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Author: Dixie J-Èlder
Location: Longmont, Colorado

diamond icon Dixie J-Èlder moved from state to state as her father mapped America for the USGS during the 1950s and '60s. Her first of six first grades was on Chinquotegue Island (a ferry took her over to the school on Assateague Island.) She was jailed for anti-war activities in Washington, DC on May Day, 1971. She taught literature & drama in Appalachia after attending college in the Mennonite Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Dixie has lived in Colorado since the early 1980s. She and her husband, Peter (an anthropologist/actor who works in a bank), live with two cats in a Mexican-American neighborhood where frequent Quinzañeras brighten up their days.



... and this is war

... and this is war
paintings on copper colored vases,
black silhouettes of soldiers, swords held high,
elegant, designed by painters & sculptors
whose feet never slid in blood on muddy battlefields.
Songs of Brave Achilles written after he fell by one who
never heard his iron shield clang death’s bells.

... and this is war
womens’ hearts seized by rapists’ fists
each time the crier shouts a list of names
& they fill baskets with rotting cabbages;
babies cry but milk will not flow
& there is no word from him, she has no words.

... and this is war
Wealthy shouting “Glory! Glory!”
young men & women reaching for knives,
swords, guns, marching to shouts of
“Glory! Glory!”

Angels called down by that shouting
to find, always, the nearly dead grinning
as crowds throw flowers, petals landing on
           strong shoulders
           guns, knives, swords
           hitting backs, hips, thighs
wings stirring up dust―whisperings: “turn back! turn back!”

... and this is war
caverns filled with rainstorms
caverns which once were homes
storefront windows turned to sharp edges
glinting on sidewalks.

Now they are climbing over hills,
rocks cutting nearly bare feet worn raw from
following
following

Finding hollow eyed almost people pointing down a burned lane, “soldiers, soldiers”
Stars & bars, crosses, Kings, unholy Promises, waiting Virgins: lies.
Marchers stumbling now, horses shrieking, sirens blasting;
music on a phonograph stuck at the end of a song singing:
“Glory! Glory!”





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