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Duath
Regrets Number 191: The Bosnian

So, an old girlfriend (see poem Regrets Number 82: Old Girlfriends
Never Die) and I pick up these three foreign travelers (one girl
from Holland, one boy from Venezuela, one boy from Bosnia)
and within a few minutes this crazy bitch has invited them to stay
with me for the week. We get to my tiny little dank place
in the Haight and try to have a conversation in my den,
which has us sitting almost knee to knee, but it is splitting into like
fifty directions (imagine the play by play of the three languages
bumping together: each fouling and double-dribbling and getting
back-court violations, and English is doing a terrible job at referee.*
Then this conversation goes ghetto on us, a real street-ball game
with fouls and dunks and under-cutting because we add absinthe
and Crazy Horse malt liquor into our mix, and soon I am embellishing
my combat stories of the Persian Gulf War—what it feels like
to have blood on your clothes that is not your own, what it is like
to hold your friend down by the throat as you try to cinch a tourniquet,
how everything is quiet after a close call with a frag grenade.
I don’t know if I was trying to engender pity or what, but three
years passed before I realized what an ass I was—that the Bosnian must
have felt like he missed something important in the translation
of my history, because to him, this poor American maniac (me)
is not seeing the critical difference between, A: putting dead total fucking
strangers into body bags, and B: loading your dead mother
(shot in face) and sister (raped and shot in liver) and mailman
(landmine) onto a mule drawn cart headed to an isolated and diseased
landfill, because nobody has the time or money to fold them
into wooden caskets, and dig shallow graves for them anymore.

By S. Brady Tucker
27th-Jul-2015 01:00 am - John Prine, 'Sam Stone'
Duath
Sam Stone

Sam Stone came home,
To his wife and family
After serving in the conflict overseas.
And the time that he served,
Had shattered all his nerves,
And left a little shrapnel in his knee.
But the morphine eased the pain,
And the grass grew round his brain,
And gave him all the confidence he lacked,
With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back.

There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.
Mmm....


Sam Stone's welcome home
Didn't last too long.
He went to work when he'd spent his last dime
And Sammy took to stealing
When he got that empty feeling
For a hundred dollar habit without overtime.
And the gold rolled through his veins
Like a thousand railroad trains,
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose,
While the kids ran around wearin' other peoples' clothes...

There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.
Mmm....


Sam Stone was alone
When he popped his last balloon
Climbing walls while sitting in a chair
Well, he played his last request
While the room smelled just like death
With an overdose hovering in the air
But life had lost its fun
And there was nothing to be done
But trade his house that he bought on the G. I. Bill
For a flag draped casket on a local heroes' hill.

There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.


By John Prine

26th-Jul-2015 01:00 am - Boris Slutsky, 'Horses In The Ocean'
Duath
Horses in the Ocean
To Ilya Ehrenburg

Horses know how to swim,
But not so well. Not too far.
In Russian, "Gloria" means "Slava."
That you can easily remember.
The ship sailed on, proud of its name.
The ocean tried to get the better of it.
In the hold, shaking their good heads,
A thousand horses trampled day and night.
A thousand horses! Four thousand hooves!
All the same they brought no luck,
A mine ripped out the bottom of the ship
when it was a long way from the shore.
The men piled into boats and sloops.
The horses could only swim.
What else could they do when there was no room
For them in the boats and on the rafts?
An island of bays was swimming in the ocean.
In the sea, the blue sea, swam an island of grays.
To swim seemed simple in the beginning.
To them the ocean seemed a river.
But it was a river that had no bank in sight.
When their equine strength was failing,
The horses suddenly began to neigh, protesting
Against those who were drowning them in the ocean.
The horses sank to the bottom, neighing, neighing.
Until they had all gone down.
That is all. Nevertheless, I pity them,
Those bay horses, that never saw the land again.

