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War poem (8)


War poem 7

Oh lord

I can't believe I'm bored

Already with this war

As it’s stored

With a destructive chord

On the dumb keyboard

in my mental ward

Am I floored

Out-soared, out-poured and

Out-gored already

Morally corrupted

– That no one can afford –

By this fake Voldemort?

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War poem 6

So here’s my

No cry zone

Let’s deliver on Ronald Reagan’s off the cuff remark

And start bombing within five minutes

First off: the Kremlin bam bam bam

But he won’t be there oh no

Then: badaboom boom his private quarters

Although they must be vacant too ha ha

Finally, and relentlessly, – perversely so–,

The hole in the ground deep deep deep down

Where the bastard in command will be hiding

Let’s burn his wood, melt his steel, crush his concrete

Bam bam bam badaboom badaboom

Over and over and over again

Hello? Here’s the world’s not so gentle knocking

On your obsessed, reluctant KGB-skull

It seems to be the only way

To get a simple message across


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War poem (5)

My attempts to be of help to refugees and renegades,

Fighters and flighters, wounded and needy, 

Hopefuls and desperates,

Have so far been futile, alas.

At a jam session in a whiskey bar last night

I met a young jazz musician

Who’d just picked up his sister from Kiev.

A silent, shy, dishwasher blonde girl

Holding her smartphone like a hand grenade.

She doesn’t speak English, he apologized.

Welcome to Amsterdam, I tried. (No smile.)

When I offered a round of drinks,

They gently albeit sternly declined.

Not once, I might add, but twice.

I guess this leaves me no other choice

Than to continue on the road not taken.

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War poem (4)

How many murders

Do a mass murderer


A mass murderer, it seems,

Should murder in the double digits,

Should murder massively,

Manifold, multifariously.

Although a dictator with a fondness for famine

Or a faulty fanaticism

Would not technically be murdering,

He is considered a mass murderer nevertheless.

A mass murderer with a preference

For children hospitals and maternity wards,

Is not necessarily a more massive or more murderous

Mass murderer, but still.

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War poem (3)

And then, – not suddenly,

but unexpectedly still –,

Like a silverfish jiggling in the knife box,

Hope returns.

Last night, in the clear wintery sky, against a backdrop

Of half a Dreamworks-moon, and stars,

A blackbird sang purposefully, almost too purposefully.

Who was he trying to impress except – perhaps – me?

In the messy backyard it quivered on a branch

Just a few yards from me

Looking right and left, or nowhere in particular;

Singing, and being content with that.

‘What are you doing outside,

Come in for dinner,’

my wife implored.

This morning, my daughter and I

Heard a woodpecker, but we couldn’t spot it.

It was annoyingly unspottable in the large tree

On the other side of the river, pecking, – pocking –,

Working on a coffin, no less.

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War poem (2)

Never a dull moment, it seems.

First, my beloved cousin took his life.

Shortly afterwards, a storm raged over the city

killing a man, just around the corner from my house.

Then, a hostage crisis downtown –

only hundred meters from where

my youngest son goes to school.

And now:

the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Who said nothing ever happened

at all?

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War poem (I)

The Ukrainian lady offering a flower seed

To a Russian soldier in the street

With the delicate assignment

Worded so eloquently

Take that you motherfucker 

Carry this with you in your pocket

So that when you’re put in the ground

At least something will grow out of you

Has inspired me to address

From the luxury of my kitchen table

In his second language

The snorting agressor himself

Hier du frustrierter Feigling

Ein Kaktus für deine Beerdigung

Schieb es tief in deinem Arsch

So daß noch etwas aus dir bluten wird

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Crumbling an old cork

My father and I are sitting at a table, trying to enjoy

A left over Margaux that I found in the improvised cellar

Beneath the wardrobe in my parents’ final dwelling.

My birth year, I’m afraid, was not a good vintage;

I comfort myself that my father could not have known this.

‘May I open it?’ ’Why don’t you,’ he said.

We wondered if the wine would still work

And if I could get the cork out in one piece.

The answer to these questions was no.

It was a terrible Margaux but we finished it anyway.

Not for the first time, my father told me about how he

sailed from Sumatra to Holland by ocean liner,

A trip that took three to four weeks eighty years ago;

An unimaginable long time for anything, but

How I wish I were on that ship right now.

We talked for two hours my father and I

More accurately: I grilled him.

A familiar crossfire. He didn’t doze off once. 

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