People shouting in your face
by Michael Brett

The one really useful thing I learned from the Army
Is how to say nothing when people shout in your face.
(In London, people who do this can sometimes be mad
Or carrying weapons.)

At school, we'd go to training camps where a man
Would shout in your face if you missed a drill move
Or your rifle wasn't straight.

Justice, fairness seemed to be fugitives in the wet surrounding woods
And saying anything just made things worse.
You just had to stand there and take it.

In films, gunfire has noble qualities, like bugle fanfares
And the flapping of flags at sunset
But they are all just machines that shout in your face,
Or try to kill you.

On the tube home, a nutter shouts in my face.
I look at him. I change trains. I say nothing.

Copyright © 2009 - Michael Brett
Published: 12/10/09   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem