Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Scarlet Ballet

He didn’t know why today was different.
Seeking perhaps to distance himself
from this odd, slow-motion scene
of piling, armed carnage,
he decided the hundreds of sprouting wet holes
in so many bodies
were simply a form of deflation
which politely collapsed them
on others’ sprawled limbs
as dead leaves float eerily to earth,
discreetly clothing their roots.
He didn’t know why it was different, today.
His trained body absorbed the blows
of jackhammer recoils as
a flashing, fire-river, steel-jacket eruptions
endlessly poured from his weapon
and for a suspended, sacred moment...
he saw it;
without stopping,
his secret eyelids opened and
he saw it:
unfortunate dancers sacrificially indulged
in smoky ballet.
All, born for this moment;
accompanied by spewing rounds

of splattered pings from scalding casings,
their tap-dance symphony of chimes,
with barrel as conductor's wand
he directed bodies to pirouette,
spin twisted contortions, spill their organs
and teeth
on the stage,
staining each other, expiring as

wilting mannequins;
flopping, red-slimed, open-eyed fish.
Then, without applause,
he stood alone
in that choking, cloudy, gunsmoke heaven,
unsure who had stolen paradise;
he discovered that some ghosts cannot be buried,
they must be disassembled.
He did not know why, today,
war had become so different.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Nicaraguan Story

She ran outside,
stood in the street and screamed at the war,
hoping it would kill her;
it having eaten her eldest son,
and after thirteen days of red,
her husband.
Over twenty years later, every day
she walks a stony road,
unlocks the door to the village's humble
gallery of photos;
one hundred fifty family folk with soldier hearts,
sepia faces,
hung there to watch,
keep guard over their memories.
In the dusty cemetery families buried
all the guns;
AR 15s filled the graves,
so as to find their suited death
with death.
Yet, those graven markers point us up,
indicate to Whom they hope the victims fled;
these wobbly, countless Jesus fingers
poke through el barro de carne y hueso,
(the mud of meat and bone)
aiming at, directing us to safety.

Regarding Maria Gonzalez and the
Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs Museum in Esteli, Nicaragua
Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
The Lost Supper (in Darfur)

I have heard there are some Sudanese
who can still remember...
Recollections of its wafting smell,
lingering flavors, tender texture;
its crumbling weight within the palm
now long faded by
the forever stretch of hunger's twist;
yet, I have heard there are some who
can still remember.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Red Gravel

On April 24, 1944: Earl opened his eyes.
At twenty-two thousand feet above Germany,
the whistling shrieks of a negative, thirtysome degrees
blasted through the shattered belly turret
where he hung
beneath the thunderous, shaking B-17.
Stunned by the explosive splatter
of fragmented metal, glass and blood,
his icing, numbing, wadded-up body spewed red;
suspended there,
these trailing streams of warm, life syrup turned midair
to tiny, falling, bouncing, frozen marbles;
rolling everywhere,
collecting 'round his boots and leaking body.
His Boy Scout training twisted down a tourniquet,
saved an arm, his life, where he lay;
no longer able to grip and squeeze
his 50 caliber crucifix,
unable to launch a final, deafening
lead-streamed curse
at yet another screaming, airborne satan.
Before exhausting consciousness,
it occurred to him
to try to scatter from the broken, glassy floor,
this growing accumulation of
rolling red gravels,
push them outside before losing altitude
and falling into the melting warmth of earthly airs;
sweep out now
or mop up later.
Defying belief,
this invisibly suspended,
half destroyed, smoking, flying fortress
bled across the heavens,
angrily wailing out to God for sanctuary.
Hardened warriors swarmed the tarmac,
and lost for words at the landed, shredded,
impossibly flown, ghostly airship,
they gently lifted out the dead and wounded
from within its riddled carcass;
the heroic last remains of their tail gunner, friend,
and the burned, yet somehow breathing pilots.
Of those within its crippled, massive length
not one escaped the butchery or carnage;
and with each wound each airman bought
the honor, the passion, the privileges

Dedicated to all WWII airmen as exemplified by the experience of Earl Burke of the 1st Division, 41st Combat Wing, 384th Bombardment Group, 547th Squadron, Station 106 at Grafton Underwood, England on April 24, 1944.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Sweet Vengeance

tasty morsel;
while not looking,
plucked from mouth of God;
stolen sweets.
too much by far to leave untouched,
while looking left, hand goes right,
picking God’s pocket,
sabotaging righteous judgment.

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown
The Lone Savior

What carnage is sufficient to cause pause,
jiggle conscience, birth an ideological hiccup,
provoke a holy poke in the eye?
Frozen, unblinking, afraid to breathe,
our noses sample air for scent of blood in water.
Timid buzzards, we circle the crime scene,
fearful, yet drawn,
unable to process the grizzly sight;
so troubled by sacrificial love.

