Book Review: In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck

I’ve always been a big John Steinbeck fan. So I was pretty excited when I picked up In Dubious Battle from my library. It’s not one of Steinbeck’s most famous books, but it’s written with the same energy and zeal of all the other books I love by him. 

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When Democracy Died (a poem)

When democracy died, I was reading Kafka –

gunshots blared + factions fought for ideals

they thought worth dying for –

TVs tuned to Washington +

the White House went dark,

troops marched + destroyed dissidents.

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Buried Treasure (a poem)

Buried deep in this sea, there is ancient treasure –

it’s been hidden for ages, from a sunken ship

that carried gold and human remains,

but all that remains

are brittle bones, skulls + chests filled with fortune –

I’ll dive deep + discover it, even if it kills me,

bring it back to this sandy shore so I can

explore this coastline dotted with land mines

from a distant war – the war that took my father + tore

this island nation to pieces: the woman wailing,

lonely in their huts without their husbands +

the children afraid of the night

when mutant-men prowl swamplands of death

+ devour human and beast alike.

(Photo by Max Okhrimenko on Unsplash)

Fallen Angels (a poem)

Satan rebels and fallen angels follow him

to the underworld – wings clipped, eyes ablaze

with red like the demons they are.

Stand atop this holy hillside and survey the city –

if you are the Messiah, then prove it.

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Carnival Games (a poem)

It’s 6:48 am and I am walking onto a bus
We are no longer able to be alone
The government has deemed we must stay together

This is my first day on the bus – I thought I would be on it longer
My start time is at 11:42 am

As I am ushered off the bus after twenty-five minutes
I am given directions on my phone and told to stay with the group
I must plan my escape, I must be alone

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