Collateral Damage Report

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

This started out as an homage to TS Eliot, but somehow morphed into a piece about the atomic bomb and its effects on the Japanese people in WWII.

Submitted: July 20, 2018

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Submitted: July 20, 2018





'If it is in your power to decide,

why do you do it? But if in another's,

whom do you find fault with-

the atoms or the gods?

Either is madness.' Marcus Aurelius, Meditations



Let us skip, you and I,

through certain half-smelted streets;

where time and conscience dissolve like watches,

and glass shadows catch the first sun's rays

fully on their mistaken faces.


(In the tents the orphaned come and go,

Cursing poor Michaelangelo.)


I am becoming more flesh than bone here,

No longer thirsty for what the architects have dropped,

No longer hungry for scraps of Oppie's wet dreams.

No longer driven to swallow the Rebel flag whole.


I could use a quick dousing

of napalm here in my soul,

there are fires I could never put out;

I could use a spill of cluster

bombs to clear my head,

I have stains that will never wash out.


(In the quonset, survivors

come and go, jealous

of Michaelangelo.)


There was talk today between

my god and your god,

and my god rained down fire

upon working-class Sodom-

and my god rained down vengeance

on industrial Gomorrah-

and my god spoke with furious anger,

and terrible wisdom-


So your little tin god spoke to his people

in his little tin voice,

and surrendered everything

he had ever wanted.


(In the new world,

poets will come and go,

still reeling

from Michaelangelo.)

© Copyright 2020 Michael Pollick. All rights reserved.

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