Friday, August 14, 2015

Letters from an American Soldier

Letters from an American Soldier
by Jesse Payne

Mother, father, sister, brother:
My will has been broken.
I sit nestled in leaves
branching over blood and field.
This sunset ridicules the decay
of my country’s remains.

On mountains once shared, and breakfast tables
Will we ever mend these disconnected cables?
Tents fill bottles and eyes with liquid compromise
as I’m left to read about days of old
and dream of coming home.

I’m thankful you all stayed on the family farm.

A friend of mine watched
as his brother died
On the far side 
of enemy lines.

How could the conversation stop in order for towns to burn?

War is hell and I’m faced to bring it
in bags and drop it on the doorsteps
of a backwards society.
My clothes are torn with ragged sweat and the blood of my friends.
I wish that I could go back to childhood
and start my life again.

With a form of innocence that no longer resides within me
I’m broken but held together by curse and scorn. Born
is the man who cannot forget.

Above these hills are visions of freedom
but if I jump, I will not land on my feet
nor on my knees but in a sea full of dreams
that will never be seen.

Keep my place at the table warm
for I will return someday 
in some kind of form.
I hope I can hold you all before I die
in these arms that time has denied
my enemy.

I’m thankful you all stayed on the family farm.


"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." 
-- Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Biting the Towel

"Biting the Towel"

Grinding teeth becomes sandpaper
ripping the surface from the tops of piano keys.
Dissonant in nature, but in music
dissonance is beauty.

Cold blooded dogs slithering down
the back alleys of a city abandoned by the righteous.
Fangs suspended in air with foam and fear
understate the ribs and the fur that shines.

I remember when I’m in front of my mirror,
an heirloom draped over shoulder blades.
A face pressed between metal and clamp,
a Mona Lisa smile beneath historical eyes.

I can see the tears that once fell
from her chin, so fragile.
Lost in a time when no one was found,
my lungs tremble with her fragrance 

I have lost more than my life.

In a dream I was dancing on counter tops,
my toes reaching for the stove.
Courage doesn’t matter to the ill-informed,
It’s naive.

Wisdom withdraws from the kitchen, 
elegant in its transmission.
The years of a moment that will not end.
Nothing else can matter if you could never begin.

I’ll keep biting the towel
until I’m relieved

of my responsibilities.

JP 2015

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop"