Acclaimed Poet and Prolific Writer D.A Gray packages    gory diaries of war in metaphorically imboza of poetry. He articulates negating effects of war with the mastery of a wood sculptor. The name Iraq is vehemently emphasized in this ragged chronicle of war diligently sewn together into black, red, white, ochre doeks of imagery and mist- veiled gowns of satire-(poetry). His writings   are an expose of vagaries and complexities of inter-continental rifts with their resultant being life smashing poverty, grieving memories and irreparable and broken human dignities as   war becomes a global menacing pandemic, gnawing peace and life like an incurable disease as rifles and other guns imbibe innocent blood like Satan- land.       One reader or most readers might want to be persuaded to conclude that Gray is an American veteran of war, as part of the servicemen during the 1980s American and Iraq war, or might be forced to think that he was attached as a war correspondent   in Asian Gulf during those years. Over and above D.A Gray is a prolific writer, brilliant chronicler of events and an Acclaimed American Poet.  TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC is profoundly gratified to profile this one other great Poet. Aluta Continua(Blurb by Mbizo CHIRASHA)

Memories of a Future Conflict

            Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

                        — Mike Tyson

In the photograph, two teens — younger than I was

when I first heard the words ‘Just follow the rules

and nothing bad will happen’ – are standing

in a high school corridor.  First thing I notice that brings

me back is – every light in the ceiling is on,

the sun outside windows is shining.

And the two young men, dressed, standing

tall in the foreground. Yet, the hallway remains

covered in shadows that are drinking the light.

* * *

A peace officer has given another talk –

‘Just follow the rules’ – while speaking

to a sea of heads looking down.

He’s memorized the story where students

rush the shooter, catch him off guard

and ‘nothing bad will happen.’  He tells

a tale of an employee who handles a gun

with confidence; he tells a tale of teens

who maintain their poise when the rifle?

turns the corner and looks their way. 

The officer has given this briefing many times.

* * *

It’s thirty years in the past and I’m walking

an overgrown trail in a single file of recruits.

Not one of us know what this school full

of teens knows.  A simulator breaks the silence.

Ratatatat! We dive into the brush; knees hit

rocks; helmets tilt sideways; some of us laugh.

Because they’re blanks, we jump up and run

to the sound of the shots; we burst through

the undergrowth in the clearing where

the boots of our drill sergeant wait.

He’s stone-faced, shaking his head, maintaining

the act.  Says ‘take a knee’ and proceeds

to tell us this will be real one day.  It will be

no laughing matter.

                                    We walk to our barracks;

we are wiser having trained in life and death.

* * *

Years later I’m writing my obituary in the red-

lit bay of a C17 that is descending toward Baghdad

whose dark streets are drinking the electric light.

Whatever happens, my family will get the thanks

of a grateful nation and a cool quarter mil.

The boy on that plane doesn’t know he will

bring that on-the-job training home.   

           

                                                            Halfway

through my tour and complacent, I’m jogging

too close to the wire and I see dust fly

from the barrier wall a half-second before

I hear the shot.  I dive in the gravel, knees

hitting rocks.  I look past my shoulder and see

nothing in the desert, count to ten and begin doing

what passes for a sprint, laughing nervously.

* * *

In places like this, rank and age no longer matter.

An eighteen year old who’s lived this long

can teach any lieutenant who’s willing to listen.

* * *

I know the look – the two teens are giving –

in this picture; it’s a knowing that no briefing,

no drawn out plan can teach; it’s a knowing

the authors of a plan don’t have when a child

is the first line of defense; and mostly it’s

a knowing of the nothing bad

            that despite our best plans

                                    still manages to happen.

Myth of Innocence

Something’s tapping from the inside out.  An agitation in the sky.

In a laundry room in the center of our block, a machine is slightly

off balance; the feet of the washer steps out slowly from the wall.

In it the blood frees itself from cloth.  No one out tonight; people have

left clothes and machines, visibly agitated, to clean their mess.

On the television in the corner another man has been shot

by the authorities, for the crime of running.  No one can say what

charge made the cops give chase.  The story flashes again across

the screen; atrocity happens whether anyone dares to watch.

No one out tonight.  Though their evidence is everywhere; a sock hangs

from the dryer door like a tongue, limp, exhausted.  And blood pulses

through the water, separated from a man’s shirt, attaching to every

nearby article. No innocents in times like these, all of us coming out stained.

Light Pollution

From this vantage point every light, a truck  ascending

from the bottom of the hill, an uncovered cigarette

half a mile away, is visible cutting through the black.

Streetlights mark the edge of the known road;

traffic reduced to a river of red brake lights.

