jargon moderne

would name me 

spectral being

but call myself

a man

a young man

too young

to be a man

to die for a unforgiving

futile unnecessary war

but was not the first

or never be the last 


fancied myself a poet 

& an orchardist

inherited my father’s land

when he died of tuberculous 

then men came to my little Virginia town

pulled all the us  even the boys 

onto the main street 

you die here as a traitor 

or perhaps in battle as a hero 


skirmishes & encounters

raged all along these land of

this commonwealth where 

watered runs divide into branches

making it nearly impossible 

to forge with cannon or artillery


re-enactments on these knolls 

the blue and grey in their

mock battles & crips clean uniforms 

while we were knee deep in mud 

all sides in brown so you knew not

friend neighbor or foe 


gentry came from DC to watch us

women with parasols 

high on the hills picnicking 

men smoking cigars as if we were

chess games upon checker boards


survived the first major battle

only to fall as the second one was in retreat

last rites were by a vulture 

who looked skyward to confirm

his next meal had passed before him

over time as rain & floods eroded Bull Run

my bones were covered – but not laid to rest 


an occasion newspaper tumbles by

how half a century after perishing 

almost two hundred poets artists writes 

died in one day at the beginning of a battle 

of a world war – one of two read about 

across the ocean in another continent

even today upon land where Jesus walked 

hatred rages on today in karmic cycles 


seems I’m in eternal limbo and can’t move

beyond this haunting battlefield 

bound here at the place 

and to only watch passages of time 

this log – I’ve sat here for years at a time 

seasons change but the facts remain the same 

can’t change the past 

as it repeats itself 

over and over again

or the future that lies in wait


rarely even the present can be dealt with

days turn to weeks to years to decades

still the scores remain unsettled 

a man with a metal detector 

scanning my remains

the chain around my neck 

spade drove like a spike 

you can damn my body and my soul

but that was the cross my mother

gave to me as I was shuttled to the depot


ire gave me rise and an unknown voice

You take that  and  I will take you 

my apparition turned him

into a leaded glass of absinthe

frozen then ran like a buck 

over that wooden fence


sometimes on rainy evenings

just as dusk turns into night

in the enveloping darkness 

you can still hear the echo

of the whistle of  that  Manassas train 

that brought me here to my fate 







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