As with most things, only half the story ever told, and most of that falsity or misleading pretense– the bricks of the city are red as virgin blood and even while crumbling– outlasting those who’d cried and screamed in her shadows and slept in the alleys of her pungent womb where frail and forgotten people were murdered beneath her streetlights’ white flickering. Many dreams away, stinking hippies smoked and danced in swaying fields and fucked for their next meal; some called it love, and maybe that’s what love is– as long as it ain’t war. Across the sea, brothers of those sisters left behind to dance and smoke and dream tried to kill those who tried to kill them in swamps of stewy jungle — and that’s all it was across the sea, death or survival. patriotic rhetoric and the threat of evil’s virulent spread were known lies, the type of dishonesty we accept most readily, lest we be unwitting fools. but still, brothers killed for their bloodied brothers and brothers killed just to stay alive. ain’t it funny how another’s life on the other side of an invisible line becomes worth less than one’s own when the bullets are exploding into astonished skulls and bursting once-wishful hearts to the left and right. ain’t it funny how poetry runs away when the fight is on– and real and present and bloody and bodies are strewn, halved, and bones are breaking through the skin, and men are crying out to gods who never existed, but of our desperation. and ain’t it funny how love ain’t nowhere to be found ‘cept in a swaying field– many dreams away. ain’t it funny how everything changes, how the lonely wind pulls love’s hopeful dancers into its cold vortex with the siren calls of summer-field breezes, keeping their souls for itself– while their bodies still walk the earth, wear ties, and marry, grow old, and die, and ain’t it funny how an era ends– in a whisper, unheard, when there ain’t nothing left to fight for, leaving without closure or even the punctuated dignity of a gunshot to the temple or the slamming of a chipped-wood door– and nobody knows– how it all changed, or the precise moment when the dove once held departed, but nothing will ever be the same again.