One and One

I watched two ravens

fight over the carcass

of some creature,

unfortunate enough

to wander onto the road.

Their long, black beaks

ripping and tearing

through fur, and flesh and bone.

This is the way of the world.


The newsfeed blasts footage

of chlorine gas used on civilians,

bombs and mortars smashing schools

and hospitals no longer regarded as

combat free zones.

Tyranny clings to power,

like it always has

and this too,

is the way of things.

I fight to remember a time,

when we were children,

before the war was life.

I come up dry,

instead drawing up a memory

of my father shaking me awake

and dragging me in front of the television,

to watch the gritty, green footage

of US warplanes over Iraq

and the liberation of Kuwait.

He said it was the end of the world.

Well, he might have been right,

but the world has been a long time dying.


I know that there was a time,

when 1 and 1 were 2,

instead of 11.

A distant memory,

lost now in the clouds of concrete dust.

Lost in the screams of pain,

the wailing fear,

the horror

of innocence sacrificed

for all the world to see.


Now we know who we are dealing with.

We know that we are them

and they are us

and there is inside of each of us

a little bit of war hunger

and lust for revenge.

Who could say,


that they wouldn’t use torture

to save the lives of their loved ones.

That they wouldn’t cast aside

such precious moral high ground,

to keep their mother, lover, or child alive.

We have done all kinds of noble sins

since then,

but I remember when 1 and 1 were 2,

instead of 11.


I was once told

that vigilance was the cost

that we pay for liberty,

but I think the cost is higher;

much, much higher,

but so too is the value of liberty.


As the machinations

of an endless war,

grind on

in the high echelons of power

and madmen

chart the course

of our fate,

I remember that there was once a time

when 1 and 1 were 2,

instead of 11.


HG – 09/11/2016

Never Forget


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