One Hundred+ Poets Against the War
Todd Swift, Editor
Table of Contents
Never before has a book travelled the globe so quickly. Or so it seemed the week of January 27, 2003. 100 Poets Against The War was launched at www.nthposition.com to coincide with Hans Blix�s report to the UN. Within days, news had spread around the world, via print media, Internet, radio and TV. More importantly hundreds of web-sites hosted the PDF, tens of thousands of people emailed and downloaded the "instant anthology" and many more printed it up and made copies. Our DIY chapbook has become part of various peace demonstrations, readings and rallies world-wide, from Oxford to Seattle. And all this week, hundreds of new poems, from Gambia to China, kept arriving by email. This proves that electronic books still have a future - so long as their content reaches an interested global community.
Clearly, a nerve was touched. The interest in 100 Poets Against The War has been in proportion to how unpopular the planned attack on the nation of Iraq is. As the Copper Canyon initiative - and the week�s surge of interest in poetic protest - lead to the First Lady cancelling her White House poetry event because "poetry and politics" shouldn�t mix, the rest of us realised an important cultural point had been made. Walt and Langston and Emily can�t be silenced by any politician - poems rise above the moment, and echo across history with power to speak to all people working to stop injustice and oppression. Poetry does make things happen: in people�s lives, in the way they see the world and act in it.
One week later, on Monday, there was 100 Poets Against The War Redux. If our first version made history by being the fastest anthology ever, then maybe this was the quickest second edition. But it is more than that. Due to the many exceptional poems that arrived this week, we added more than 20 new ones and corrected some typos.
Thanks to Ms. Benoit, President of the Canadian eAuthors Association, the version you have has been designed for access in new ways. 100+ Poets Against The War features nearly all the poems from both previous versions and is a welcome addition to this project, which aims to generate peace through protest and poetry.
Once again, let me thank all the poets who have generously donated their work to our project - it is brave and good of them. While we are not able to feature all of the nearly thousand poems we have received since January 20, 2003, every poem has been appreciated and read, and contributes in its way. While the poets whose work is here retain copyright, they have agreed to let you freely share their words.
I also wish to thank Val Stevenson, publisher of www.nthposition.com in the UK, where all versions originated and can still be found; her vision and hard work have been indispensable. Val and I hope that you, poet, reader, activist for peace, will email and snail mail this book of poems to friends, family, colleagues, media and leading hawkish politicians everywhere. We want to keep the momentum for peaceful poetic protest going, until we are able to say we stopped this war before it started.
100 Poets Against The War
100 Poets Against The War Redux
100 + Poets Against The War
Paris, February 4, 2003
are there children somewhere
waiting for wounds
eager for the hiss of napalm
in their flesh �
the mutilating thump of shrapnel
do they long for amputation
incinerate themselves in ovens
are there some who try to sense
the focal points of bullets
or who sprawl on bomb grids
do they still line up in queues
for noble deaths
i must ask:
are soul and flesh uneasy fusions
longing for the cut �
the bloody leap to ether
are all our words a shibboleth for silence �
a static crackle
to ignite the blood
and detonate the self-corroding
does each man in his own way
plot a pogrom for the species
or are we all, always misled
from Blue Pyramids: New and Selected Poems (ECW Press, 2002)
In a place of sand and wind and want, worn
cotton looped across her forbidden face
a woman without pleasures tends to her sons.
She believes what she is told, owns no flags
knows life by the taste of cloth at her mouth.
Bread and leaflets drop from the sky, then
other things. We meant to bomb the airport
one mile north of this village with no name,
this village on no map,
this village of no more.
"Like fish in a barrel, man,
The barrel has no water in it;
The barrel holds no water ...
Your father would hardly speak to me.
One afternoon, he brought home cans
Of carrots, peas, Carnation, Spam.
He reinforced the concrete walls
Strontium in the milk, they�d said, but
No cause for alarm.
