Words always fail us in the moment

Then when the fabric suddenly tears

when the soldier lays down his weapon

when the mother lays her child to ground

when the magnificent machines of death

suddenly seize in midair & fall to earth

that’s when the fabric tears within us

Then the words we know all fail us 


The speeches of great men are air

Oratory scripted from behind desks

when a crab falls into the boiling brine

when lightning shatters the ancient trees

when a wave swallows the sinking ship

as easily as the bull frog swallows a fly

some say they scream It’s just a lie

At the best all they can do is wave


Poets write of others heartbreaks

Their own are drowned in the glass

where grown men’s tears meld with ice

where still waters hold the ancient bones

where the innocent and guilty converge

to listen to the love songs of strangers

There where the fabric has been torn

we sit & wave without a word to say


“Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre,

and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say?

All there is to say about a massacre, things like ‘Poo-tee-weet?'”

Kurt Vonnegut

About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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2 Responses to Poo-tee-weet

  1. such is the sound of life after death in Tralfamadore


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