September 6, 2010

Deployment of Morale

Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:26 am by Mark

The exhaustion of doing nothing but waiting
Is a slow poison, working on the mind while sparing
The muscles. Sitting in uniform, weapon slung,
Boots always too tight, just waiting for our flight,
Is enough to create second doubts, lower morale,
And make a soldier wish for home before he leaves.

He needs a mission, a clear goal, to know differences
Were made by the sum of his small actions:
Bringing in a prisoner, raising the wall of a home,
Fixing a generator, watching the perimeter, cooking.
What comfort can a person find in such conditions
When orders stop the usual routines of feeling loved.

Whether in the arms of another, the glass of too many,
Or the addictions of slovenly lifestyles, this denial of self
To accomplish the mission comes at what cost to our identities?


April 23, 2010

Reincarnation of a Memory

Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:32 am by Mark

You: the dark haired woman I used to see in dreams,
Then laid beside, our bodies lit by morning sun beams.
Do you remember how we would laugh and shout,
As we wrestled and played, rolled in and out
Of bed and across your flat’s rug strewn floor,
Or when we couldn’t wait to open the front door?
You thought you had me on my back and pinned;
But to be accurate, I actually just gave in
And pretended to struggle, to see your wide smile,
Knowing that in a sweet, glorious while,
Our clothes would be lying, discarded, in a small pile,

Then you were taken, moved a continent away;
And those precious memories came, at first, every day,
But in time, only in dreams, then slowly forgotten,
Until I received from you a long, written letter,
Which I read. My heart turned rotten.
I remembered.

A woman, with light hair and sitting on my bed, asks,
“Are you weeping, lover, for someone from your past?”

April 22, 2010


Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 3:36 am by Mark

The sand that creeps into my boots,
That coats the bolt of my rifle;
The grains which cover every surface
And cloud out the horizon with gray haze,
Permeates my consciousness, becomes a part
Of my thinking. To be dry, and not dusty,
Wet without mud, or to tumble through grass
Would be a miracle to my sand blasted soul.
Cool winds make it worse, and a stillness,
Where heat bakes that top layer into cakes
Upon my skin, breaks my adventurous spirit.

This climate, the cradle of many cultures,
Drove them forth, in search of a lost paradise.
And the few who remained became cursed,
Like Cain, to never know rest amongst the sand.

March 5, 2010

Chasing the Sun

Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:52 am by Mark

You know what it is to love bright and hot
And stir the blackened ash the flames leave behind.
Instead, turn to look at the sky.
See the single star rise and brighten the night
And scorch away the fleeing darkness.
The hottest fire comes from the rising sun,
That is only warm upon your frosty fingertips,
Compared to the ice which drips from twinkling lights.
But, come midday, your sweat will pour and skin glisten
With the excitement of chasing that fiery orb
To make sure it never sets to the distant west,
Until your heart has beat it’s last.

February 27, 2010


Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:12 am by Mark

My strength is sapped from out of the air
As the nearby star pelts me from above,
This work – this waste – of being in the sand
While the heat, fatigue, and heavy armor
Drag down my shoulders. That burden,
More than simple weight, rides upon me.
Atlas had it easy, since geography
Does not move like borders before soldiers.
We fill the ground with enemy dead,
But the pressure upon us never relieves,
For the duty and responsibility, those hopes,
All depend on an ideal no human ever sees:
That soldiers are more than mere men,
And their actions are always just and right.

February 23, 2010


Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 5:08 am by Mark

“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hands?”


Coughing copper, ten crusted fingers tear
Hair matted in scabbed chunks against my scalp.
Confusion bleeds to horror, as murder
Drains its filth into my pores and psyche.
The shower runs red, faucets spit crimson;
Five cakes of soap slide off scrubbed hands and face.
My brain grows sticky, guilty, and needs sleep.
The unborn avenger should finish quick
And take my life; cover the stains with earth.
My lady, unsexed, took selfish respite.
I lived by the sword, sought gain with treason’s
Knife. Now pay my crimes with specters which haunt
Like the wild, bearded women that started
My ambition upon my damnation.

