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I Have Not Heard This Before


I have not heard this before,
not the boom of the marching drum,
rat-at-tat field snare triplets,
slow and steady, like
caissons crawling
carefully constructed causeways
on causes carefully concocted,
rolling across connivances, contrivances,
have not seen before
guidon flags flying brazen
in dessert sirocco,
not seen silent widows drained of tears,
not seen swift fury mutate
into creeping sorrow heroes
laboring on slow wheels,
withering over imperturbable sidewalk
suction cup stick and release
concrete and crutch rubber,
not seen streams run
the color of raspberries
or sand the color of the sun
streaking daybreak warning sky
to sailors of wind blown dunes,
not seen hot red and yellow
blue flame spitting shrapnel before,
not heard concussions
over cowering cities before,
not seen brass band brigades,
not heard blood stirring marching music,
not heard burnished-like-bronze bugle blow taps,
not heard roar of engines pierce
peace of rice paddies,
not seen streaks of vapor trails
over flaming villages,
not seen Fourth of July napalm
rolling like lava over
disappearing fields of green,
not seen carpet bomb threshing machines
harvest fragile stalks of life
gone in stilled heartbeat,
not heard orphans cry in empty nursery,
not heard mothers cry in burned wheat field,
corn field,
rice field,
killing field,
black as soil charred like
bodies not seen
human cinders under
stealthy black sky bomber night,
not seen talking head mouth
gesticulate lies for justification,
not heard mumbled expletive
beneath articulate pronouncements,
not seen covert jungle assassins,
not heard bullet bracing body,
not heard saints and sinners
sing solemn songs in unison,
not seen shadow soldiers stand
like silent phantoms,
not seen tricolor boxes
on dead of night tarmac,
not seen red sky,
not seen towers crumble,
not seen sand ignite,
not heard a last feeble sigh,
not seen an empire die.

 

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