Home > The Crowd > The Student Wars

The Student Wars

October 8, 2010

by James Toupin

Were we playing? Spring opened
with the softness of the lotus.
Our politics emerged outdoors.

That year fate, enrolling soldiers
as numbers from a barrel, at last
spoke frankly. For those made fortunate,

death was launched elsewhere, at others,
and all the more must be opposed.
Someone said we ought to close

the road. Surely it carried convoys.
Our riot wound its way through groves
to mill out on the thoroughfare.

I maintained the periphery.
The megaphone came as called. The girl
whose glances were to me more vital

than war or peace, having come
with someone else, was carted off.
Talking taoism, she had not noticed

the line of cops begin to move.
A flashing cruiser, screeching, chased
me ring around a tree until

its spinout made space for me to run.
Such was our battle. Backpage news.
No trouble. A wisp of April risk.


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James Toupin is a retired lawyer living in Washington, DC. His poems have appeared in the last couple of years in numerous print and online journals, including Loch Raven Review, The Guardian Poetry Workshop, Infinity’s Kitchen, Flutter, Umbrella, Four and Twenty, The Centrifugal Eye and Bumbershoot.

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  1. mary
    October 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Wonderful and amazing! You feel the tension and yet it is so softly read–almost a sigh of remembrance. Beautiful sounds. The bare truth of these lines:

    The girl
    whose glances were to me more vital

    than war or peace, having come
    with someone else, was carted off.
    Talking taoism, she had not noticed/

    And those last lines creating the perfect sentiment of those days.

    A wisp of April risk.

  2. Tony Press
    October 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Lovely – took me back to the middle of Wilshire Boulevard a hundred years ago. Graceful, wistful, honest.

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