Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
JGuberman Aug 2016
The young seeds unsown
buried beneath
long forgotten granite reasons
a waste of stone
and otherwise arable soil
which now lies fallow and barren
like the ancient womb
from which they were given way
unsafely into the world
of parks and laughter
of tears and monumental alibis
for another's selfish desire
to raise a flag upon a distant hill
and bury beneath it
like supporting struts
the very bones of our future.
after Academy Hill, Stratford
JGuberman Aug 2016
Tell me mother
as you kiss your baby
that no one died today,
that no one was a martyr
or a hero,
and that all who now sleep will awake,
and that the sirens that now sound
will be the only death recorded,
and that the drivers without cars,
and the cars without drivers,
will each find a partner
for as long as they need,
like the Palm Doves in the park.

Tell me mother,
that as long as you
love your baby
all mothers will love theirs
and no mother will again mourn
the foreheads without a kiss
and the kiss that has no forehead
to receive it.
written on a bus in Herzliya, Israel 22 April 1990 (Holocaust Memorial Day).  On this day air raid sirens ring out across Israel at which point all traffic comes to a halt for a couple minutes. Drivers exit and stand next to their cars and pedestrians stop in their tracks and stand at attention while the sirens wail.

It should be noted that this poem had originally been written as a piece for Holocaust Memorial Day, though as the 20th Century bled into the 21st, it is clear that mothers and children all over our world are suffering untold miseries be they refugees escaping tyranny or victims of civil strife or war. This therefore is dedicated to all mothers and children.
I can see your sky exploding, falling overhead
Killing all your hopes and dreams, filling you with dread
Killing all your sons and daughters, babies in their beds
I can see your sky exploding, and I can see the dead

I can see your sky exploding, I can feel the fear
I can feel the pain and anguish, resistance drawing near
I can feel your endless sorrow, I can see the tears
I can see your sky exploding, all the way from here

I can see your sky exploding, I can tell you're lost
I can feel your righteous anger held at a great cost
As they destroy all your homes and schools, and burn up all your mosques
I can see your sky exploding, I can see your loss

I can see your sky exploding, I know that you can too
Smoggy clouds of smoke and dust where it used to be so blue
I can see the people running, frightened and confused
I can see your sky exploding, and I don't know what to do

I can see your sky exploding, I can feel the fright                
I can see the soldiers coming, trampling your rights
I can hear the dogs of war, barking as they bite
I can see your sky exploding, lighting up so bright

I can see your sky exploding, but no one else can see
Everyone surrounding me is blinded by TV
I can feel your raw emotion, for I have empathy
I can see your sky exploding, though it isn't me
This poem is dedicated to every war-torn country that has been ravaged by imperialism.
The sky is falling
The people are hiding
The jackboots are on their way
A mother is calling
A child is crying
Uncertain they'll live through the day
The tanks, they are treading
Across sovereign borders
Some soldiers are dreading
Their inhumane orders
Though they have an advantage
This war can't be won
And that "collateral damage"
Is somebody's son
The victims of war
Are the poor and the sick
Slaughtered like cattle
For the wealthy and rich
Brent Kincaid Dec 2015
It was supposed to be
The dawn of a new age;
A new set of dialogue
On a more balanced stage
With better lines for
The actors to deliver.
It was supposed to start in
The sixties and last forever.

We didn’t really know for sure
What this Aquarius stuff was
But it seemed to us to be
A metaphysical enough cause,
To change the way we acted
And to shout down the rest;
To face the demagogues
Then put them to the test.

We stopped wearing uniforms
That said we went along
With the hard-assed leaders.
We put a lot of it in our songs.
We called them what they were
Greedy warmongering ******.
We protested and picketed
And promised so much more.

We spoke out loudly on TV
And in crowds in the streets
That we were through will genocide
And would not accept defeat.
We cried out that our government
Had assumed the role of villain
And was murdering for no reason
Not just men, but even children.

But, we let it all die down;
We let the government slide
On investigating the truth
And keeping the truth inside
A carefully chosen batch of
Criminals in public office.
We let them go on making war
And making money off us.

We let them cheat and lie
And re-write acceptable laws
To support their bloodthirstiness
And we gave up on our cause.
Maybe all that protesting gave
All our marching feet limps.
Or maybe it’s because all along
We were just a bunch of wimps.
Pearson Bolt Sep 2015
they say you'll never forget
where you were on 9/11
i was nine
i sat in the kitchen
and watched the television
play out the violence hour after hour
my child-like mind conflated the Two Towers
in Tolkien's literary fantasy
with these acts of misanthropy  
and i was taught at the dinner table
that very evening
that all of life could be reduced
to capital letters defining a
cosmic struggle of Good vs. Evil

and yet
regardless of their affiliation
on this defunct
political spectrum of
left left
left right left
politicians canonize a legacy of
injustice and oppression and
in order to suppress
democratic expression
they propagate the notion
that dissent is treason

because the wars we wage are blessed
by the sagely insight of rich old men
who sit safely in mansions protected by
picket fences as white as their skin
while they play off our emotions and
turn us into thoughtless sheep
content to stomach the whims of
politicians propagating vengeance