February 19, 2010


Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , , at 3:39 am by Mark

Trees are cracking, fires cackling, animals calling.
The wildfire burns so bright.
Firemen hurry, smoke makes a flurry, people worry.
Acres burn and time is tight.
Dropping water, fire’s still hotter; why do they bother?
An end in flames is their plight.
Evacuation, no information, traffic inflammation.
Civilians flee from fire’s light.
Memories lost, items tossed, the media adds up costs.
Rain clouds stay out of sight.

Rain, Rain, it stays away,
Please fall sometime today.
We’ve lost our place to go and play.

February 15, 2010

Rules of Attraction

Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:31 am by Mark

The sensation of fixation
Makes the object of errant sideways looks
A person with hopes of future talks.
After drinks are gone, courage replaces
Morés and small talk with gross advances.
Sobriety is recommended here.
Flirting and compliments should lead the way,
Self-deferential humor always wins.
What is easier? What’s safer for you?
A harsh system of conjugal visits
To predict a new partner’s potential
Compatibility. Sex rules the start,
When consummation of love
Should just be another length
Of the journey to enrich
Both your souls.

February 11, 2010

On Rooftops

Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:54 am by Mark

Running across the rooftops, wild
With fear, footfalls chasing far below;
As I prayed to God who held the moon too high,
My legs pumped, blurred across tar paper; jumped.
I heard the gasps of pursuers street side.
The passersbys screamed, for now they knew,
Like I did, flying above the soon bloody alley
That the deeds I’d done, the words I spoke to God,
My surprise when fingers could not hold the rail,
All led to the inevitable reality of dirt.

Three seconds I had, that I tried to savor,
For I knew I was losing life’s flavor
That tasted like bitter copper once I bit my tongue.
No time for flailing arms, or kicking legs,
Just the sound of meat and blood and street
Meeting in a flash of light, too bright,
For the moon that God held too high.

February 6, 2010

Merciful Wrath

Posted in poems tagged , , , , at 4:42 pm by Mark

Lightning did not strike, no fire from above,
Just a fall; not from grace, which had been done.
End times determined a heavenly end,
Despite his dark dealings late in his days.

His good deeds were done and God’s will ran out,
For his bad examples, feigned ignorance, crimes
Which succeeded a pilgrim’s high calling,
An evangelist’s message straight from God.

The Potter finished and watched the cracked jar
Crumble from within, the water of life seeped
Out, and He gathered the broken pieces
To Himself, and placed them on a high shelf.

Overnight, the jar was made whole, no seams,
A perfect container formed from new clay.
A reward, undeserved, but given freely
To a once flawed vessel.

February 4, 2010


Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , at 3:50 am by Mark

The decrepit flesh that haunted the animated marrow
Of a beast that had been too human, now reeks
From an undead decay and is nourished by bones
Of a friend who fell victim to the monster’s onslaught.
Who knows why, but it craved the taste of living skin
That was flush and tense with adrenaline and blood,
As the shotgun I held was racked, and then spit lead.
The goo of a lover’s brain, long lost,
spurted out its skull
But the eyeless horror
Placed another foot forward.
I screamed
As it trembled
And fell dead.

February 2, 2010

A Psalm

Posted in poems tagged , , , , , , , , at 5:33 am by Mark

As a man not worth the paper or ink I write with,
Nor the breath to sing, nor the kindness of election,
Yet fortunate to hear Your call,
I am grateful to compose a new song
Inspired by the same mercy you showed Saul,
The same mercy given to repentant Nineveh,
I write a Psalm herewith.

You called David, Solomon, Asaph, and Moses,
Made them kings, wise men, poets, prophets;
Men who knew Your miracles, and I only Your grace,
Men who bow in Heaven, and I on this bedroom floor.

All glory is found in Your creations and destructions,
Your lifting up and casting down all men and rulers,
Your flames to scorch the prairies, and rains to bring growth,
Your black watery pits, and snow caps on mountain tops,
Your peoples of every tongue, shade, and sex,
Your proud savanna lions, filthy scavenging vultures.

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