The Alternative to Total War

Go now—
the door’s about to close.
Don’t need the bottle, that shield,
your prized sword or beloved bow.

Pour one out for the carnage of freedom.
Unravel the grip on your bloodstained flask.
Burn the battle away
like the spirited spray that once pried
your soul from your bones.

Come with haste.
Come without fright.
Come sovereign, come naked
into the jarring light.

Hold still in the line of duty.
Stay your hand
from the fuse of a sip.
Expose every inch of your flesh
to the receding
thrill of gunfire.

Lean in
through boredom thick
and loneliness thin,
through the shells
of doubt and shame,
through the fight’s end.

When the silence is absolute,
strike out—
life writhing into your limbs
as you step, conscious and complex,
for the first time.

<Below the Belt | The Terms of the Trade >

Sample Poems