By Boris Slutsky
Translated by George Reavey
Duath
Sonnet Read at the Unveiling of the Lundy's Lane Monument,
25th July, 1895


"STAND FAST! STAND FAST! STAND FAST!" A mighty cry
Rang from the British line at Lundy's Lane.
"CLOSE UP YOUR RANKS! STAND FAST!" the foes again
Swarm up the hill, where our brave colours fly,
And Drummond shouts: "To conquer or to die."
'Mid roar of guns, that rend the heavens in twain,
Our flashing bayonets back upon the plain
Hurl down their columns, heaps on heaps they lie;
And Canada, like Greece at Marathon,
Stands victor on the field of freedom won.
This Pillar fair, of sculptured stone, will show
Forever, in the light of glory, how
England and Canada stood fast that night
At Lundy's Lane, and conquered for the right.

by William Kirby (War of 1812)
Duath
The Battle of Lundy's Lane
(Rufus Gale Speaks - 1852)

Yes, - in the Lincoln Militia, - in the war of eighteen-twelve;
Many's the day I've had since then to dig and delve -
But those are the years I remember as the brightest years of all,
When we left the plow in the furrow to follow the bugle's call.
Why, even our son Abner wanted to fight with the men!
"Don't you go, d'ye hear, sir!" - I was angry with him then.
"Stay with your mother!" I said, and he looked so old and grim -
He was just sixteen that April - I couldn't believe it was him;
But I didn't think - I was off - and we met the foe again,
Five thousand strong and ready, at the hill by Lundy's Lane.
There as the night came on we fought them from six to nine,
Whenever they broke our line we broke their line,
They took our guns and we won them again, and around the levels
Where the hill sloped up - with the Eighty-ninth, - we fought like devils
Around the flag; - and on they came and we drove them back,
Until with its very fierceness the fight grew slack.

It was then about nine and dark as a miser's pocket,
When up came Hercules Scott's brigade swift as a rocket,
And charged, - and the flashes sprang in the dark like a lion's eyes,
The night was full of fire - groans, and cheers, and cries;
Then through the sound and the fury another sound broke in -
The roar of a great old duck-gun shattered the rest of the din;
It took two minutes to charge it and another to set it free.
Every time I heard it an angel spoke to me;
Yes, the minute I heard it I felt the strangest tide
Flow in my veins like lightning, as if, there, by my side,
Was the very spirit of Valor. But 'twas dark - you couldn't see -
And the one who was firing the duck-gun fell against me
And slid down to the clover, and lay there still;
Something went through me - piercing - with a strange, swift thrill;
The noise fell away into silence, and I heard clear as thunder
The long, slow roar of Niagara; O the wonder
Of that deep sound. But again the battle broke
And the foe, driven before us desperately - stroke upon stroke,
Left the field to his master, and sullenly down the road
Sounded the boom of his guns, trailing the heavy load
Of his wounded men and his shattered flags, sullen and slow,
Setting fire in his rage to Bridgewater mills, and the glow
Flared in the distant forest. We rested as we could,
And for a while I slept in the dark of a maple wood:
But when the clouds in the east were red all over,
I came back there to the place we made the stand in the clover;
For my heart was heavy then with a strange, deep pain,
As I thought of the glorious fight, and again and again
I remembered the valiant spirit and the piercing thrill;
But I knew it all when I reached the top of the hill, -
For there, with the blood on his dear, brave head,
There on the hill in the clover lay our Abner - dead! -
No - thank you - I don't need it; I'm solid as a granite rock,
But every time that I tell it I feel the old, cold shock.

