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Friday, December 09, 2005


by Mary Lou Taylor

A cartoon in the newspaper
shows a man holding a sign,
“Fundamentally Opposed to War,”
and his aside to a compatriot —
Hope Saddam gets his at his trial.

We take pride in the men —often boys—
even girls —who serve our country.
They’re together through vicious sandstorms,
through fierce enemy fire, capturing a city
whose name they can’t pronounce.

Still I stand shoulder to shoulder
with a group of sodden poets
huddled under dark umbrellas
who protest the war with words.
A call to arms brings them
before a microphone at Cesar Chavez Plaza.
Rain falls from a sullen sky.

One by one the poets paint with quiet voice
the horror and the tragedy of war.
Friends ask when I will read my poem,
and I shrink beneath my black hood,
hesitate. I have no poem, I say.
Today I came to listen.

Mary Lou Taylor’s poetry book The Fringes of Hollywood was published in December, 2002, by Jacaranda Press, San Jose, CA. Her poems have appeared in The Montserrat Review, Bellowing Ark, Tundra, Chiyo’s Corner, caesura, Reed Magazine and other small presses. She serves on the board of the Center for Literary Arts at San Jose State University and is a colleague of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Leadership Council. Her new manuscript entitled High Music has just been completed. She's sending it out.