Life in a War

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We shot then up bad
We shot then up good
We did all the things
That we thought we should.

The people were crazy
Or so we thought
But then things changed
By a whole lot.

There were smiles that died
Right on the spot.
There were lives to be lived
That a bullet stopped.

Those were the orders
That we obeyed.
Those were the children
Of mothers who prayed.

It happened so quickly
That we had no thoughts.
But now it’s different
When time has stopped.

We look and see
What a catastrophe
Happened so quickly
With so many lives lost.

There was no intent
To kill anyone
Survival was it
What it was all about.

But yet I pause–
Before this all ends
To consider that
I was killing friends.

Empty Machine

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When there is one call to wait for
When there is a last place to live
When all else is an open door
Then I will learn how to give.

But until then, I am afraid
Life will be stronger than me.
And where others choose to be brave
I have no choice but to be free.

That is the path to nowhere
Said every explorer before me.
Yet that is the stupid gift
Of what it is to be free.

Somehow the quest has meaning
Somehow the purpose has girth.
Yet we’re on a small planet
Where life happens just before birth.

So where I go today
Is just three or four steps
From the place I was yesterday.

We Saw

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We saw how beautiful life is–
then it stopped.
Then what?
It just stopped?
There’s gotta be something more–
At least you’ d think.
But then…what if not?
Then, then…
Nothing but what?
A blue lake with water everywhere
And trees and sky and
All those things we need.
All those things we need.
And then a whole lot more:
A piece of toast, a bite of cheese,
That little dog with cute ears–
And then all the rest.
The whole onslaught of everyone
Who want it all done now.
Then a peace arises
Because it must
Calm is the place for now.
And still the thought of the dog
With the cute button-down ears.
At the end, that may be what it comes down to:
A few quick thoughts about what is really important.
And that would be:
An oriole sitting in a tree.
Your smile directed right at me.
An old Egyptian pyramid that doesn’t turn to dust.
A running shoe that runs forever.
Your perfume in my hands.
Well, really, its you being close to me
That makes me think–
The owl that sits in judgement
Knows that owls know how to think.

The Place

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As I was thinking tonight
Three thoughts came to mind.
Then just like that I forgot about two
And the other thought just stood by
For a while– then just as it was ready,
That last thought passed me by.
So there I was was left with not a thought,
Except that I had one once.
So from there…where to go?
Not a thought in the whole universe?
Something must happen and happen soon–
Or at least that ‘s what I thought.
The end is the last place I want to go,
So that ‘s where I’ll recreate.


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Maybe I die shortly.
Maybe I die longly.
Maybe I don’ t die at all.
Maybe I just linger some while,
Or just catapult to nowhere.
Or maybe suddenly I see everything
very clearly.
The people, the animals, their friends–all of them
Are suddenly free.
To live, to breathe the beautiful fragrances from everywhere:
Old dogs who got too wet.
A rose in the sunset.
Sparrows who’ve been too long in the sun.
Spring blossoms sprayed with perfume.
The tip of a deer’s nose in the sharpness of winter.
The smile of a baby’s first breath.
I guess that’s it.
Life just sprints to–to what?
Small children playing at water flying from fountains.
Hawks soaring to see a world of prey.
Nomads walking along desert floors.
And two people stopping to say:
I love you so much–
Tomorrow is today.

About This Place…

"This website is dedicated to the many people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have suffered and died."


The writer was a journalist, prosecutor, and Canadian soldier who is now trying to help the people who live in the DR Congo.


The photographs and the commentary here are solely those of the writer and his pet dog named "Bark." The United Nations and MONUSCO have nothing to do with this website.

Similarly, the township of Puskokum in eastern Tennessee is equally not interested.