6 Mar

I read The Yellow Birds even though I’m not so much into war books and it blew me away.  Very very good.  Serious writing skills.  The author has a book of poetry coming out in April and I was surprised, again, by how much I liked the sample poem I read in a magazine.  Again, not generally my cup of tea, but strong and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.  I know that many of my readers, including my mama, are not big poetry fans.  Read it anyway.

Field Manual

By Kevin Powers


Think not of battles, but rather after,

when the tremor in your right leg

becomes a shake you cannot stop, when the burned man’s

tendoned cheeks are locked into a scream that,

before you sank the bullet in his brain to end it,

had been quite loud.  Think of how he still seems to scream.

Think of not caring.  Call this “relief.”


Think heat waves rising from the dust.

Think days of rest, how the sergeant lays

the .22 into your palm and says the dogs

outside the wire have become a threat

to good order and to discipline:

some boys have taken them as pets, they spread

disease, they bit a colonel preening for a T.V. crew.


Think of afternoons in the t-shirts and shorts,

the unending sun, the bite of sweat in eyes.

Think of missing so often it becomes absurd.

Think quick pop, yelp, then puckered fur.

Think skinny ribs.  Think smell.

Think almost reaching grief, but

not quite getting there.




2 Responses to “Skillz”

  1. spanishjenna March 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    You have to stop reading. And recommending books. Just stop it.

  2. debbiemom April 18, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Actually, the poem was very moving. I wondered about the book a few months ago, so I may have to re-visit the desire to read it. I do wish I was more literary and enjoyed poetry, I really do. But alas, I rarely do.

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