i will speak this out even
when my voice shakes
because i have seen the hypocrisy
of this war on terror
that relies on terror
to cultivate more terrorists
in order to perpetuate the notion
that Orwell posited

war is peace
freedom is slavery
ignorance is bliss
isn't it

in my naïveté
i rejected the reality of
torture and murdered children for
i nursed a secret hope that
despite the pictures and videos
that served as empirical evidence
we were still somehow
the good guys and
they were the bad guys

but Americans rained white
phosphorous on Fallujah
dropped the world's first
and hopefully last
atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
we toppled democratically elected socialists
whose interests betrayed our self-serving agendas
cultivating a policy of extra-judicial assassination
regime change is the name of the game
just ask the CIA
they'd tell you
business is booming but
then they'd have to **** you

so i switched off my TV screen
and picked up books
i read Slaughterhouse-V
and treasured the way Vonnegut
looks at the lives of even
bees and butterflies as valuable
intoning "so it goes"
every time a living thing dies

i read O'Brien's
of Vietnam
a month later
he said that
like white lies
tall tales and
fishermen’s yarns
every war story
has a bit of truth

and i've seen the proof
in the photographs of
Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay
in the aftermath of drone strikes
that left pieces of kids scattered
across the desert sands of foreign lands

i see the toxic side-effects of
systemic violence in the eyes
of homeless veterans suffering
on the streets with PTSD
a flicker of fear livens a
deadened gaze at the sound of
every backfiring engine
as if they're a thousand miles away
on some distant shore

betrayed by their own
government once again
a Purple Heart is
a death sentence
when there are 22
military suicides a day
thanks for your service
now die in silence

like bad religion the phrase
war crime is rather redundant
and i testify not because i
aim to disrespect the
men and women in uniform
on the contrary

when i say
**** war
it is because i
cherish every brother
and every sister
who has perished in the
churning gears of conflict

they shoved tall tales of hope
for a collegiate education
and far-flung travel
down our throats
just sign here
right along the dotted line

we want you
to march into hellfire
we want you
to send missiles into
tiny huts and villages
tracking cell phone signals
we want you
to sit down
shut up and
just do as you're told

to every fallen human who
has been sent off to fight on
behalf of this
or any other
corrupt nation
i sincerely apologize
for not taking to the streets to protest
a vitriolic ideology

i regret filing my taxes
when 54% or more of our budget goes to
military expenditures so they could
stick an M-16 in your hands
and ship you off to die for abstract
and so often arbitrary phrases like
freedom and justice for all

you were robbed of your liberty
by a capitalist system that seeks profit
like a false prophet for
bank accounts soar in times of war  
and in my apathy i hammered
nails into your coffin

and i pride myself on  
being an anti-militaristic
non-violent anarchist because
i don't hate soldiers
if i did i would remain
silent and apathetic
and let the government
abuse its youth

i celebrate humanity
regardless of ethnicity and creed
which is precisely why i despise
this system that sacrifices
generation after generation for
conquest and imperial notions

pray tell
will we turn from the
error of our ways
wake up from
this terrorist daze
before it's too late
and say

the State can try to
whitewash history but
i refuse to let them
brainwash me
I wrote this poem when a woman walked out of the venue after I read a poem about overthrowing the government. She told me her son was in the military and said he had buddies who died so I could have free speech. I wish she'd stopped so I could've responded to her the way I'd have liked to. Guess this will have to do.
Pearson Bolt Sep 2015
i see the words floating on
message boards or perched
upon the lips of jocular hypocrites
double-standards that demand
sensual chastity and virginal sexuality
in endless iterations of irony

the concussive
monosyllabic words
slung like stones
cast like arrows


all labels for
women possessed of
the courage to pursue
their own passion

once upon a time a
Nazarene insisted a ******* had
more integrity than a rich
statesman throwing self-serving parties
so tell me why so
many Christian politicians
propagate patriarchal notions of depravity
in blanket attempts to regulate
the bodies of women

if being anti-choice was really
about preventing abortions
why do rich right-wing conservative
Republicans spend all their time
and money picketing free clinics
when the solution lies in comprehensive
****** education universal healthcare
complimentary birth control
and comprehensive child support

don't dare use the reprehensible
rhetoric of pro-life unless you're
at once anti-war
and anti-death penalty

riddle me this
what pray tell is the
difference between a jealous
religious misogynist
and a secular sexist

it's rather simple actually
while the former bases his
****-shaming on the edicts of
a two thousand year old letter to
the Corinthians inconspicuously
sandwiched between a celebration of
love and a section on speaking in tongues
the latter’s learned behavior is
birthed by a hyper-masculine culture
grounded in dominance

either way we await the day
when wild women raze
these ideologies  
with torches before
rising like phoenixes
from the ashes of
decimated passages
dismissed by intellectuals
as archaic and outmoded
deaf blind and dumb to
the vestiges of modernity
that sap unscientific
philosophies of their potency
and render them utterly obsolete

in their wake
these proud women
erase the hate
from words like


and reclaim equality
with a far more
comprehensive term

Brent Kincaid Sep 2015
We were the ones,
Self-chosen ones,
And we had seen enough.
And we had heard enough
To be tired of the drama;
The games that our mamas
And our Papas played
The plans they laid
That so often did not work.
The pensions and the perks
That so often left them bitter
Mumbling curses about quitters
As they argued over parking spaces
And carefully averted their faces
When people were denied rights
Because they were not white
Or sometimes because Jews
And non-whites could not be
Members of their sororities
And country club amenities.

