Anthony W. Pahl


The screams of torment inside his mind are driving me insane.
The appearance of his memory ignites my imagination’s flame.
The razor wires that form the walls of his lonely open grave
Is enough to fester open sores on the meek and on the brave.

The blinds that do not exist in truth veil his blank and staring eyes;
And a million miles of time and space hush his tormented, silent cries.

They’ve ceased the beatings; they feed him now, but the tortures never stop.
The scabs have healed, he has shoes to wear and his clothes no longer rot.
They speak to him and he comprehends the words they say aloud to him
But the voices he hears in consciousness are not those that angels bring.

And if, perchance, he thinks he hears an accent he once knew
He shuts his mind to block the sound so his hopes do not renew
And he curses angrily, the peoples of the country of his birth
For thirty years have told him that to them he has no worth.

He wants to die, to kill himself, for he knows no will to live.
As for the agony of his existence; even God he can’t forgive.
In truth, his jailers are his prisoners too, just as he is theirs
For they are bound to guard him while he lives despite despair.

And they torture him with constant news from back there in the world
He knows, for they keep telling him, that the flag is still unfurled
But in his mind’s eye, in his dreams, he sees the folded tri-corn flag.
He curses the day that he survived; better a bloody body bag!