I Like War

By Allen Taylor
Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.
-

Robert E. Lee

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Table of Contents
I Like War Trapped Music Piano Things I Wish I’d Said Love and War Ceasefire Gunfight in Manhattan Six-Thousand Mile Dream SSG Good Man No Exit 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

I Like War
I like war. He teaches me to think like water, wade through hearts with lion-like precision; I like war. It empowers me, lets me to hold other men in that dark, intimate space between him and his maker. I love war. She is a beautiful mistress. Her tongue has pelted my skin with riddles all too often. With cunning, she spreads fear, blankets the panting skies with cries of salvation. War rains. Even on cloudless days. War gives me reasons. Tugs on my collar like hubris, bursts upon my brow with audacity as if Napoleon himself had risen from the dead. Yes, I like war; predictable, lovely in the years before gray. Sweet is the battle – like corn, tart as lime, and big. Very big. As much nice as girly skirts in spring; the perfect date any time of year.
Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

I like war, Yet … like all men, I yearn to win back that small part of me left home by the hearth of my young dreams. From knuckle to stone, from fist to fire; Carthage to Baghdad, man to man: If war is so damn good then why does it drive me down?

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Trapped
I’ve got the freshest eyes in the universe shooting from azimuth to back azimuth like Greenwich overlooking magnetic north I’ve never been one to wander but when morning sun creeps over ziggurats I’ll pound this desert for my exit stretch for the eye of a needle and know even I couldn’t walk through If I peer too deep into wadis I’ll forget my peaceful past push through this fight into glory unsatisfied

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Music
When Satchmo played In the early days Of a time that’s lost its youth The rhythm of Our God above Shone bright as a golden tooth The harpsichords And ivory boards In heart’s harmony did play With the six-stringed lass The brazen brass And a chorus from Calais ‘Tis sweet the Muse Who lights the fuse Of a melody made from tears And on that note I’d like to quote A man wise beyond his years “Most folks go Where nothing grows With the music still inside They never change Or extend the range And their song in silence hide” When Elvis played In halcyon days When refrains had lost their jazz

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

We did the twist Held stiff our wrists And danced like a razzmatazz

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Piano
He closed his Wurlitzer for the last time. Ebony hands, ivory teeth, a hymn bequeathed to a bride so fresh her sheets will not press. Lover, soldier, son: alive now in memory, his sullen eyes fall sharp like a half rest through his mother’s imploding heart. Tomorrow comes, but not for any more love notes.

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Things I Wish I’d Said
For Theresa

One day is forever when not tangled in the tweed of your love. The trees grow in the shadows of your mist. The skin of your battle drum pulls taut against my heart and I dizzy for your silence. Let’s grow deeper into the cove of etched memories, keep them safe for a year. When I return I will crawl between your legs, slither into the capsule of your mind and tell you over and over the one thing I can never say enough: I love you. I love you. I love you one more time.

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Love and War
All is fair in love and war, they say; but I am not so sure. When love hurts it does not kill. When she maims she leaves a little something in tact; though hearts break they can mend. Time heals all wounds except those of war. When the pain subsides a scar marks both the body and the soul. The greatest battlefield is the human heart, moist, fallow and dry. Harvests come and go like soldiers on the path, but little is ever said of a lifetime. Generals, privates, too, have their petty loves. Warriors know the depth of loss, of wanting to be free. Let Chalabi live, they say; so much depends on his breath. But Patrick Henry may die. And no one loves his country without injury. Betrayal begins where love and war unite, ends when bombs begin to fall. Lend me your eyes, your ears, your broken heart. Trade your arsenal for peace. If war be like love and love be like war, Give me love. Give me just and total love.

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Ceasefire
When nations search for common ground with arms and lungs and eyelids closed, leaving the past to future generations, they leave little room for doubt and brush aside A thousand promises of peace worthless as one act of war; The face of one child left hungry, lonely or aghast is more a stab in the heart than a hundred kings and potentates with blood on their hands. Tell the saints and the sinners, the heretics and the martyrs, lovers and warriors too, that one God above them all shall decide the fate of the wicked and the just. Today we gaze into the portal and pray no more books are written about losers and their dreams.

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Gunfight in Manhattan*
Every day I wake to small arms fire Just a stone's throw away. The crackle of .50 cals boast of hidden talents, remind me to breathe again. When Ma Deuce screams her nightly shrill, she feels me up and then down again with hands of magical steel, pushes her way inside and lays her muzzle cold against my aching brain. I forget who I am until hot flashes Of lead remind me. Tonight, I’m going home, where the sound of gunfire means someone just had dinner.

In the Al Anbar province of Western Iraq, a small air base east of Ar Ramadi sits near the Euphrates River. Soldiers and Marines stationed at the base ward off attacks from insurgents in the area daily. Allen Taylor was stationed on the opposite side of the Main Supply Route on a base called Al Taqaddum. Manhattan is the name given to the small air base by members of the military, who use it as a forward operating base, but it is better known by its real name, Habbiniyah. Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Six-Thousand Mile Dream
It dawned on me last night: I haven’t seen the sun for days. Wrapped up in maps of topographic wallpaper, I ask the moon for a hand in marriage; I am obliged. Every fucking night, I beg the stars for sex. I am starved. At dusk, I treat and retreat my inner whore to a devil’s dose of self flagellation, hoping you will come. I am a nervous wreck, wet with desire I cannot fulfill, so I spill myself as if brimming over the overfilled waste basket like mayonnaise on soggy bread. The prophets of Baal laugh in my face, remind me of Elijah’s irreverent response. At noon, I sit on the colonnade, eat my lunch, and pretend the demons in my overactive mind aren’t really there. Deep down, where the flint and the lead and the carbon mix,
Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

a spark splinters into a full-fledged battle of flesh and spirit, but at least I know Samson got a piece of ass.

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

SSG Good Man
SSG Pilgrim is a good man, But his neck is red. It is red in the way that my father’s is red, With his mouth attached. When he speaks, you sense you’re conversing With a mime locked in lungs, Lips moving, hot air blowing uni-directional And the sounds of vocal chords intoning One thought that makes sense to no one But its author. When I go to bed at night I close my eyes and think about All the ways I like a good man.

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

No Exit
“Hell is other people” - Jean Paul Sartre Trapped. Wearing the same drab garb Day after day. Scenery unchanged. Prisoner of war Enslaved to serve my own. First, empire; then death by fire. This hell has no windows, No furniture, no third wheel. Tomorrow, it’s the same old grind And I’m checking out.

Copyright 2008 by Allen Taylor Published by Rumsfeld's Sandbox

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful