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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

En Passant (‘Deus Vult’); tornado

By: t.p. Luce

En Passant (‘Deus Vult’)

later that day

it occurred to me

that perhaps 

after the Vikings 

came to Lindisfarne

to set things right 

showing us

how things move

we were introduced to 

the best way 

a red pepper

can be crushed into a tongue

that inequity

in the form of blood

poured from saints

as recompense

would, in reverse 

be played out again

some two thousand plus years later 

from a cell in Birmingham

that time, on paper

which could just as well 

have been in Norse

as in English

(they lead their armies

he led his)

but for the queen

but for Christ

but for Allah

the subtext of which

adds enough lime

to corner any conversation

as they demand their subjects 

give of their lives

for this cause or that

and many do so, 


while in the plain world

a hero’s tale

to simplify the complex heritage 

of man and power

that thirsty magnetism

crying out

only to be resisted

by the last choice we have

& for what??

the will of Zeus?

her majesty’s Royal Navy?

God save the Queen

God Bless America

For the honor of King Henry and his claims

For Troy

For Helen

For Union

States’ Rights

no taxation without representation

For the Greater Glory of God

 For Allah

Earlier that day

I found my thoughts preempted

by an American soldier 

full framed in my television

airport homecoming

under his own power

dressed in full 

both arms, both legs 

not in a wheel chair

not in a pine box

when the cameras turned

someone handed him 

an American flag

which he wrapped around himself,

and bleated out 

‘God bless America 

the greatest country in the world’.

As my mind passed by

the flag as dreamcoat

sweetened to a jacket of C-4


it all happens so quick


torn about

floating on air

not knowing up from down

or left from right

cut loose from the earth

gravity irrelevant

all objects becoming one terror

hot and cold together make hot and cold apart

being hit from all sides

losing sight,

only seeing pinholes and cannon balls

darkness as the presence of all color

and the absence of light, no color

the only sense of balance 

is through clinched fists and string inside the mind

grounding you like a mighty cable

losing air

losing all things dear on earth

losing life

then - gaining the absent light

seeing now new things unseen before

learning of all things dear in life - - is the dream

the dream too grand to destroy by awakening

holding on to this coma that shows that life is not the thing

but rather death is the thing,

long and continuous

a place not of mourning 

but of reflection

in which life is just a flash


Louisiana native t.p. Luce, is a photographer and poet. He graduated from New York University with a B.A in History and a B.F.A in Photography in 1988. In 2004, his first poetry/photography narrative was published as thaBloc: words, photographs and baltimore city in black, white and gray, and received numerous awards. In 2007, t.p. was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to compose an exhibition of thaBloc. t.p’s photographs are in the permanent collections at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institute and the Lewis Museum.


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