In the wake of poetry

by You Have My Word

I wrote this as a gift to a fellow poet and good friend – a man that, I am grateful, is part of my life.


To the poet who makes me feel things I can’t put words to: You disarm me; I am a soldier sent to battle without a gun. I am only a pin waiting to be pulled from hand grenade. I am only trip wire veins and limbs waiting to be blown apart. Only fearful feet treading carefully though it makes no difference when the bombs go off. Men cannot fight without arms. Men cannot fight without fists or faith.

It doesn’t matter that I have rosary beads strangling my hands, Jesus Christ hanging on a cross around my neck, with prayers of Mother Mary on my lips. It doesn’t matter that the photograph hidden beneath my shirt, strapped to me chest like a bulletproof vest, burns my skin with moment I’ll never get back. My body has stopped holding back blood – a bar brawl with jagged bottles making communion of jagged men. I am baptised deep in dread, deep in red, deep in dead! I hope they never see the way my face looked when you took me.

When I am gone, they will push stone eyelids across grave eyes. They will kiss my forehead, breast, shoulders. They will lay me to rest after hanging out my memories like sheet. They will wrap me in a shroud of my own defeat… it will be silent – a private liturgy at public mass. The photograph is no longer strapped across my chest as I am lowered into yet another trench. I am no longer Holy Grail. I am only graveside skin and stories waiting to be forgotten in the wake of the next bomb… as the next man becomes the next goodbye, becomes the next eulogy, becomes the next tombstone, becomes the next memory…

All my confessions have dribbled out. You need not perform penance as they will not blame you for my passing, and I will not blame you for your words. Sometimes the most beautiful thing about battle is the quiet surrender when you know you will not win. It is not cowardice or an offering. It is knowing. It is kneeling, waiting in prayer. A muttering of grace and gratitude for that which we are about to receive… for that which the poet will speak… for that which the poet will remove.


Watch one of his poems here: