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Brother’s Propaganda

R. Joseph Rodríguez

IED: A simple bomb made and used by unofficial or unauthorized forces.


1970s: short for improvised explosive device.

--Oxford English Dictionary (2019)

Always a game at the beginning.

To groom me. No choices

on the battleground for play.

Indian I am assigned, though

vaquero I’d prefer. He charges,

guns down, then leaves casually.

I surrender boy self and stance.

Hollywood’s his 70s primer,

an essential element.

He tastes false victories.

Soon other words name me,

hurled like sharpened machetes,

or shrapnel from IEDs.

I know us no more.

Bad guys from screens

and wars he imitates.

He becomes them,

officiates with authority.

I ask him my name,

to now call me by all

my chosen names,

some christened,

as he wears down

spilling with ideations

after service and war,

in locked solitude,

in the shoe.

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