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown
Prelude to the Eve of Destruction

Dowsing it in gasoline,
with the casual toss of intentional match
he spontaneously chose to sacrifice Mercy,
without a plan.
Not thoughtless, not thoughtful,
desiring rescue without redemption,
he cluelessly burned his only bridge,
that saving device constructed of suffering,
fashioned to effect his last escape;
he set it ablaze and contemplated
the mystery of its warmth.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown

Destined to be someone's three-limbed poster child
for peace, for war, for nothing and much more,
they made me their one man parade,
a lifetime limping billboard for
the strangers who will never know my name;
who've now moved on,
forgotten the cause which prompted them
so many years ago
to plant a mine along my path to school.
Without a foot, without a leg,
without a way to class again,
I began another education
where pain and sorrow taught me long.
Sweaty years of stumbling as the object of sad eyes,
the target of a taunt, the last in line
have roughly led me to a place
where God's embrace of fierce gentility
has gripped me so I can't let go;
for I am not the first child He
has rescued from the public cross
of someone seeking private justice.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
The Blessing of Stephen

He is recognized and received with shouts,
the throng's excitement,
and beautiful stones which are presented.
Respectfully, Stephen does not bow
to escape his gracious greeting.

Regarding Acts 7:54 - 8:1

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown
Walking Subtitles

When orders came to liquidate the prisoners,
an altogether new awareness
settled on the guarded
and the guards.
What previously passed as mere brutality,
gave way to conversion:
humans into mannequins
whose slippery flesh paved the earth,
becoming landscape,
void of explanation.
There is a night which exists in daylight,
a prison not escaped
with open fields or busy plazas,
and voices never quelled by silence;
memory works that way.
The escaping few, did not;
and courageous soldiers who
risked life to spare souls in their charge,
still live in fear
of whom they were before the edict.
All who lived bespeak their torture quietly
by living, enduring, interpreting for us
what should not be forgotten.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown

Behold... The Revolution

Revolutions bore me.

Doomed to chase the morning’s sun,
snare it with some new idea
then label it something else
just to have it rise again tomorrow,
none the worse for wear.

Most revolutions, are not.

Dressed up in intellectual hootery,
their squawking owners sell their spit,
rent their slogans, invent images fit to kill,
and hype parade,
foolishly unafraid of succeeding.

There are no more revolutionaries.

Still, someone is selling a lot of hats
and those impressive revolutionary t-shirts;
after all, looking alike creates unity,
helps to fight the status quo before becoming it;
a catchy song never hurts.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown
Freedom’s Creed

Of war, of sacrifice, of burdens freedom brings
we cannot, dare not hope to think not,
still, upon such gifts bestowed
by those we have not known,
at costs we cannot dream;
whose breath and purpose all but spent,
in but a moment, for us all.

Shy not away from scene of sacrificial uniform
worn by soul whose now cold body,
still... it may adorn.
There is no name, even one,
whose blood and tear is given as our own,
whom we can

afford to honor not.

There is no task nor job we can endure
and in so doing,
cede distraction from what we
must consciously acknowledge
as righteous price, now paid,
and constantly,
so our lives can be lived.

Your liberty is not ensured nor some historic fact;
it is won in daily sums
whom someone, daily, pays.
It's earned with sacrifices made
we can never know,
which even now are spilling forth,
out of sight and mind.

As minutes tick themselves to death,
so too, are they suffered by
the hearts and minds of those who lay
somewhere tonight,
with knuckles white,
who short of breath and time, do wage
your battles there, for you.

Fool not ourselves, we've anything
which we can boast, take for granted
'midst the daily drone and bore of life.
The price is never paid enough;
such gaping wound will not be fed
with yesterday's of death;
today it must be satiated... and again, tomorrow.

No, liberty is not a silent, passive state
but comes at such a costly, savage toll
required by beast, of us, each hour;
thus we've no option but to slay as sacrifice, ourselves.
So, as we grasp our forks at freedom's dinner table,
know by God's grace, it is that we
partake in one more meal.

And lay aside this notion that a person may or not
engage themselves or have concern;
there is a cost and justly due for life of liberty.
And soberly acknowledge who pays our tab, this minute;
now laying down their life and limb to face the evil toil
of never ending war of wars,
'til earth is God-subdued.

Know this: There is no peace on earth
and it cannot, in truth,
be known except inside the hearts of man
and that, trafficked, one by one
where neither gun nor force nor battles waged
controls, impedes
the sacred voice of God.

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown


Last night,
he spoke a word to someone who
unknown to him, spoke with someone else
who changed their mind about a thing
and in so doing
saved, or rather did not take
four thousand twenty seven lives.
This large though puddle-drop event
is evidence of a sandal-footed print
of one certain craftsman's son
who, too,
knew there are some certain words
with God's breath on them
which will save this world.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown
The Garden Rebuilt

Desiring to be almost God,
we invented shortcuts to
a rapid style of righteousness,
pathways to pushbutton retribution.
Dispensing justice by remote control,
automating global love,
financing long-distance peace,
and at arm's length, tinkering with nirvana;
each presumes someone will
fix the world
by simply
pushing buttons.

