The Golden Gate, A Novel in Verse by Vikram Seth. Set in San Francisco in the early 1980s in the early years of Reagan.
“Killing is dying. This equation
Carries no mystical import
It is the literal truth. Our nation
Has long believed war was a sport.
Unoccupied, unbombed, undying,
While ‘over there’ the shells were flying,
How could we know the Russian dread
Of war, the mountains of their dead?
We reveled in acceleration
At every level of the race;
And even now we’re face to face
With mutual extermination
We talk as blithely as before
Of ‘surgical strikes’ and ‘limited war.'”