A smiling man

They said he smiled between the bursts of death
a student with a parasol that hid an AK-47.

They said he smiled and laughed when tourists ran.

Maybe in this mayhem ,when creating hell
traded in exchange for promised heaven, just for him
he believed himself superior
a better man than the bikini infidels.

He smiled and in his trail
fresh like the red roses on the hotel’s bedsheets
he left a crimson splatter on the sand
between the toys and flip-flops where the toes are stiff.

They said he smiled before he broke the chains
defying begs for mercy
preferring death to paradise.

Bathers on the beach under umbrella by Rafael Zabaleta

Bathers on the beach under umbrella by Rafael Zabaleta

I wrote this to toads, where we Margaret presents a few old prompts to write to. I decided to use the Michael’s get listed prompt and used a few of his words and write about the disturbing news that filled our newspapers. I’m also linking this to Poetry Pantry.

June 28, 2015

41 responses to “A smiling man

  1. Who knows what went through this person’s head! Your poem expresses a lot of the questions about this young man who created such mayhem.

  2. It is a strange ideology to foster even more hatred rather than sympathy for a cause. Sadly their own families and countrymen will suffer from the privations and problems that acts such as this may result in.

  3. Oy. Killing in the name of reliegous fervor, in hope of a bunch of virgins on the other side. Or to attain heaven. Or because any number of gods told you to do it. What god is that to follow? When love comes out one side of the mouth and death out the other.

  4. I see we are both disturbed by the same shocking event, among so many atrocities this month. Your lines emphasize the total lack of humanity and tolerance which must prompt such outrageous actions. It is sickening.

  5. I too am shocked by these tragic events ~ I can’t understand why some would uphold senseless violence, preferring death to paradise ~

  6. The end line is stunning – it is inexcusable to kill others – whatever values we may uphold…this is a subtle and yet utterly powerful poem…

  7. As if he thought it was a game! The laughter makes it all the more chilling.

  8. I am not sure how can a person just open fire, killing the innocent people. Reading the news and the stories of survivors – wow I don’t know what to say.

    Well penned Bjorn. The title really says a lot.

  9. Very good pov. About 10 years ago, a student murdered 38 people. Just after clases at the university, he chained the doors and took several automatic pistols and began systematically firing into classrooms and offices murdering stdentsd, professors, staff. I knew most of them ones killed. I had visited the school a week earlier to talk to the engineering and physics students about licensure and required exams and had met w/profs and staff as to exact requirements so students could be more easily registered and the pros could also be licensed and reviewed their experience. I had worked closely with that engineeing school for years. I heard the killer seemed in a trance as he wentvfrom room to room firing. Later he said he had converted to another religion and was killing infidels. It is something that has stayed with me. I am dumfounded when people murder in the name of a religion.

  10. If he can smile while squeezing the trigger then he is already out of this world, crazy beyond reason. Good for highlighting this Bjorn!


  11. Insanity is rampant, unfortunately. You capture this, and I also glean a compassion for the victims in your words. Sad, but true poem.

  12. when will insanity end; why was it fistered in the first place; the
    profound is what you do best Bjorn

    thanks for dropping in at my Sunday Lime

    much love..

  13. Man’s inhumanity and insanity toward others – a very intensely sorrowful subject. Your poetry captures all the feelings of it. Thank you for addressing the subject so well.

  14. Such powerful contrasting images – red roses on hotel sheets and the red stains on the sand. Powerfully written, Bjorn. The daily news is becoming dangerous to our mental health, these days.

  15. wow…the first lines made me do a double take. not what I was expecting, but superbly written. the trail fresh like red roses…really a powerful image.

  16. I grieve over news where loss of life is involved. A smile of madness as mayhem follow a destructive path..your words caught the pain and sadness.

  17. Important to write about things happening around us.. so that the question of why and how this cycle of violence began can be answered and a solution can be found.

  18. Profoundly sad to think people can kill in the of name of religion. If that is what it takes to see God, we can be sure heaven is not on the other side but here. Well penned!

  19. I rarely follow news since it’s gory, but it’s inescapable – and necessary – to remain aware about injustice ~

  20. “crimson splatter on the sand
    between the toys and flip-flops where the toes are stiff.

    oh no. I haven’t had the news on. Another violent killing spree? The truth is played out before us with your poem – such a tragedy.

  21. So sickening – the news. Your poem brought the terrifying story in a very real way…it’s important for these stories to be heard and not just from the media.

  22. Sounds like someone was overplayed with toys, never stopped decided that everything is allowed like in the game….now with alive people….chilling observation of staleness of heart, perhaps a ‘product’ grown on ‘poison ground’… powerful write!

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