Wednesday, March 8, 2017



My father knew men and animals 
did not die the same way.  A man 
would kill a horse or a cow or a pig 
with respect he’d never show a man.  

Killing a pig, a man would steady it, 
prepare it for the single killing blow, 
work to make its suffering quick 
if not instant, a poised hammer 
ready to strike down in such a way 
the pig wouldn't see it or hear it, 
would hardly feel it on the back 
of its head in that one sure spot 
that would end it before it knew it.  

My father knew that wasn’t the way 
men killed each other.  He had seen 
men crucified and hung, castrated 
and frozen to death, women raped 
and beaten and shot, their breasts
torn apart by bayonets, their  babies 
thrown and scattered in the air like sand.

He knew suffering is the sauce 
we reserve for men and women.  


The poem is from my book Echoes of Tattered Tongues.

The photo is of some of the dead at Dresden after we bombed it.  There were more dead of course.  The rough estimate, according to Kurt Vonegut n his novel Slaughterhouse 5, is about 135,000.  

So it goes.  

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