By the ringing explosion I stumble
through the haze of a sulfurous mist
thick with burned smoke wafting into my nostrils.
There are faint screams, some laughter,
another round of sparkling colors.
I remember China had the first fireworks.
All of them were white.
Europe brought the pigments
which cause the brilliant colors seen today.
There is another explosion, someone screams.
I stumble forward, catch myself with my freehand
and continue moving close to the ground,
serpentine, there is another explosion.
Something strikes my head, my back,
I stumble again fighting to get away,
blood is dripping onto my shirt,
down my pants as I clutch the body
trying to reach the edge of the chaos.
Something zings past my head,
strikes and explodes in front of me.
Another explosion, someone cries out
and I wonder if they see the blood.
Someone is lighting another cannon
as another goes off, too close
my ears ring, where am I?
I hold tight to the body, stumble again.
“Fire in the hole!” someone cries,
but the smoke is too thick to see.
Where is my neighborhood?
I look down at the nub, wonder where his hand is.
He hangs limp, passed out in my arms.
Another explosion, I am deaf, someone grabs me.
He is taken from my arms,
They begin to scream at the sight,
a child, maimed on this day of freedom.
The smoke doesn’t clear my head.
Music rises and I hear troops sound the attack.
Bagpipes assume a gentle moan of sadness
down the street after the funeral
and I feel for friends that have met their ends
bleeding into the earth for greed and fear
fighting over lands possessed
by those strangers they called enemies.
Turf is a name, burned from the first wars
as tribes fought to rule those near enough
to control then across the sea,
from the back of a horse.
Armies are created in the declaration
of what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.
I don’t like your culture and that too must end.
I don’t like your face, your eyes, or your skin
and in their wasted lands we begin again
to force-feed our regurgitated beliefs
digested and refed a thousand times over.
One day we will tap into that which separates us
like thumbs from the apes and we will create
with the other instincts a new age
of renaissance will grow from the stem
of gray matter that resides mostly unused
behind the face of fear to fight the fight
which we portray to others hiding
in the rocks and hills grunting to survive
in the waste, after the governments
have crumbled to dust
and the machines begin to rust
But remember this…
Einstein knew, “World War IV
will be fought with sticks and stones.”