the man in the pizza shop

said that he was “dragged

around like an old whore”

in court but that today

he reached a settlement

while some bum came in and asked

the owner if he’s got any old slices

to give away and the man scoffed

at the rejected junkie then continued the story

how whenever he feels like a winner

he wears his best italian suit

and gently styles his silver hair

and forces the loser to sign the papers

with his fanciest pen

 

and I couldn’t really stand

the guy’s bullshit

anymore so I walked outside

into the still crumbling city

w/ half a wrapped hoagie

and half a mind to blow up a bank

and thank God I don’t know

what else the man said

but I turned around and saw

him laughing in his smart clothes

and open collar displaying white

chest hair and I wish I woulda bought

that homeless guy a slice of pizza

Camden, NJ

All this cures the bleedin’

Methadone Heroin Crack

40’s from Mancine’s

maybe a shot from The Victor’s Pub

in the old carcass of a RCA warehouse

where recorded music was invented

but now that’s forgotten

and so the blood trickles out

the red brick building spilling

onto the cracked curbside dreams

liquified and drained into the gutter

runnin’ under tricklin’ down PATCO stairs

where the junkies sleep in pools

of blood yes the blood of workers

the blood of Black people

the blood of Latinos

the blood of the Irish of Italians

the blood of women

or anyone who’s not a WASP

our blood pours thru the streets

cuz they wanna drown our voices

they wanna drown our children

in machines and equations

they wanna starve our children of art

they wanna rob our kids of poetry

of music of anything that makes them human

they rob us they rape us

and you know who they is

if not, then you them

Letter from the Editor Issue #4

Dear reader,

I am proud yet humbled to present to you these works created by humans who have faced death. Welcome to our fourth issue, which features poems, stories, memoirs, art, and photography depicting war and life viewed through the eyes of veterans and civilians alike. Through this issue, we hope to fight for awareness and treatment of mental illness, especially for our veterans, all the while striving for non-violence and mutual co-operation and compassion in order to solve humanity’s problems. We have Vietnam veteran Preston Hood to thank for this issue, as he suggested the idea to me when we first met at a Moonstone Arts poetry reading in December of 2014.

How remarkable is it, that in the year 2015 we can still hear the voices of those who’ve experienced World War 2? 90 year old Hal O’Leary, a West Virginia native and veteran of the Allied campaign against the Nazis in Western Europe, wrote an enduring and reflective memoir piece that we have the honor of sharing with you in this issue. Other highlights from veterans in this issue: Cold War era Army vet Alex Marshall imagines the view of an ancient Chinese soldier from his Meditation Tao series of poems, Iraq War vet Alecc Costanzi emits a pungent warning in his poetry, Jon Turner, another veteran of the war in Iraq, shows us a glimpse of the “enemy’s” perspective, Doug D’Elia, who was a medic in Vietnam, shares with us the difficulty of reassuring a dying soldier,  Lisa Van Wormer, an Iraq War veteran, accomplishes the near-impossible task of expressing the sorrow and bonding that occurs after a fellow soldier’s death, in second person mind you, Jay Dardes, a Vietnam era vet, describes an encounter between a vet with ptsd and a therapist, and James Smith, a veteran of the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam, gives us an outstanding and at times humorous look at the hypocrisy of those who say they support our troops, yet are not sincere.

In our most important issue yet, Whirlwind Magazine seeks an understanding between civilians and veterans. We not only want to show our appreciation to veterans who’ve contributed to our past issues, such as Peter Mahoney and Lamont Steptoe, but we’d like to remember all people who have been killed because of war. This issue is dedicated to Preston Hood’s late son, Arrick Hood.

An early draft of Issue 4's cover:

An early draft of Issue 4’s cover: “Window to Baghdad” by veteran Hayden Van Wormer.

issue is dedicated to Preston Hood’s late son, Arrick Hood.

humanity within

That man sees beyond
this passing train as he holds
his son's restless hand 
fingering for tomorrow.
 
A moment we sit
in, staring in,
thru ruins, pounded gray 
pavement, crumbled red
brick, black
asphalt 
 
canyons children cannot escape
from unless in death. 
 
That man's eyes, no less
darker than the altered 
ground from which his boy
will grow,
are blind to mine
 
as I see myself standing
in his place
amidst a decayed city
grasping onto the limb
of an invisible sapling.

Poem

Music was invented here

in this state of mind sitting

in a building’s existence,

or rather our means of listening.

Across the Delaware River

an 80 foot tall American flag

rests stuck on red brick

painted broken history.

The crumbling structures

on water’s both sides

associate anything;

warfare and European men.

A pale blue bridge still stands

and this amber beer still tastes

stale and my heart still palpitates.

I’m alive.