Jon Turner

Morning Prayer

Place yourself
before the sun
each morning
as it rises

over the horizon
into common view

Your body
in theory
at that very moment
has become

with all things-
the wind
the charming birds of dawn
gliding over a spring
before its current

This might be your refuge
that you return to as you die

Water creepers
in similar light
resting their feet
just beneath the surface
of water

are not weighted enough
to pierce the veil
between worlds
Their buoyancy reveals a
We are capable of walking
lightly and live
to prove it


At the edge of a canyon
hazel green and glazed
with a thin white sheet of snow
Sandhill crane comes to mind-
His red cap drawn taut over the crown

A thought of perfection in flight-
how his wings glide over water
cresting and he moves
diagonal through the stream
over stones and limbs rising

to a juniper rooted from the face
of an ancient one the elders prayed to
for well being- Having left offerings
of corn and whispers and sighs
with wind snow beside them falling,

their children sleep
One on the breast of its mother
the other by a tide careening from its shore
Here the mind bears only fruit-
stillness exalted through deep breath,

Eyes have returned to center
The body does not exist


Look into her eyes
See the stain her brother
became on the wall
Pink Mist is what we call it;

The impact of munitions
upon the human flesh
Poof – – – Pink – – – Mist
Stare long enough you will see

her father standing there
with blood upon his dish-
dasha holding one
hand to his heart, the other to

his groin. The blood is not
his own- most likely
from his son, or
his other son, or his other son-

staining his chest with death
and blood. You will see
these images kept in the tiny
amber irises of her well weathered

eyes and see her people
whose bodies have been buried beneath
depleted soils-
Those bodies to remain clung

through time
as she remembers

April 3

The image is still engraved in my head;
Two ING and LT peering down

from behind walls of a mosque,
holding just high enough to depict

a lifeless sheik, facedown in his own blood-
the white sheet of decency,

meant to keep flies from consuming his death.
Who prayed for this man and carried his body away?
Who bathed his hands his feet, his legs, his face?
Who wrapped him with saphron and myrrh before tying mala around his wrists?
Who told this man’s children that he was dead?

This man-
trying to speak with God
and a bullet claims his sovereignty-
Wa Laykum Salaam


For Fred Marchant

I can feel their
breath rising from
the cool walls blackened
by time, as I rest my temple
to the stone, waiting for
hooves and horns to
speak through lines
painted gray, red and

There is something heroic
to be said about the
ones who rested in
these caves, with
bears whose own breath
travelled darkened corridors
and into the light of fingers
remembering these mystic
creatures grazing near
the creek, I imagine

fires lit for warmth,
where tensions cease
to exist- two beasts
man and bear
by shadows painted on
the walls, for souls like
me to remember

Song of Waimoku

For Maxine Hong Kingston

I watch as sparring mist
falls over mossy stone and
thoughts of men, crawling on hands
and knees, half naked in the choir
of pumice and turning river

pray for the brilliant chaos
of sky to make tombs of their flesh.
She watches beside herself,
recalls the story her grandmother
shared in dreams of a forest,

who carried her great grand
mother’s great grand
father, and maybe before them,
away. She touches this dance
of mortality, touches the rain,

the hollow bones and papaya.
She weeps for the crying spirit,
offers her merciful tongue,
offers her softened gaze–
turns back towards the mountain

Conscientious Objector

Righteousness is forgiving the finger,
The un-taut trigger of a gun

Righteousness is resting flowers upon his soul,
Begonias and marigolds where blood stained
Sand grit floors trampled in praise by his death

Righteousness are the black silkened feet dry and clean
Beneath phallic mosaics crying to Allah
As children reminisce from doorways and
Elegant curtains dripping with nicotine and

Righteousness is gratitude for the blossom or fruit
That sweeten each grain of sand
Staining our souls with crimson
Where love intended to reside


Jon Turner

From 2003 to 2007 I served with the U.S. Marines, deploying to Haiti in 2004 on a humanitarian mission, and twice to Iraq during 2005 and 2006, where I was awarded a Purple Heart for a minor shrapnel wound. Shortly after discharge I was introduced to Warrior Writers and began to transcribe the emotions of war, allowing a greater sense of understanding to be revealed through the written word.

During this time, and up until late 2010, extensive travels with the CPP brought me to meet veterans around the country and assist with their re-integration process through helping to facilitate paper making workshops. By utilizing methods of destruction and creation through breaking apart our uniforms, it became possible to examine memories throughout our time in service that needed to be addressed, understood and transcended.

Periodically, I facilitate writing workshops at the Burlington VA Clinic. My written work has been included with Warrior Writers Anthologies II, III, and IV, Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthologies I, II, and III, 0-Dark-Thirty, Left Curve Magazine, Boston Poetry Magazine, Inquiring Mind Journal,, Healing Muse, is forthcoming in 2015 in No Achilles War Anthology, Porter Gulch Review and Alive Day Book, and has been performed at the Dodge Poetry Festival, The Beat Museum, and City Lights. A full length collection, Meditations from War, is soon to be published.