Hiding behind mirrored eyes,
Showing no one the flesh beneath,
Bare lips expose satirical words.
Humor and irony never held weight,
The way that metal does,
When it’s golden on teeth,
Or silver on a gun and
Lining pockets with green linen.

If this were a sitcom,
The laugh track would cycle on now,
As the man in the mask explains,
This is all just a misunderstanding.
Then someone will chuckle,
Until a bullet in the head shuts him up,
While the audience waits for the hero.

The anchorwoman stares down,
She keeps her lips pressed together.
The grim line marks her face,
A shield to protect her from blame.
This is not just a media spectacle,
It’s a real tragedy.

The viewers are already bored though,
They’ve seen this show before.
One hostage or twelve,
Three dead or none,
Terrorists or perverts or police,
It doesn’t matter anyway,
The end is always the same.

Credits roll, the audience rises,
They blink in the amber light.
Brushing off stale popcorn,
They stretch their arms upward
Declaring they’ll rent it next time.

5 thoughts on “Balaclava

  1. Placed within the context of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, and the violence that has ensued since, this poem seems to make a statement about the banality of extreme violence in our media-saturated culture. The juxtaposition of the sitcom laugh track and the anchorwoman’s grim expression illuminates the disconnect created between our safely prepackaged tv entertainment world, and the flesh & blood horrors that writhe beneath the surface.

    “Terrorists or perverts or police” — It really is all the same. Others’ misfortunes become our amusement, however ‘shocked’ our initial reaction may be.

    There’s a hushed tone in this poem, but it stirs some very uncomfortable feelings in my subconscious, and I’m sure it does the same for other readers. People need a dose of reality (not reality tv) like this.


    1. Thank you, I really appreciate your insight. I definitely think you understood the truths I was trying to reveal. It’s really great to read a comment like yours.


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