They demanded no dark skin
And objected to what we dressed in
And wanted us to cut our hair
And go find a decent job somewhere
To start an acceptable career
And get a decent nine to five
To work as long as we were alive.
We knew they were trying to protect
To drive us to the life they projected
That would help us get a salary
And develop the kind of misery
And sense of hopelessness;
The exact kind of mess
They were living
And they weren’t forgiving
When we rebelled and fought
And shunned the trinkets they bought
That they thought would tempt us
To buckle on the harness;
The long-term promise.

We rejected the temptation
To join the workaday nation
And get into the drinking
Nine-to-five way of thinking.
We swapped the whiskey
For something they found risky.
We smoked our marijuana
And talked about nirvana
In our love-beads and batik
We left family homes to seek
And ultimately to find friends
Who wanted the same ends
And would work with us,
And they would walk with us
To the love-ins and protests
And help us pen requests
For marches and gatherings
To demonstrate our misgivings
About who got what
And who did not
And how and when
And which were not seen as men.
But we saw poorly disguised slaves
We knew we wanted to save.

We were going to fix the world
So, we waded into insults hurled
And high-powered fire hoses.
They broke our arms and noses
And trod on our signs
And drew a line
Between us and the public.
We were criminals and suspects
In crimes they invented;
We patchouli oil scented
Hippies wearing Birkenstocks
Without any socks
And jeans with protest patches
Singing our snatches of songs
Like “We Shall Overcome Someday”.
They couldn’t hear a word we would say.
They just cursed us and objected
And made sure we were subjected
To as much stonewalling as the law
Could put up against us all.

We were going to fix the world,
And we got LBJ on our side, like Jack
He went on the attack
And changed things for the better
Still not to the letter of the law
But a bit more spirit
Began to exist in it
Because blacks were acknowledged
And could finally go to college
In white schools
Adhering to the rules
The bigots had always ignored.
And unlike before, the police
Actually kept the peace
Unless it involved demonstrations
Against the crimes of our nation
Against another nation
That never attacked us
Never even threatened us.
These protest made us criminals
And that is what the cops thought of us.

Yes, by the time Nixon was going
After everyone began knowing
What a rat he was and because
He got caught, we saw
Him get on the copter and leave
And without a thought to grieve
We wanted our country to cease
Being some kind of insane police
In an Asian country few of us knew.
To stop what they put our troops through
And bring the people back here
So they could end the killing and fear
That our country was generating.
The debating was through
And the country started anew
By ending that situation.
Peace descended on the nation
And we took credit.
We did do some of it.
Then, we quit.

We started small companies
Selling handmade gifts and soaps
Not becoming the dopes
We fought our parents not to be
But more the people we ought to be
Living in hippie enclaves
That turned into yuppie enclaves
And we got fatter.
But that didn’t matter.
We had our memories
And we had our old war stories
Of marching, and protesting
And they were interesting enough
That we lost the will to be tough
And let the objections slide
And hid inside our mini-farms
And ignored when people were harmed
By many of the same atrocities
That fueled our animosities
Just a generation before.
We decided it was not our war
And sat on our hands.
And drifted like the sands.
Graff1980 Apr 2015
How much is a soldier’s tears worth
Ten yards for a dead heart
A thousand dollar pay day
For a lost leg
College dreams
For nightmares and PTSD screams
A lost eyes
For capitalistic smoke stacked sky
One hundred down
For a million in profit
A billions to come
And all that is cost us
Was our humanity
The movies make it seem noble
While keeping the guts, the gore,
And the human horror
Down to the minimum
But for all the men
And women
We lose over and again
And again and again
Till the horrors without
Shade the horrors within
And even those
Friends who make it back
With unblemished skin
Never really come back again
How much do you think it’s worth
Darren Mar 2015
When the white bird flies,

the sky catches on fire.

Then the fire bleeds to the village

and the village burns.

Do not be mistaken,

this is how you catch the bad guys.

We must catch the bad guys.

Don’t you know?

When the white bird flies,

she purifies in flame.

Replaces evil with ash

and ash cannot stop the oil flow.

But wait, there was a mistake.

backspace, backspace.

Control alt delete.

It is too late, the sky already burns.

And when the sky burns,

so does the village.

These were children,

Where were the bad guys?

When the white bird fails

It flies a thousand homes to its mother.

“We will try again, tomorrow,” she says

and then she turns the screen black.

Still the village burns

and children become orphans,

but the oils keeps flowing,

it always keeps flowing.
A poem about drones and illegal wars.
Next page