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Author: Bob Malone
Location: Portland, Oregon

diamond icon Robert Malone, a native of Portland, Oregon, was an Army medic in 1969 and served in Vietnam. That trauma and that war became the locus for his inspiration, which he has expressed through his poetry and fiction. So has every war since, every artless skirmish and thuggish police action, every broken head and severed limb. Robert not only repudiates war but wishes through his art to slice it strand by strand from our DNA.

Allahu Akbar

The soldiers, slender and young, children only, by turns both guiless and murderous, stand almost bashful in the middle of the street toeing the loose road stones while eyeing above those surrounding high windows, roof tops, tense with a greedy fear

an old woman hiding in her doorway whispers, "I can only give my grief to God."

monsters roll on metal tracks through alleyways, dark indefatigable demons, horrible and huge moving with a sound like an avalanche, implacable steel beasts, machines from Hell

as the wrinkled old woman claws her way along the stucco wall and wails, "I can only give my grief to God."

a boy dead by the fountain in the town square, arms flung out as though seeking the cross, at his head a finger of blood, rust colored in the pale noonday light, swelling to a stream, leaks into a nearby culvert, soaks into the restless dust. Armed with cobblestones, he has not seen a dozen years upon this earth.

now the incubus of his hatred will surely seduce others

the old grandmother, black head scarf and shawl, rocks above the limp body and screams to the vaulted sky, "I can only give my grief to God.'

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