I might as well have suckled you
� My babe-in-arms �
On long-range missiles� noses
As on the teats of bottles, warmed
At four a.m. to quiet you.
a woman�s child is ill
she will have to buy a pill
she will have to pay the bill
she will have to earn a shilling
she will have to use her skill
she will have to use a drill
she sits behind a grill
the poor woman makes weapons chilling
a rich man owns the mill
he has an iron will
he sits behind the till
he likes to watch the coffers filling
selling arms gives him a thrill
so while on some distant hill
a poor woman�s blood doth spill
the rich man makes a killing
Now there is silence in the house, except
The pipes tap-tapping under floorboards and
The clocks� slow rhythmic messages. You are
Late coming home for an argument:
The night holds terrors every parent knows.
Your mother is away. She, I�m certain,
Would have played this same weak hand
Quite differently. The morning paper
Demonstrates with images how words
Can lose all meaning: mouths that cannot speak
Tell how desperately we need to understand.
Wars begin when language fails us. The missiles
Fall, undiverted by the right command.
Bombs go off and so does milk,
And both events make you grumpy,
But given the choice between the two,
I�d rather have milk that�s lumpy.
and so forth
But it is oil
and the dark tunnels disappear
and the ghosts of tanks
the sand covering dead bodies
The missiles, where are they stored?
And imports of uranium and of aluminum tubes
for making missiles
and stores of VX nerve gas
and United States spy planes?
And weapons inspectors
The United Nations
Oh, they did not include a meeting with
President Saddam Hussein
Ah yes, stopping weapons proliferation
and so forth
There�s no time now,
at least we won�t notice anyway,
seas can�t be tidal any more,
no time today.
No seasons now,
and lost the loving interplay
of light and dark. No dusk or dawn,
no night and day.
No future now,
all options, choices gone away.
Time signatures? Impossible,
no songs today.
Just sadness now
because Time heals, they used to say,
and without Time of course our pain
will always stay.
Stars? No. None now
turning, nothing dances today,
no winds, there�s nothing linear,
today�s the day
all ends, this now
is when, this stasis is the way.
Transmitters fail, the clocks are still.
Time stops today.
Looking for clean copies in a post apocalypse with skewed scan lines.
Whenever I stand up straight my head smears across the screen; still,
the soundtrack�s good. If I lean at a forty-five degree angle, walk
laterally across a grassy knoll, one hand keeping balance, the other
against the ground, I almost seem to be what I am.
George W. Groovy and his GWGs electric chair their way to the Oh So
White House. God, I remember your father and his father before him and
all the fathers before that. Brows knit in the media glare, a penchant
for current affairs leaving songs like legal briefs littering the
clear cut swath of history. The stupid shall inherit the system and
everything else shall follow, like unto dominoes or fractal equations.
Sail on oh mighty shit of state.
It�s the end of a thousand years of book-keeping and I�m doing my bit.
A gunshot across the bow of the ship of progress. At least the
Egyptians had aesthetics, Amerika has all the bad taste money can buy.
Power rabid and destructive just out of view, the other side of calm
pronouncements. They march in video formation in their desert
camouflage, their helmets, those Aryan cutaways.
There�s nothing worse than a good idea whose time has come and gone.
Religion, the car, capitalism, it�s all turned into a freak show for
the living dead. Actors all around me chasing the script, everybody
should just fuck their time away, forget the oil and the geopolitical
bullshit. A good, healthy obsession is all anyone really needs, take
that shampoo hair and jazzy beer ad body out of the television and
re-install it in reality.
Not the hair that you or I have touched
I will light a candle
and read Justice books, only
to find out that justice will be abused.
Light a candle and talk about humanity, only
to find out
that humanity, in the time of crisis
resorts to revenge. I will
light a candle
and talk to the children, ask them
how they tolerate one another,
how they abandon play once they disagree
and later invite their playmates
to the same game. I will
light a candle and
die for a day, only
to see if death would
teach us to choose peace
five hundred marched to Fairford
stealth home of wealthy Yanks.
Marchers came in peace for peace for Pete�s sake.
December grey skies threatened
but seeing five hundred march to Fairford
held back their inconvenient though life-giving rain.
Even the cold war gave its respects
to these peaceful, non-military marchers
out of step with some legs
in step with millions of caring minds worldwide
to Fairford�s barbed wire front door came placards, plays and protest
came music, singing and love.
