Poem: I Had A Friend, A Sniper


photo: U.S. Marine Corps (public domain)

I Had A Friend
by Ron Olsen

I had a friend
A sniper
Not a movie
A sniper
Who came back unable to live with us

When we went shooting
He never missed

He was in the jungle
Tied to a tree
Until he nearly died from
Some vile amoebic rot
Put him in a hospital in Japan

He came back
Married a woman
Kept a big spider
And a snake
Kept them in aquariums on shelves
With a giant hookah in the middle of the room

He’d let the spider out
Let it crawl around
And the snake
Inside your shirt
If you weren’t careful
He still needed some hazard
Some threat
Some kind of edge

We smoked
And then his young wife
Would coax him into bed
Where he slept with a 45
And the dreams
Of what had passed

Still uncomfortable without his back to the wall
He’d seen too much
I guess
Felt too much
Done too much
The marriage did not last
So he left to build sailboats

He was my friend
But I let him go
Threw him away like so much trash
I was unsure
Afraid of what he might do
You can’t be too careful
Around people who play with spiders

I had a friend
He was a sniper
He came back from the war
And died young
I could have done more
But maybe not
I’m sorry

I no longer knew who you were

Or a story
To make money
For some Hollywood producer
To glorify war
And reassure ourselves of who we are
How strong we are
How deadly we are
How right we are
How decent we are
That killing can be justified

I had a friend
He was a sniper
Now he’s dead
Died young from jungle rot
There’s no movie about his life
Just reality

I’m so damn sorry

© Ron Olsen – All rights reserved

Posted in art music poetry Tagged with: ,

Attic Man |A Poem and Painting by DMJ

Attic Man painting

Attic Man

Attic Man
dweller in attics.
Do they find you there
did they turn your eyes to the wall
Attic Man
Man of Questions
Were you just bad or
you just bothered them or
you didn’t go with the couch and
your questions were old, Attic Man
you asked too many of them and they said
they said
they said
Turn away attic dude
turn away from these questions of
why we couldn’t get along
and why we let our religion get in our way and
why we fought with each other
instead of baling
baling like crazy together.
Why don’t you just look at the
darkness of the wall and ask
why we don’t care
enough for
to save Her

Posted in art music poetry

Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A Poet’s Ode to Underwear

As poet, playwright, publisher, and activist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti helped to spark the San Francisco literary renaissance of the 1950s and the subsequent “Beat” movement. Like the Beats, Ferlinghetti felt strongly that art should be accessible to all people, not just a handful of highly educated intellectuals. His career has been marked by its constant challenge of the status quo; his poetry engages readers, defies popular political movements, and reflects the influence of American idiom and modern jazz. In Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Poet-at-Large, Larry Smith noted that the author “writes truly memorable poetry, poems that lodge themselves in the consciousness of the reader and generate awareness and change. And his writing sings, with the sad and comic music of the streets.”

I didn’t get much sleep last night
thinking about underwear
Have you ever stopped to consider
underwear in the abstract
When you really dig into it
some shocking problems are raised
Underwear is something we all have to deal with
Everyone wears
some kind of underwear
Even Indians wear underwear
Even Cubans
wear underwear
The Pope wears underwear I hope
The Governor of Louisiana wears underwear
I saw him on TV
He must have had tight underwear
He squirmed a lot
Underwear can really get you in a bind
You have seen the underwear ads for men and women
so alike but so different
Women’s underwear holds things up
Men’s underwear holds things down
Underwear is one thing
men and women do have in common
Underwear is all we have between us
You have seen the three-color pictures
with crotches encircled
to show the areas of extra strength
with three-way stretch
promising full freedom of action
Don’t be deceived
It’s all based on the two-party system
which doesn’t allow much freedom of choice
the way things are set up
America in its Underwear
struggles thru the night
Underwear controls everything in the end
Take foundation garments for instance
They are really fascist forms
of underground government
making people believe
something but the truth
telling you what you can of can’t do
Did you ever try to get around a girdle
Perhaps Non-Violent Action
is the only answer
Did Gandhi wear a girdle?
Did Lady Macbeth wear a girdle?
Was that why Macbeth murdered sleep?
And the spot she was always rubbing –
Was it really her underwear?
Modern anglosaxon ladies
must have huge guilt complexes
always washing and washing and washing
Out damned spot
Underwear with spots very suspicious
Underwear with bulges very shocking
Underwear on clothesline a great flag of freedom
Someone has escaped his Underwear
May be naked somewhere
But don’t worry
Everybody’s still hung up in it
There won’t be no real revolution
And poetry still the underwear of the soul
And underwear still covering
a multitude of faults
in the geological sense –
strange sedimentary stones, inscrutable cracks!
If I were you I’d keep aside
an oversize pair of winter underwear
Do not go naked into that good night
And in the meantime
keep calm and warm and dry
No use stirring ourselves up prematurely
‘over Nothing’
Move forward with dignity
hand in vest
Don’t get emotional
And death shall have no dominion
There’s plenty of time my darling
Are we not still young and easy?
Don’t shout.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Posted in art music poetry, Famous Poets, Language., Lyrics with Audio, Poems with Audio, Poetics, Poetry Book., Poetry Performance, Poetry Reading, Poetry Recitals, Poetry videos, Readings, Translation. Tagged with: , ,

How to Play the Mountain Dulcimer | Lessons

how to play dulcimer lessons

how to play dulcimer

Posted in art music poetry