Thursday, July 7, 2011

...A Poem for You

I asked a dear person in my life, recently, "Who is your favorite poet?"
It was a life-changing experience, when, with no hesitation, she said, "You."
With love to her, with love to my readers, here is a poem for you.
It is not very nice.


My name is Herschel Heinz.
I was a soldier.
I was a soldier in what
I believed was
A Great War.

I believed it a Great Action.
I believed.
I joined the army in 1938.
I traveled to Czechoslovakia
When I truly became a soldier.

I believed
That I would make
My father proud,
My family proud,
That I would someday make a family.

I believed that I
Would make my
Nation proud.
I believed,
As I departed on the train.

I began to disbelieve
In my Rifle.
I began to disbelieve
In my officers
On the train to Czechoslovakia.

We arrived and we had food and barracks.
We had prostitutes.
We had wonderful beer.
Again and again,
We had wonderful prostitutes and beer.

We had what was called
A Line-Up.
The men and boys
Were taken from the towns
And executed.

This, in front of their wives
And mothers, big and little sisters,
Grandmothers, grandfathers,
Aunts, uncles,

I did not so much mind
The executions.
Continuing lives of the men and the boys
Would create future soldiers
Who would want to kill me.

Of a morning,
My men found
A cowering dozen
Men and boys in a cellar
By the railway station.

There were men,
And there were their sons,
And there were the men’s fathers,
And we had them all,
And we would execute them all.

For hiding, were they.
How dare they
Try to escape
What was

My officers laughed
At the foible of the men and boys.
There was to be
No question
Of their fate.

The February air was frigid.
My officers
Raised their pistols
And demanded that
The men and the boys strip naked.

Pistols drawn, the officers,
Still drunk on  prostitues and beer,
Demanded that the men
Drop to their knees
And fellate their own sons.

I had been,
Proudly, issued a Luger handgun
Upon my induction
Into the German army.
I drew my pistol.

The fathers
And the grandfathers
Were naked on their knees.
They and the boys were shivering
With cold and with fear.

I boldly overstepped
My officers.
I strode forward
To the shivering
Men and boys.

You have only
Two choices, I declared.
You may die
With dignity
Or you will die on your knees.

Each man
And boy
Avoided my gaze,
And drew back his shoulders.

It is a hero
Who declares
His Independence
From Life

I emptied my clip
A shot behind the ear
Of each
Of those men and boys.

Led to a truck, was I.
Put on a train
To Russia
For the military crime
Of insubordination.

The following Bloodbath
Held no Mercy
For me or for any other.
I walked from the Russian battlefield home to Germany,
To my home, no longer.

I became a soldier
To be of a Nation,
To be of a Family,
To make my nation and my family


  1. MC have you read "Everything is Illuminated?" This reminds me of a climactic scene towards the end (but sans fellatio)

  2. It's a sad, sad world. But I'm glad you made it home from Russia in one piece.