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Friday, April 13, 2012


by Jean L. Kreiling

Improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s, are home-made bombs. Often used by insurgent groups or rebels who wage non-traditional warfare, they can be made from almost any material and are designed to kill or maim. 
                                                                                          --The New York Times, April 11, 2012.

The word’s been misappropriated—taken
and twisted, so that now when we awaken
to morning news, we’re sickened by its sound:
we think of body parts strewn on the ground,
stilled breath, spilled blood, lives brought to gruesome ends,
and devastated family and friends.

When Mozart improvised, he scattered notes,
not bones.  Cadenzas rang like antidotes
for discontent, not meanly ruinous
concussions; trills might be gratuitous,
but never vicious. He dreamed riffs and runs,
and gave them life. Improvisation stuns

with beauty and with spontaneity
or with premeditated cruelty,
explosions of pure art or pure ill will,
devices meant to dazzle or to kill.
We’re either entertained or brutalized—
it all depends on who has “improvised.”

Jean L. Kreiling’s poems have appeared in numerous print journals, online journals, and anthologies.  She was the winner of the 2011 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, and has been a finalist for the Dogwood Poetry Prize, the Frost Farm Prize, and the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award.