012

Soft in the Still

Soft in the still, I pray a prayer,
a silent prayer in me,

So sweetly so—this soothing sayer—
that I shush, for fear it fly free

or see that it soar, so sadly—a strayer—
to sing in a neighboring tree…

so soft in the still, I pray the prayer,
that my songbird stay singing in me,

whether War or Peace, she shall be.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Long Day I Wilt Thus

Leave me if thou must.
Blow me up, the dust.
Leave me if thou love,
For long day,
I wilt thus.

Break me if thou must.
Burn me down, the dust.
Leave me if thou love,
But long day
I wilt thus...

Rise above.

This picture was taken by W. Eugene Smith, American, 1918-1978, regarded as one of the finest photojournalists in American history.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ode to Alpenglow

A salt water wave
to scatter back from evening’s grave,
and red as ray,
I splatter the sun of yesterday,
where 'cross the bandaged mountain head
the alabaster sheets will dress in red.

Ode to alpenglow,
to soak the gauze of cotton snow.

A bloodshot eye
to scatter 'cross the skeletal sky,
and red as hawk
I fly the skin of sallow shock
from where the lungs of swallowing light
—through icy breath—reflect the fight.

Ode to alpenglow,
to coat the teeth of chattering snow
and shed my beauty to men below.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Square Map for a Round World

I am sure,
quite sure...
that no one will see the whole world in me.


I am sure,
so sure
that I wait on my shore and stare at the sea.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Red Crossing

The napalm of orchards,
the shard of orange leaves
land on his helmet
and blow where she grieves.

The metal of winter,
the powder-glass snow
cuts through the canvas
where army greens grow,

and the foxhole of forests,
the fur of thick glades
are skinned by the howling
of dogface grenades,

‘til the blossom of landmines,
where the white kiss blows
frames the red crossing
where a still life froze...

and his stainless steel face,
the edge of love’s knife
cuts through the heartache
of a still beating wife.

Friday, January 20, 2012

'I will rattle and roar, bright girl'

Her Metal Bomber and My Magnificent Moon

My pinup face, your wandering eyes are not my war to fight,
nor a satin sky for a metal bomber flight,
for my luminous hands cannot keep time in your black dial’s swoon
nor hold your face of crystal in the shade of your magnificent moon.

I am steel as soft as boy, I am glass as strong as steel,
I will rattle and roar, bright girl, 'til my painted muscles peel,
for I know my limits below me, and more, those vast above
that I break—though fool!—in flight, through the darkside of your love.

Friday, November 11, 2011

O’ America, Of This Great Power You Hold

She has begged of me come back to earth,
to retire peacefully to that place of our birth,

but I will not, I will not cleave again to her—
in the name of Christ!—I was damned in my love for her,

for keeping those sonsabitches off her land
while at arm’s length, she held me in hand.

O’ America, of this great power you hold.

I pray she pities the murderer t’was born
when I heeded her cry on that envious morn,

for I heard her then—come back to earth!
From the hell I had sunk in the still of my birth.

O’ America, of this great power you hold,

Goddammit! Her hope t’was heavy to heave
on the back of the mind where atoms conceive

upon that shore—where the waves of my brain
corroded from sunrise to nuclear rain,

where all the corals of heaven were shone
through suicidal flashes of sacrifice blown…

O’ America, of this great power you hold!

Christ sakes! Where violently I shook the earth,
and my tears defaced a boy of my birth,

and I will not, I will not look back to reclaim—
yet again—the ground she took to write my name.

O’ America, of this great power you hold!

For I have given my love to her—
My God!—my guts, my gore, my blood to her!

And I will not return, but for her hand to release
my soul—My God!—my soul...let it go in peace.

You have begged of me come back to earth,
to retire peacefully to our children’s birth,

O’ America, of this great power you hold,
‘tis not what cleaves when your fingers unfold.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Beautiful Act of Survival

The act of self-defense is one of methodical science and military art, a forethought and instinct which both retire the outwardly courageous and inwardly violent thoughts. Having mastered these, man is a specialist in this field, thus acting upon the slightest whim to crawl on his belly for 1500 feet just to capture a picture of death on his enemy's face when a bullet from a much greater distance could have been rendered. Or might he instinctually turn at that moment to kill innocently, justifiably—even more, heroically. Man is methodical, mathematical in these thoughts and though their true summation can always be written down to equal the same conclusion, their long hands, tables, axis, formulas and theories can be used infinitely… creatively, if you will. And by using these infinite means, whether arduously or eloquently, their answer leads to one finite end, one cruel number over a man's head and under his skin. When God amassed this world, He ordered according to this number. What comforts a man is to know that God intimately knows his number and when He calls it, the value of life's calculation and otherworldly thoughts will be revealed in the greater resolution of his end; conversely, what keeps the same man awake—tortures him in fact—is that another man may know it, may call it. This fear alone is powerful enough to fuel the greatest innovations, wars, depressions and ages of peace the world will ever touch, ever feel, ever remember and regrettably, ever forget. In that moment, that ingenious moment and beautiful act of survival, man is a murderer and a savior, a mathematician and an artist. Man is made a man, still figuring his number (albeit unbeknownst) in his head and on his hands while his enemy is made to hear his own. And thus, how divided man is between the infinite answer he glories to be and the finite number he tolls beneath …albeit unbeknownst.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Dogface Dream

