Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The butcher knows that war is all hell

which is what I don't know the anger inside

amorphous and best doling out invisible curse

mumbling at a petty breach or social lapse

I do not know how to splinter a man's head off, nor the glory

spitting the preliminaries to a girl who doesn't know

my tongue she'll never have child once I'm through

and just let her lie there bleeding and that there's never a reason

reason having nil to do with it just the joy of carving,

just the joy of thanksgiving back at camp, whole and better.



  1. interesting take on the Magpie :) liked the choice of your image too..

    Here's My Magpie

  2. this made me swallow hard - so true - such waste and horror - and i totally agree - there's never a reason

  3. War truly is a festival of Hell...its blood shed, and the drunken in their celebration is beyond all comprehension....well done...bkm

  4. Overwhelming ~ your excellent work.

  5. The butcher knows, 'but hey--it's a living.' A fine poem, sparse and dark and all the better for it--especially liked the mixing of modern and ancient personas, real and mask.

  6. Hell, indeed. You describe it well. Brothers, as in "band of"?

  7. Darkly and brutally honest. War and killing are never glorious or beautiful. You've spilled this so well...

  8. Liked the strong dark imagery.

  9. I read this splendid text with a loud voice.
    We are all lords of personal wars, brothers in arms.

  10. Vinay,

    Thanks! I'll check yours out!


  11. Claudia,

    I thought we'd agree.

    Warriors would like 'natural aggression' to be a reason, but it's not.


  12. Barbara,

    Is it possible 'post-traumatic stress' existed in the Dark Ages? It must have, yet the poetry is all about treasure and gore and inevitability.

    No PTSS, I suppose, since they just bled to death.


  13. Helen,

    Thank you -- that's very kind.


  14. Joy,

    It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

    Poetry, I mean.


  15. Tess,

    I first thought 'Band of Brothers', but quickly decided against that. The series -- which I watched a couple of times -- was nostalgic and our guys were democratically clean and it was 'the good war'.

    Too much falsehood, if I may say that, despite my buying into 'the great generation' myth.

    No. I liked the characters in B of B.

    Brothers, alone, gave me, at least, the feel of 'male'. That metallic sweat of gym lockers and taunts and chest-bumping cameraderie that needs something brutal to hide the insecurity.

    Hey. Is it time for me to die and leave all this behind yet?


  16. Tumblewords,

    It felt honest. I try not to be preachy, and I thought this avoided that. Thank you!


  17. The Fool,

    The darkness felt natural.

    Say, you're not my double, by any chance?

    T Fool

  18. Isabelle,

    I read your French aloud to get its sounds.

    The wars I've fought have all been personal, have all been at a personal level.

    The rips and tears of 'merely' emotional interchange make me deeply fear things we call 'crime' and 'war' -- they have to be stunningly disorienting.

    Later, my sibling!


  19. Gautami,

    I linked to you just now only to find that I'd already read your poem and commented on it!

    And my comment is as I was about to say here: we see, both of us, the darkness of this.

    Perhaps writing about it discharges some of the anxiety?


  20. the blades are the same, sir,
    butcher and warrior, slicing
    deep into flesh, to slay or
    to eat; both consumed, both
    robbers of spirit, of essence,
    and for the Vegens, even the
    sight of you carving the pale
    white flesh of Tom T. will send
    them retching to the bowl,
    and what brutal creatures we be,
    me and thee, poetic but still
    in touch with the brutality, the
    murderous that hangs in our helix.
    I refused to go to the battlefields
    of Viet Nam, became a clerk, fought
    with my IBM selectric, still do, for
    I knew that if I had been allowed
    to take a life, many lives, I would
    like it, love it, and I would never
    be the same again.

  21. excellent Magpie, elegantly written

  22. Glenn,

    You're right. Best to hold back. Don't want to develop a taste!


  23. Isabel,

    Thank you for the compliment!

    I'll check out your site, now, too.