Featured Poem 2/23/03:

war monger

don't try to sell me another war:
I saw the face of war when I was a child,
when the warcrafts accelerated the conflict
and the chaos opposed every peaceful effort.

I saw the face of suffering:
when the cornmeal, quaker oats, and dried eggs
from the red cross and the salvation army wasn't enough
to stem the hungry tides of malnutrition.

when the kwashiokor bloated
the empty bellies of the young
and the aged cried blood.
when the protein dried up with the water, salt, and kindness.

I have felt real fear:
when we hid under beds,
beds that provided no protection from shrapnel
as the walls caved in and the breadwinners hid in wells.

warmonger, do not try to peddle your wares to me,
the aim of the huckster's bullets strayed once
into mother's left arm—without anesthetics,
at the same time she felt the pain of labor.

© 2002 Emmanuel Ogemdi Okoronta


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