I'm eighty-one my next birthday - do you breed such fellows now?
There he lay with the dawn cooling his broad fair brow,
That was no dawn for him: and there was the old duck-gun
That many and many's the time, - just for the fun,
We together, alone, would take to the hickory rise,
And bring home more wild pigeons than ever you saw with your eyes.
Up with Hercules Scott's brigade, just as it came on night -
He was the angel beside me in the thickest of the fight -
Wrote a note to his mother - He said, "I've got to go,
Mother; what would home be under the heel of the foe!"
Oh! She never slept a wink, she would rise and walk the floor;
She'd say this over and over, "I knew it all before!"
I'd try to speak to her of the glory to give her a little joy.
"What is the glory to me when I want my boy, my boy!"
She'd say, and she'd wring her hands; her hair grew white as snow -
And I'd argue with her up and down, to and fro,
Of how she had mothered a hero, and this was a glorious fate,
Better than years of grubbing to gather an estate.
Sometimes I'd put it this way: "If God was to say to me now
'Take him back as he once was helping you with the plow,'
I'd say 'No, God, thank You kindly; 'twas You that he obeyed;
You told him to fight and he fought, and he wasn't afraid;
You wanted to prove him in battle, You sent him to Lundy's Lane,
'Tis well!" But she only would answer over and over again,
"Give me back my Abner - give me back my son!"
It was so all through the winter until the spring had begun,
And the crocus was up in the dooryard, and the drift by the fence was thinned,
And the sap drip-dropped from the branches wounded by the wind,
And the whole earth smelled like a flower, - then she came to me one night -
"Rufus!" she said, with a sob in her throat, - "Rufus, you're right."
I hadn't cried till then, not a tear - but then I was torn in two -
There, it's all right - my eyes don't see as they used to do!

But O the joy of that battle - it was worth the whole of life,
You felt immortal in action with the rapture of the strife,
There in the dark by the river, with the flashes of fire before,
Running and crashing along, there in the dark, and the roar
Of the guns, and the shrilling cheers, and the knowledge that filled your heart
That there was a victory making and you must do your part.
But - there's his grave in the orchard where the headstone glimmers white:
We could see it, we thought, from our window even on the darkest night;
It is set there for a sign that what one lad could do
Would be done by a hundred hundred lads whose hearts were stout and true.
And when in the time of trial you hear the recreant say,
Shooting his coward lips at us, "You shall have had your day;
For all your state and glory shall pass like a cloudy wrack,
And here some other flag shall fly where flew the Union Jack," -
Why tell him a hundred thousand men would spring from these sleepy farms,
To tie that flag in its ancient place with the sinews of their arms;
And if they doubt you and put you to scorn, why you can make it plain,
With the tale of the gallant Lincoln men and the fight at Lundy's Lane.

by Duncan Campbell Scott
From: The Christmas Globe 1908

The Battle of Lundy's Lane, July 25, 1814
24th-Jul-2015 12:00 am - David Rovics, 'We Will Win'
Duath
We Will Win (Song for Wisconsin)

My ancestors came to Wisconsin, they came here from the east
They believed the greatest person was no greater than the least
And this state it was founded on the grounds that we're all free
And no one should ever suffer from the bonds of slavery
When the call went out from Kansas there were many volunteers
Who left their families in Wisconsin to free their shackled peers
They stood and fought together, and therein lay the key
They stood shoulder to shoulder, they were union folk like me

If in union we're together
Raise our voice above the din
If in union we're together
Then in union we will win


When the mill came to Milwaukee and it became a factory town
In 1886 they shut all the factories down
The demands were fairly simple, eventually they got their way
Fighting Bob Lafollette and the eight-hour day
They were massacred at Bay View, the blood that grew the seed
Of the socialist republic that had union as its creed
There were differences among them, good people disagree
But the core of their success was they were union folk like me

If in union we're together
Raise our voice above the din
If in union we're together
Then in union we will win


There are those who try to tell us, forget your history
You no longer need a say here, you don't need your liberty
Let us make the decisions, you just do as you are told
Those who are fit to rule here are those who have the gold
But we're here to tell the governor we're not falling for that line
Workers only can have power when in union we combine
Workers' voices also matter, generations here agree
The way to move is to move forward arm in arm in unity

If in union we're together
Raise our voice above the din
If in union we're together
Then in union we will win


By David Rovics

Wisconsin Capitol Protest Leads To Two Dozen Arrests, July 24, 2013

23rd-Jul-2015 01:00 am - Will H. Ogilvie, 'Canadians'
Duath
Canadians

With arrows on their quarters and with numbers on their hoofs,
With the trampling sound of twenty that re-echoes in the roofs,
Low of crest and dull of coat, wan and wild of eye,
Through our English village the Canadians go by.

