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They Stole Our Games

Paul Lojeski: I just wanted to see that rocket throw from deep right, that homer exploding off the bat, that 98mph fastball smashing into the catcher’s mitt.
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They Stole Our Games

Nothing like a ball game on a sunny, summer
afternoon, the old stadium packed with kids
and old folks, cheering like the dickens
at every crack of the bat, roaring amazement

at miraculous catches and laser-like throws
or thundering storms of boos down on the
obviously insane umpire who called their
guy out in a cloud of dust at the plate. All

that skill and drama becoming pearls called
memories, tall tales for cold nights down
the road. But the Forces of Control slipped
in unannounced, hijacking the game’s

joy and beauty, wrapping it, instead, in
the iron mechanisms of state coercion:
flag-draped, patriotic spectacles with
the obscene worship of all things military,

making the games, all the games but tools
of power, helping to maintain and extend
conformity and obedience. So the soldiers
preen as the anthems blare and a long

dead singer warbles God Bless America.
I just wanted to see that rocket throw from
deep right, that homer exploding off the bat,
that 98mph fastball smashing into the catcher’s

mitt. I don’t want to stand at attention
for your lousy lies and dirty, back room deals,
for the slaughters you initiate everywhere.
I’ve had enough. I want my games back.

Escape Artist

I was shown a glass
with water in it

and asked whether
the glass was half-

empty or half-full.
What glass? I said.

One Tribe

We’ve been killing from day one, pretending
or at least some of the tribe pretending that
slaughter wasn’t the primary mission of our

existence, that we weren’t bent on fomenting
bloody hellfire all the way to the sound of the
last beating heart. But our insatiable need to

conquer and murder and dominate is really
unmatched by even the most cravenly indifferent
of nature’s other killers. We’ve set ourselves

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apart and above on this one; for we bring death
down upon each other with the gusto of a great
artist madly bringing forth another stunning

masterpiece. Bravo! The bombs are falling
again but bombs are always falling somewhere
now because we love blowing others to bits,

the screams in the hot, flash of light reassuring
us that we shall carry on, that we will live to
bomb another day. No need for pretending

anymore. We know who we are: we’re
the butchers, a terrible tribe of rampaging
butchers. You got a problem with that?

On This Fourth of July

I wish the madness
to quiet, if only
for a moment.

The crack of hate
in rifle fire,
the murder in

a patriot’s angry
eye, or one neighbor
killing another.

Let the scurry
for capital,
crushing the

weak on the
way to the top
of this burning

heap halt and,
for once, let
voices calling

for peace ring
out across
the land. Peace.

We need that
word back on
the tongues

of children, soldiers,
waitresses and
garbage men.

So I wish not for
fireworks and
parades today,

but for silence,
stillness in a wave
of well-being
like nothing ever
felt before, this
Fourth of July.

Paul Lojeski