Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bloody Omaha Beach

“Blessent mon coeur
D’une languor monotone”
BBC Radio Broadcast
June 6, 1944

And with those words
“Wound my heart
With a monotonous languor”
The D-day invasion
Had begun

June 6, 1944
The greatest armada
The world has ever seen
Was making its way towards
The pristine beaches of

On the bluffs
Above the beach
The German soldiers
Waited patiently
Checking the horizon
Cleaning their guns
Waiting for the Americans
And the Canadians
And the Free French
To land their LSTs
At the beaches named
Gold and

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Supreme Allied Commander
Had just made the most difficult
Decision of his entire life
“There it is”, he said.
“I don’t like it, but there it is”
And those were the words
That launched 10,000 ships
Of every shape and size
The greatest naval armada
That the world had ever seen
The weather across
The English Channel
Had been just plain ugly
For the past several weeks
With five foot swells
Non stop gale force winds
And heavy down pouring rain

Two million men
Had been penned up
On military bases
All over southern England
In preparation
For the greatest
Amphibious invasion of all time
The much anticipated
And desperately needed
Second front

Hitting the beach
At Omaha
Where already
The water is turning
Crimson red from
All of the fallen
The wounded and the dead
Some without limbs
Without arms
Without legs
Some with no head
The men
Hunkered down behind
Whatever scraps of
Shelter that they could find
Anti-tank barriers
The burned out hulks of
Discarded equipment                                                                                                                                                            
Even the dead bodies of
Their fallen comrades

Every GI  was busy
Thinking the same thought
Who was the moron who
Ordered this operation?
Whoever he was
He should be hanged

Omaha Beach on D-Day                                                                                                      
Is nothing more than a
Killing zone
A kill box
Where no living being
Where no mere mortal who was
Made out of mere
Flesh and blood
Could long hope to survive

It was a place where
no human being
who was made out of
mere flesh and blood and bone
Should ever have be sent

Who was the moron who
Ordered this operation?
Whoever he was
He should be shot as a
War criminal

50,000 men hit the beach
In the first wave and
10,000 were killed
Almost instantly
Many as soon as the
Gantries of their LSTs
Hit the sand

Everything that could go wrong
Did go wrong
In perfect accord with
Murphy’s Law
Hundreds of allied airplanes
Missed their targets
Dropping their bombs
On the hedgerows
And cow pastures
Of Point du Hoc and
St. Mere Eglise
Killing more cows
Than Germans

Thousands of paratroopers
Missed their drop zones
Landing instead in
Flooded marshes
Or heavily fortified
German strongholds

And all of the tanks
That had been sent
To provide protection and
Cover for the troops
On the beach
Were either blown up
Or lost to the
English Channel waves
During the crossing
As the five foot swells
Soon overwhelmed
The canvas tubs that
Were supposed to
Float the tanks to shore
Leaving the troops
Exposed and unprotected

And hundreds more
Of the best
And bravest soldiers
Some as young as fifteen
Were killed even
Before they
Hit the ground

And some
Of the men drowned
Because they
Could not
Escape from their
Own gear due to
The poor design
Of their harness releases

Many more poor souls
Never even made it
To shore
Drowning by the
Hundreds and thousands
In the rough surf
As they were
Pulled down
To the bottom
By the weight
Of their own equipment
While thousands of bullets
Whizzed and
Buzzed and
All around them and
Through them

The water turned
Crimson red
With the blood of
The living and the dead
And panic set in and
Some men went crazy
After seeing their friends
And best buddies
Getting themselves
Killed and maimed
Right before their eyes

And then the Jerries
Opened up with
Their heavy guns
Pouring artillery shells
Into the already deadly
Mix of machine gun and
Mortar fire

Men who believed
Prayed to their God
To deliver them
From this man made Hell
And those who did not believe
Prayed anyway
Just in case

But wherever God was
On that cold
And fateful day
He wasn’t to be found
Any where near that
Bloody and
God forsaken place
That will forever
Be known to posterity as

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's All Quite Ridiculous

It’s all quite ridiculous
Don’t you know
This whole
Crazy glue
Crazy quilt
Business of love

The who loves whom of it
The where and when of it
The how and why of it
The why do I even care or
Why do I even want
To go through the
Bother of it

And how in the world
Is one to even know?
How is one supposed to
Be able to tell
When so and so
Claims to be in love
With you know who
And has been
For the longest
Period of time
Without anyone
Knowing or suspecting
And for the most part
Even ever having a clue?

Unrequited love
Is one thing
But a love
That never comes
Out of the shadows
Never daring to
Declare itself or
Announce itself
In the broad light of day
To what purpose
To what logical end?

Why must love
Always seem
To  be seen
To be
Working at cross purposes
With itself
To always
Be caught in
So many
Odd and compromising
Always trying to explain itself
Always trying to clarify
What it really meant  to say
Instead of simply stating
Whatever it was that
Needed saying
In the first place
Always tongue tied
Stuttering like a
Frightened adolescent
Who has been
Caught in trying to
Perform some
Natural or
Unnatural act
Under the covers
Behind closed doors
In and out of the shadows
Full of guilt
In need of self confession
And contrition
In need of redemption
Lacking in confidence
Lacking in self esteem
Unable to find the words
Unable to unzip
Fangled contraptions that
Have no business being
Hidden behind zippers
In the first place

How is it that
Whenever the matter of
Love once again
Rears its ugly head
It immediately begins
Contradicting itself
With a basket
Full of lies and
Full of cunning and
Imprudence and
Yearning and desire
Experimentation and
Wanting to dominate and
That which cannot be
And ought not to be
Dominated or
Domesticated or
Mummified or
Suppressed or
Obsessed and
Manifestly expressed
In every conceivable way
One way or another

Embarrassed to be seen
Excited by an opportunity
A chance encounter
A lucky
Turn of events
Just the right lighting
Artificial stimulation
Self gratification
Beyond the bounds
Out of the box
Beneath one’s
Recriminations and
Yet desperately
Wanting to be
Hugged and
In every
Available orifice
On every square inch
Of exposed skin
All the while feeling
Wholly inadequate
Utterly unlovable
Unknowable and

Fearful of seeming
To be all thumbs
And so maladroit
So inexperienced
So virginal
So nubile
So nebulous and

And yet
So full of
Wanting and needing
That to go on living
Even one more day
Without consummation
Would be tantamount
To committing an act
The equivalent of
Sexual suicide

It’s all quite ridiculous
Don’t you know
This whole
Crazy glue
Crazy quilt
Business of love

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012