Poets Against War continues the tradition of socially engaged poetry by creating venues for poetry as a voice against war, tyranny and oppression.

homepoemsnewsletterpoetry mattersdonatearchivescontact us

Han-shan (no last name)

30 years old
San Francisco

Organizer, drunkard, lover of rare boredom.


Buck naked
in the black limo black leather backseat, goose-bumps fading as the comfort control finds 79 fahrenheit, the optimal number on the digital display when he "rides bareback" (as he kids his wife)
talking to daddy on the cell-phone
     "41" written on a piece of masking tape,          
     peeling from the battery on back.

Custom Suburban, right back window, the new guy-- new detail-- in his new Men's Wearhouse suit, 22, special forces, eyes watering from the chill blowing up under his secret service shades. As they turn down K, he angles the gun-barrel to deflect the wind from his face.

The motorcade glides over curbed roads, framed by clipped lawns and monuments to brave and articulate men of History.

On a broken sidewalk, miles and years away, in a city wedged between two ancient rivers, a young woman, 19, rests a moment. Coughing, groaning tin-can buses and taxis stumble across a dusty street in front of her.

Bloody knuckle bandaged with torn t-shirt and electrical tape, she slides back under papa's taxi--  
     mis-matched hood leans against the               fender, patchwork colors, little 12-year               old brother out stealing gasoline and a          back left tire.
Her squinting bloodshot eyes spy puzzle pieces of grey-blue through the oily engine.

Phantom planes overhead, 3 bombers, 1 slashing fighter jet, drop violent mysteries on her as she begs the sky for a bit more time.

A showcase of best poems

Poems by prominent poets

Poems of the week archive

Participate in the movement

Search for poems