But I Am Not There

I see the blood that spills in the streets
Can practically smell the gunpowder air
Tasting the ashes, bitter on my tongue
I hear the explosions, but I am not there

I cannot claim to fathom their fear
Or say that I know the depth of their dread
I’ve not had to bear the loss of loved ones
Nor have I the need to step over the dead

I live far away from the noise of the horror
I close my eyes with no fear of sleeping
No aid raid sirens awaken me rudely
I read in peace, tea silently steeping

Pictures and articles pour in daily
Videos making me a bit more aware
I know it’s happening; I know that it’s real
But the sadness I feel does not compare

I hear children crying, and nothing stops it
I see the confusion and pain in their eyes
I smell the smoke and festering wounds
But the foulest odor is the stench of lies

A well-heeled madman’s misinformation
Distorted guile drips from his tongue
Slanderous justifications for the slaughter
Of unknown thousands, old and young

But my food is hot; my belly is full
I don’t hide underground or need to run
There are no tanks parked out on my lawn
My hands are empty; they hold no gun

I don’t have a gas mask close at all times
My roads are clear, my home is intact
The power to stop the storm is not mine
It rages on, and the sky is blacked

I cannot order the attack to halt
And to send in support is not my decision
I don’t determine the fate of anyone else
I need not defend my political vision

No sons or daughters go off to fight
Because of anything that I say or do
But war will not cease of its own accord
No moving of money makes it less true

I can say kind things and show my support
The only thing worse is not even to care
The words I say, meaningless, useless
It’s easy for me, for I am not there

If I believed it, I’d say, “Wait. Do nothing;
Or else he may set the whole world afire.”
I could say I believe to hold back is better
But were I to say it, I would be a liar

Powerless, unable to stop a mass murder
Intervention may mean the death of us all
So, we answer the cry for help by saying,
“We pray for you and hope you don’t fall.”

To cover our fears of atomic destruction
Supportive words hang on digital display
Perhaps if we allow the bully his toy
He’ll go no further after getting his way

If only it were true that a taste of victory
Made conquerors quit; one land controlled
The wanton wishes of children who know
Nothing of madmen, bloodthirsty, bold

I cannot assist in their hour of darkness
Or insist that others answer the pleading
My heart hurts for those brave defenders
But my pain is painless; I am not bleeding

I cannot say “Fight,” nor can I say “Wait.”
It’s not my problem or burden to bear
After all, it’s easy to speak in abstractions
It’s easy for me because I am not there


© 2022 Kevin Trent Boswell

Photo by Алесь Усцінаў

Magus72 on Patreon - the music, poetry, and madness of Kevin Trent Boswell ​
Magus72 on Patreon – the music, poetry, and madness of Kevin Trent Boswell