Alan Dunnett

Civil War


This is what we did: we crossed the river
under the shifting light. Everything else seemed
the same but we knew nothing would ever

be the same again. I turned to Kimble
and he smiled. What's next to do? Burn the land.
Destroy bits of ourselves that are not him.

Some nights, I fail to remember reasons
or else remember them as dead things, things
I could make an effort to understand just

in a grim way. With fingertips, I press
my brain but it is not understanding.
It is memory, an arterial

injunction determined lifetimes ago,
disconnected by natural erosion
from passion. However, it is easy,

then, or easier, to deploy. Duty
and practice give the professional touch.
If I get home, I might sleep a little

but for now, with the river behind us,
I am inhaling smoke. They say he's mad
and will last the winter. I cannot tell

what comes with spring. Renewal, even-handed,
draws from the young light without distinction.
You smile, Kimble, and note the wind has changed.


Early (Bloody) Incursions

We took the first city last night. I looked at
my hands missing a piece of comprehension
and said to Kimble: what now, Kimble, what

are we doing, these are our people, what now?
Already, the phone is ringing. New friends
want to show support. They sort of believe

what they are saying. I know I said no
going back. I know what I said. I knew
in my heart there would be no going back.

Maybe it was the boy, staring without
a father now. Am I his history?
Anyway, we go forward. That is clear.

They are sending virgins in white dresses
but first Oh God we must burn and destroy.


I denied the child and in different ways
said you were another person. Beneath
the caff light, I explained I was going

to Lima on an expedition. Back
whenever. How much money do you need
assuming I admit to this? How much

does it cost? In the time it takes to drink
one more black coffee, we shall resolve things.
Last night, a man shot at me. London's not

what it was. You could die in an instant
that is immeasurable. Stop your coughing.
Let me sort the coffee and then we leave

separately. A reconsideration
would be too much. Do not now speak of love.

Alan Dunnett © 2009