Shying at a passing cart, swerving from a car,
Tossing up an anxious head to flaunt a snowy star,
Racking at a Yankee gait, reaching at the rein,
Twenty raw Canadians are tasting life again!

Hollow-necked and hollow-flanked, lean of rib and hip,
Strained and sick and weary with the wallow of the ship,
Glad to smell the turf again, hear the robin’s call,
Tread again the country road they lost at Montreal!

Fate may bring them dule and woe; better steeds than they
Sleep beside the English guns a hundred leagues away;
But till war hath need of them, lightly lie their reins,
Softly fall the feet of them along the English lanes.

By Will H. Ogilvie
22nd-Jul-2015 01:00 am - Jerry Cantrell, 'Rooster'
Duath
Rooster

Haven't found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
Wife and kids, household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere

Here they come to snuff the Rooster
Yeah here come the Rooster, yeah
You know he is not going to die
No, no, no, you know he isn't going to die


Walking tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my home land
Gloria sent me pictures of my boy
Got my pills against mosquito death
My buddy's breathing his dying breath
Oh God, please won't you help me make it through

By Jerry Cantrell

Duath
The Lads of the Maple Leaf

Ripe for any adventure, sturdy, loyal and game,
Quick to the call of the Mother, the young Canadians came.
Eager to show their mettle, ready to shed their blood,
They bowed their neck to the collar and trained in the Wiltshire mud;

Shipped, in the fulness of time, across to the other shore,
Heard a deep hum in the distance, the basso profundo of war,
Fretted to get to the business, chafed for the firing line;
Forward, with throbbing pulses, like pilgrims who near their shrine;

Spoiled for a fight, and got it -- lurid, merciless, red --
Trifled with death in the trenches, braved, and battled, and bled;
Then, at a given order, gathered together and backed --
Not because they were bending, but to keep the line intact.

Four of their guns defenceless -- left in the enemy's hand!
That was a bitter buffet, more than the lads could stand.
Back charged the men of the Maple, routed the jubilant Huns,
Captured a pack of Germans, and saved their beloved guns.

Ripe for any adventure, sturdy, loyal, and game,
Quick to the call of the Mother, the keen Canadians came.
Hurrah for the young Dominion! Then cheer them with heart and voice,
The Maple shall never wither! Bravo, Canada boys!

By Jessie Pope
Duath
We Will Not Go Down (Song For Gaza)

A blinding flash of white light
Lit up the sky over Gaza tonight
People running for cover
Not knowing whether they're dead or alive

They came with their tanks and their planes
With ravaging fiery flames
And nothing remains
Just a voice rising up in the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight


Women and children alike
Murdered and massacred night after night
While the so-called leaders of countries afar
Debated on who's wrong or right

But their powerless words were in vain
And the bombs fell down like acid rain
But through the tears and the blood and the pain
You can still hear that voice through the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight


By Michael Heart

19th-Jul-2015 02:00 am - Gordon Alchin, 'A Song of the Plane'
Duath
A Song of the Plane

This is the song of the Plane -
The creaking, shrieking plane,
The throbbing, sobbing plane,
And the moaning, groaning wires:-
The engine - missing again!
One cylinder never fires!
Hey ho! for the Plane!

This is the song of the Man -
The driving, striving man,
The chosen, frozen man:-
The pilot, the man-at-the-wheel,
Whose limit is all that he can,
And beyond, if the need is real!
Hey ho! for the Man!

This is the song of the Gun -
The muttering, stuttering gun,
The maddening, gladdening gun:-
That chuckles with evil glee
At the last, long dive of the Hun,
With its end in eternity!
Hey ho! for the Gun!

