Gloria Mindock










I am passing out of this life

into the next.

I know it.

Don’t ask me to explain

the Boulevard I keep seeing.


Standing in the center of the globe,

yes, the center, is always where I am at.

I see the world and signs with no directions—

just blank.

People are mutilating each other

anyway they can…

These deaths filter through my nostrils.

My future is over but so

is everyone’s.


Consoling myself constantly with savored language,

where will all this end?

How can this be?

In my mind, I yell to the

imperfect humans to stop.

I thought I heard an answer, but no.


As I stand here, call me the master

of fear, carrying it all in my heart.

Each beat goes faster and faster, then slower and slowest.

Back and forth like a ping pong ball.

A game.


Now, here it is.  Years later and all the

same things happen,

a constant heaving of bursting veins.

Blood rules water, dreams have dried, souls are wailing,

pages turn brown, no prayer in the night,

sleep is a stranger, impatience is king,

bodies just lie there,

rotting by the murderers hand, the dictators hand,

the crazy hand, the uncaring hand.


The dead world is dead.


Nothing left.  Nothing left.

Nothing to cling to.

A curve, a roundness

circling around the sun—

life dried out…


God, here I am.  No eyelashes

to protect my eyes.   My eyelids won’t close.

I see it all, feel it with outstretched hands—

wanting to touch something.

Desolation, Exile, Alone

Bleeding, Witnessing, Dissolving…

Fed-up, I furnish my last minutes

with this.





Pale eyelids, dark brown eyes—

searching for escape.

What will it be today?  A machete or a

gun that dooms your face

into that final photo.


Little girl, you had no choice but to

grow up quickly.

In your nine years of life,

someone should have told you the

whole world isn’t like this.


When you walked up to the mass grave,

you saw your Mama.  Twisted body,

dried blood, and decaying skin.

You crawled into the stench and held her.

No tears flowed—just a determination from

a girl wanting her Mama back.


Staying to long, you played dead as the

soldiers passed by laughing at what they did.

With fear gripping your tongue,

you didn’t scream.

Your bravery, something to tell later.


When you left the grave, the image stayed in your eyes as well

as a piece of cloth from your Mama’s dress.

See her smile as you cooked supper together.

Hear her laugh as you played.

Hear her tell you not to wander to far away.

All these things a Mother does.

The cloth now pressed close to you.


Another family saved you, escaping

on a long and sometimes frightening trip. 

In southern Illinois, refuge was taken.  And as I

listened to your story, I took your hands

as you finally cried.





You have lived here before, walked the same streets,

felt the same things.  Different air attacks your lungs.

Somebody else exhaled the air you are breathing in.

You think it human but it could be animal or bird.

Breath so fierce, you have to sit down.


Nothing changes.  Everyday for eternity, you live, breathe, die, and live again.

War again, over and over, power and slaughter.

One time you are born in the right country, next time you’re not.

Face it.  It’s one forever suffering in different degrees.

Eyelids heavy with fear, wanting to close…

but that won’t erase the damage.



Taking Turns


Every generation takes turns…

A world with war cages the soul and accompanies

it to its final resting place.


The flesh is burnt, people kill

with bombs, machetes, guns, and torture.

It is hard to conceal, bandages won’t

heal the dead.


It is destiny, a waiting room

for the grim.

Angels sing at 7:00 AM and at !0:00 PM but

no one hears them.

Silence maintains control in

the heart.  Fear greater than silence.

Murder latching on to the shoulders

of the executioners.


The innocent work behind the scenes,

stepping over the dead, turning around and holding them.

They light a candle and take

refuge in the day.

The shadow overlooks everyone

and cries because it is lost.


Soon, the worlds mood will be stockpiled

into their hands.  They hang on to them.

Blood trickles down on its own and runs

down their legs.


Life is soft and in full view.

Memories climb into brains, a recipe,

a nosy person, a photo…

Life is crucified as everyone watches.

War on the grill.

War on war.


Missiles shoot, explode and we all

rush to the honeymoon ignoring the light.


Consciousness, is the only evidence

we have of love.

Without this, we die.

God greets us and we dive right in.





If there was a word to

describe war, what would it be? 

Bullet, machine gun, knife, machete, bomb…

These things kill.  Bite into your flesh, caressing

you into an image captured by a camera.


Forever, a photo looked at, you look so innocent, brave,

mounted for history so no one forgets…but they do.


When you died, what were your last thoughts?

Home, family, wife, children, life, panic, good-bye…

As your bleed into the soil, it changes, you change.

Your death seems too long, too unfair.


Soon, they’ll remove you from this war torn place into

a new place.  A place where the nightmare ends and the

future is over.












Gloria Mindock is the author of La Porţile Raiului (Ars Longa Press, 2010, Romania) translated into the Romanian by Flavia Cosma and Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson Street Press, 2007).  She is editor of Cervena Barva Press, the Istanbul Literary Review, an online journal based in Istanbul, Turkey and X-Peri. She has had numerous publications in the USA and abroad.  Her poetry has been translated into Romanian and Spanish.  From 1984-1994, Gloria was editor of the Boston Literary Review/BLuR.  She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, St. Botolph Award, and was awarded a fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council distributed by the Somerville Arts Council.  Her new book, Whiteness of Bone, is forthcoming.  

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