Fred Joiner



Matthew Pickett, 21,…. 10 young men…. hit in the head with a metal pipe...he loved kids….police charged a 15 year old. Pickett… son of an Army Ranger…waited to go to basic training at Fort Benning, in Georgia, next month…Pickett ..suffered injuries …falling…he enjoyed reading and writing poetry
excerpts from two Washington Post articles

It was not the sound
of jagged fury
slicing through air
toward flesh

not the armed discontent
of brotherhood's illusion
in a foreign land

not a land mine
in the shadow
of every step

it happened here
where life is not
supposed to be so fragile

here where we are
supposed to live be
hind a shield

where we have
the luxury of finding God
in a silent way

in sanctuaries not made
of ruin.

in this place
a recruit untouched by
Basic Training's breaking or
combat's hot breath

learned about rules
of engagement,
that warfare visits
on its own terms

learned how a pipe
without explosives
can still send
shrapnel tearing
through families

the war of this place
taught him that
homeland's concrete
and foreign soil
are mixed with
the same hard sand



Fred Joiner is a poet living in Washington, DC's Historic Anacostia. During the day Fred masquerades as a Systems Administrator for a small progressive consulting company. When he is not masquerading, his passions are poetry, photography, making collages, and the culture and history of the African Diaspora. His work has appeared in Warpland: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas and is forthcoming in a chapbook.


Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.


To read more by this author:
Fred Joiner: Audio Issue
Fred Joiner: DC Places Issue
Fred Joiner