Life, Tricks, Death | Vern Fein

Our Life Again

In grad school behind a wall
of books, sealed into the words
of Poe, Stevens, Hemingway
Faulkner, Salinger, Albee.

Dominoes fall 
and Goliath lies, 
claims a David
from Viet Nam
dared sling a torpedo
at one of our ships.
We attack Communism 
and those fierce, small,
black-clad people
as if our economy
depended on it.

In love with Lydia, a young nurse,
fingers as gentle
on my body and soul
as her patient hands on the dying.

That was our life.

I dropped out of school,
buried my love of books,
chose a love of marching.
Lydia nursed us through protests
to foment a revolution
that had no more chance  
than our nation could keep 
from shooting missiles
at foreign lands.

Once again the world is at war,
this time another Goliath
against another David,
its own brother
as Russia attacks Ukraine.
The bombs fall and people flee
just as they did so long ago.

This is our life again.

The Unbearable Sorrow of Being…
digital art
Kat Patton ©2022

Old Tricks

In our apartment building,
when I was a child, 
old Mrs. Greta Shultz horrified me.
We lived by an airport,
every whining sound of jets
sent that creaky lady
scuttling under the kitchen table,
duck and cover every time,
air sucked in, moans-- 
for her an American Luftwaffe,
Slaughterhouse Dresden memories--
her mind recoiling
at the screaming sounds 
from her younger girl day/nightmares.
Despite heart-felt pleas,
Greta was safe under the table.

After years of marriage, 
we rescued a dog.
She had been caged 
for months in cold wire.
We gave her our warm and safe home.
But when my wife ever went out,
Butter would mewl by the door,
shiver and shake
till the door opened, 
de-plane on my wife's lap.
No coaxing mattered.

You can’t unlearn old tricks.

Stalin: A Slice of Death

At twelve I was aware of the world.
News flash during Ramar Of The Jungle:
Joseph Stalin dead of a heart attack.
I jumped up and yelled through
my house as if the Devil
himself had finally been slain.

When he had a traitor executed,
the whole family was killed
like Achan’s tribe at Jericho.

Terrorizing the population,
sent his soldiers into big cities,
to murder a few thousand innocents.

Slew over half of his advisors.
Would throw parties, shoot
those not drunk enough.

Chased down Trotsky in Mexico.
Axed Leon, his comrade
who dared to oppose him. 

Loved flowers but at the end
nightly commanded his gardeners 
to decapitate every blossom
and replace the flowers the next day
for another pogrom of his garden.

Absolute power over more people
than anyone in history, estimates
of over 20 million slaughtered.

Why obeisance to the One,
allow One to dominate us,
allow One to kill so many,
allow One to hoard the wealth,
bend the knee to One,
kiss the ring of One?

Poems ©2022 Vern Fein
All rights reserved

Vern Fein…

…a retired special education teacher, has published over two hundred poems on over eighty sites, a few being: *82 Review, Bindweed Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Courtship of Winds, Young Raven’s Review, Sledgehammer Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Poesis, and Monterey Poetry Review. Recently his first poetry book—I was Young and Thought It Would Change—was published by Cyberwit Press.


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