Washerwoman Blues, poem published by Douglas Alexander Holiday

      It don’ make no sense,
      all dis talk about nuclear
      weapons an’ grown men
      talkin’ ‘bout wantin’ tuh
      go tuh war. Why men
      got tuh wanna fight
      an’ kill one another
      so much. I caint
      figga it out. It
      don’ make no sense. I
      don’ know, all dis
      talk ‘bout bombs
      an’ goin’ tuh war.
      An’ dey jus’ gonna
      sen’ our coloured
      boys over dere tuh
      kill dey coloured boys.
      I jus’ caint unnerstan’
      I don’ know…I cain’t
      get dis stain out….

      It don’t make sense,
      building a nuclear weapon
      to hurt and kill the same
      people like us in the South.
      And the Americans will be coming
      again, forgetting their own wars
      between north and south, forgetting
      the fifty-four thousand that died
      here between our north and south,
      forgetting the villages burned,
      forgetting the families destroyed.
      So many of our young men will
      die, again, if we
      war with dem. We lost
      so many last time. I lost
      husband, sons, nephews,
      parts of whole family, jus’
      gone. Many have forgotten, but
      a few still remember. Men
      fighting over land, politics,
      whatever. Makes no sense,
      an’ here I am trying to
      get these stains
      out. How many got
      to die this time, huh?

      Mushrooms don’t seem tuh grow here,
      dey jus’ kill here. While I try
      tuh get dese stains out, I look
      tuh da skies for
      da mushrooms tuh appear,
      an’ whole towns an’ villages
      disappearing, the people going
      on pilgrimages tuh find shelter
      food an’ safety. Dey Kim wantin’
      to kill our Kim. Grown men actin’
      worse den children. An’ what about
      the children? Doesn’t Pyongyang
      know dat it will not be
      da only city lef’ standing,
      dat its children will not
      be the only survivors? Makes
      no sense, no sense at all…,
      an’ dese stains will never come out.

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Kevin Mcllenan