by Gerard Donnelly Smith
What we've got here is failure to communicate.
Some men you just can't reach.
(Swans - November 6, 2006)
Dry mouths flap in the dust,
tent canvas covering falsehoods:
propaganda instead of respect,
mouthfuls of noth'n but rhetoric
served past expiration dates;
chain links for chains of command,
compromise for courage.
Days on end in his office, staring
at the manicured lawn, he shreds
documents into papier-maché badges
that stick to his sweaty skin:
them chains ain't medals:
just so much buckshot in a lawyer's neck,
unfortunate friendly fire: these war
crimes looming like a hunter's moon.
Dry erasers, green and blue,
color of swollen eyes or infected limb,
demarcate the escalating violence:
the smell of neurotoxins on butcher
paper like fertilizer spread over sand,
feces or urine shocked from the bodies
of naked cheerleaders stacked in triangles.
Days on end in his office, deconstructing
the Commander's nautical errors; he reminds me
that my choices, my attitude keep me here,
my pessimism, a personal albatross:
stay the course despite the fogginess,
declare the mission accomplished
without the ticker-tape parade
or soldiers in familial embrace.
Drying out the cries of children
who drown under a sea of words,
voices sail into a Sargasso sea.
My mouth too full of salt, I cannot tell:
Are his eyes closed or open,
has he No-Ears, has he only a cool smirk
on his lips for days on end, to the bitter end?
Is my Plastic Mary in red pradas praying,
This ain't hell; this ain't hell; this ain't hell?
For over a decade we've brought you uninterrupted ad-free advocacy work free of charge. But while our publication is free to you, we are long on friends and short on cash. We need you, our readers, to help us financially. Please consider sending anow. Thank you.