Some poetry I published years ago under my adoptive surname of Schacher...someone told me explanations make for better understanding: they are at the end. First part is war poetry; then some kids, then a few others I published.

and silent is the land
I am standing
I see the fence in the distance, foreboding, 
its barbed wire top mocking those seeking deliverance,
and everywhere I look, I see carnage--
the minds of the living
shattered as though consciousness was crystal--
the remains of a people--once strong--once proud.

I shout to the wind.
I am not silenced by my captors,
though their fetters bind my ankles
and their whips slash my flesh.

Once I heard voices shout, 
building a wall of resistance in a sea of repression,
protecting, nourshing the few left
until the waves eroded their minds
and consciousness wasted thin
and died.

Now I stand in an empty land.
I hear the wind whistling 
through the bones of a people once strong.

I am alone.
My body wastes thin 
and consciousness 
into the shadows. 

and silent is the land.

About The 14 Year Old Albanian Woman With a Bullet In Her Cheek
she ran from the serbs
who killed her family
her brother crying in pain

she ran through the streets
dripping blood
washed away by the rain

she sheds her tears
for the fighting's not finished
and she knows she still might die

she's standing there
at the window
and watches the soldiers go by

a scarred young mind recalls
her brother
his eye a puddle of blood

she recounts him crying
there in the dark
and her tears become a flood

the last thing she remembers
is watching her mother
slump against the wall

she was splashed with the blood
from her mother's head
as she herself started to fall

nineteen members
of her family were killed
by the time the evening star shone

and there were no bells tolling
in the empty town--
for she was totally alone

she gathered her soul--
her patriot soul--
and remains in her home town

and she visits the place
where she buried her parents
in the cold albanian ground

she remembers her life
before the war
and her parents' laughing voices

she longs for the time
before their deaths
when laughter was one of her choices

she looks at her face
in the mirror
and sees where the bullet went

she looks around her--
the remains of her town--
at the damage the bombshells rent

and she sleeps on a couch
splattered with blood
from the bullet wound in her cheek

her voice is soft
and filled with tears
when of these memories she speaks

and she dreams of a life
a better life
where bullets no longer remain

she wants her children
to live in a world
free from war's bloody stain

and she told him her story
while tracing the scar--
her voice cracking with pain

All night long
I know it's just a dream
I wake up and see dew
on the windows,
feeling anger rise
as I reach to touch you,
to feel some part of you,
and realize I slept alone.

I scream NO
but an empty space whispers
and I long for one last moment,
thinking you wander,
instead of buried in memories.

No Hope
And happy old men
pass yet another bill extending the war.    

I see the gunners in the hills
and wonder "who is left to kill?
For every day I see bloodshed
and thank the Lord I'm not yet dead.

And now, I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And when I die, in a gunner's sight,
I pray then someone will make things right.

The Mortared Girl
You talked to the news:
"I hide in the unheated shelter
where my family died one by one.
I am only eleven,
yet I have no tears left to cry."

I wonder why the eyes of the free world
watched with shame while a country died,
and for two years
stood and proclaimed,
"we will not interfere"

"My family starved, and I saw my friends
mortared on the street.
I live at night
when the snipers sleep,
and feed on fear for food--
for fear alone keeps me strong.
I am only eleven,
yet I have the eyes of an old woman."

Yesterday, I saw your hand weakly raised in pain
as you lay amongst the rubble
of the mortared stores.
And a little later
the camera chanced upon your body
piled in the dirty morgue.

I Stand for Peace
Men surround men
who put flowers down gun barrels
but the sweet bullet kills.

The soldier walks a lonely line
while I burn a card
and say I will not lie for peace.
I will stand.

Arrest me.
You know my name,
for I stand for peace.

I tell the judge:
You teach a people
to overcome oppresion and violence
with oppression and violence.

You push civil rights,
and nuclear peace.

People hear your beliefs
when someone's son can never say,
"I'm 21. Today, I'm a man."

When political motives are stripped away,
war is just man killing man.

And I will not lie for peace.
I will stand.

Some kids' poems to lighten things up...

The Forest Chorus
Soon the moon will shine.
Crickets in the thicket
play leg fiddles
while the owls ask a riddle: who?

Bullfrogs sing bass
among Queen's lace and lilies.
A skylark adds his song
to the choir in the lily pond.

Fireflies illuminate
a lilac tree
where pale luma moths
dance lazily on a lavender breeze.

The moon is full,
and a sycamore's leaves
sway to the evensong
playing by the sapphire pond.

The small waterfall
applauds the forest chorus.

I saw a lonely alien
I saw a lonely alien
last week, on saturday.
he asked me for directions
to the milky way.

I gave him some directions.
he climbed into the ship.
he looked at the controls
and did a backwards flip.

I saw the tiny spacecraft
blast off for jupiter
I wondered where he came from
because he said "please sir".

the lonely little alien
came back on yesterday
he told me he was lost
in the milky way.

he asked if he could stay with me
while someone came for him
he showed me all his starmaps
I taught him how to swim.

I got to know him very well
he came from centaur one.
he'd been to terran soil,
but couldn't stand the sun.

he said the earth was hot and dry,
no water anywhere.
that planet was well hydrated
way back when I was there.

another ship soon came for him:
we had to say goodbye.
I watched the lonely alien
blast off into the sky.

non-war related...