Yellow Gloucester bobbies shielded from exposure
khaki-violent yanks whose mass destruction weapons lay
un UN inspected
lay, until another day
when five mill will march to Fairford
with letters and es to MPs
and quiet talk with neighbours
Sometimes when I put something full of flavor in my mouth, I close my eyes and feel like I�m flying--drifting into eternity, above and beyond all the craziness of the world below, and I dream that all there is in the world is love, harmony and bacon.
--Dan Philips, Owner of The Grateful Palate and "Future Baconaut"
A painter lays down his brush
The sky has been aged, is ancient enough now
we are watching
Peace makes other demands: unfailing
Retired from the military now, demobbed
in the muted colours of a tent at night
Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
the war is on the kitchen table
the war is on the kitchen table
waiting to be read,
I brew the coffee black as buildings,
I load the toast with butter,
chew my way through cluster bombs,
smear raspberry jaw on screaming headlines
which do not disappear
I flip the page to guaranteed results:
hockey scores, ice dance competitions,
there the gains and losses
line up in soldierly columns,
no wavering parades of souls,
filing down disfigured roads,
walking, falling, left behind,
long after the page is closed
After Sting and Santa Claus
The Virtual Total Information Awareness Office
is watching you
virtually wherever you are.
It knows what you are buying.
It knows where you are living.
It knows where you are working.
Every step you take
every move you make
the Total Information Awareness Office
is watching you.
It sees you on the street
on the train and in the buses.
It knows your diseases
and measures every drug you take.
It knows who your lover is
and keeps track of your divorces.
It wants to put a chip in your head
and give you a number like 666.
It counts debts and can collect.
It can steal your identity and make you dead
The admiral is keeping a data base
and he�s checking it twice
in the total information awareness office.
Every step you take
every move you make
the admiral will be watching you.
Eric Paul Shaffer
Call them mad, call them evil,
thousand year-old redwood trees
the sun rising every day
the ocean and its tides
human existence in a universe
that is mostly ice rock and fire
oil drowned gulls
sonar beached whales
bullets and bombs
that shatter peoples�
walls, doorways, beds,
heads, hearts, lives
On a white field stands out the red flower�bodiless names�baying voices of death�the sun catches the dying, exposing their grief and terror and destruction to the looking eyes of dawn...the heavens singed, tattered... bodies dashed on the random reefs of war�the dead and dying lead the living into death �to the boy who falls comes only the sound of other bullets making other death ...death the almighty rolls in remorseless from afar, visiting where it will with impunity, crushing the strongest defences, annihilating the strong the weak the proud the fearful the bold ... perfume of death...men planting rootcrops of death...flames climb high onto the sky... harvesting the dragonseeds of hatred sown by previous generations ... the skeletal arms of the last war�s dead youth reaching up through the earth to bitterly strangle the finest hopes of this world turned to nidorous hell, this life turned to victorious death...horizons topple... house of god implodes... stuffing muddy insides back into wound ... the head an eggshell smashed, the brain spattered on the wall, the congealing blood dripping down the dirt � cry bursts out, shearing through the long night with unspeakable terror ... but who shall return them their sons? ... burst bodies ... smiling corpses ... death by lead death by steel death by fire...the life through flutter dyings struggles going going struggling goes...the steam of sweat rising from the already dead into the wintry morning still ...the dead and dying leading the living into death... hours tautened, elongate with fear...daily words with avuncular death sat grinning on the sandbag wall... choking the very lungs and life from a body now cored by death...a world always to be, now ending...but who shall return them their children?... life despoiled crying out up to the emptiness ...have you forgotten yet? look down and swear by the slain of war that you�ll never forget...gone howling and screaming, bitter and tormented, into the void of death...a child weeps now for the death he shall die in ten twenty thirty years time as besuited men stride proud and pleased from peace conference hall...river of death overflows... innocence kills innocence fear kills fear youth kills youth strength kills strength father kills father ...no red roses no glows from the hearth no sunday worship no nurtured pie no grimy-faced children ... a sorrow as far as the mind can stretch...a world always to be, now ending.
