Five poems by Bob MacKenzie


You look at me and see
a girl becoming a woman
and I suppose I am that

yet you do not see
me below the water
hid from the terrors

I have known as a child
evil’s gentle touching
hands finding me at night

waking me with a whisper
it will be alright dear
though I know it will not

I have heard the threat
the secret of that touch
sunk in despair’s depths

I sink and become water
hid within my own self
deep and untouchable

yet you can look and see
a girl becoming a woman
and I suppose I am that


The Waning of the Moon

The full moon bleeds into the night
soaking the clouds and trees and Earth
with its essence until the pain
has leeched into the morning light.

Somewhere in darkness you stand still
bleeding your soul into the night
against the fear you hold within,
out of time and against your will.

You shine against the blackest fears
as darkness falls away from you
and you fall away from memory
to find brief peace as morning nears.

There is no feeling here but calm
that seeks the gentle blade’s caress
draining the darkness from your soul
as softly as a soothing balm.

And then you wash and go to bed,
now at peace, if not forever,
with yourself and all memory
shrouded now in a cloak of red.

The full moon bleeds into the night
but morning wipes its death from sight,
and you live on with all your past
come back to you with morning’s light.


Saint Joan

In the beginning, you seem void and without form;
you only slowly grow clear and material
against the brilliant light behind you, not sun
but floodlamp of Lucifer that shows you your way.

You become a world of contradictions made flesh
to creep slowly over your prey and to take it,
betrayed by your venom, deep into the darkness
where darkly you pick it apart at your leisure.

You are small in your body and small in your mind,
with a sweet middle aged smile and honey voice;
you cut your hair short or it would be in a bun,
and you wear drab fashions that imitate a nun.

You know you are the saviour of little children,
absolved in whatever you do by your own faith;
you know you are the saviour of little children;
you know you must destroy all who stand in your way.

From your father onward, you know the way men are;
from your childhood onward, you know the violence
family life does to any child, did to you;
you know you are the saviour of little children.

To save the children you must crush the families,
you must take the children to your bile filled bosom,
where they may suckle of hate and fear and see life
in the light of your knowledge, in Lucifer’s light.

Yours is the greatest agency under Heaven,
transporting children to its bowels forever;
the Devil in this world controls what you do, as
you save the children and Lucifer lights your way.

You do not see the small spot appear on your heart,
do not see it grow larger, void and without form,
do not see yourself falling deep into that pit,
do not see the light of Lucifer falling dark.


don’t be mad at me
I ain’t mad at you

don’t be mad at me
I ain’t mad at you

there’s a lot of anger in this world
and a lot of hurt and a lot of hate

and it’s there in the air
you can feel it everywhere
like the oxygen you breathe
like the rain that falls on you

there are bullies and persecutions
there’s abuse and worse all around
and you see it everywhere
and you hear about it non-stop
and you feel helpless to stop

feel helpless to stop the anger
stop the hurt, stop the hate
most often just feel helpless
and lost, just lost

What can you do?
What can anyone do?

It’s them
you know it’s them
the vast everyone
the normal people out there
who hate everyone who’s different
who hate you
who hate me

But what can you do?
they are the many
we are the few

we are powerless
there are too many of them
the power is theirs
to change things
to just hate the other
the different
to hate us
to hurt us
to persecute and abuse us
just because

they can
and they do
they can
and they do
and what can you do?
what can I do?
what can anyone do?
yes it’s there in the air
you can feel it everywhere
like the oxygen you breathe
and the anger
the anger falls on you

there’s a lot of anger in this world
and a lot of hurt and a lot of hate

you’re it:
the fag
the dyke
the kike
the muslim
hell, even the Christian
in the wrong church

you’re it:
the dummy
the nut case
the crip
you’re not normal

they hate the other
the one
who is different
who acts different
who talks different
who’s not normal

the foreigner
the spick
the wop
the jap and
the chink
the nigger
the native Indian
the white man
woman too

the uke
the kraut
the brit
the mick and
the paddy
even the yank

the hate, the hate, the hate
the anger seeths beneath every surface
the anger reaches out

where is the focus?


you say it’s about you
it’s them against you
the world against you
you are hurt
you are angry
you are angry

I ain’t mad at you
don’t be mad at me

I ain’t mad at you
don’t be mad at me

can’t you see?
there is no them
except me and you
and you

I have met the enemy
he is us
she is us

I have met the enemy
deep within myself

if I have been hated
I have also hated
I have also been angry

How about you?

take a moment
stop looking for some
to hate
turn around and look inside
deep into yourself

meet the enemy
see where the enemy lives
deep within each of us
just forgive
and love
let love and forgiveness
replace the hate
replace the anger
in you

this one choice
this one small change
can change your world
may begin to change
to change all the world

I ain’t mad at you
don’t be mad at me

don’t be mad at me
I ain’t mad at you


The New Police

You start a war nobody wants or thinks is just,
then you send young men and women overseas to fight that war;
you indoctrinate them to believe everyone is the enemy
and even apparent civilians are just enemies in disguise,
then you put them in the field for five years or more
killing civilian adults and children because they may be
After a while these young men and women come home;
you give them jobs in local and state law enforcement;
you rationalize that they have the training after all,
then you give them military weapons and vehicles
just like the ones they used in war to kill civilians.
What did you think would happen?


Four of these poems have been previously published as attributed below.
don’t be mad at me, Saint Joan, The New Police, and The Waning of the Moon have all been published in the selected works “Agapé: Heaven & Earth” (Dark Matter Press, 2015).
Saint Joan and The Waning of the Moon have also been published in “On Edge” (Dark Matter Press, 2012).
The New Police has also been published in “somewhere still in wind the tree is bending” (Silver Bow Publishing, 2018).


Bob MacKenzie’s published almost 400 poems in journals around the world, including Literary Review of Canada, Dalhousie Review, and Windsor Review and in numerous anthologies. Bob’s published sixteen volumes of poetry and prose-fiction.  With the group Poem de Terre, Bob has released six albums of his poetry spoken and sung with original music.  His numerous literary awards include Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council grants and Fellowship to attend the Summer Literary Seminars in Georgia.

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