Tuesday, October 17 , 2017, 4:13 am | Fair 55º


Ken Williams: The Wall of Black Granite — A Memorial Day Message

The Wall of Black Granite

A thousand yard black shroud
thrown over haunted spirits
weighing down sloping shoulders.
Slumbering, brothers-in-arms
Prisoners, captured within

Black granite, our second skin,
those that survived
The slabs reflecting the horrors of war,

Its cost

Reflective slabs honor those
who fell only if it deflects war,
If war cost stares back those who stare within.

Black granite,
Reflects, intensifies survivors guilt,
Defines it, redefines it.

“What did you do in the war, daddy?”
Why did you survive?
Why did we?

Survivors supposed to come home?
Perhaps the cost too high?
Does spirit of the living and dead
become welded to time?
That place?

“Welcome home.”
But where is home?
Captured within black granite?
Belonging to our time in hell

Black granite,
a second skin,
a shroud?
final judgment

smoking mirrors for war profiteers?
Illusions for panderers of endless war,
mindless nationalism

Black granite,
divides us into the inexplicable
those who served
those who observed

Is it a place for the heart to hide?
Final resting place for the pain?
Or, a measure of pain,
The final bitter sacrifice of loved ones

Black granite beckons us
To the, what might have been?
what should had been
what almost was
what is

Rest easy weary brothers,
we are not so far behind

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >