How to Talk to Adults about War

Approach the mic with gravitas.

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Make the words seem profound, even
if you have nothing to say. Mention
something azure and something cerulean —
these are the colours of poetry.

Assume a passion if you have none.
Wear profundity as a cloak for insipid ideas.

Don’t mention war, unless it is the battle
between your soul and your flesh.
No one wants to hear of naked aggression
at the border. They will grow bored
hearing of children under accelerating bombs.

You must ignore the hunger of the victims,
and the wandering of the dispossessed.
You didn’t actually see the blood, after all,
and your nostrils never knew the smell
of sizzling flesh in a hospital that is now a target.

You aren’t self-important enough to assume
you have anything to impart to your audience
regarding either sudden violence or slow starvation
in a conflict concocted by megalomaniacs who regard
human lives as poker chips in an evening show of bravado.

Money is on the table, and your listeners will know,
by God, that you have had a sleepless night.

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