War zone

We are all combatants
Locked-and-loaded,
Grievances like grenades
Hung from our belts;
Bandoliers of slights
Slung across our chests
Packing full magazines of injured pride
Always one round in the chamber
One restless finger on the trigger.

Freedom fighters, we would call ourselves,
Taking arms against the endless tyranny
Of bosses, teachers, cops, the council,
Everyone ahead of us
In every queue we ever join,
Each car, bus, truck or bicycle
We find themselves behind.
Never drop your guard:
The enemy is everywhere.

No armistice for us, it seems;
No treaties signed, no DMZ
No ceasefire called, no peace declared;
No silence falling on the field.
We’re too far gone, entrenched too deep
The lines we hold are drawn in blood.
We promise to remember them
But what would those who went before
Make of the wars we fight today?

Burning man

 

I should know better;
Admit it’s long past time
To give it up.
This is a young man’s game:

Such hair-tearing
Garment-rending
Screaming at an indifferent heaven
Is undignified in one my age.

Where is my decorum
My armour-plate against the world
The self-control that comes with years
And having seen it all?

Yet I’ve not lived this long
To sit in docile acquiescence
As all that I have built
Is burned before my eyes.

My early self, perhaps,
Could have surveyed the ruins,
And in the blackened beams, the heat-split bricks
Seen promise, and all I might raise anew.

Not now.
All I have left is rage
That will not let me rest
Until we die together.