Someone Else’s War

                                          Will de Kypia

War is different when you are not in your own land.

Conflict viewed through an alien culture is coded.

Shattered bus windows, stained red from within.

Outside all is confusion. Screams, sirens, lights.

“Where?” you ask, staring at the screen of carnage.

“Here, those bastards did that to us" they say.

Or “There, we got those bastards good this time.”

And occasionally "That's someone else's war.”


War eludes scrutiny in terra incognita.

Details of no consequence distract you.

A random artillery shell strikes a school.

One boy's severed arm rests beside his body,

a diminutive watch encircling the tiny wrist.

You wonder, Does the timepiece tick on without him?

East of Eden, war's indiscriminate butcheries

may evoke remarkably insensitive responses.

At the mall a car bomb kills six, maims more.

Bodies sprawl upon pavement in the impossibly

polyjointed contortions of the violently lifeless.

You see shoes you would not be caught dead in.


Lamentations for the fallen seem somehow indecorous.

Ritualized piety in another's creed lacks resonance.

Half-naked women beat their breasts cross-armed,

dip cloth in blood, and lift high the sacred rag. Then

they ulutate not grief but rage, and pride, and joy.

You admire their bare breasts.


War waged under an unfamiliar flag baffles.

The banner's iconography explains nothing.

A tutor could be useful. Perhaps the children

might clarify the origin of their parents' dispute?

No, the children were taught conflicting cosmologies

and they now construct alternate universes that will

soon collide into yet another bloody confrontation.


Today you saw a man scrape charred flesh from a café wall.

A palimpsest erased and rewritten until indecipherable,

still seen as the hallowed emblem of a nation's soul.


Whenever and wherever war blazes, it is hell.

But you are a stranger in someone else's hell.

A land obsessed with the glorious past,

mired in an endless and bloody present,

fatalistically resigned to having no future.

So you return to your own land where there

may be hope for a better tomorrow, or not.

There is none in this place.

Someone Else's War
Red Streak
Red Parti Stamp
Grey Stamp
Departed Stamp