The children kick the skull down the
road. It’s how they play football in a
war zone. Alas, poor Yorick. We never
knew him, or the million others who,
like him, lost their heads to violence in
these years of murder and disgrace.
Alas poor Yorick. Perhaps you were an
intellectual, targeted with others of your
type by the fat, sweaty men who do the
dirty work, rags hanging from their back
pocket to wipe the blood from their
hands: your blood, shed for no reason.
Or perhaps, Yorick, you were only a child.
A soldier before your time, given a gun
and sent to maim and kill, a terrifying
force of pure immorality, chosen and
trained; a simple machine that somehow
lost its wheels, was wrecked and burned.
Whoever you were, you lonely skull taken
from a pyramid of bones, a hundred or a
thousand feet high: we pity you, and all
your kind. We send our pity, we send our
sorrow. It’s all we have to give. The last
remaining gift from the living to the dead.
God and Murder
They came in covered wagons with God
and murder both in their hearts. God
on the left side, murder on the right. Both,
but separate, kept apart by a wall.
God told them where to go. Through the dusty
plains of heat-stricken Summer, through the
chilled mountains of ice-coated Winter.
Always moving, never ceasing to progress.
Murder told them who to enslave; murder
told them who to kill. In support of God,
but not God. Murder with its own private
voice, speaking from its own private place.
They crossed the entire land with God on
their flag and murder hidden deep in their hearts.
They knew themselves as good people; clean,
God-fearing – well distanced from murder’s song.
Paul Ilechko was born in England but has lived most of his life in the USA. He currently lives in Lambertville, NJ with his girlfriend and a cat. Paul has had poetry published and/or accepted recently by Third Wednesday, Gloom Cupboard, Red Fez, Muddy River Review and Slag Review, among others.