Tomas Castelazo
Calaveras - skulls typical of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. Photograph taken Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico

'Soldiers of Bone,' a Poem by Simon Moya-Smith for National Poetry Month

Simon Moya-Smith
April 16, 2013


Demented, tormented.
Images of mine head,
            Film my eyes, rheumy, liquor-doused, thoughts decrepit.
Spitting ink –
            A pungent flavor, like that of failure.
The brain to rot when the heart will not;
            Its vessels protected by soldiers of bone, in a cadence, weak, solid –
            Like stone.
A hammer lands upon your head.
            Your skull cracks – yet the brain, its tissue remains secure, intact.
But the eyes! Yours and mine, sir and you, madam, of a beauty ever divine,
            Our eyes, their strength a guise – no image to be unseen again. …
And then, images arise of decay and death and an inferno surmised.
Rotting, this brain, I feel beneath the cranial casing of a mind maybe, just maybe insane.

The ribs will cage; though these eyes vulnerable to the ills of our age.
What is to be seen will soon be your dream,
            To fill the night will fixing terror and inhuman fright.
Hold me close. Cup me gently.
The demon returns to the rot of north,
            When these eyelids slowly fall into the ether, yes, of course.
To rot, the mind goes first.
The heart, second.
Ribs will cage.
The eyes will beckon:
            “Save us. Give us bones, please. To fortify mine mind, we plead.”
Susceptible to the sights no man or maiden should ever see.
            From my innocence, I am removed, bereaved.
No drink or fire or friend or liar will calm the shaking, the loss, the aching.
What is to cage the eyes nature in time will tell.
            Until then, as we’ve seen, is hell, Hell. Hell.
Off to dream then,
            With periods of sleep.
Through the door, the crack, these eyes. …
            Darkness, lowery, hath poured.
                                                                        Into the mind.
                                                                        Into the deep.

Simon Moya-Smith, 29, Oglala Lakota, is a Master of Arts student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City and a frequent contributor to ICTMN. To read more of his poetry and other writings, visit



Gigi Marmon Pilcher's picture
Gigi Marmon Pilcher
Submitted by Gigi Marmon Pilcher on

Very powerful piece that reaches my heart and spirit. It made me feel and see the torment of the voice, speaking from the soul.


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