Wednesday, March 23, 2011






War is the sword we love to live and die for.
War is the lord we pray to kill and fight for.
War is the why we don’t wanna know now.
War is the bind of proud vengeance, its bloody vow.

Want me some war.
Gotta have me some war.
Come on, let’s war.

War is the corpse we sever in apathy.
War is us dead, feeling no empathy.
War is the drug that numbs the raging beast.
War is a drunk who needs just one more drink.

Want me some war.
Come on, let’s war.
Let’s war some more.

War is the paying others, servants for our dirty deeds.
War is the slaying others we see but never really see.
War is us working, like cogs in oiled machines.
War is us dying, like dogs on busy streets.

War is us pervertin’ love into hate.
War is we’re so certain we hold the only faith.
War ‘cause we need death to feel unholy pleasure.
War, you know you love it, cock the trigger, shoot your terror.

is the historical culmination of a profound lack of imagination.

Or more often, a refusal to demand any other options
because we are too busy breaking our backs
to feed our bellies and our children.

Or preoccupied by, which car,
the black SUV or the red SUV
will I buy to drive while fantasizing
about the importance of my daily life,

when half a world away and down the streets

infants die
from man-made famines and a lack
of medical supplies made purposefully scarce.

Mothers smack
their blood-smeared palms
against the chests of their rotting children.

Fathers drink
from mad revenge for the deaths
of desperate sons who throw rocks
                                                    at tanks.

And daughters pray for their own graves
when cold, dead blades are shoved
between their thighs, pried open
by cold, dying hands.

Don’t tell me we hate this
‘cause if we did,
we’d be rioting in the streets right now
and we’re not.
There’d be no war right now
and there is.

Don’t tell me we didn’t know
‘cause deep down
                        we know
                                       we knew.

Don’t tell me we can do nothing
‘cause they are us,
and they can do nothing
without us.

slumber on.
Dream your self-righteous superiority.
Feed your hunger for fat-free salvation.
Settle your guilt on the couch in front of the TV screen.

close tight your eyelids, plug up your ears, and open your wallet
‘cause there’s a war raging, baby,
you signed and paid for.

Yeah, wage a war.
Let’s kill for war.
Let’s die some more.


© Ami Mattison

For One Stop Poetry's One Shot Wednesday


  1. What is it good for?
    Absolutely nothing!
    Say it again!

  2. dang...strong the change up of tone pacing and style through out the piece...and how apropo in our present situ...rotting children, ack....pried open thighs...yikes...

  3. Very well said, AM. It's endless greed and stupidity and sheer tribalism and it's also apparently a giant zombie eating our collective brain, unable to be killed because you have to cut off the head for it to die, but the head is so far above us in the clouds we never reach it. I especially liked : "..War
    is the historical culmination of a profound lack of imagination..." and empathy, which also is a lack of imagination. Excellent piece. Proud of you for saying it so loud and so well.

  4. Deep, strong poem. Needs to be read by EVERYONE!

    the beast demands

  5. Incredibly intense and energetic, Ami. To read this work on the page is not to fully grasp the power it has in performance.

  6. Wow, well said. We are all guilty by association. But we will not acknowledge it...

  7. I can see the mike catching fire during a spoken-word performance of this jeremiad. What's worst about the current involvement in Libya is that it's typical U.S. war: from the air, miles removed from the sort of blood-soaked boots-on-the-ground war we can't get free of in Afghanistan. Maybe those heights desensitize us; maybe its just the same old same old cushy torpor of pigging out in front of the TV and muttering My My with glazed faces. We're watching that world go down; we're also watching our own sink into poverty. And doing nothing. Six comments so far says that even reading about the horror of it is too much trouble. Fine, feral work, friend. - Brendan

  8. Wow, intense performance! Raw. Real.

  9. Truly STUNNING! So, had me holding my breath with tears in my eyes. Well done...!!! ~April

  10. Dear Mattison

    Its visually stunning and deep.. I could feel the drum beats beating with your every word 'War'... I liked your lines ...
    '‘cause there’s a war raging, baby,
    you signed and paid for.'
    So true....

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At Twitter @VerseEveryDay