War? What’s It Good for?


Upon a Dead Child

Posted on November 28, 2011 by


As if Sleeping, a child
lies quietly, curled into
a ball not dissimilar to
the cat in the corner

I watch the child for
a single solitary sign
of life within the child’s
unmoving tiny breast

Golden blonde hair matted
with the mud of the floor
and his own coagulated blood
undistinguishable now

Clothes once proudly worn are
Ripped and torn revealing
the youthful dirty body beneath
a body forever still

The hole gaping in the
Breast obscenely oozing blood
and tissues forming a lake
around the child’s body

I look at the gun held
loosely in the child’s hand
then at the one in mine
and I curse this damn revolution




I wrote this in 1984 when I began to become politicized about nuclear war and energy – it was one pass without editing, the poetry used to just pour out of me – and sometimes, I had to think about the context when something strange appeared on the page.

After this poem and some consideration to the implications, I had planned an entire series by the fictional poet, Janiwall, contrasting what we believed to be important – like form of government, territory, religion – and how they become unimportant when humans are reduced to a hunter/gather sustenance/survival state.

There was no texting written language in 1984 and I certainly wasn’t foreshadowing it – with the phonetic spellings I wanted to suggest a collapsing of thinking, mental discipline – hmmm, maybe it was foreshadowing…..




i luvd to wok the riverside
an breeth the air so sweet
then skip the rocks across
and dip an dangle my feet

i thrilled to feel the fur
of my three legd puppy dog
an laffted whenever he chased
my pink and purple frog

won time i seen a pikture buk
ful of fases smiling and cleen
but wut amazed me most
wuz that all the plants wur green

the best time of awl was u
when we sat beneath the tress
whose night glow lit ur fase
as we made love upon our knees

but now Mister Ded sits near
i can feel him by my side
ur lip trembles cos
you know thet i can’t hide


Janiwal’s Second Poem


the olwans tel storees
thet i don’t unerstan
they tok bout a world
thet don xist no more
and i don’t unerstan

bak then musta been gud
so many pepol ta si
an talk wiv an be wiv
to ner be lone like mi

an olwans tel ov huses
tolern ten trees staning
won on top ov the udder
the lilwans gasp in frite
i jes smile in unbelif

the olwans storees are tal
tok bout metel things moving
when they get fed with
smelly wadder thets bad to
drink thet brings Mistuh Ded

olwans tel ove many things
thet I can’t beleif like thet
democrazy and communizm hate
thet changed the olwans world
into this land thet i know

oval the things they say
are true, i no belif they pepol
cood run down a world they luv
i think olwans tell the magik
storees for the lilwons to dreem

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4 Responses to War? What’s It Good for?

  1. writingthebody says:

    So many things here. Agree with Xena – what is war good for? Nothing. I like the old poem too…it fits the song, and is really powerful I think. The two recent poems are also really interesting….loss of stories, and yet hope as well!


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