Under the cover of a manhole,
he will take a morning for his wife
and set his children to running
in the open fields of his life.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ev’ry Morn Thereafter

Of sons He passeth over,
Their blood to thank, have we;
For Death they meet, so peaceful,
Our homes and homeland may be;
For in ev’ry field and acre,
A soldier to bury, have we.

Our homes, He passeth over;
For sons to take, hath He,
To war! To hell! So wakeless,
Our dream of freedom may be;
An’ for ev’ry morn thereafter,
A soldier to bury, have we.

Our arms, He passeth over;
An’ fire to cease, pray we!
But hell they pay, so fearless,
Our lives, however, may be;
For in ev’ry ‘bed of roses’,
A soldier to bury, have we.

Of sons, He passeth over,
Their death to thank, have we,
An’ horror they face, so only,
Our hour of darkness may flee;
An’ for ev’ry morn thereafter,
A soldier to bury, have we.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Early Dreadful Calm

Godspeed, be on your way
in this early dreadful morn,
and fly toward the soldiers torn
away from us this day.

Bring comfort o'er their shattered head
upon their lay of boulders,
and lift above their jagged shoulders
the dragon they fought and fled.

Godspeed, O bearer of peace,
upon their weary death
and give them last upon their breath
the hope of your release.

Battle of the Lys (1918)

On a foreign field standing 232 million inches from New York harbor,
the failing Allies fought to prosper on Belgium’s stingiest mud,
mounds of mud that could only be measured ounce by ounce and inch by inch,
the increments of pure blood from 140,000 Allie combatants seeping
through the 5 mile façade of Ypres most cruelly valued strip of land.
So the German line was forcibly raised until an Allie victory was paid
and the Wall Street papers appraised: 2 inches of mud for every soldier laid.

Tongues of Dragons

Long days I heard 'em sonsabitches call
and curse upon Christ Almighty...

But I heard 'em louder ‘n trenches fall
when He answered upon 'em nightly.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On Wind That Bows and Yellow, Ties

Fly O fly to yonder sons, mother-love, from weeping guns
That till your soil of flowerets—their 6 foot beds—with bayonets.
Trim the tree in yellow bows, take cover there 'low velvet crows
And swathe O swathe their slumbering heads, mother-love, in quilted reds.

Hear O hear your sonorous boys, mother-love, for silent joys
And sing them soft your lullaby, as weeping bullets sing to sky,
Betake their thread of life you sow and reap their cross-stitch eyes by row
And fly! O fly! Into the night, mother-love, from memory’s sight
To hush O hush their battle cries and pray their sky tomorrow, dries

On wind that bows and yellow, ties.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Clime of Valley Forge

Valley Forge, PA, 9 Febrauary 2011 - I love to visit historical locations across the U.S. There's a spirit when visiting that exists to revive their often heard tales as a kid. Being at Valley Forge during winter was exactly what my imagination and spirit needed to identify with the greatness of this classic American tale.

Valley Forge

A cold stretch of land
pointed up in hills
by the general’s hand;
The bosom of beauty earth
beating up and down
the brave sycamore since birth.
Welcome home johnny boy,
this naked valley betrothed
is yours
to bed through long-winter wars.

A love gone mad
to hope her barren womb
will bear him arms of ironclad;
The stretching of long-winter sheet
over Mount Joy and Misery
holding the boughed back and bootless feet
of the sycamore. Hold too johnny boy,
hold her white fist, hold the stillborn sons
she bears
on the red-coated snow this shivering valley wears.

A great man it frees
to stand his fate
on the shoulders of brother trees;
A loyal sycamore to their field
lifting from earth
the heavy shadow this valley steeled.
Warm yourself johnny boy
on the fire of mangled limbs
that fall
where great sycamores were standing tall.

…An old stretch of land
still wringing blood
from the Pawling Sycamore in hand;
The embrace of beauty earth
swaying back and forth
‘round the memorial of her sons’ birth.
Welcome home johnny boy,
this pregnant valley beloved
is yours
to hold through long-winter wars.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Indian Heaven

A view of Mount St. Helens from the the slopes of Red Mountain in the Indian Heaven Wilderness, Washington.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In Applaud

I have sung O grandeur of canyon,
Have echoed South Rim with my laud,
Heard voices but dared not believe them
The voices of Earth in applaud.

