Tank Warfare by HanaLena Fennel – Love Thy Neighboring Country Series

Tank Warfare

A poem adapted from the first hand account of Tom Wintringham, a veteran of the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War

Roughly as follows: 

Your body is a glass jam jar. 

Fill with petrol. 

This history in a wick in stasis of 

a heavy curtain, half a blanket, or some other heavy material. 

Wrap this over the mouth,

tie it round the neck with string, 

leave the ends of the material hanging free. 

When you want be used have somebody standing by with a light 


Put a corner of the past down in front of you, 

turn your bottle body over 

so that petrol soaks out round your mouth 

and drips onto this corner of flammable time

Turn your carcass right way up again, 

hold out your right hand, 

most of the mythology bunched beneath you

with your left hand take the ago that is wetted with petrol. 

Wait for your tank. 

When near enough

your pal 

[or comrade-in-arms]

lights the petrol soaked corner of memory

Throw yourself as soon as this corner is flaring. 

(You cannot throw it far.) 

See that it drops in front of the tank. 

All this weighted life should catch in the tracks 

or in a cog-wheel, 

or wind itself round an axle. 

Your body will smash, 

but the petrol should soak the past well enough to make a really healthy fire which will burn the rubber wheels on which the tank track runs, set fire to the carburetor or frizzle the crew. 

Do not play with these things. 

They are highly dangerous.

About the Artist:

HanaLena Fennel is a Jewish-Hawaiian American poet. She has writtten a book, Letters to the Leader, published by Moon Tide in response to the numerous executive orders issued during Trump’s term in office.