Twelve years ago my love left me
for the war. He was no soldier
but he swore he must go
or else random accidents
would destroy our home.
Take care of our little one,
he said, pointing to this terrarium
and the strange sea creature that lived inside
on a tiny island, shielded
by these thin glass walls.
Light from one flickering, yellow bulb
was all the food the water dragon
needed to survive. Likewise, my hope
and comfort fed on the flickering
of some remote war.
I used to watch the dragon
pace the strand,
survey the water
that I changed religiously,
afraid that parasites were there.
Once I even touched its skin
and let its threadlike tongue
draw gleams of tea
from a spoon
my lover left with me.
I clutched my arms
in my sleeping gown
and watched the monster sleep
beneath the little mango tree�
fallen now, and petrified.
What can it mean?
I fear what it can mean.
Last night before I went to sleep
I thought I heard a whispering
and rose to find the amber bulb
had left a million glistening shards
across the dragon, lying dead.
We accept that things have changed
They waited for you on the landing
on winter nights, black figures
ready with guns.
on the way to the bathroom, the bedroom,
they hunched in the shadows.
at the peak of my terror and bravery
they disappeared, until next time.
(Torches or candles made it worse,
menacing shapes against the walls.)
They could appear at any time -
always be ready to run,
leave the plate or the bed.
I don�t know where we went
or what we did.
Pyjamas, coats, cold, running;
crowded shapes, hushed voices,
adults in adult talk.
A mattress under the stairs - why?
and her making tea at the corner
of the iron table, a slice of light
showing exhaustion in the set of her shoulders,
the radio sacrosanct, the only guardian we had.
T. Anders Carson
Fields of turmoil
sown with pain.
Free the foothold
as the sacred bush
by military observers.
The red g-tar is larger
Anyone who plays the red g-tar
is stealthier than atom bombs.
Anyone who sings
can have my phone number.
Anyone who looks to the blue sky
not expecting a sleek all terrain coffin
knows that clouds
are the river�s soldiers.
To kill them is poison.
Anyone who helped build
those buildings keeps them standing long after death.
In desert clubs, playing a red g-tar.
This is the valley of death.
A mass grave inhaled
at red lips with a hint of gloss.
Or you with us or against us?
my wooden pail is split from carrying:
From After The Anti War March
...The news had been one-sided as usual
We�re victimized by one conspiratorial voice
Where there�s war, there�s an anti-war
Mr. Social Control
I absolutely refuse to go
on this insane and murderous
suicide bombing mission to Oxford Circus
we first have the full agreement
of the United Nations Security Council.
contention between people
the "art of war"
strategy and tactics
been in the wars?
war crime that which violates
international laws of war as if laws are effective
war of attrition
war of nerves
war weary, just reading the words.
For Amos Oz and David Grossman
There are no enemies
(on the bombay suburban)
The old man�s fist
"The young men and women standing against the war
have made a green place in my heart," sang Robert Duncan
protesting the Vietnam War in a former time but in the same place.
The earth doesn�t need us; we need the earth.
Let us try to act as holy as we�d like to think we are.
War is the attempt to control the economic future by force.
There are better ways to be secure than by making paranoia public policy.
Intellect and moral integrity are under assault and must survive.
Where the powerful sleep in fits and starts
with their troubled dreams of death,
the death of their system with its interlocking privileges,
no amount of security devices can ever make safe.
They want a stage to pose upon
from the depths of their gated communities
where they can throw fear into the hearts of others
to eclipse the fear in their own.
We are safe in love with truth
willing to march, live and die by and for it.
Peace is the way you live your life.
Bruce A. Jacobs
We�ve got to
You have the right to remain silent�
Silent about the injustice that exists, about underground modes and methods of survival�
About love and compassion and peace and giving and sharing�
And all that this earthly experience gives, what life�s cycles bring and more.
You have the right to remain silent�
And be arrested for the homeless, for the sick, for the lame, and the poor, for those faceless, nameless, invisible human beings suffering, right outside your nation�s living room door.
You have the right to remain silent�
And go home to your family while political tyrants plot paths to war.