I have swung the sword-grass through prairie
Have heaped Black Hills over gold,
Saw dancing of smoke ‘round the fire
Ne’er dreaming my great story told.

I have heard long rattle of river,
Great hissing to the Shoshone Falls,
And followed its mouth to the bottom
Where the stillness of water recalls.

I have heard the laud of Great Spirit,
Her cry to gallop Great Plains,
And felt her beauty around me
As I held our Mustang to reins.

I have held O beauty of children,
Their bright Painted Hills with great pride,
Their yellow and red and black colors
Each time I came back to their side.

I have worn old tatters of weather
On the shoulders of the Oregon Trail
And beat through bare-chested evergreen
On wind the Blue Mountains exhale.

I have flown from the burial of St. Helens,
Have sung its thunderous caw
What more—the shining Pacific—
Shall return to Raven great awe?

I have loved O grandeur of canyon,
Have ran the Red River through vein,
And braved the Red Mountain volcano
For a glimpse of its heralded plain—

Yea—I have heard of Indian Heaven,
I have prayed the story from God,
But more, the story of Warrior
To voices of Earth in applaud.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This Hill

Many sorrows ye will befall
Upon this Hill of higher call,
For many days 'to night will fall
Down the face on this ye crawl.

But, my child,

Take heart when ye will fatal trod
Into this mouth of dragon’s laud,
For every soul betook hath God
Herefrom the bones this Hill hath gnawed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dragon's Head

Some go home
And some go on...

On some ye burn,
The warmth has gone.

Sun fall peaceful
Or Sun rise wrought,
To which shall chaise
Their polar thought?

Some shall pass
And some shall tread,
The Sky, shall it squelch
Their Dragon’s head?

Sun go home
And Sun go on...

On those ye fire
The Sky shall dawn.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Victory's to Sing

My father is a Veteran of Vietnam,
1 cog in a 20-years machine,
The steel of the Greatest War’s assembly
Shipped home in the Cold War’s sling,
My father was his victory’s to sing.

My father is a thinning line to the Viet Cong,
1 mL in a 20-years vaccine,
A mask around the U.S. Navy corpsman
Tying back to the head trauma’s wing,
My father was their victory’s to sing.

My father is the fishing hole to the Heartland,
1 drop from a 60-years canteen
A lost boy to the Greatest Generation
Finding peace in the Oregon Oak’s swing,
My father is our victory’s to sing.

My father is a Veteran of Vietnam,
1 Doc to the 20-years Marine
A young face on the Guerilla War’s memory
Retiring home in the arthritic hands’ wring,
My father is his victory’s to sing...

My father is a flower in the Field Hospital,
1 mind in a 20-years quarantine,
A peaceful thought in the color of the trauma
Whiting out to the chapel bells’ ring,
My father is my victory’s to sing.

-Dedicated to Kent Foster Mannan, U.S. Navy Corpsman

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Goodbye, Old Friend

Goodbye, old friend,
I remember every pothole
on your muddy face,
those dried-up tire streaks
from your deep puddles
and the toothless grin
of your short-story buildings
lifting those lazy summer nights.
I remember your rundown streets
from the pounding
of your tireless shoes
and the narrow shoulders
of your county roads
shrugging that buzz-cut look
of your thick wheat fields.
I remember your back alleys,
your empty pockets,
your sandlot fields
and your gumball machines,
the thrill of trespassing
down every dead end
just to test your sense
of the road back home.
Goodbye, old friend,
I’ve grown.
I’ve gone.
I’ve traded your gravel pants
for a blacktop suit
and your dirty sidewalks
for a buttoned down street,
those old church shoes
for a wingtipped world.

But o' how I wish
I could see you again,
those clear northern lights
for the crowded streets
and the fog
surrounding the building of this old man.
Though I’ve grown,
I’ve gone,
I still remember your short-stories
as an old friend should,
an old man
to a young boy’s world.


I don’t think I’ll see you again
you’re just a boy.
And me?
I’m just the places you’ve been.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fields Her Flowers Bemoan

What makes an American boy
her pride,
an American son
her soldier,
who finds him
but his Motherland
on the fields
her flowers comb?

'Tis she who bears,
who hears
his shrill or silent cry,
whether loss
of blood
or sweat
or tears
that drip
down the
blankets of night,
‘tis she who
holds his head
in hand
who sits
beside his bed
to sing him
the songs he loves,
to pour him
her spirit of earth,
to warm
his cast-iron blood.

What makes the American boy
her peace,
the American son
her sorrow,
who calls him
but his Motherland
on the fields
her flowers bemoan?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Pride of an Older Age

It was a GI flying home
that I saw today
from Phoenix to Spokane,
an unceremonious seat
was his
10 rows to the back of the plane
(US Airways
Flight 583).
His camouflage fatigues
and sandy hair
were framing
the flashes of a homesick face,
like a shiny desert object
under the warm
civilian skies.

