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Black and Red

Updated: May 1, 2021

I see my friend’s picture in the local news.

I don’t live far from where he started his life.

I live very far from where I started mine.

I’m never very far from the place where his ended.

A decade ago Jason was shot through the armor meant to save him.

It feels like a lifetime and it feels like yesterday.

The next night, I went with the men who killed the men who killed Jason.

I knelt in a field about 100 meters from their door.

I could see the mountains in the moonlight.

I could hear a brook.

I thought of my home in Colorado.

A gate latch hit me in the shoulder when it was blown open with explosives.

I heard a muffled popping sound far away from me.

My thoughts turned.

They were colored black and red.

Seething. Primal. Satisfied.

They were just those colors;

Black and red.

They were very old thoughts.

They were not mine before that moment.

They belonged to my cells.

They were memories locked away in my atoms,

Skipping generations,


waiting to be useful again.

There was a time before words like “bile” and “blood” existed

But their colors held important meaning.

Part of an original binary code.

Good and bad.

Life and death.

If I see your’s, I win.

If you see mine, I lose.

There was much winning and losing that season.

Sometimes, people thank me for me these things.

I wonder which part they mean?

For kneeling in a field far away and thinking of Colorado?

Or is it for the black and red parts?

I would like to tell them

if a gate latch hits your shoulder,

and you hear soft popping sounds far away

you may begin to think in the colors black and red.

Should I tell them that if you go out in the night to kill the men who killed your man

and you win

you may become a part of a place near a brook with mountains on the horizon?

Should I tell them

That forever after

you are never very far away from that place?

Even though the sun keeps coming up and making you older?

Even though Jason stays 25 years old forever?

Usually I just thank them back.

And I tell them I loved it.

So they might understand that we are not exactly the same,

because I can think in colors.

Now that I have memories older than time itself.

Because My friends names will live forever.

And mine may live forever as well

because we chose to bleed on history together.

Because we revived the old code inside of us,

We rewrote it fresh in our atoms

for the next time it is needed.

Every year our immortal rolls grow longer as more of us rejoin our brothers that fell.

Sometimes for liqour or risk taking.

Sometimes it is our own hand

that jots our name on the list.

Cancer is even making its contribution now,

from the toxic shit we breathed in decades ago.

I had a friend who became irradiated in Fukashima.

His hair fell out and his thyroid betrayed him, making him an old man before his time.

I think he was 25 when he had his first heart attack.

We concluded that sometimes you are killed long before you die.

We said our goodbyes usually reserved for a graveside and went on living.

When my thoughts are bleak,

and I am sad

I think that maybe that place killed us all.

it just didn’t say when.

whether it did or not,

everyday the sun keeps coming up

and it shines on my cheeks.

I remember that I know things much older than me.

I remind myself that I don’t see black or red today.

I picture the face of my friend who will always be young.

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2 comentários

Matthew Brunet
Matthew Brunet
26 de mai. de 2021

I love the structure of it, as well as the ”epic” form of it.


This is powerful stuff right here. Incredibly skillful, too. I know this might shed some of the poem's charm and strength, but would you mind providing some context and explaining the history behind this poem? It would help shape things for me. But all besides, this is a great poem. Fantastic job

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