War is a whirlpool
that will suck you in,
nowhere to hide, pick a side
War means survive.
War is phone calls to the wife
for the soldier.
War is a one way ticket for the refugee
War means sleeping listening to shells
War is fatigue. Means spending nights
under a table hiding.
War is red pencil scribbles
obliterating the lovingly drawn,
house and apple tree
of a peaceful childhood.
War means invasion.
Of troops across borders, but also
of uniforms into city streets
of checkpoints on roads,
of keeping papers and absence of gun calluses
ready for inspection into travelling,
of knowing the potential places for gun calluses
and sounds of various calibers
into a thoroughly civilian brain.
War is courage, war means
who else but me?
War means a timid school teacher volunteer.
War means prisoner, means boot
to kidney for good measure, means
conventions can go to hell, means
“shut the *** up, or we’ll take you outside”
Means knowing exactly what that means.
War is fear.
War is wound, is city street
turned frontline in ten seconds.
Doctors call it flashback,
there ought to be better name.
War is a new page with burned edges
War becomes a habit,
War means refugees stop saying “back home”
War means curse.
Curse the enemy,
the general, the civilians who have no clue
curse the soldiers drunk and belligerent on leave.
Curse those who don’t want to know.
War can mean clarity. War means mess.