If The Men Come Back From War

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Prompt: After listening to Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” write about a personal or global change you want to see in the world. What are the small steps that we could take toward making that change? What would the world look like if it changed in this way?

If The Men Come Back From War

Kathryn M. Fazio

If the men come back from war,
Where will they work?
There are no jobs,
Where will we put them...?
In the ulcers of others, lying on the street,
soot open-mouthed
broken liquor bottle, next to the Time
Warner advertisement on 10th Avenue .
If the men come back from war,
Where will we put them?
Those frozen ones,
Eyes piercing like train eyes.
How can we pull the thread that connects
Us to them, passed mountains of obstacles,
Dead salty seas, muddy grounds?
I know! I will breathe them into my nostrils;
The hairs inside will harbor them like lice.
I will scratch them to make sure they are amongst the living.
I will, tug-of-war each one of their arms
so each ends up within the safe haven of my heart.
Where will we put them to work?
Steel them inside a locket. Keep them safe, like a keepsake.
Or within the confines of a steel hollow valve and bridge,
Connecting them to a place called home.
I will put them to work, like elves.
Hide them inside these damn nylons I can’t tug on, because it’s
War everywhere for civilians. And girls,
Don’t forget chocolate! Maybe chocolate stands,
Saluting down 6th Avenue , tapping down to Macy’s.
I’ll have them tar over each cigarette.
Give them a gum removal job.
Where will we keep our boys if they come home,
When there are no jobs?
To love is a job. Work, like love made visible.
See them. A want ad that’s turgid red.


Kathryn Fazio is author of A Taste of Hybrid Vigor: New Poems of War, Passion, and Social Significance, which gained her the title of Poet Laureate of the College of Staten Island. She currently teaches at a Poetry Wellness Group in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Fazio has also facilitated groups of people coping with AIDS and/or blindness at Coler/Goldwater Memorial Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital and has done an in-service for Metro at Creedmoor Psychiatric Hospital where participants learned to use poetry to facilitate wellness. Fazio’s poetry has been awarded the Ed-Rehberg Prize, the Silla Gold Crown World Peace Literature Prize from Korea, and has appeared in anthologies including the Poetry Caravan Anthology and Bowery Women Anthology. For copies of A Taste of Hybrid Vigor, and for more information please contact the author directly at: 646-881-0041 (mobile) or email: Katebiz@earthlink.net

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One Response to If The Men Come Back From War

  1. Kathryn Fazio says:

    Thank you for creating such a lovely website. Thank you for honoring my poem with your hard computer design work. Today I tap danced for our Vetern Soldiers with 30 other women at Fort Hamilton Army Base. It was beautiful. I was glad to honor the Veterns, men and women who have served or are currently serving our country. KF

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