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by Judy Stoddart


The Montreal Review, November 2010




the psychotic old man

sat in a patch of urine


head bent

his chin inches away from the sticky glossy table top

talked to no one particular about his land, the war, his hand


how he fought with a vengeance, a rush of angered blood in his head

oh, yes - yes siree

rather to kill the enemy then them kill him instead


he slammed his foaming mug with his only four fingers

glassy eyes wandered and slurred words linger

breath of stale draft he told of the fight to survive

the will to come back

got a pension.set his life back on track

his stubble face and nervous twitch

told of a man that chose not to die


i sat across from the little man

listened with deaf ears and couldn't understand


i too chose the same, as to stay alive

i never fought in a war but i know the will to survive


my eyes stared across to the man with the purple nose

took my hat off to someone that believed in himself


my bald head with specs of grey baby strands caught him by surprise

i feed him minor truths

no lies

he may have fought the strangers and won

but i have the intravenous drip of enemies hit my life stream and flush my soul


i finished my beer and sneered in his face

'am I to admire your blindness to life?'


many years ago you finished your fight

stop whinning - you won


old fool, your war is over. mine has just begun



Illustration: Portrait of Rosalie Hook (Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches) by Alexander Brook

Alexander Brook, a leader among New York City's mainstream figurative painters during the 1930s, painted numerous scenes based on his observations in Savannah. Trained in the American realist tradition of painting, Brook's landscapes, portraits, and genre scenes are largely devoid of overt or hidden social meaning and are characterized by subdued colors and strong, weighty shapes.


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