Collateral Damage

POETRY FORMAT, 17 Jul 2017

Gary Corseri – TRANSCEND Media Service

We were sorry to hear the bombs that were meant
to fall on a home adjacent to yours
(and one more, down a block or two)
have lamentably ruined your daughter’s wedding,
blowing her up in her new white dress,
along with the groom, and his mother and yours,
and several children and dogs and cats.

While every precaution is taken, of course,
even our smart bombs occasionally miss;
at which time, we sincerely convey
our deepest condolences in light of your loss.

Freedom’s not easy, it’s untidy, it’s
simply better than anything else
we can ever imagine for you.

As a sign of our continuing interest
in your welfare and ours, we present you, tax free,
with this cashier’s check for one hundred dollars.
(This is a humanitarian gesture only
and should not be construed as an admission
of guilt or responsibility.)
If you wish to acknowledge our kindness,
we will send embedded reporters to meet you
(try to look grateful and even understanding).

Further, if your surviving cousins seek work
amidst the rubble we’ve made of your city,
there are several openings at the police academy
thanks to unexpectedly high absenteeism
(their loss, your gain) as a result of
a few lucky potshots from insurgents
who bear an uncanny resemblance
to your aforementioned cousins.

We assure you we are making every effort
to restore electricity, water, etc.,
missing since your liberation began.
Please be patient a little longer.
We have only your best interests at heart
and are endeavoring daily to impress on you
your need to completely believe this.

Dr. Gary Steven Corseri is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. He has published and posted articles, fiction and poems at hundreds of venues, including, TMS (Transcend Media Service), The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook Magazine and Counterpunch.  He has published 2 novels and 2 collections of poetry, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere.  He has performed his poems at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum and has taught in universities in the US and Japan, and in US public schools and prisons.  Contact:


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 17 Jul 2017.

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