reparation condemnation

reparation condemnation

by Douglas Hardman

Alert the soldiers

Call in the bomb squad

A civil war

A funeral score

Blood-soaked arms

Tear-stained faces



Nobody could have predicted the outcome

Except everyone who has an inkling of intuition

How could one man produce so much disaster?

Single-handedly disrupting the natural order with a plastic smile and clown tears

I called to arms my biggest enemies

Friends and family alike were invited, but no one dared to RSVP

Unbeknownst to me, they’ve seen it all before

Ragged and tired, the troops line up, unenthusiastically

Another day, another drama

Turn the page, flip the script

What you read, is not what you see

You do not have to believe what you see

As soon as the first shot was fired

I ran for my life

Weak legs carrying the weight of my mistakes

The battle-torn streets echoed my name

It took them three seconds to throw in the towel

Their general AWOL, the soldiers fall stiff on the battlefield

I laid low for six days to ensure I could rest on the seventh

Messages in empty whisky bottles I could not dare to send

How much more damage could I let my pen do?

Caskets with rainbow flags

Prescription bottles with no warning label

The daylight burns the color out of my eyes

My bloodied knuckles covered in dust and dried-up tequila sunrise

I grasped to the familiar

But it was no longer there

Population: zero

Because I did not think I made it out alive

Alone again, something felt different

The same old had not warranted the same old feeling

There was a change afoot

I didn’t dare dust myself off

So I could see who I was in the mirror

Take a good look, discover a new foundation

Learn to let go of all my trepidation

A turned new leaf from the same tree

Airing on the side of reckless positivity


Featured in our March 2022 issue, "Structure/Destruction"