Prose Poem: Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage

This is what they never understand, the abusers, the ones full of anger, the self-involved who have no room for others and their differences – this is what surprises them, but always too late: that anger, hate, abuse, put downs, assaults both verbal and physical, do nothing but destroy. 

Those you damage? With your lies and your cruelty and your abuse? They are not collateral damage. They are people. None of them deserved your violence. None of them. That was your choice. Entirely. 

And in time, when all around you has been destroyed, the roof falls, all falls

On you. 

You may blame those you damaged, those you destroyed, those you controlled and manipulated, but that blame, like everything else, is a lie. It all falls

On you. 

So look at the rubble. The broken things. The broken relationships and lives and the conflagration around you. Tell your lies, if you must, but know the truth: You had the choice to love or hate. You knew the results of each, for history shows us which builds greatness and which destroys. And know, absolutely know, this falls

On you. 
About this poem

A poem for the political season, for extremeists of all faiths and persuasions, for those who diminish and abuse the people in their lives. Yes, I am angry, at all of you. Your heart, if there is any left, knows better.

Enjoy the rubble. It is yours. 



  1. I wonder, sometimes, in the dark of the night, if the people who commit the kind of abuse I personally have lived through, even remember the names of their victims. I have tried, in my heart to forgive, because it’s important to me, to my person, to the person I am, to not carry the hate and anger they left me with, forever. I don’t want even a single vestige of them to be a part of me, or my life. So I pray for them, and for myself as well, because I wonder if when their roof crumbles, how many people will be under it. Innocent people. People that had no clue there was a monster in their midst.I pray for them too. They are collateral damage. We who have survived them well, are through that part of it. This is great writing Tom, pulling the reader right into the crux of the matter. I hope that who ever it was, in your life, that brought this out of your heart, gets to be the sole bearer of that rubble.

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