Brian Turner

Brian Turner

Visalia, California
Brian Turner
Visalia, California
Explore Poets GO!
Brian Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and lived abroad in South Korea for a year before serving for seven years in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division. Then in November 2003 he was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd ...
Popular Poems
2000 lbs.
Ashur Square, Mosul
It begins simply with a fist, white-knuckled
and tight, glossy with sweat. With two eyes
in a rearview mirror watching for a convoy.
R & R
The curve of her hip where I'd lay my head,
that's what I'm thinking of now, her fingers
gone slow through my hair on a blue day
ten thousand miles off in the future somewhere,
What Every Soldier Should Know
To yield force to is an act of necessity, not of will;
it is at best an act of prudence.
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Phantom Noise
There is this ringing hum this
bullet-borne language ringing
shell-fall and static this late-night
ringing of threadwork and carpet ringing
hiss and steam this wing-beat
of rotors and tanks broken
bodies ringing in steel humming these
voices of dust these years ringing
rifles in Babylon rifles in Sumer
ringing these children their gravestones
and candy their limbs gone missing their
static-borne television their ringing
this eardrum this rifled symphonic this
ringing of midnight in gunpowder and oil this
brake pad gone useless this muzzle-flash singing this
threading of bullets in muscle and bone this ringing
hum this ringing hum this
The 107s have a crackling sound
of fire and electricity, of air-ruckled heat,
and when they pinwheel over the rooftops
of Hamman al Alil
they just keep going,
traveling for years over the horizon
to land in the meridians of Divisadero Street,
where I'm standing early one morning
on a Memorial Day in Fresno, California,
the veteran's parade scattering at the impact,
mothers shielding their children by instinct,
old war vets crouching behind automobiles
as police set up an outer cordon
for the unexploded ordinance.
Rockets often fall
in the night sky of the skull, down long avenues
of the brain's myelin sheathing, over synapses
and the rough structures of thought, they fall
into the hippocampus, into the seat of memory—
where lovers and strangers and old friends
entertain themselves, unaware of the dangers
headed their way, or that I will need to search
among them
the way the bomb disposal tech
walks tethered and alone down Divisadero Street,
suited-up as if walking on the moon's surface
as the crowd watches just how determined he is
to dismantle death, to take it apart
piece by piece—the bravest thing I've ever seen.


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