Three by Harry Newman


soon the generals

will have their way


and killing will begin

again the modern kind

distant and televised


how strange it is

to think of movies

instead of slaughter


when the images come

the ones we’ve seen

now so many times:


bombs falling missiles

skimming over suburbs

so much like our own


we have grown so fat

with violence we need

our murder super-sized

before we can feel it


when the smaller deaths

the ones on the ground

the cameras won’t see

will never be counted

The Front at Home


I remember that day sitting

on the couch in your apartment

the war was supposed to be over

we’d heard that on tv a few weeks

earlier the president speaking about

toppling a regime the first of many

we’d come to learn but that was later

on this spring day when we had just

started dating war was far away and

it was safe enough to love we thought

the television was on and soon we were

watching a reporter maybe half a mile

from that mountain the last enemy

stronghold a network of tunnels with

hundreds of fighters the reporter said

as the camera zoomed to an entry way

on the mountainside every few seconds

missiles would flash across the screen

then detonate and it was silent enough

to hear stones skittering afterwards

we were silent too watching missile

after missile hit closer to the entrance

murder televised so casually while

the reporter talked about payloads

throw weight guidance systems with

the cool practiced anticipation of

a golf announcer this is the world

we’re making I think we’re part of this

and nowhere felt safe or far enough

not the couch we’re on not the home

we will build not love as a missile

struck and the entrance exploded


(Previously published in Rosebud)

Led (Camp X-Ray, Jan 2002)


green pictures tonight

on the television

green pictures

of men with guns

leading other men

in chains green

fluorescent images

shot from a distance

using infrared

night vision lenses

an effect I’ve only

seen in movies

so it doesn’t

seem real to me

more like pictures

from the moon

or a place more alien


yet there it is green

pictures of men

chained and paraded

for my approval

I know I should

feel protected now

the men with guns

are my men and the men

in chains the enemy

but I feel shackled

instead shackled

with them and led

from a distance

to a place so dark

it will never be seen

not with night vision lenses

not on television never

Harry Newman is a poet, playwright and photographer.  His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, most recently, Ecotone, Asheville Poetry Review, Rattle, and The New Guard.  His poems have been nominated twice for Pushcart Prizes and longlisted twice for the Bridport Prize in England.  His plays and translations have been presented at theaters across the U.S., as well as in The Netherlands and Germany. He can be reached atnewmanov@nyc.rr.com.


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