collateral murder, dandelions, and monsters

May 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

so i did it.  thirty poems.  in thirty days.  national poetry writing month.  a poem a day.  #apad.  you know…how we do in april…

i kept a seperate blog for the poems.  and i wanted to give some light to the process i used in writing.

for the first few days of april. i sketched pieces of poems in my notebook.  and then like a bolt of lightening the wiki leaks video, collateral murder came out.

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

and i watched it stunned.  and if you have lived in a war zone before.  especially a war zone in the middle east.  if you have had friends die in the iraqi war.  if you have known and loved us soldiers.  if your father is a veteran, waking your childhood in ptsd dreams.  if you are like me.  then you may understand why this video got under my skin. under my breath.  inside my poems.

and i was watching it.  i knew that i was going to write a month worth of poems inspired by this video.  because i had to respond to violence and dehumanization with art and love.

what struck me was the voice of the men.  the accent.  i knew that accent.  was it from texas?  from georgia?  it was like the voice of my ex boyfriend, who had been an army boy, who thankfully had left the military, but it was a voice i knew intimately, had loved and argued with.  a summer lovers voice.

and so i wrote poems.  a story of this boy before the war, during, and after…

i called the tumblr blog: monsters and other silent creatures

i dont write a lot of fiction.  and usually my poetry is memoiristic (is that a word?  well, it is now…shakespeare made up thousands of words…that is what good writers do…not to mention the phrases he made up…and this is what hip hop does…and yes, conversate is a fucking word…)

so i wanted to share some my favorite poems i wrote last month.  im not sure if  they are the ‘best’ ones…but in writing they moved me. you are welcome to visit the blog and read them all.  i did not write the story in order.  but in pieces.  now, i am going through them and finding a way to edit and organize them so that they give a full picture.

basically, i would play the video and write.  and write. and write. and then play the video again.  and write some more.  and the muse sat next to me whispering in my ear.  poems. and images.  and stories.

so let me know what you think…really…

my goal was to write a cohesive piece.  interrelated.  weaving together a picture complex and lyrical and powerful.  bringing back some what war takes from us…our sense of ourself.


no matter what

dear mama

today i shot a man

and another

and then another

and then another one

and then another one, mama

and another

and another

and then i shot a child

then two

then i shot a man

and another one

and another

back to the barracks

took a shot of brandy

and tasted like papa

roger told me today was a good day


and i laughed

cause it was wrong to let tears fall

where men do

and then i called you

and you said: i love you



he had a black girl

two towns over

fumbling naked in cars

across from the church parking lot

under a white cross

for six months

and then he left

her for the desert

slung over his shoulder

bushmaster element

once you get on him, just open on him

light em all up

bodies laying there

you shoot ill talk

crazy horse dead bastards

wounded trying to crawl away

all you got to do is pick up a weapon

come on lets shoot

she said she was pregnant

and the unborn

had disappeared

a white cross

floating in a clear egg

on the bathroom floor

funny what you see

at night

after hours looking

through the target point

of an apache helicopter:

heat of the chest

air heavy with ink

might of the clouds

after a couple of weeks

she said she didnt have the money

to keep calling him

you dont have to lie- he said

but he was glad she had

the courtesy to shoot him




after we won the game

came looking for sweet girls

from the county private school

i had seen her around town

slight legs black belly

looking me in the eye

she sat on the porch

drinking iced tea

cocked her head

boys aint allowed in the house

since my brother

aint here—

then we’ll have to sit


til he get back—

suit yourself,

she shrugged

and sauntered  inside

fucked up pigeons

stood up drunk ready

for flight

drove fast

rum and coke

moon cut like a smile

from a catholic school girl

in a short red dress


when she couldnt think of what to say

she sang poems

show off he’d say

his hands underneath her dress

show me what you can do

and she’d show him

how to point that gun and shoot

no one ever tells him

after he has seen it all

everything sounds like a poem

the last line cut




black screen

white letters

a boy clutches a photo

of a dead man smiling

static cracks

against the muezzin’s prayer:

look, its hurt, oh poor thing


dont say poor thing

we have to do better

white cross glides

like a needle in the ocean

due north

the pilot asks what time it is

shadows shrink

into the lovelines

stretched across my palm

i am trying to tell the time

cant shoot

until i can recite the minutes

it is written


how much time we got? she asks

not enough, its never enough

white cross slices open

the belly of the sky


i want to shoot

ready to blow time

like i got time to take

the day flashes white figures

melt into the edges

of the frame


i look for landmarks

as he cants the war cry:

im bringing it

bringing it

bringing it down

to the crevices

where i keep my father’s blood

my legs shake numb

when i fist the trigger

close my eyes

im bringing it home


my skin is red ash

i will wake up

in this helicopter pit

reincarnation on repeat

reaping sins

for bullets sown

no one asks me why

im shooting my gun

with my eyes



the air, sticky like saliva

stuck to the walls

that summer

papa talked to me

like dying slowly

he forgot the rest of the world



he whispered afraid

to disturb the houseflies

reciting the last rites

on his forehead


behind my navel

a soft patch

where papa used to punch

to toughen me up

every soldier,

a living hero,

reincarnating the dead


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