Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

Payback - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

Once in his life, his breath was free
a beating heart, it knew its place
the knowledge of identity
was etched upon his weathered face.

The gods had given him the keys
to open most, though not all doors
one day, when praying on his knees
a shiver swept a million pores.

He felt the plunging knife go deep
just briefly glancing off the spine,
his heart attempted still to keep
internal peace, he fell, supine.

It took the shoes, the dirty socks
all clothes, a watch and from his pocket
the bonds, the notes and all the stocks
then ripped the chain that held his locket.

The hair and eyebrows, glasses too
it slipped into the new I.D.,
then dropped the body at the Zoo
where laughter welcomed misery.

So soon forgotten, left behind
the future only counted here
and see, the people all went blind
toward the past and all its fear.

It looked the same, and walked with pride
(both eyes though had a nasty stare) .
So life would be a pleasant ride
each one would have a smile to share.

Its chest had swelled and as it strode
and of his step a spring took hold
still looking for the Mother Lode
and pressing on, weighed down by gold.

The coup had brought this monster riches,
the law was his, none had the right
no shysters, preachers, horny bitches
would dare to shade his shining light.

Then darkness came, sent down by God
he cleared a loganberry hedge,
and for a moment found it odd
that there was nought beyond the ledge.

A scream was heard throughout the land
and to this day, when darkness falls
you listen and you understand
from far away, a voice that calls.

Comments about Payback by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (6/8/2006 8:14:00 AM)

    This version is ever so much better, Herbert...not a single snag...and the fellow was a monster. Sometimes payback is sweet, pure and simple!


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  • (6/7/2006 2:06:00 PM)

    Justice and revenge may seem like twin brothers, but, Dearest H., they are not the same animal at all. I hope you achieve justice, but never revenge...The burden that revenge brings is to heavy to bear. Scarlett (Report)Reply

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  • (6/7/2006 10:42:00 AM)

    Well crafted story, Herbert, and the ending is superb. There is one snag which bothered me, though, take a look at your inbox.


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  • (6/7/2006 6:22:00 AM)

    Justice is fine if you can get it.
    I'll take it if it rears its pretty head. Then comes payback.
    If no justice, payback will not end until it is futile.

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  • (6/7/2006 6:17:00 AM)

    Dark but well-constructed narrative. As to the message, Herbert, I'd like you to win justice and redress, not revenge. Easy for me to say, though, I know.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 7, 2006

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