Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2019  Vol. 18 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Old Spice & Cordite
<give us the password>

I think sometimes, War is just a deep lounge,
a gentlemen’s lounge: fulsome leather couches
old-fashioneds, a fog of leonine cigar smoke

No admission to the clubhouse for such as me
Treading past, I hear glasses break, balls ricochet
I hear baritones and basses sharpen their points

Once in a while a man tumbles out the swinging door
holding his paw out—so crushed; stains on white cuffs
or drunk, such a dizzied head heat-seeking a solace lap

The battlefield is like the frontier, like Conrad’s heartbeats
unmapped territory, so many stenches to classify, so many
bottles to uncork and fling, lit matches writhing within

After the engagement though, the war door swings open
we who are not gentlemen are suffered to tiptoe in, to ignore
snorers, righten wingbacks, mend tears and staunch wet rugs  

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