Death of a Patriot

All that rest are spaces (space)
space of drums
(“Come” they told him)

Nitre, cannon, horns, pipes
(echoed, calling)
vertebrae, rope-fray

Sinew (pink, foam-flecked)
flailing, fallen, gathered, apart
upon itself, weltered


Nitre or niter: saltpeter or potassium nitrate, a component of gunpowder.
Welter: lie soaked in blood.

Who do we actually think has laid down their lives for the freedoms of today? A wellspring of greater beings who have sacrificed everything for us in some past, performing a duty we attempt to honor for a moment, for a day or on a postage stamp? No no no. They are us, one life to the next as we live and die and live—live yet again. We might take a dimmer view of those running roughshod over our hard-won victories if we realized the personal price we’ve paid and how many times. This poem is a death remembered in parts—one day of many from that perspective. Remembered, because that awareness has gone on to live again. I remember some past lives (and this is the death of one of them). I don’t much care whether these ideas seem strange or utterly fantastic. Make room; This is the Death of a Patriot.

Published in: “3201 e’s” 2018

3 Replies to “Death of a Patriot”

  1. Roger Hare @RogerHare6, May 2022: “Phew, language and form that really hit hard 👍”

  2. VLBENNETT– @vicklbennett, May 2022: “I really like about the poem that despite the way it seems to speak of antique war, with drums and closeup gunpowder, yet the invocation “Come” and the “weltering” and the title could be spoken of any era.

  3. Andrew R. Williams @Andrewraywill, May 2022: “Thank you for this, Kevin. There is an intense brevity here that contributes to the directness of the poem. I also appreciate the intentionality in choosing your words.”

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