Enemies Must Die

October 2, 2017
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You fight
You know you must
You’re young and fit and strong
And there is a cause you feel is right and just
You don’t imagine that the damage you cause
Stinks for years like a broken sewer
Negating the reasons
You fight

It’s war. Hola! Whoopee! What adventures there will be!
Marching shoulder to fearless soldier brother, a company
Willing to face the battle, take the weapons to the enemy
Chase them into hiding, root them out from their homes
Frighten them and their families, their women, children,
Babies. Shoot them knife them smash their brains
See the blood splash, ooze, pump, squirt, spatter
Watch their death throes as they jerk in agony
Screaming for mercy as you kill the enemy
And their innocent relatives who suddenly
Seem to be just like your mother your
Sister, brother, even just like you
What adventures would be
If only they had been
Not the enemy
Like you



Earworms of Sammy Joe

February 11, 2016
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Earworms sometimes plague the normal day
Snippets from another time and place
Annoyingly embedded in our thoughts
Forcing out when thinking slows its pace
A melody in the amygdala
A hippocampus hip-hop on repeat
This one is an anthem ‘cross the world
Famous words that chime in with the beat
This one is familiar from somewhere
Eluding attribution to the mind
Quizzing friends and family is hard
It’s one that only Internet will find

But this one… this one rattles in my head
Not a tune that I could track and seek
This one is a voice I’ve often felt
Stroking the waves we breathe, in trough and peak
Here the nuances that strain to show
Internalised experience of another age
Boldly written in the margin’s rim
Hid beneath the folded, dog-eared page.
This voice has a timbre all its own
That nestles so obliquely in my brain
Attached to words, the master of us all,
Speaking of a joy, a laugh, a pain.

And when she heard her voice recordings back
“OMG! I sound so posh!”, she shouts.
Pasted in my mind, a comfort, rosie scene
Dining table craftwork, homework, grins, and pouts.
A thousand messages, social media bound
Have faded as the random tweets of birds.
However, I still hold, as do we all,
Those meanings and that love, once pressed in words
Friends have said they’ll never more again
Hear her words in her sound – sung or said
But I can hear her now – she does remain
Perpetually hiding in my head.

Lodged inside a chapel on a hill,
Dressed in wood and coloured out in white,
She wasn’t there to hear the sullen tones
In eulogy to what she was, or might
Have once become, had living saved her mind
And fixed the broken web that shaped her pains.
Intelligence wrapped in enslaving shroud,
She took herself away. Her shell remains
But briefly, as the teardrops on our cheeks
That wipe away in discard handkerchief.
But her voice in my memory still speaks –
In earworms she reminds me of my grief.