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Like looking down, past one’s toes, over the precipice and into the abyss, Zvi Sesling’s new book, War Zones, rivets its readers’ attention with Spartan purpose and imagistic clarity. His notions of war and its insidious causes and calamitous effects strip away the patent falseness of martial glory and highlight instead the inglorious detritus and detail of sundered limbs and damaged psyches. Warmongers should avoid this book.

      Dennis Daly, author of Pantoums

Weight 5 oz

Read excerpts


Kennedy is dead someone
shouted then we heard
Which one

So LBJ quit, Democrats chose
Humphrey who lost to
Nixon and the war went on
Kissinger was the most
important man in America
Nixon was reelected
Kissinger was even more
powerful and the war went on
and if we took the word of
our military leaders more than
the population of North Vietnam
had been killed we never admitted
we lost the war

At Kent State protesters who did not
want to die in the jungles of
Vietnam were shot dead by
National Guardsmen who probably
went to Vietnam and were shot
there, perhaps by friendly fire
and the war went on abandoned
by our allies, the news reported
what happened, never reported
we lost the war

Vietnam Memorial II Ghosts In The Wall


Ghosts are in the wall
behind the wall

looking out at you
you look at them

people touching names
reflections of sorrow

Ghosts speak to them
through names

Ghosts will last
through lifetimes

when people forget
Ghosts will not let them


– for a friend with PTSD

Like a secret garden behind a Victorian home
Lost among bushes and trees
Turning a corner only to find more corners
Paths leading to dead ends

People passing with blank faces
Empty stares of yearning
Or hands feeling ahead as if
The follower is blind or in the dark

Pathways of pebbles give hope
Yet lead nowhere except deeper into
The hidden world of lost rabbits and mice
Where no bird alights

Groping for a leaf with no meaning, no direction
A branch points the way out
Is it forgotten reality
Or is it subterfuge

An end with no meaning
A meaning with no end
Like a book with no pages
A song with no sound

Up ahead there is an opening
Beyond the opening an exit
You emerge victorious from the
Maze you are traveling in

About the Author

Zvi A. Sesling is the Poet Laureate of Brookline, MA and a prize winning poet. He has been published widely in print and online nationally and internationally. Sesling is Editor of Muddy River Poetry Review, publishes Muddy River Books and reviews for the Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene. He has been a featured reader in various venues in the Boston area and San Diego, as well as on local cable television and radio stations. Sesling has been a featured reader at the Boston National Poetry Festival and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. His poems have been featured at the Spring Rain Festival on the island of Cyprus, and the Somerville, MA “Arts at the Armory”. Sesling has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize and was awarded First Prize in the Rueben Rose International Poetry Competition. He is author of three volumes of poetry, The Lynching of Leo Frank (Big Table Publishing Co, 2017), Fire Tongue (Cervena Barva Press, 2016), and King of the Jungle, (Ibbetson St. Press, 2010) as well as two chapbooks Love Poems From Hell (Flutter Press, 2017) and Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva Press, 2011). He has taught at Suffolk University, Emerson College and Boston University. He lives in Brookline MA with his wife Susan J. Dechter.

Copyright © 2018 Zvi A. Sesling

Cover photograph from the collection of Lauren Leja.

ISBN 978-1-949279-01-6

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.

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