Poets logo


Dispatches From the High Road

By Cal ZamPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 2 min read


What we think we taste, we mostly smell

I learned that one day on the high road to Hell

That old man had warned me

But I knew no fear

I'd listened politely, but I didn’t hear

Don’t trust what you see but can’t touch

The old man had told me as much


The taste of adventure

The smell of the fight

A touch of revenge, our God-given right!

Revenge, revenge, clouding our sight

Now I hear the screams at night


We’re here to help

Why are they fighting?

We're here to help

Have they forgotten?

We’re also fighting

Something smells rotten

Worse, biting

Bolder, colder

Orders are orders.

You hearin’ me, soldier? 

To see or not to see?

Good question

Eyes shut, squeezed

Tasting fumes, disease

More I won’t mention

Pay attention!

A hand touches my shoulder


A day so hot you could smell the sun

He wasn’t much older than my son

(Who’s never even seen a gun)

He touched his tiny hand to his tiny scarred face

Asking, Why do the berries I pick have no taste?

The old man sat up, gently shaking his head

That time I heard what he said


I hear hand-touched-my-shoulder’s voice

Come fight with me bro, we’ll taste victory tonight

I see what he can’t now. But I've got no choice

Didn’t I follow the smell of the fight


The old man sat up, gently shaking his head

He smiled at the boy with the berries and said

Listen, child, and hear me well

They took it from you, the night the bombs fell

What we think we taste, we mostly smell

But they took your nose with the shrapnel of shells

Lessons learned on the high road to Hell

But you do not see, he cried turning to me

To be touched by a giant is to be crushed like a pea


Hand-touched-my-shoulder is dead.

His uniform now is dark red

I hear bombs

I smell flesh

I see wrongs

I taste death

I stare at what’s left of his head


Once I told that old man

You don’t understand

You didn’t hear the sirens shriek

They said we’d be here a few weeks

You didn’t smell the wreck of the towers

They said we’d be greeted with hugs and with flowers

Virtue. Valor. Victory.

They painted a picture, clear as can be

Don’t trust what you see but can’t touch

The old man had told me as much

sad poetry

About the Creator

Cal Zam

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.