Sunday, June 22, 2008


A nasturtium flower (tropaeolum majus) First discovered in the jungles of Peru and Mexico.
Described as having showy edible flowers and pungent seeds

The Bridge at Nasiriya

For a pulsing moment
he cannot remember
whether he came from Georgia
or some place further inward,
a recruiting office,
Captain Tilly congratulating him,
painting murals inside his head,
promises of a noble heart to be saved
for heaven, a good spot there.

They rushed across the bridge like savages,
dark-skinned small enemies, wide-eyed
with fear or hate --
like a suicide bomber.
Captain Tilly hadn't told him
the sound a child makes when she dies,
broken, on a bridge, irrevocably,
like a small turtle, stepped on.

The little girl is maybe five,
in a gold and orange dress,
colors for something special,
for running at a soldier, for lying in a ditch,
a bit of her chest missing,
like his sister's lost earring,
like the missing lid of a coke bottle.
His gun has melted into his fingertips.

A dead girl in a bright dress...
He came here then to kill a child.
A girl rushing across the bridge
running from the sound of helicopters,
running the way danger slams through a paper wall
and he had never shot a bear,
even a rabbit, he who was
promised a proud heart to save for heaven,
and a good spot there.

An hour is made of a thousand crazy instances --
An instance has a life of its own,
tells epics until you fall asleep from boredom.

He had never shot a sick dog
or a rabid skunk
but the child had run toward him,
a crazy instance,
like the frantic urge to tear out his own heart,
slash open the child and give her his,
still beating.

He will not remember this,
will not tell his cousin Billy,
who told him to go kick ass --
He will not remember this,
will not tell his mother who has put up
yellow ribbons --
He will not remember this,
his crazy instant of terror
as a child ran at him.
He will not remember this,
the sound of a soul brushing across one arm.
He will not remember this,
that he, in God's ledger, is the victim.

He who never shot a rabbit
will not remember
which of them soared upward from life,
which of them stayed behind.

Words by Lisa Walsh Thomas

Poets against War

I came across this in seeking others' experience of this war.
My experience is limited by the lack of news and reportage of our national corporate media who have more mundane things to report.
I would suppose a soldier walking through a city of Iraq scared shitless that someone will appear out of nowhere to do him harm would be edgy and react to any fast movement. I know that I would be. This is an urban war; over 600,000 civilians killed, by some accounts now.

I just read that the Polish army (such as it was, part of the "Coalition of the Willing") camped on the site where the city of Babylon once stood, south of Baghdad, east of the Euphrates. At least three thousands of years of history trod upon by yet another conquering army. When will it ever end?