Switch

Kali dances

Around your fires

Rage filled bones

Make it stop

 

Got a switch

Press the button

 

I’ve become the god of death

Destroyer of worlds

You weep

Looking for a way out

 

Got a switch

I know you want it

 

It all started with Cain

You’re sure you would have killed God’s favorite too

He was such an ass

You don’t really want to stop

 

I’ve a switch for you

But before you do, you should know

 

Nothing has really changed

Soldier Down (Short Story)

Charles ran his hand over the tops of the dry grass heads. The sun shone them into a golden field that stretched out before him. The indent just to his left was his comrade’s body, laying prone, muting the gold of the grass with dead-weight.

Well damn, this was it, he’d have to get up soon and bury this one too.

Gravedigger, that’s what he’d taken to calling himself. Charles crushed the head off a shoot of grass, feeling the seeds rolling between his fingers, falling away like an army in disarray. Why had he even sat down in the first place?

The answer was, because he was tired, so tired, and this field was beautiful right now, even with death resting in it. He could stay here forever. If he closed his eyes, the breeze on his cheek reminded him of home. When he looked up into the sunset glare, it brought back a surge of childhood memories, park days, chasing the rolling hills, falling at their heels as the sun dipped farewell, laying spread eagle in a cocoon of prickly comfort.

He took off his helmet first. The body armor took longer. Then he unloaded his gun, every last damn bullet.

He wouldn’t be digging any graves today.

The Witch’s Bookshelf: Phantom Noise (Book Review)

The Witch’s Bookshelf: Phantom Noise by Brian Turner

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Standing in aisle 16, the hammer and anchor aisle,

I bust a 50 pound box of double-headed nails

open by accident, their oily bright shanks

and diamond points like firing pins

from M-4s and M-16s.

In a steady stream

they pour onto the tile floor, constant as shells

falling south of Baghdad last night, where Bosch

kneeled under the chain guns of helicopters

stationed above, their tracer-fire a synaptic geometry

of light.

At dawn, when the shelling stops,

hundreds of bandages will not be enough.

 

“At Lowe’s Home Improvement Center”(excerpt), From Phantom Noise by Brian Turner

 

Phantom noise is Brian Turner’s second book of poetry. You can read my review of his first book (titled ‘Here, Bullet‘) here.

If ‘Here, Bullet’ was a portrait  of a soldier enwrapt in war, ‘Phantom Noise’ is one of the battle to disentangle ones self from war. In another words, it is a completely different book, something I always view as a bonus (no one wants to read the same thing over, and over again). At the same time it manages to retain his unique voice.

That being said, I found it a little difficult at first to adjust to the change, maybe it was because the center of the first poem throws you abruptly into his love life, something very distant and undealt with. Or perhaps it is because his first book was so stunningly beautiful that it made this one feel a little cold. The feeling didn’t last, as this book quickly gave me reasons to admire it in its own right. In fact the cold distance communicated the atmosphere change well.

There is a great deal of new ground covered in this book really, with some poems that are intensely political (‘Sleeping in Dick Cheney’s Bed’), and others that read as almost memoir/childhood summations (‘Homemade Napalm’, ‘Lucky Money’). The majority though stand as a monument to the ghosts that soldiers bring back from war, the scars that never really heal over.

I honestly hope you’ll check out this book, buy it if you like it, it’s worth every cent, just like the first one. At this point I might as well sign up for the life time fan club right?

 

Have you read any good books of poetry written by soldiers? Feel free to give me suggestions below!

 

 

Wolves In Suicide Vests (Poem)

The beasts

Wrapped delicately in human skin

Stalk the curving expanse

 

They are not us

But they are

 

Bellyful of fire

Rancid hate

Eyes glowing sanctamoniously

 

They are hunters

We have become prey

 

When the skin peels

Sloughs away

And they are naked

 

See what is below

It is not us

 

They are gnarled blackness

Blood flowing from secret orfices

Stuffed with secret pain and rage

 

They are not us

Are they?

 

They descend, tear like wolves

Children from mothers

Life from breath, blood from brow

 

No, they are not us

Not anymore

 

Until they are waste also

Victims of their own zeal

No longer anything