Monday, March 28, 2005

Shape-Shifters in Digital Camouflage

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SHAPE-SHIFTERS IN DIGITAL CAMOUFLAGE: This poem was written in Kadena, Okinawa, in response to casualty announcements in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after walking around with an Army officer stationed in Korea who told me of young enlisted men seeking escape (or at least emotional oblivion) in the "juicy bars" outside Gate 2. I'm reposting it because it has relevance again.

Susan Smith Nash at the University of the South Pacific Lodge, Suva, Fiji

bad news hits like ice; later

the memories scour like glaciers, unstoppable

the shape is generic, like any other bullet --

purveyor of indiscriminate cruelty;

a random scream, the baying of hounds

honor and noble purpose

sizzle into steam on a hot pavement

my feet burn and so I run

from those sunlit mornings bright

and try to stay inside

the haze of ambiguity

birds roost in rusty bridges; afraid to dream

who can be trusted when we are like this?

anticipating a freshly trimmed golf course

facsimiles of civilization

instead of these stumbling blocks

memories or ice

--Susan Smith Nash
October 4, 2004 (Kadena, Okinawa)