An old man
with silver hair
in the first-class cabin
of the plane
spotted the GI
walking past
and like a long-lost
he grabbed his arm,
“Son, you take my place.”

The plane of 23-odd rows
began to whisper about
as the old man
with nothing more
to give
gladly gave it over,
his seat
as a token
to America’s long-standing boy.
So the GI walked
to the front of the plane
to sit,
as the old man
with silver hair
to gratefully take his place
10 rows back
of the crowded plane,
the pride of an older age.

It was a GI flying home
that I saw today,
a first-class son of the War
in Afghanistan
and our 23-odd-row-applause
echoed through the skies
as the flight attendant
called him out
and all who serve our home,
just like the old man
with silver hair
to the GI at the front,
that shiny face
beneath the sand
proudly held
so bright
in the selfish public eye...

and it struck me,

God, how it made me cry.

-Written in-flight, 6 October 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

'against the resistance of man'

In the Jungle of Man

There is an enemy who hunts in the jungle of man
and silent by night
by the infrared moon
he patiently
and waits for his man…

And upon the roar of the snag-tooth sun
(this killer of man)
and all that he can,
his position,
his path,
the teeth of his plan.

For his forces against the resistance of man
are stronger than he
so foolish to stand,
sharper of shot,
steadier of hand,
always ‘trenched
on the high-ground.

I know this enemy
(this sniper of man)
blowing our cover
and helmet from head
painting our mind
and face blood red,
for the enemy who fires through the head of THIS MAN
has killed me before
and will kill me AGAIN!

And though I fight, I fail to win…

For as much as I hate him,
I love who I am.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

'Their thick skin'

Wounded men of the 3rd Battalion on Omaha Beach "D-Day", 6 June 1944.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All Glory Within

Some will think I glory in war,
glory its blood,
its guts, its gore…

I glory,

but glory in men,
Their cold veins,
their soldered muscle, their thick skin

and thus
I see
all glory within...

their warm blood,
their sparking guts, their thinning gore.

I glory in men,
no less, no more.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Finding of Harry Patch

I have pulled the shells
from this undisturbed field,
the rusted mortar
over 100 years old
in this European swamp
of Passchedaele,
the Lewis Guns of Tommies
in disrepair
and the German landmines
after long, peaceful years,
the artifacts of those
still buried
beneath its stoic face
of mud,
and the scraps of metal
and steel
still stuck in its head,
I have dug
in this quiet,
undisturbed field
hoping to pick the brain
of its hard fought years
of world war…

to find you the pieces
of history
only I can feel.

Harry Patch (17 June 1898 – 25 July 2009)

"We were the PBI. That's what we called ourselves. The poor bloody infantry. We didn't know whether we'd be dead or alive the next day, the next hour or the next minute. We weren't heroes. We didn't want to be there. We were scared. We all were, all the time. And any man who tells you he wasn't is a damn liar." -Harry Patch

Patch had refused to discuss his experience in WW1 until 1998 when he gave an interview to the BBC after he realized that he was one of very few that could give a personal account of the "war to end all wars." In the end, he was the last survivor of the WW1 trenches when he died at the age of 111 in the summer of 2009.

Rest in peace, Patch, and thank you for the last artifacts in your mind.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One of Ten-Thousand

Yesterday I sat in a crowd,
just one of ten-thousand
and listened to an old man salute his god,
his country,
his hand to the helmet of grey on his head,
a son of the Great Depression
and the Great War,
a brother of World War II
and a father of Vietnam,
he asked nothing of the ten-thousand head
but an ear,
and he held all ten-thousand faces
in his palm
just to find the few
so worthy of his hand
to stand up,
those faces in the crowd
suffering the loss
of a beloved to his cause,
to his god,
to his country.
And I sat in the crowd
just one of ten-thousand
and cheered…
for a man ten heads to my left
and a woman five faces to my right,
a boy three shoulders in front
and a girl an arm's length behind
and I sat…
only able to give her my hand
but she stood
and held it
to her chest…
so proud,
so humbled
to stand above the crowd
as one of ten-thousand.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In the name of Christ

I heard it spoken there upon them
(though in vain)
I could taste his ash in their billowing cigarette
and I saw their stubborn eyes fall
each time his name escaped them
and heard their metal teethe grind and halt
like curses on a sailor tongue
in the face of a God-fearing mother
and their skin dug beneath the charcoal trenches
of ink that God once used to draw their face,
each line connecting each scar,
each scar sinking beneath the work of God upon them,
for theirs was the skin of bone just beneath them broken
and theirs was the mark of Christ just before them spoken
(though in vain)
I saw it written there upon them.