Show Me (the Art of War), by Jen Littlesthobo

Show me when you paint,
How it’s cheaper to use blood than oil.
Show me how you paint a street with a gun,
Then draw the chalk outline later.
Show me the colours of the rainbow,
In oil-tainted drinking water.
Show me how pipelines can predict the longevity of a community,
More accurately than the heartlines you excavated to make space for them.
Show me how you turn villages into pyres,
Bedrooms into coffins
And mother’s hearts into shrines.
Show me the family trees you’ve felled
To make way for new borders.
Show me how you stack a million displaced people,
Without bringing down the house of cards.
Show me the fountains pumping sea water,
You’ve drained from the lungs of refugee children.
Show me how you strip a culture of everything
And then then take it’s pride.
Show me the craftsmanship it takes,
To then banish that culture to the history books
And reduce their libraries to ash.
Show me how no-mans land,
Came to you in a dream
You had to share.
Show me all the limbs you have made phantom
And your archive of incomplete skeletons.
Show me how PTSD wasn’t in your original design,
But you rebranded it “Serendipity”.
Show me how a flag looks more beautiful
Wrapped around a body,
Than it does in a breeze.
Show me the music a man makes,
When you run an electric current through his body.
How at the right frequency,
His feet will tap a rhythm on the tiled floor,
His voice will sing against it’s will.
Show me what you find aesthetically pleasing
About the shape women make,
When they fold in on themselves
Begging for their lives.
Show me the nuances,
Between the sound of a woman screaming
When she buries her youngest son
And the sound of a woman screaming
When she is being raped.
Show me how you make chandeliers
Of children’s bodies hanging from trees.
Show me the finesse it takes,
To shatter hearts so precisely,
The pieces don’t fit back together.

You said you would show me the Art of war.
But I don’t see it.
Art is what we create
In the wake of it.

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