Transparent Words - Poetry
4 Poems by David Swan
I am a child soldier,
but I have never seen
the plains of Africa.
are the living rooms
of tired tenement blocks,
semi detached houses and
I stare out across carpets
and see shrapnel of smashed
tea cups and mashed potato
smeared down the walls.
Broken records lie 7 atop
endlessly playing 'American Pie'.
I protect the Angel,
an embattled soul who holds her
bottle of martini aloft
like Joan of Arc &
sings the blues like a
dying Billie Holiday.
And you my sodden father,
drunken old teacher,
Zen master with war weary tales.
You would often cry,
and the tears would mix with
the spit from your palms
molded into mine.
Don't you know the Queensberry rules ?
She can't dance like a butterfly,
but you sure sting like a bee,
and now the whole world to me is Joe Frazier,
and I am Muhammad Ali.
He hung there like a fake Rembrandt,
beautiful but false.
His slender arms stretched like twisted towels,
His legs delicately crossed,
the beauty of his body raised before me,
an unwilling shroud.
The blood from his forehead
moistened his lips as he raised his head
and said to me
"God is dead ! God is dead! Tell the people so
the future dies with me
and your father never was
and your prayers remain unanswered
just lonely echoes in the blanket of silence.”
Straight lines no curves,
history bombed flat,
a cold naked canvas at
the mercy of adventurous architects.
Meticulous plans laid down from the
dreams of scholarly men,
turning ghosts whispers
from the ethereal to the angular.
Some say dispassionate, abstract
forms of tactless construction.
I see true peace in symmetry
A prayer in concrete form.
The best time is early in the morning
when the sun lifts its eyelids
across the desert floor and the smoky
swirls of burning oil are chased away.
The smell of cheap black coffee
that catches the back of your throat,
the sight of your first rabbit. My gun
is the cross on which I die daily.
When caught in the cross hairs
my bullet could be galaxies away,
a message from the angels of death
chosen by God and not me.
How could you be so cold they say?
But I was trained to shoot rabbits,
it was the gun or penitentiary,
trained to ‘not’ think, just shoot.
There’s no room for a question,
for a chance to say 'drop your weapons'
ask what side you’re on, there’s only
one side for me, Nationalism.
To kill is drilled into me, to question,
left by officers. They provide
the excuses, one minute a hero next
They say, why didn't you identify?
3 women, 1 child and a man,
daylight in downtown Baghdad.
Faces of hatred thrown at me.
But what some say is wrong,
is some times considered right
and war strips you of your humanity,
takes your soul and nails it to a cross.