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Death March

By Robert Beveridge


It's that thread thing, ya know, it's like

I can see wells of history rising

behind me, or some shit like that.


Wells of history? Wells of blood. Our experience as men

has never been less. We have conquered and crushed

the world time and again, used

what is rightfully ours and thrown it away,


been conquered by other, stronger men, the nature

of things. The nature of things is bespattered with blood,

childlike freckles on the face of a watcher, ancient as time.


This thread leads us on, that game when we were young

of follow the leader. You know the one—the followers,

blindfolded, grab the rope and follow the commands

of the one who can see. It takes a true master

to weed out the blindfolded followers

who weaken the group; twist an ankle

in a sinkhole, make one head hit a tree branch,

until only the strongest are left, still blind

and still following, even as they hear others falling.


At Bataan, it is said, the leaders were posited

with this idea. But they rejected it.


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