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown
A Monochromatic Mosaic

Opening the paper bag,
his memory and careful fingers slowly lifted, one by one,
the crumpled, folded, aging pieces of her clothing;
begrudgingly, he hoped that this surgical dissection
would not serve as catalyst,
spark a spontaneous unraveling of emotion.
Uncertain as to why this moment stalked him, yet
persuaded by an awkward sort of willingness
to analyze this evidence
he had retrieved it, silently, from its covert refuge,
a buried sanctuary in his attic orphanage.
Then he ceremoniously sat and studied on this bulky,
semi-sacred, wrinkly-paper-packaged brownness
centered on his table.
Finally, the fading light revealed his silhouette;
numbed and halting fingers shifting, rearranging,
saddened rumpled fabrics, puzzled bits,
slowly matching monochromatic rusts of blood
with their dotting, splotching, sprinkled splatter;
yet those unaged, unwelcomed, rude,
invasive, angry ammunition holes,
those red-orange-brown coffee-colored,
tattered stains of leaking evil, still remained.
If only he could put it back together;
match each bloodied signature, bind the empty holes,
with sutures of his love stitch every
bullet tattooed scar engraved into her heart and spirit,
then perhaps he might repair the pain,
reassemble stolen life,
recover long lost years of tears
and recall from some purgatory,
their youthful whispers
of hope and glory.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Judicial Access

Refined, hideous, buried to elbows in
the chafing dish of vengeance,
we sit behaved around God's parlor
hoping not to break His things.
When our personal courts convene
we announce our thirst for righteousness,
insatiably dine on judging others,
and practice pocket-picking hoarding
of sweet revenge and justice delayed;
forbidden fruits saved for private gorging.
Manners minded as if we were tourists
guided through The Garden,
we hope to swipe some souvenirs
we can use to rule the world.
We dance between the lines of scriptures
without touching on the Ark,
that Holybox of Godified Truth,
then exhibit the gall to clear our throats,
proudly declare whose right and wrong,
pretend to steal attention for the holiest of crusades.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown
War Watchers

Wretched battles wreak horrid,
poetic romance on the screen;
commentators entertain
tireless, popcorn chomping mouths;
watch, watch, watch.
Seduced by its guttural magic,
background music,
primal displays of professional hatred
and legalized killing in the streets
mesmerize eyes and ears
who discuss it with the heart;
casting stones during commercials.

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown
Bad Boy Glamour

Back in the day when brainblood ran black,
drained past thoughtfully lodged bullet frags,
escaped the scalp, soaked deep into earth's carpet
while some fella simply walked away,
believing his justice just, and unafraid to say so,
even then... angels named names.
There were no good old days of bad,
no such thing as honor among anyone,
for Eve had the monopoly on greed
and Adam, her crooked mouthpiece;
all the rest are bumbling children,
would-be front men for these
gangsters of corruption.
The glamour-gloss of evil is but the shiny slick,
hardened scum of flavored sin;
is not real,
yet, from distances reflects God's sun
as Coronado's City of Gold;
beckons the tourists.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown

And Good Dies Young

The defective notion of perhaps
not having done enough right things,
cankerously ate at Nelson's conscience.
Meanwhile, from within some lofty office,
Satan watched and snickered at such
misappropriated sense of guilt
which had infested this man's thoughts,
soiled his vestments, wrinkled his spirit.
And for this reason, the Evil One
loves some who place their faith in God;
he relishes their unguarded vulnerability,
that misguided mission some embrace
to right a crooked world,
presume their personal medicine
and bandaged truth heals earthly sores.
Satan adores such innocent and arrogant
thirst for fairness and the way they make their justice.
For those who tend to miss the cue
that God Himself, alone retains
the judgment and the verdict,
will tend to feed their well meant zeal,
dole out fetid gestures
and dispense the rule of law in gray, myopic passion to
remedy each and every wrong, which may or not exist.
So, armed with what is thought to be
some righteous truth in hand,
Satan dangles that before them,
prone as he is to taunt and tease
these animated judgeless juries,
lost ambassadors of good.
And thus he puts them out of mind
as slowly they become no threat,
quite consumed by all their valiant causes;
anesthetized, made useless by distraction.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
God’s Gunslinger

Subconsciously, he thinks himself God's Deputy,
policer of the people,
polisher of scales of justice, unblindfolded judge.
Fortunately, for Warren,
interpreting right from wrong comes easily as he
adjudicates souls,
shares his talent for righteous judgment
upon everyone he sees;
thinks his thick-skinned sensibility a blessing,
ignoring comment and cautious words of
lesser skilled than he.
The streets of Dodge are safer now
that he assumed the badge;
a self-appointment though it is,
satisfies the need
for someone such as he to run the town.
The jails are full in Warren's life,
bad people sit and serve their time,
his good folk work and mind their ways,
and he closes every day,
watching from his porch.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown
Terror in Lovely Repose

On a note within the bottle,
God had inscribed:
Fear dispels fear
Fear destroys fear
Fear contradicts fear
Fear remedies fear
Fear relieves fear
Perfect fear is perfect peace
Fear births love
Seek fear
Pursue fear
Embrace fear
Sell out for fear

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Too easily,
slipped he
into that coat once father wore,
Then stood,
before reflection which that mirror bore.
And in this moment,
grew son,
somehow different than before,
As he in silence,
saw himself...
in father’s coat of war.

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown