Marching Orders

American dogs

French frogs

The world is going to war

Angry Continentals

Middle East fundamentals

The war is going to war

In the Arab lands

Among the sands

We all are going to war

Let it ignite

And burn all night

The world is going to war

Can you slow it down

When the oil’s underground

The world is going to war

The people forgot

The lessons taught

In 1944

No time to stop and think

When you’re on the brink

The world is going to war

I only take the side

Of those that have died

In the never-ending glory of war

Gene G. McLaughlin 2022

Red Raw Orlando Sun

Red raw Orlando sun

Lays our failures plain

Kneeling all as one

Souls burdened with pain

Filtering words of sense

From the anger soaked insane

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

I Shall

I have few resources

Often only kindness

And the will to not be inured

To the sorrow of the mourners

And the cries of the injured

I shall not keep to silence

Nor allow bigotry to be ignored

I shall seek no answers in violence

In pursuit of grace much can be endured

I shall make a quiet strong alliance

Between peace and love letting both be heard

In a voice even, but full of defiance

Against wrong thought and action

Committed via both deed and word

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015


Something I wrote to remember both how sad and outraged I was last week in South Carolina, but also how inspired I was by the survivors families in Charleston and their capacity for grace and forgiveness.

An Ancient Ruthless Language

I do not want to be bitter in the end

DNA is an ancient ruthless language

That which is encoded to be aware

Is encoded to decay

Awareness an advantage

An evolution

Sometimes a difficulty

As the world spins

Bitterness would indicate regret

Which is purchased

And is sustained

By the illusion

That self-determination guided us

Yet the options we have

Are small, but meaningful

Such as the choice of bitterness

About the fate we are dealt


Acceptance of that which blocks our path

And shall never move

To find meaning in stillness

To find peace the inevitable

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

As The Flames Dance Proud And Free

As The Flames Dance Proud and Free


Once there was a dark blue sky

That a fire burned beneath

The flames were born of

Magma bubbling underneath

The crust and stone of the rock

The cosmos did bequeath


The forming was slow and steady

Selections were rapidly made

Until once a man and woman

Sat one day alone in a glade

They made the choice to name themselves

To call their chosen pairing love

Upon a tree near to them

Perched a pure white dove

They called the dove a thing of peace

Then decorated the tree

With things strewn throughout the glade

As clouds approached from the sea

The cloud became snow in the sky

The tree covered in the coldest white

They light fires to warm them from the cold

Sitting up through the night

They were joined by others soon

To sit before the tree and flames

Soon the others before the fire

Choose to also take names


Still in the winter we sit before the fire

With our decorated tree

We ask for help to make it through the dark

As the flames dance proud and free

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013


The towers fell

The gauntlet dropped

The desert hell

Full of cold steel props

It beings now

What is needed

This is how

Introspection is seeded

The broken souls

The bloody fist

The dark foxholes

The casualty list

What of the desert

Its blood soaked grains

What of the fires

Of our shames and pains

What do we recall

Of that day?

What did we desire

Or hide away?

Grief not faced

Is a wound left open

For what’s been razed

And for words unspoken

My heart is bled

Of its hatred

In my head

Glimpsing the sacred

The truth clear

The war never won

The ending near

The heat of the sun

In the towers

As they died

And looked out

Into the sky

They thought not of


Or noble deeds


Or government acts

They were scared

Yet not alone

They thought of you

Your face, your tears

Your love, your loss

Reach out now

It is not too late

To touch their hand

Before they go

The pulsing heart

The slowing beat

We must part

The end is complete

Gene G. McLaughlin 2006

22 Years

When my father was my age

He had 22 more years left

He looked at the future

As an endless array of choices

Without death as an option

It was though

For good or bad

It always is

It is the boundary of

One’s vessel

Not it’s ripples

Across the inward ocean

It is hard me to view all of this

As an infinite journey as he did

Knowing what I know

Yet I will fight to view it so

The shrug off the knowledge of

Where the path to the ocean

Meets the water

Making 22 years into

A transinfinite journey

There is an eternity between moments

Endless ripples between the ripples

The ocean is never still

Even when there is no motion

Looking out from the shore

At the path’s end

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

The Humming Center

Life is want and hunger

Seeking shelter from the rain

The rage to tear asunder

That which causes pain

In the humming center

Is the still humble fact

The life we enter

Is harder when we react

Our decisions

Unquiet the soul

Self derision

Takes it’s toll

You cannot win

That which is not contested

Freedom begins

When you are divested

The sound

Of the water

The taste of the wind

The embrace of your beloved

Tomorrow begins

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

It Doesn’t Matter As Much

It doesn’t matter as much

As my beard grows grey

If I fail, succeed

Or win the day

I’ve failed at things

Had a little success

Surrendered without trying

Or gave it my best

It’s still all so beautiful

It’s still all so sad

If I’m dutiful

If my efforts are bad

I’ll live in the middle

In the dawn or dusk

I’ll engage a little

If I must

I’ll be the bass line

Of the song

You’ll only hear me

If you listen long

Lennon said

Watch the wheels go round and round

Watch the colors

Hear the sound

Feel the beat

Of your space

Stepping back

Is no disgrace

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

You Can Believe

You can believe in rage and conflict

Those are the ways of old

You can believe that confrontations

Make a man brave and bold

You can believe in the language of violence

That ever has existed

You can measure your life by how many conquests

Of which you life has consisted

You can believe in the primal easy path

That has always been the clearest way

Or you can believe you choose for yourself

The road you take today

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013