September 13, 2017

Three Poems by Ken Williams under the title REASONS WHY: "Survivors," "What Not," and "This One Thing Right"

Ken Williams worked as a social worker for the homeless, primary the mentally ill, but including veterans, women, the elderly, drug and alcohol addicted and the physically disabled in Santa Barbara CA, for over thirty years. His dedication to his clients has been acknowledged by the Board of Supervisors, the State Senate, State Assembly, A.C.L.U. Santa Barbara Chapter, Housing Authority, California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and other organizations. His work was  highlighted in the documentary, "Shelter," and his writings have appeared in Columbia University’s: Columbia Journal, Cecile’s Magazine, the Huffington Post, The Potomac,  Mobius, Better Than Starbucks, The Criterion, and other journals.  He is a disabled combat Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. "Fractured Angel," is his most recent novel. His blog is at:



Wars don’t die
they simply retreat
PTSD infused nightmares
daytime’s glaring harshness

Alongside silent cries of
the displaced,
anguished whimpers of
orphaned children
hallowed quietness
of the disabled

Harsh memories lie
between lines
of stories shared but
never spoken with sons
now daughters, progress?
Wars don’t die
they simply hibernate, collecting
impound interest, till…
down the line

New generations
looking for adventure
revenge, the need to tickle
urge to kill

Forgetting lessons
wars don’t die
they do however mutilate
savaging the soul
decimating the innocent, deforming
fighters, crippling children
lucky enough, or not,


Blue ice sheath
hanging over me
dangling like a mournful moon
just beyond reach
translucent blue, hypnotic

Staring into it,
seeing through it, much as I can my soul
my life
Watching it slowly dissolving
time evaporating into turquoise blue
purity of whiteness first to go

Wearily it lags earthbound
worn thin by life’s wounds
knowing all ends in death
more terrified a purposeless life endured
not lived

Sliver of existence remains
pleading for egoless exit
reminding what
the children of war,
famine, poverty never had


Sound of nail gun shooting
reverberating my existence
soft thud, sickening crunch
sternum cracks
nail punches deep into my chest
pain radiates, they lied
suicide is not painless
blackness descends

E.R. bright lights digging into my eyes
stabbing my brain
regret engulfs
can’t even do this right

I was a construction worker
proudly building America’s homes
Good money
Good family
Then derivatives, balloon payments
AIG, Goldman Sachs
foreclosures rolled like a tsunami
robbing so many, including me

Job gone,
wife and family too
now, nothing left
Family man without family, job
no man at all

Whisky goes so far
Crank came and went
along with my life

Pushing doctor away
trying telling her
past tube in my throat
Let me die
Let me do this one thing right

© Ken Williams

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