Saturday, July 5, 2008


I was thinking today about the connection between domestic violence and state violence, about violence that comes from desperation and the enforced poverty of our economic system. I was thinking about what role choice plays in violence and whether coercion itself is a form of violence. I was thinking about my relationship with my mother and her relationship with the military, about dependency and abuse, about my past...

Here is a poem I started a while ago but that still isn't finished. I want it to be better- clearer, more direct, more personal. But details are hard these days. I'm working on it.

I tried to write you a letter today
The pen, tossing and turning,
Bold typeface grasping and yearning,
For words that might makes sense
Against the backdrop of our estrangement
Against the space and time we don’t know our way through
Against the walls laid over bricks and years
Mortar bound in custom granite, tears
Mortar rounds in children’s ears
Sound like each time the streets reverberate with
An invocation to bring wars home
landing too close to the home I never had
In the seventeen year old signature
that was desperate enough to exchange twenty years
for security, poor medical care and a pension.
In the throbbing veins of his neck synchronizing
With his grip pressing me firmly against the wall
As spit shrapnel bombarded my face.
In the smoke-glazed eyes that couldn’t find
the courage to soften for your daughter
once in twenty years and counting.
You’d think I would have learned how to write to you
During the absences that permeated my childhood
with the stale bitterness of sea salt and engine oil
Fermented over the six months you lived on
Meclazine* and the conviction that you were better
than those Dirty, poor people.
How much anger can I write away or leave behind
Like not-so hidden mines
Exposed partially but fully loaded?

*Naval generic of sea sickness medication

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