Harry Newman




it’s noon and people are leaving 

windows empty even shadows 

know now to keep their distance 


all that remains blank stone faces 

the stones we use to hide behind

and call it living the sun grows pale 


even it gets tired of trying so much 

and the sky dims with it light fading 

into moonlight the air turning thinner 


as it does all is grey and deserted 

only the sound of rock on rock 

the slow clatter of shards sand 


falling from broken edges craters 

dust against dust the earth claiming 

its own once more gravity prevailing 


soon soldiers will be coming walking 

behind armored vehicles stopping 

at doorways shouting into gaps 


where windows once were moving 

from ruin to ruin block by block 

leaving nothing behind them even 


at this distance we can hear them 

climbing towards us coming nearer 

at the highest reaches survivors 


have gathered telling their stories 

tending to wounds knowing it’s only 

a matter of time until they get here





we can say this the dark circles

in the desert ringed with ash

smoke having gone its way

those circles with shoeprints

or the outlines of feet of legs

of palms dragging those circles

in the desert within larger circles

black and burning where not even

the spirits are left ones unburied

never washed prayed over not

even the spirits are left there

but have to make their way

to refugee camps for the dead

so many of them now moving

slowly nowhere to go they

no longer remember the circles 

with bits of clothing bone

hair circles in larger circles

I’d say like ripples in a pond

where a stone passes through

echo of what broke the surface

but this is the desert all thickness

a surface without end where

nothing ripples nothing echoes

but silence this is the stone that

hits the water and stops there

its moment of impact preserved

and the darkness from it spreading

drawing closer every day


Harry Newman’s poetry has appeared widely in American journals.  About his two poems, on Warscapes, Newman explains, "These are poems of collapsing distance, the moral distance of war and political violence. Brutality and dehumanization in one location inevitably find their way closer. “Impact area” is a formal term designating the area spanned by the detonation of a mortar or missile. Cliff Dwellers are those aware of the horrors to come - though there’s only so far you can climb to escape them." His plays have been presented at theaters across the U.S. as well as in The Netherlands and Germany. He currently lives in New York.