a language of coins

by Jim Benz

city of wreckage
by theories

and sorrow –

the distilled
rage of impermeable

whether mineral
or flesh, official
or vain

– impermeable
as if it matters

staggering under weight
without end, the redeemed

pick through rubble.  They are choices
of politics and dismay.  Here
brutality is fact –

cited in bone fragments
and blood

I know them
by ink stains
and rumor, disengaged
from my heart

a people
with whom
I’ll never stand
speak, or argue

never eat, drink
or share burdens

are the quickly
dying, and the mourners –
broken women
children and men

who comb through the wreckage


Posted on 05/21/2007
Copyright © 2022 Jim Benz

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kathleen Wilson on 05/22/07 at 02:15 PM

I feel like I can run this poem through my fingers. Rich intensity of language.

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 05/23/07 at 02:05 AM

Hi Jim. Wonderful piece of writing. And isn't it sad that we have grown so accustomed to paying others back in their own coin. Fav and a potd suggestion. Thanks.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 05/23/07 at 01:03 PM

Your poem (all your poetry) weeps the truth.
You are a true poet.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 05/23/07 at 02:03 PM

A very thought provoking piece, so finely crafted - a wordsmith, you are.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 05/23/07 at 04:36 PM

I see this as being about many things, war, natural disasters such as tornado, hurricane, and I like that idea; all encompassing with money being a big factor after the damage has been done in order to rebuild lives, though unable to completely mend the emotional scars of the victims.

Posted by Rhiannon Jones on 05/24/07 at 06:45 PM

Outstanding. "I know them by ink stains and rumor, disengaged from my heart"...a world of meaning in a few words.

Posted by Tony Whitaker on 05/27/07 at 10:21 AM

A powerful poetic voice on the noise of pain the world knows well but does little in their own needs that speaks of little worthwhile but greed.

Posted by Paganini Jones on 05/27/07 at 01:03 PM

are the quickly
You just getter better and better. Superb use of language. And a great title too.

Posted by Maria Terezia Ferencz on 05/28/07 at 03:30 AM

Reading this I flash photos in my mind of every War I have ever seen a story on...This is a true word painting of war if ever there were one, it hits the heart.

Posted by Bruce W Niedt on 05/30/07 at 11:29 AM

In this time of the year when we honor the military dead, this poem reminds us of the civilian toll of every war, especially the one in which we are now embroiled - stark, haunting images in sparse and powerful language - a well-deserved POTD....

Posted by Maria Terezia Ferencz on 05/30/07 at 03:33 PM

Congrats on potd well deserved and the perfect subject for what is going on in our world now!

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 05/30/07 at 08:25 PM

Terrific potd choice....bravo, again!

Posted by Mara Meade on 05/30/07 at 09:11 PM

Powerful imagery, Jim. And the title says it all. This has struck me silent.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 05/30/07 at 10:42 PM

Oh I am so glad to find this on the front page!

Awesome poem by an awesome writer!

Posted by Kyle Anne Kish on 05/30/07 at 11:23 PM

Jim, this deserved to be POTD! Wonderful poem.

Posted by Michelle Angelini on 05/31/07 at 06:08 AM

Glad you're back on this site active again. Congratulations on POTD! Excellent poem!

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 01/04/14 at 07:03 PM

Jim, what I gather from reading not just this ode but all your odes, is, that you have developed a perfect kinship and trust with words and they respond in kind with a perfect confidence that you will not put them on, but like points, driven home, time after time.

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