Yorick / God and Murder – by Paul Ilechko

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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. 

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