The Dogs Of War



It slaps you upside the head

Pushes rudely against your eardrums

Skull rings like a tuning fork


Feeling it sock you in the stomach

Unconsciously clenching your bowels

Heart skipping a beat

Thrown out of it’s rhythm by an assault

Of sound like a beating

Flat-footed you crouch

Looking skyward with alarm




Again it berates

Threatening potential

Bones shuddering

Arm hair standing at attention

Facing military might

Eyes riveted now to the ocean

Where a battleship plys the waves

Red white and blue flying

Coughing smoke from empty cannons

Currently being reloaded

“Don’t you love your country?”




The sky shivers

Nature holds her breath

Warm Aina cold with dread

Sand dunes shudder, shifting

You stand frozen in the heat

Like a deer in the certainty of headlights

No geckos laugh

Spinner dolphins do not play

Bird chatter has ceased

A horn is sounded

Never uttered by a conch shell

Stabbing at the air

Claiming the silence

“I am powerful, you will kneel”




As a parting jab

A hush comes to fill the space

Reminiscent with anger

All is shocked in stasis

Tentatively, a breeze whispers

Cardinal is first to reply

“Is it safe to emerge?”

He is answered by the crack

Of a missile like a whip

On the bare backs of the enslaved

“This is MY ocean”

“MY birds”

“You are Godless, I am just”

But how can you tell a sparrow

About government and power?




Never you mind little one

It’s just those Good Ol’ Boys

From the PMRF down the road

Playing military “games”

Only pretending annihilation

Parodies of killing

Just practicing for the day

When genocide may be necessary

Which is truly what they’re doing

When they kill the sons, the fathers, the seed

In the name of a dollar bill

Sickly veins seeping black oil

Where squalor breeds splendor

Murder breeds mercenaries

And the ignorant cheerleaders

Write “LIKE” if you agree

Upon every picture of a waving flag




Is that a submarine?

Cutting up the azure surface

Warm tropical waves

Opening to a partial breach?

Where is the butterfly fish now?

Be careful, this reef is protected

There are harbor seals and coral

You can’t snorkel over there

But a few thousand pounds of armed steel

Won’t hurt it very much

The U.S. navy is very meticulous

Aren’t you aware of this?

They have all sorts of smart equipment

Invented sonar, don’t you know?

The whale would be laughing

If it were even remotely funny




It’s got to be done you know

“Can’t halt progress”

Though their definition of the word

Is more than slightly dubious

What sort of progress?

Toward what end, or is it infinite?

Will we forever tear apart one another

Just to see who dies quicker?

God forbid we should be caught with our pants down

We must all make sure

That we are better at death

Than the next country

A bomb that can annihilate a continent

Is supposed to bring world peace?

I fail to see the logic, but then

That’s why I’m not a politician




“Never turn your back to the sea”

That’s what the kama’ aina say

But I turn away from the smoke belching beast

The shame and degradation

This assault on my mana

I cannot stand to be associated

With this disgusting display of filth

Shuddering in revulsion

Like the cliffs do with every launch

And it’s not just the sound waves

That make the sand tremble

There will be no sunset watch tonight

Nor contemplation of peace

While the soldiers play at death

Prepping new generations

For Killing Time










~This post was inspired by the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) outside of Kekaha, HI on the island of Kauai. Not many know of the strong presence of American military installments on the Hawaiian islands, most know only of Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. The PMRF is located on Barking Sands beach, which is sacred to the Hawaiians, and lies parallel to the cliffs known as Polihale (roughly translated as ‘the jumping off place of spirits’)  which is where the bones of ancient Hawaiian royalty were interred. Both the cliffs and the beach are closed off from the natives, owned by the military, and patrolled by armed soldiers on ATV’s. Occasionally, just to practice warfare, the base will send a missile out over the ocean and a battleship stationed far out to sea will shoot it from the sky (this is apparently so they will be really good at it if Japan-or any other country- decides to send artillery westward, as this particular beach is the westernmost point of the United States, and closest to Japan).

If you are really “lucky” however, you can catch quite a show when the navy installments from the other islands, as well as other nations, converge to “play” war “games” in the warm tropical waters of Kauai’s west side. Some folks think it’s great entertainment to watch through binoculars as missiles leave black arches of smoke and collide with a crash into the ocean, sending spray several feet into the air. They are assaulting the ocean, mind you, just little fish and blameless coral reef getting pummeled by artillery shells, in an area where harbor seals (endangered) spinner dolphins (endangered) sea turtles (threatened)  and countless at-risk species of fish are quietly living out their lives. 

This war-play may be kosher to others, but I assure you, if you are not aware of what is actually happening, having missiles going off overhead in a cloudless blue sky at mid day will scare the shit out of you. It definitely scared the shit out of me. I wrote this poem about my experience.











4 thoughts on “The Dogs Of War

  1. Wow what an incredibly powerful write, you captured the threat and violence of war and the suspense and tension of watching from the shore, whilst soothing the children. Thank you for sharing the background on this too, a really thought provoking and evocative poem exquisitely done.


  2. thank you, I had decided to put my explanation at the end rather than the beginning so that (hopefully) the poem would capture the suspense. It was quite terrifying to hear missiles out of the blue while collecting shells on the beach, for a moment I truly did believe that the dogs of war had really been set loose.


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