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Thursday, June 19, 2008


by Karen Garrison

war is hell
the swamp is holy refuge from hell
war is here again
not happy days
take me to your swamp
drown me in dusty dry gin

your eyes pierce the pain
with one liners that Groucho would’ve surely
loved to steal

had he gone to your war
you did him proud

now they go again and again
and you aren’t here

until late night, in a darkened room
I listen to your caustic rage and
rollicking sarcasm,
and taste your tears streaming
down my frightened lips

I need a family that loves, cries
and holds on, that operates
on each other’s wounds like yours did

but we are a house divided

I need a man who’s eyes take hold with truth
no matter how hard it is to tell,
melt me with their sincerity
and hold me fixed by their honesty
because he cares so about the casualties
and home

it came through the situation
time and again
you cared

you spoke out
with courage against a quagmire
and now your words are in
eternal rerun
here here

I need your flirting
smiling, prankish
innocent sweetness
a plea for comfort and
fleeting interruptions from the endless
surge of nightmare meatball

you are real in Alan -
and out there somewhere now
-- again -- somewhere
come home soon
to my sweet dreams
on late night
when war should be just a story to tell
not an endless living hell
Hawkeye you basted the unthinkable with
honey from your smooth tongue
the salt of your own tears

oh God send us another Captain Pearce to doctor our
broken hearts
and brush away
our ghastly fears
with black laughter

this war is hell

Karen Garrison is a certified massage therapist and recovering clinical social worker. Having recently begun writing seriously, at age 52, she is beginning with poetry. And loving it immensely.