Skip to main content

Steven Croft

Day One

After the roller-coaster dive out of the sky

I remember that step off the C-130 ramp, jogging

under generator lights, with the staccato of gunfire going

like a movie soundtrack:  Baghdad International Airport

Under Attack.  Waking, head on duffel bag, dawn’s

light painting the mud brick building beside me, the major

tells us thirty insurgents are dead just beyond

the building I’ve spent my first night against.  Soon after,

“prepare to move,” and we walk into this country,

the weight of a year in my chest.




KIA


“Sergeant Edwards is dead,”

As I awake before dawn, in the long tent’s double line of metal beds,

I hear two soldiers already up and in uniform say it, “Sergeant Edwards

is dead.”  I know it’s true.  He had just come to me to talk, but that

was before I slept.  I don’t want to rise up, dress, walk down as they

move along the aisle, to find the details.  And blessedly, in this moment

I cannot rise – my body won’t move.  Hours later, I read, “No Phones,

No Computers” posted as I walk into the empty MWR.  Under a string

of Christmas lights, three Marines play at a pool table by the empty

phone bank’s doorway, while somewhere across the world

men in uniform approach his wife.




War Enters Poetry


"Bullet,/ here is where the world ends, every time."

--Brian Turner


War enters poetry like Napoleon enters

a Russian ghost capital, the grand city

gutted by news of his coming, abandoned

buildings, shifting light of their burning

by passionate arsonists hung at street corners,

no one remaining to demand surrender of,

tribute from, hollow land where words

can paint a dark windstorm of bullets,

artillery's flashtube reveals of doom, name

the minefields of dying, all manners

of wounding, but its figures made lampblack,

no language can lift the dead city, war's

cancer on the world


An Army combat veteran, Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia on a property lush with vegetation. He has poems in Poets Reading the News, Gyroscope Review, San Pedro River Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, The New Verse NewsAriel Chart, Quaci Press Magazine, and other places.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

Corey Mesler

  I think of you tonight, my Beats I think of you tonight, my Beats, and I am grateful.  I walked the narrow lanes of Academia and never felt at home. There were men and women in the flowerbeds, their heads full of theorems and poems. There were teachers who could lift their own weight in prose.  I was lonely. I was too loose.  I was a lad from the faraway country of Smarting. But I had you as so many before me. I had you and I knew secret things. I could count on you like a percussion. And now I want to say: I love you.  If not for you, what? I want to say. If Allen Ginsberg did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.  COREY MESLER has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South . He has published over 25 books of fiction and poetry. His newest novel, The Diminishment of Charlie Cain , is from Livingston Press. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On , which won The Me