"Thin Veil" by Erik Mackey

Many civilizations tread on a thin veil between total darkness and shaded grays.
Hundreds of generations continue to birth on clearly defined but divided sides.
A child's first breath is the air and ways of the culture of its born ways.
How deep those lives sink is as the soiled blood abides.
Deep in the far reached Congo years of worn torn strife,
leads to legends and folklore of a sinister life.
Where gangs of men rape and beat two year old infants and seventy year old Grandmothers for false hope of invisible youth and make believe manhood.
Leaving behind red scarred wounds and hearts that feel like broken wood.
How can we climb within the very soul of these tortured human’s
to feel the dirtied knife cutting skin and penetrating lust of angered viral legions.
To become solely violated, helpless, forever living with fear and death and sights of death.
One cannot truly feel the pain of broken bones on mere ink stained paper and electronic haze.
One can only dig deep within and mirror the memories of your pains and sorrows longing breath and pray your compassion is the source of the ultimate truth and changing and forgiving ways.

"Gig" by Mitch Foster

last night we played a beer tent made of bricks and mortar
the local VFW hall filled with an eager cross section of a small town
from all angles they rode pick-ups, mid-sized sedans and feet

youngsters, red faced and alive, home for the summer
middle-agers, red faced and worn, both a step behind and ahead of the youth
elderly, white haired and gentle, looking back while inching forward

in the back it’s two tickets for a beer or a sloppy joe
one ticket for pop, water
conversation is free, but go out front by the World War II cannon to smoke

heads leaning and hovering over the long rectangular tables
lined up in rows of cups and elbows, a phalanx of booze and friends

we fire entertainment at them
from 2 15 inch top speakers and dual 200 Watt subwoofers
our barrage of pressure waves moves some to
jiggle or
grab a mate and maneuver awkward circles; clenching one another
some dodge our friendly fire
hunkered down in the trenches of social interconnection

the Veterans of Foreign Wars are raising money tonight
while grandmothers are line dancing to songs only their kids’ kids know

It’s a Saturday night in an American small town and
all is good
the battle tank out front is sleeping, despite the noise
the 50 mm cannon at the front entrance is lightly
guarded by an almost semi-circle of smokers
while 3 unprotected children and their mother are shot to death in their living room, only half a world away