Burning Men

Steve Villano
2 min readFeb 27, 2024
(US Air Force Member setting himself on fire outside of the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, to protest Israeli’s incessant bombing of civilians — mostly children and women — in Gaza.)

What does it take

To set yourself on fire,

So that your soul is not

A liar to itself,

And your life, no instrument for hire?

What does it take

To enter the nation you fled,

Knowing there’s

A price upon your head

That your heart insists you pay?

How does it feel,

To no longer be numb,

Or blind, or deaf or dumb

To the incessant beating

Of death’s drum, on babies?

What is it like to swallow poison,

But not your pride, to know that you

Will leave your bride,

Fighting for freedom, and your lives,

From a gulag, deep inside?

What is it like to feel flames melt your skin,

The way it burns those without sin,

Without hope, or relief, or shelter or embrace

To escape the bombs dropped by men like you,

Just doing what they were trained to do?

And, what is it like to feel your last breath,

Knowing your courage cannot, finally, stop your death?

But, instead, ignite other lives, more fires of hope

To burn brighter than the incandescence of yours,

Immolating our fears that wars will end all laws.

What does it take,

To step outside your being?

To find the key to freeing

Our souls, and minds, and hearts,

To know, without fear, believing is seeing.