On the Night of War

I wrote this poem on the night the Iraq war began, ten years ago.

On the night of war…
March 19, 2003

A light rain has fallen
A trio of snails marches up the main path towards my front door
Upon the thinnest of thin sheets of wet
Like the one who came into my garage a week ago
To say “hi neighbor, what is all this stuff in your garage?”
A week ago, before I turned thirty, before we entered this latest war
I was unaware there was such an abundance of large snails
Before this night which is a second day
Rising after collapsing from exhaustion of the stress, agony, exhilaration, guilt
Of being alive and flourishing at this strange time

© 2003 Amar Chaudhary

Failure in Concrete (writing from 2003)

(Failure in Concrete)
September 10, 2003

In my failure at something complex I have failed at something simple.

The sound of a trumpet pours out of a blue on blue on gray.
It scales the concrete wall and curves ninety degrees back to the original side, Meandering between the sound of two freeways that were never built
Their traffic filling the space between the mist.

From cracks in the wall grow weeds
Resplendent in their perfect arrangements of red and green
A single tree rises above from the other side of the wall
Casting its shadow in the shadow under the shadow

North of the tree
Towards the park
A woman in red not red but red slightly pink
I know that she is British
Yet I have no way of knowing that from just an image
I think this is odd
And then she is gone
(Another victim of the tireless work of the censor)

Two blocks south of the wall
Away from the park
Is another wall
It is not concrete
It cannot be seen
But it cannot be crossed
I can see through it

The houses on the other side are the same as the houses on this side
The cars a similar mix of late 1990’s models
Parked halfway on the curb as is the custom of this land

I see what I must do on the other side
But I cannot go through the wall
I do not have the energy to walk around it
It must stretch from highway to the ocean

They play what I write
Not what I hear
Sometimes I hear nothing

© 2003 Amar Chaudhary