Two by Bruce Lader
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark…
The sea, relentless cavalcade,
devours soldiers on fleet incursions
of surf, wave after wave catapults
over reef, in phalanxes the tide
surges like battering rams, drills them
to the gates of cliffs; fuzz-faced recruits
who would rather note the swaying
targets of girls, and reconnoiter
news of gridiron rivalries, follow
uncivil orders to invade another Troy,
scramble over the wrong zone,
find victims never-ending, many
who don’t want to be saved,
hurl stones, fire back tooth for
ballistic tooth; as the tide retreats,
the leviathan regiments
search the rubble for dead
mutilated and disappeared,
try to remember a cause,
see the enemy mirrored,
with charcoal eyes.
Previously published in Discovering Mortality (March Street Press, 2005)
The cuckoo clock strikes.
The generals stop killing time with cards,
consult CIA operatives
and investment brokers
who advise echoing their Commander in Chief.
The President salutes their heroism.
With the right strategy, the threat could develop
into the greatest war history has ever known,
might mushroom into megabucks.
The President schedules a golf trip,
orders weapons factories to turn planetary wheels,
declares it unavoidable to drop
smart bombs, liquidate the dirty deals
of hostile powers, so the world can be a place
for children to learn in peace.
Gods from glistening machines in heaven,
thousands of paratroopers obey
the chain of top-level commands,
descend like stars, fall in with regiments
to decimate the enemy, divide the spoils of evil.
In a deserted town settled with violence,
a military spokesman
denies responsibility, conveys regrets
about leveled neighborhoods,
the collateral ruin of mangled classrooms
where children used to learn.
Previously published in Landscapes of Longing (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2009)