John-Ward Leighton


He said,

“I love you…”
he said aloud
just so he could hear the words.
The words filled the void
as he watched the screen.
“I need you,” he said
In response to the war babble from the screen.
She has no shape, and her face is as yet unfamiliar.
The war lover watched and listened
For the smell of victory
and the spoils of war.
But, why was he uneasy, 

he hesitated…
and then the generals swaggered in
preening in the reflected glorious glow
of their young men’s bravery and blood.
They postured before maps and video game gimmickry
and justify their ethical and moral bankruptcy
with the moronic jargon of the sports jock.
Sleek politicians suited and shiny with their hair slicked with the slime of lies
mouth the platitudes of simple minded pseudo patriotism,
All the while selling the war from a vast inventory of death
like cans of pop in the cola wars.

The war lover wondered
if they believed in the war so much
had they donated their sons and daughters
to the cause?

The image was slow to materialize
obscured by the miasma of media propaganda
huffing and puffing
while blowing smoke up our asses.

The Dow Jones is up, is down, oil prices increase.

The image is ragged around the edges
like piles of blood soaked rags and rubble.
There is a background of wreckage;
Something evilly stupid from a smart bomb.

A woman kneels and clutches to her breast
her once laughing child
now a piece of bloody and smoking collateral damage.
Her face comes sharply into focus
her eyes reflecting shock and horror.
She begins to wail
the sound is burned into his brain,
the scene is carved into his heart,

and she cannot hear him:

He reaches and touches the screen.
“I’m sorry”…
he said.

Author’s Note: I wrote this poem after seeing the carnage caused by the 13 February 1991 smart bombing of the air raid shelter in Baghdad killing 420 civilians 142 of them children.

Remembrance Day, 2007
Photographs ©Copyright 2007 by John-Ward Leighton

Remembrance Day, 2007: Photo ©Copyright 2007 by John-Ward LeightonRemembrance Day, 2007: Photo ©Copyright 2007 by John-Ward Leighton