Remember when age was supposed to be full of wisdom. The idea that life experiences help people make wise decisions has been accepted throughout history. Tonight another old and supposedly wise person started shooting rockets into the sky. He was avenging the death of his boy at the hands of another country. The trigger happy leader will cost many people their lives, just the same as the equally egotistical leader who started the mess by ordering the initial hit. Anymore wars are eternal pissing contests that never end. When will people learn that ego exposes their worst? I’m guessing never.


So it is ordered
There will be an increase
In the number of fire watchers
Because we know
The use of incendiary bombs
Is a danger of conflagration
That we don’t want
Our people to experience.

Once the enemy feels the heat
They will retaliate with their own fire bombs
Bringing the same inferno
To our towns
So we must be ready for
The inevitability of their revenge.
Our watchers will direct resources
To minimize loss in the resulting blaze.

So it was written in 1942…

And it lives
In the bombs strapped to martyrs,
In the words of political candidates,
In the analysis of pundits,
In the bullets directed at the unarmed and
Those charged with our protection.
The fires spread across parched lands
Because all of the water is bottled up for selling
Yet the watchers do nothing
From their towers or lofty ambitions
Using controlled burns
To get what is best for them.

So it seems in 2016…


Photo Credit: via Pexels

Growing up in a place
Built mainly for the celebration
Of history,
I think I understand
Scholarly inquiry into the past.

I am confused, though, by those
Who reenact old times
Without a thought to what they are doing.

Like the young men so fascinated
By war,
Who don a uniform
And play life size chess to recreate
The grandeur of war.


Since when was senseless
Wasting of life
Something to be celebrated.
These guys march across a field,
Pretend to get shot,
And after acting like a casualty,
Go back to their tents,
And check their smart phones.

No dismemberment.
No death.
No outrageous national debt.

Hmm, maybe they are onto something.

Governments, pay attention.

I woke this morning with a great idea,

A machine gun rant

About the different wars and their ridiculousness.

As I played the words in my head,

They seemed too familiar,

I think maybe they were from an old Franti song,

So I decided to battle the urge to press what was happening upstairs

And think about the futility of war and

The manipulation of people when spinsters 

Attach ideas like carnage and nobility

To their cause of the day: drugs, cancer, poverty, test scores, basketball…

Don’t get me wrong,

Each cause is important, but wars are horrible.

Somehow the marketing of goodness seems misaligned

When applied

To the realities of combat and battle.

How about we rethink our methods of preventing drug abuse?

A war is not necessary.

How about we rethink our approaches to cancer research?

A war is not necessary.

Jobs are needed for the poor.

Not war.

People are learning with or without test scores.

Do schools need to be battle grounds with such dire consequences?

Teams are not armies. Games are games.

Equating them to soldiers and war is a joke.

So on this morning when I rose with a rant in mind,

I hope you find peace and happiness

Before someone starts waging a war on that too.


Two books of poetry
Summed thoughts
On war’s idiocy


An alumni mag
Hailing the growth
Of an educational venture masking as college


Shrapnel tells different stories
When exploded over the pages
Versus the undercarriage of a Humvee


The donations solicited should suffice
But it seems the tuition and fees are detonating
Any chance of a student’s debt free learning


A common thread of literal loss
One writing propaganda full of heroic tragedy
The other of missions wrought with man’s macabre humor


Recent graduating years stocked full of
Weddings and promotions
My year thin with retirements, obits, and solicitations for “legacies”


The world continues on…

Ceremonies to honor the heroic
When their actions are the result
Of fighting some war
Have a ton of honor attached
But I’m always left a bit saddened
That these heroes had to live their greatness
As a result of something
So pointless

For what its worth
I feel nothing for the wars

And I feel tremendously for the vets
They give their lives in countries far away
At the bequest of politicians
Who will never see the horrors of combat
In the real time of destruction

These young people have been asked
To do more than any medal will ever honor
And I can’t stand to see them
Receive so little
For what they have experienced

Would it not be better for
Respect to be the ultimate weapon
Where countries respect the ways
Of others without the encroaching
Ways of ego

I know.

But men and woman should not be forced to choose
Whether or not to jump on a grenade
To sacrifice themselves and save their comrades
They should be living the lives
All of us who do not serve
Get to live…

Full of opportunity
Laden with safety

The young men and women will continue to be heroic
The ceremonies will continue to honor them
That’s the shame of it all

Standing at attention and only collecting dust stood an old uniform in the window. I guessed it was from WWI. The fabric was rough and worn, but still crisp and proud, speaking of both action and despair. I was left wondering what the soldier had gone through. The horrors I was glad to only imagine; battles of bombardment so different than the dodgeball I play or the football I watch. The games of this uniform only won or lost by the lives of the soldiers playing. Even then, the trauma of the competition betrays the stoicism of this store window uniform.

Photo by Chris Hancock. All rights reserved.