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Shadow War: A Poetic Chronicle of September 11 and Beyond, Volumes One-Five

(Revised, second editions)

by Louis Daniel Brodsky


He never saw it coming,
Never dreamed it could strip away his flesh,
Expose his bones, in a solitary rolling flash
Of momentary incandescence,
To the glowing loneliness of atomic radiation.

He never heard the reverberation of its engines —
The groaning Enola Gay,
Droning its way across the ocean, to his home —
Never was taught in school
To anticipate such evil kamikaze breezes,

Never imagined a haiku tsunami
Could ignite so ferocious a firestorm,
Liquefying glass, steel, cast iron,
Flattening, in a matter of seconds, minutes,
His entire beloved city.

If anyone had asked him about Hirohito,
The destiny of the Rising Sun,
He would have dropped to his knees,
Kissed the ground, sipped sake,
And sworn the future would be glorious.

But then came the United States,
With all its raw, able-bodied energy
Packed into a single bomb,
Which brought Japan to its knees
To kiss its burned dirt, drink its blood, curse its past.

Fifty-six years later,
His ghost trudges through Hiroshima,
Searching for pieces of his ashen soul
Beneath its repaved streets.
But all he finds are other groping ghosts.



In the poems of Shadow War, Louis Daniel Brodsky chronicles the events of that infamous day and the weeks and months that followed, proclaiming both rallying cries and protestations. Free of political agenda, Brodsky immerses us in a chaos of conflicting attitudes and emotions. While many of the poems express patriotic indignation toward America’s enemies, some show anger with America itself — its complacency, materialism, and insularity. Several evoke genuine ecumenical sentiments, a desire for people of all faiths to unite, while others are cynical, irreverent, ironic, and absurd.
— Ellen Tanner Marsh, New York Times bestselling author


. . . readers can become engaged in this poet’s timely volumes in which he faces and weighs the assault on the Trade Towers and draws the changes it wrought and continues to bring about in the American psyche and American society.
— Small Press Book Review

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