by Michael Ramos, March 2022
Spring in Basque country, 1937,
Unholy bombs shatter image of sanity
Human beings without arms, a test of air prowess
Shrapnel clusters, shrouds, not like bandage or tourniquet
Yes, they kill with imprecise precision
To hold up the dictator
With supremacist visions;
And collaborators with even more grandiose planes and plans,
Happy to erase civil from civilian, imposed civilization, neigh tyranny
Horror within spills over borders
Test of unfaith.
God is on my side, the brute cries
Church and state cut from frayed fabric of flag
And make sign of the cross: God and country, one.
While bystanders conjecture the guilt of the victims
For aspiring to live in peace and unafraid.
O Guernica, no snapchat version to manipulate
Only remnant and rubble to testify
And the painting with faces and limbs, equine and divine
That awakens, torch of liberty: NO TO WAR!
A river of blood, crystal ball of Vietnam and El Salvador,
Even star wars cannot hide the stench of remains
Spheres covered with stars and stripes.
How long? Cries Mariupol.
Names frozen in terror, 2022.
Clutching child hand, limp, buried under debris: “I am thirsty.”
Families fall out of shelter, stumble over suitcase
A ward for new mothers, a wash in death.
Surrounded, shelling, siege!
Stretcher conveys mom ready to birth – both
Still, silent, starved of life.
Mosques and churches laid waste, sanctuaries victims of crusade
“We destroyed the town in order to save it.”
Obliteration seeks erasure. Memory outlawed.
The kin of empire, imbibing dripping lies
By the fireplace, reciting Lenten prayers, unaware.
The stones of the town will shout:
Grozny, Aleppo, Srebenica, Mariupol!
If we see with equal heart, we cannot forget
We will not wait, for realpolitik to pontificate
Or caution: “Yet to be independently verified.”
Communion of divine and human outrage.
Softer than snowflake, soul hovers over, still speaking
A blade of grass through cracked asphalt.
Honor the hidden, courageous
Who dare to emerge amidst ruins
To bury the dead
And keep hope alive.
Long live the innocent!
Dogs bark their creatureliness
Reminder of the thread that holds life
In a spool of all relations:
Babies will to be born and give witness to resistance
A light from womb and haze and haste
They will come home to their children’s children
If the wall of ideology is shattered,
If we feel through numbness,
And all take a stake in reparation.
Thaw stalls tanks in muck and mire
Sufficient for nuclear freeze, never again Nagasaki, Hiroshima
A word in the language of the land
Tweets in pre-spring wind:
The blood of Ukraine
Is not in vain
When the conscience of the world
Allows destruction not to be utter
And reverence for the land returns
And rightful inhabitants regain hearth-beat;
Yearning to live free from further harm
Taking up the ploughshare, kneeling upon familiar soil,
Essence of blue-green-brown-black humus of globe.