Memorial Day

The men I knew who went

to army most of them didn’t

talk about it later. What it was like

to be with so many other men

all the time.  Far away. Maybe

even fighting for what you didn’t

understand. My  father, scholarly,

innocent, a man with pale hands and legs,

Talmudic  he went to Australia

and New Zealand in the army. He had a few pictures.

That’s all. I asked him about it for years.

Did that trip change you? What did you see and how

did you feel? All he’d say ever was how

beautiful New Zealand was. How beautiful.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. Beautiful poem, Esther!!–MIKƎL K POET

    What’s the solution to war?

    We should send old men and old women
    to war, let them kill themselves off
    in the name of bigger cars and better

    Let the congressmen and the kings,
    the presidents and the heads of state
    pull out guns and knives and battle
    to the death.
    Why should my son or daughter fight
    for you, you fucking cowards, you killers,
    you creeps.

    You hide behind your hallow halls,
    you hide behind your laws that money buys.

    I want you out in the open
    looking down the barrel of a gun,
    see what my son would see,
    before he pulled the trigger,
    a man just like himself,
    scared just like himself,
    put there just like himself
    by a man like you.

    The blood that spills
    the guts that pour
    should be yours, Mr. President.

    The guts that pour,
    the blood that spills
    should be yours, Speaker of the House.

    The brains that splat,
    the guts that pour,
    the blood that spills
    should be yours, Senator.

    Teenagers should not be killing teenagers,
    they should be studying math.
    or tearing down an engine,
    or hitchhiking through Europe.

    War is not a game of chess.


  2. My father spent WWII in Central America and didn’t see me until I was six months old. He, a college graduate from a family of college professors, still remembered after seventy years his sergeant telling the recruits that college graduates were his “mortal enemies.” Dad was stationed in Panama and inspected US bases in Central America. Including the Galapagos Islands I learned when he was eighty, and I asked him what they were like. He said he didn’t see much except the base. He brought back a wall hanging with quetzals and a woven silver necklace for Mom. And tuberculosis. He spent a couple years in an Army hospital. He became a college professor, and his captain’s pension helped pay for my college. His last home was in a community for retired military people. He’d put out the flag on patriotic holidays but he never talked about being in the Army.

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