This is the song of the Air -
The lifting, drifting air,
The eddying, steadying air,
The wine of its limitless space,
May it nerve us at last to dare
Even death with undaunted face!
Hey ho! for the Air.

by Gordon Alchin
Duath
To Them These Streets Belong

So look in my eyes, what will you leave behind once you've gone? (so precious)
You got what you came for now I think it's time to move on (when will you say)
But these ghosts come alive like water and wine
Walk through these streets singing songs and carrying signs,
To them these streets belong

My atonement lasts the best part of eternity (eternity)
Ran out of hands to count the sin that breeds inside of me (inside of me)
Not this hate but the loneliness has left me here into this mess of

My hands are soaking in the blood of angels
On broken wings, they collapse (will I see the break of day!)
Dark clouds exploded and torrents of rain fell
All these lost halos wash away


Head hung from shame we bear a weight that brings me to a crawl (to a crawl)
These years of longing tell of decades of unanswered calls (unanswered calls)
For a change, cause everyday we slip and fall
Kicked while were down, our fists clenched into a ball

My hands are soaking in the blood of angels
On broken wings, they collapse (will I see the break of day!)
Dark clouds exploded and torrents of rain fell
All these lost halos wash away


So look in my eyes, what will you leave behind once you've gone? (so precious)
You got what you came for now I think it's time to move on (when will you say)
But these ghosts come alive like water and wine
Walk through these streets singing songs and carrying signs
To them these streets belong

By 'Rise Against'

17th-Jul-2015 02:00 am - Anonymous, 'Command of the Air'
Duath
Command of the Air

A thousand years between the sun and sea
Britannia held her court of liberty,
And cradled heroes in the questing waves
That were for lesser men but wandering graves.

Then did the British airman's sea-born skill
Teach wood and metal to foresee his will;
In every cog and joint his spirit stirred;
The Thing possessed was man as well as bird.

A falcon among timorous fowl he flies,
And bears Britannia's battle to the skies;
Vainly the Hun seeks covert in a cloud -
The clinging mist is made his ghostly shroud.

Thus at the ringing gates of heaven's glory
Begin new chapters of our island-story,
And clarion voices of the void declare:
"She who has ruled the sea shall rule the air."

by O.
Duath
Captain Kruger is a Nazi

The far right has many members in the ranks of the police
This is undoubtedly true from the USA to Greece
Among the most notable cases is the PPB
Who kill more black men per capita than any department in the country
But the leader of the Vice Squad deserves a special mention
Even among his fellow cops he's caused a bit of tension
If he could choose his weapon it would surely be a Luger
I'm talking about a marksman by the name of Captain Kruger

No it's not just about the lawsuit back in 2003
That he attacked peaceful protesters with thug brutality
It's not just about his colleague who got tired of his shit
After years of him harassing her he got promoted and she quit
I mean that stuff doesn't help, but what really makes the case
Is how he commemorated members of the so-called Master Race
About his political proclivities there's been no need for us to guess
Since he put up a plaque in honor of the Waffen SS

You can say that it's just speech, you can say that speech is free
But Captain Kruger is a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, Hitler-loving Nazi


He put up a plaque though he says that's not what he meant
But I'm not sure what other messages get sent
When you memorialize a man for whom mass murder was a game
Who had thousands of non-Aryans killed in his name
Kruger sued the city and the Nazi won
Lots of money, an apology, the right to keep his badge and gun
But it wasn't only that – he got promoted, too
Hey, no problem, if you want to gas blacks and gays and Jews

You can say that it's just speech, you can say that speech is free
But Captain Kruger is a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, Hitler-loving Nazi


The mayor says he's sorry that he didn't read
The settlement he signed, but now he's done the deed
The mayor says he's sorry – here, have a lane for your bike
Now can we stop complaining about Mr. Third Reich
And please don't call the cop a fascist – he's sensitive about that
Just ignore the Swastika on his Nazi hat
Just ignore the Swastika, he's not doing too much harm
Just tell us if he starts tattooing numbers on your arm

You can say that it's just speech, you can say that speech is free
But Captain Kruger is a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, Hitler-loving Nazi


By David Rovics

Portland police Capt. Mark Kruger's past discipline to be erased - July 16, 2014

16th-Jul-2015 05:30 am - David Ray, 'What They Are Watching'
Duath

What They Are Watching
Trinity Site, New Mexico, 5:30 A.M., July 16, 1945

That they should sit on long rows of benches,
That they should consider the desert
as a worthy place for the beholding,
That they should sit with hands joined
in their laps, as if in meditation,
That they should make no outcry,
That they should wear ordinary clothing,
nothing thicker than an old drab overcoat,
That they should wear only tennis shoes
or oxfords over the bones of their feet,
That they should allow the dark goggles
to be placed over their eyes,
That they should sit as quiet as death
while the great light flashes through them,
That they should bear the burden
of knowledge, and the lack of it,
That they should sit, patient and expectant,
That they should cross legs, swinging their feet,
That mountains should sit unmoved in judgement,
That men and women should hold their hands
to their goggles as if looking through
binoculars or at the sun, which has never
expressed a need for a sibling on earth,
That they should think this is the ultimate
good, worth the sacrifice of every creature,
That they should catch death like a flung ball,
And that they did not flee screaming,
is the great mystery.

by David Ray

Duath
Letter To A Young Bombmaker

“‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
—J. Robert Oppenheimer, creator of the Atomic Bomb, on the Trinity Test


If God is a penny, drop him down the well.
Then you can start in on any my dear mister
and unbuckle Orion’s belt till the fallout
litters the fields and the dessert
trays, the china teacups and the china—
men don’t need no whispers of wicks
to make fire lick the stalks and shafts
of unborn bread. Say, Consider the moon
and I might, but I’d rather face the sand dunes
and a pillar to push you off. Gimme the sun
whirring like a pushmower. Gimme the cuticle
of convenience and I’ll show you God’s thumb.
Bottlenecked boys can’t swear till they’re sweaty
and looking for a sin to atone for—and everyone
needs a reason to be locked up. If you come
to the desert tonight, I’ll show you a secret. Why not?
No reason for a peach, even, except to eat it.

by Michael Shea

Trinity Test, July 16, 1945
Duath
The Greeks Planned For War

On the delightful island of Salamis.
From the harbor of Athens, you could see it
Seized by the enemy's hand.

And now our friends the islanders
Are fitting out our ships.
Earlier the English didn't love
The sweet European soil.

O, Europe, new Hellas,
Save the Acropolis and Pireus.
We do not need the island's gifts,
A forest of uninvited ships.

By Osip Mandelstam
13th-Jul-2015 01:00 am - Leslie Fish, 'The Anarchist Waltz'
Duath
The Anarchist Waltz

Why should I be a good citizen/slave
When I'd much rather be free?
Why should I serve your Society's laws?
What good have they been to me? Tell me that.
What good have they been to me?

What makes Society holy as hell?
What makes you think it's so rare?
People make rules as they live all the time.
Morals come cheaper than air. Cheaper than dirt!
Morals come cheaper than air.

What kind of God has your Nation become?
Something to make people serve?
You're standing on merit you've long since worn out.
I'm only what you deserve. Little me!
I'm only what you deserve.

Lockstep by lockstep, you push them around,
All these good folk who Believe,
Perverting their trust into slavery for life.
Thank you, but I'd rather leave. Escape!
Thank you, but I'd rather leave.

What will you do when your victims awake,
When they see how you've buggered them all?
I'll be lending a hand when they topple your gates.
I'll be laughing like hell when you fall. With a crash!
Laughing like hell when you fall!

by Leslie Fish
12th-Jul-2015 01:00 am - Leon Gellert, 'War!'
Duath
War!

When my poor body died, —Alas!
I watched it topple down a hill
And sink beside a tuft of grass.
…….. I laughed like mad,
……. and laughing still
I bowed and thanked the bit of shell
That set me free and made me glad.
Then quietly,
I strolled to Hell.

by Leon Gellert
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