You, even at your journey’s end, feel yourself

still moving, fifty pounds lighter without the gear,

an empty ruck limp against the porch, armored

vest lifeless in a dark closet.  Blood begins to flow

back into your arms where the nylon straps cut.

Everything worth living will take time.

For now, this house in the Hill Country allows

you to see each avenue of approach, flickering

blue flames of television screens creeping

out from silent windows below.

There’s a comfort in illuminating everything;

still, you can’t help notice it makes the dark darker.

And when you look up. Feint bodies of stars.

From the base of the watchtower in Balad, you once

marveled, ‘how many?’ while listening for the sound

of a foot shuffling on gravel, a round sliding

into a chamber, a treasonous cough.  And how many

shades of darkness in this sky.

                                                Your world back then

reduced to eighty soldiers, from places far away as

Ghana, Puerto Rico, Korea, a town in Nebraska

not even on maps – each of you watches, silent.

Your eyes in Iraq became planetarium projectors

making patterns in the sky, and each of you

knew the next screaming whistle might

be the end of beauty.

                                    Maybe if you can explain

this to the lady you remember from the cash

register, the one wearing a ‘love it or leave it’

flag pin while saying ‘thank you for your service.

Maybe if you can say who it is she’s serving.

This is the noise that occupies your silence.

You’re alone again. The residents on this street locked

inside their safety, light so bright you can see

blades of grass on the front lawn while the black

edges of the bricks . . .

                                        Everyone’s making enemies

of the people who might save them yet, huddling

beneath still burning torches that illuminate

what scares them — while blocking out the stars.

Poet D.A Gray

D.A. Gray is the author of Overwatch (Grey Sparrow Press, 2011)and Contested Terrain (FutureCycle, 2017). His poems have appearedin The Sewanee Review, Appalachian Heritage, Grey Sparrow Journal,Rattle: Poets Respond, Comstock Review, Wrath-Bearing Tree and O-Dark-Thirty among others. He holds Masters Degrees from The Sewanee School of Letters and Texas A&M-Central Texas and has run workshops for veterans groups, for prisoners,and for the surrounding community.  The poet now teaches, writes, and lives in Central Texas.

​MEET THE TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC EDITOR

(TimeofPoetRepublicEditor)

Freedom of Speech Fellow to PEN- Zentrum  Deutschland,Germany. Alumni  of the International Human Rights  Arts Festival in New-York, USA.Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie.  Globaly Certified  Arts Mediums Curator and Influencer. Internationally Published Page and Spoken Word Poet. Writer in Residence.  Arts for Human Rights Catalyst.  Core Team Member of the Bezine Arts and Humanities Project. His illustrious poetry , hybrid writings , political commentary ,short fiction , book reviews  and Arts Features are published in more  than 400 spaces notably the Monk  Arts and Soul in  Magazine  in United Kingdom. Atunis Poetry.com in Belgium. Demer press poetry series in Netherlands. World Poetry Almanac in Mongolia.Poesia journal inSlovenia. Bezine Arts and Humanities Webzine in USA. The Poet a Day in Brooklyn ,USA. Litnet Writers Journal in South Africa. African Crayons in Nigeria. Poetry Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Pulp-pit USA.the FictionalCafe international Journal , Texas USA. Best New African Poetry series in Zimbabwe, Zimbolicious Poetry Collections in Zimbabwe. Co-edited Street Voices International Publications with Andreas Weiland  in Germany.Co-Edited  Silent Voices Anthology, a Tribute to Chinua Achebe. Co-Edited the Corpses of Unity,solidarity collection to victimzed Cameroonians with Nsah Mala. Curated and Edited the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry ,Inside Digraceland speaking poetic truth to the Mugabe regime and other bad regimes.  He owns the Time of  the Poet blog zine ,MIOMBOPUBLISHING that published the #GlobalCallforPeaceProject titled the Second of EARTH is Peace.A LETTER to the PRESIDENT his experimental  resistance poetry collection was released  in August 2019 by Mwanaka and Media Publishing.. Co- Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi with Sweta Vikram in India. Good Morning President his first poetry collection was published in 2011  by Zimbabwean published based in United Kingdom, Diaspora Publishers.COVID 19 Satansdeadly fart is forthcoming. Chirasha is  Founder  and the Chief Editor of Brave Voices Poetry Journal, https://bravevoicespress.home.blog/ 

TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC-An Internet-based Writers’ Center, archiving theme-based Digital Poetry Anthologies and  publishing Iconic Poets, Writers and Artists from around the globe. TIME OF POET REPUBLIC was founded by UNESCO-RILA Affliate ARTIST, Freedom of Speech Fellow PEN-Zentrum Deutschland, 2019 African Fellow ihraf.org and acclaimed Literary Arts DiplomatMbizo CHIRASHA.

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