The Ways of Peace

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(“Reprinted with the permission of Burningword Literary Journal and the author.”)
–dedicated to the memory of Ghandi and King

wage a war of peace
a war of peaceful ways
a war of peaceful means

let violence be validation of violent
let murder be mandate of murderers
let blood continually stain
bloody, blood soaked hands
but let conquerors wage war by means of peace

wage a war of peace
a war of peaceful ways
a war of peaceful means

let reputations of courageous be reputations of peace
let legacies of brave be legacies of peace
let ways of wise be peaceful ways
let days of strong be peaceful days

to the end so it is to always seek

let violent be violent
let murderers be murderous
let clamorers clamoring conflict clamor

but let wise, let strong, let brave,
let courageous champion
the ways of peace

After Losing a Long, Well Fought Fight

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after losing a long, well fought fight
the rain or our pain pelts the pith in our joints
the heat of our hurt melts the grit in the marrow in our bones

the valleys of our battlefields
lay covered with wreckage
our steeds are worn
our banners torn
into the wind our masts flown
and our tears rage
like the charge of rolling rapids
raging in upset rivers

nonetheless, the hardened footsteps
of our tempered feet tend not
towards long retreat

towards our commitment
towards our vision
towards the source of our sore
once the gates are open
we shall return

Mission Complete

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my heart sinks
from holding back tears
that are ready to burst through the wall
of my ice cold heart

two hundred fifty
computers in North America
to upgrade and repair
in ten days

i was team captain
leading a team of five
i finished one hundred machines
one fifty finished by the four

completed my duty
completed another mission
executed flawlessly
on a grand scale

no committee to welcome me
no grasp of magnitude
no understanding of feat
when i return

ivory towers still ivory towers
committees still committees
bureaucracies still bureaucracies
when i return

though surrounded
by my compatriots
i will sit in my seat alone
as i do now, when i return

“another iced tea sir?”
my gentle server asks,
“no thank you”, i reply
“it’s time to go home”

Riding the Train at Night

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riding the train at night
listening to songs
that tell tales
of tragedy

nursing my own fatal flaws
as my electrified transporter
speeds
through purple trails
dotted with street lights

i reflect
upon miseries
of the weak
and chronically
disenfranchised
hungry widows
orphaned sons
orphaned daughters
fenced libraries
schools with chained doors
and the list goes on

the list goes on
as the train speeds
down the railway
the list goes on
as the tears speed
across the tracks
of my face

Traffic Jam

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on the highway heading north
closing in on the junction
where the route splits between
ninety-five towards Philly
and two-ninety-five
towards the Delaware bridge
nudging along at parking lot speed

my wife is driving, I’m typing
and playing navigator watching
the big GPS screen mounted
in the corner of my windshield
sipping on a sugar free
lukewarm energy drink

looking north, looking east,
looking west for words to write
finding none in this desert
of asphalt and automobile fume
slowly we move from nudge to crawl
as we claw our way through the hoard

these are the days you question
your claim of affinity for the road
these are the days that test
the limits of husbands, wives,
brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers

traffic congestion, traffic jam
more time for conversation
more time to listen to each other
more time to find that CD
that’s been sitting in the jacket
clipped to the visor collecting dust
we enjoy the background music
playing as we talk

and it was not long before
the traffic jam has dissolved
the songs are finished
the skies are cleared of fumes
our conversing continues
as we finally begin to move

Poetry At Night

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when a world around you sleeps
no songs from birds
no scurrying of chipmunks or squirrels
cars now parked in their garages and in their spaces
grandmothers, grandfathers and grandchildren asleep
when only whisper of stars
and chirps of crickets
adorn the silence of the night
only then can one dream
as they listen to the soft tones
of peace