Angry Young Man

Walking streets
late at night
dragging feet on the pavement.
Got into a fight,

shedding tears
that I had
out of fear, I'm
an angry young man.

Living my life,
got no kids, got no wife.
Guess I should be grateful.
I live off the state--and money that I find.
Sometimes I think I'm gonna blow out my mind.

See better days ahead,
had better behind.
Doing all I can to make it better,
so much better.
Tyring very hard not to play
a game of Russian roulette.

Just an angry young man
standing there
in the rain,
think of days long ago--see the trains
passing by,

where the sad
lonely faces
sing songs all day long--wave
my hand in the air.
Don't want to go there.

Orange Street
Down on Orange Street--
crumbled buildings, broken glass,
and dirt where no grass grows--
the sun prefers not to shine.

Mellowed newspapers tell of jaded times:
wars and politics;
economy and environment
Piling up. Drifting. Faded.

Paraphernalia bathe in the gutters.
Cracked soda containers lie
alongside vacant buildings;
crowd against graffiti stoops.

A leaning sign at the corner
says this is Orange Street.
Dying slowly, perhaps already dead.
The sun is loathe to shine.

A second sign, swaying
in the yellowed breeze,
Park Avenue, Two Blocks.

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  Explanations & publication credits where due if you truly want them...

And Silent Is The Land

Nomad's Choir, Winter 1996, Vol. 4 Issue 1
Joshua Meander, Editor

also in:

National Library of Poetry
1994: A Far Off Place & the cassette, The Sound of Poetry

'Silent' was written in December 1993 while I was temporarily employed by the Adas Israel synagogue in WDC. Earlier that year, or perhaps the year before, the Confirmation (is it Confirmand?) class had written a Confirmation Cantata (essay) on the Jewish tradition of Pidyon Shevyuim (Redeeming Captives).

I ran across an early copy of their essay on the desk I was inhabiting. Their group essay (in its early drafts; I was never able to find a final copy), and in particular a poem by Molly Blank, is what inspired 'And Silent is the Land.'

I imagined the piece to be representative of the Holocaust; the piece speaks about all captives. The captives in the poem resist their captors but one by one they perish, for no one has set them free, until there is only one left.

At the time I was at Adas Israel, the synagogue was promoting Holocaust study to mark the opening of the Holocaust Museum. Bits and pieces of personal family history were also displayed on the walls: artwork, family photos that survived, poems written by modern-day kids to those who died.

I don't like many of my pieces, but "Silent' is one of the pieces that grabs my attention--it did so from its conception...

The following poem shocks me every time I think about the story behind it:

'About the 14 Year Old Albanian Woman..." This unpublished piece was inspired by a 1999 newspaper article about the ongoing warfare between two Kosovoan towns 1/2 mile apart...and profiled the teenager in the title who relayed to a reporter the events that took place in April 1999...the events are real: 19 members of her family were executed Romanov style in the living room of her parents' house. 24 people were killed in the village of V--- in April 1999, including the 19 members of her family.

Just before she was struck, she watched her mother get shot in the forehead, the bullet exiting, with brains and blood, on the wall behind her. The bullet meant for her struck her in the cheekbone just below the eye, a fraction higher and the bullet would have entered her eye, killing her.

Unknown to her at the time she awoke, a few family members survived the massacre; and two brothers were out of town when her family was executed, dead in her house--except for her two and a half year old brother, shot through the eye, who lay whimpering his last breaths. She tried to help him but thought she couldn't carry him so she left to get help. She walked to another village where her uncle was a doctor. When she came back, days later, her house had been torched; a surviving grandmother says the toddler was alive when the house was torched.

At first she lived with relatives in another town but wanted to return to her own village. She moved in with her aunt and uncle, choosing to sleep in the room with a view of her own ruined house--not a difficult feat, since much of the village's homes were torched. She also chose to sleep on a couch splattered with her own blood. She made a habit of returning to the ruins of her home and visiting the graves of her parents. The wall where her family was massacred was still standing despite the torching and she often went to sit in the place where she had been shot.

The village's nearly 2000 residents fled into the hills that April. Later, military investigators photographed her house; the head of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia toured; her house was examined by forensic pathologists who formally declared what happened in her house to be a massacre. The residents of the village started trickling back in June.

So I really can't take credit for "About". "About" is V--'s (I know her name) personal story. She is 18 this year. And thinking of her, I think I'll write the reporter and ask if he's kept in touch with her.

'Prayer' and 'The Mortared Girl'

Peace & Freedom Bosnia Special
Volume 10, Number 1
Summer 1994
Paul Rance, Editor

'The Mortared Girl' was written in February 1994 after a bomb exploded in a shopping mall during the noontime meal, killing scores of people, including kids; she is fictional. "Prayer" is just that: a prayer.

'Loss' & 'No Hope''
Eastern Rainbow
Number 3, Spring 1994
Paul Rance, Editor

I believe "I Stand For Peace" was also published by Paul Rance in Eastern Rainbow but I can't find an author's copy.

The Forest Chorus
Poem Train
Vol 1 Issue 1, Fall 1993

I Saw A Lonely Alien...just being silly early on...

"Angry Young Man"
Nomad's Choir, Winter 1994, Vol. 2 Issue 1
Joshua Meander, Editor

"Angry" was published under a misspelling of my adoptive surname: Brandi Schadier; my handwriting is atrocious.

"Orange Street"
National Library of Poetry
1992: A Question of Balance


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