You have the right to remain silent�
And live your life�living and looking through glass�
In a pseudo democracy, forgetting the past, forgetting to pay homage to all those things that truly make men, women and children free.
You have the right to remain silent�
And not ask questions, when you already know in your heart the answers.
You have the right to remain silent�
Because action is needed�words have no meaning�time is fleeting.
The world and its peace�our community�they�re calling for more, not war.
Dubya Anabasis. Original name, George W[alker] Bush. (1946-?) 43rd President of the United States (2000-?) and the man who started World War III. It�s difficult to understand how Dubya became president. His Republican Party (GOP) was famous for rewriting history in the style of evil dictators Stalin and Hitler before them. What we know now, post World War III, is that he was installed into power after a disputed election in which he lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. A petty criminal, it appears he was a pawn of the corporations who expected to get rich on military excursions into Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in order to corner the market on the world�s oil reserves at a time when natural resources were dwindling. The son of the 41st President (George Herbert Walker Bush) Dubya is thought now to have been a puppet of his father and his father�s staff. He disappeared in the fallout following the vaporization of Washington, D.C. For years it was claimed that he died in a bunker in West Virginia, or was hiding in caves in Texas or Argentina. (See Dick Cheney, Chomsky, Gulf War, Heroin Smuggling in Southeast Asia, Iran-Contra, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Zinn).
Dubya appears briefly as a Taniwha in Keri Waratah�s rock opera Whiro, he is presented as a bland and puritanical man of relentless torpor, the "child is father to the man" who gradually mutates into a mythical demon, as contrasted to the heroic characters like Good Soldier Schweik, or Xing Zi famous for his magical feather cloak.
Dubya is to this day a curse word passed down by generations of Maori people. (See also: fuck, merde, scheisskopf, walker, wang ba dan, et al.)
Now that pretzel�s gone and done
I inhale this yellow bell, too late to warm the car engine
to the emergency room. I kicked the dirt from a woodchuck
hole, and thought, that soft tear of the arrow
through the cardboard deer in my yard: woosh
it went through the lungs, that wind hole just like love.
Watch with me as the dead leave their bodies lunging
like Astaire up no staircase at all. I�m searching for the arrow
when those yellow jackets swirl up from the scrub grass
to twang their stingers into my vocal chords, which need cutting,
of course. All over my eyelashes, in my ear lobes and hair,
these little people with their harpoons. See your cartoon Johnny
pantomime a man on fire, into my house and flailing my shirt about,
my love up from her own nest of a nap, woken by Jesus Christ,
I�m a tall building, and, they�re all over me. Shocked awake
the way soldiers spring to when bullets rip through their tents.
She�s swatting yellow jackets off my blue jeans and stomping
embers on the carpet. I have gasoline. I�ll pour it down their hole
tonight and light the match. Late night another tickle
along my throat I swat down on my knees now with my Buddha,
my boo-dawg beside me sniffing the carpet to find that yellow
spasm on its back. I swat swat swat at it with my tennis shoe.
My hound awes over my power, God knows he might be next.
Don�t be scared booger, I say and we lower our noses together
to sniff the little carcass. At least with the crusades all we had
were swords to butcher each other. Let�s see what we have
learned: abcdefg� here we go again.
J. R. Carpenter
I am afraid
Nuala N� Chonch�ir
If it had not been for the fighting in Dagestan
Let us examine the loneliness
Meghan Nuttall Sayres
You say about life
Walk beside us hear our time.
"Depleted uranium is the super weapon of the �90s: [it was]
used in the Gulf War and conflict in Kosovo."
One decade down this hazardous way
wrings a freak show out of Iraq,
where silver bullets of depleted uranium
linger in dust and debris, detritus of war,
infect the babies; split atoms / split genes,
and a toddler stares at life�s cruel turn
through a single eye � all that nature
can bestow of beauty; twisted hairpin
turns of chromosomes, unlike
anything scientists have
ever seen, while young mothers
bleed out fetal remains:
the teratology of war.
John B. Lee
"poem written after seeing a documentary on the rise and fall of Hitler"
between fear and the fairgrounds
to the cult of fire
and the idolatry of death
these skull-browed men in red and black
bowing to accept bouquets
from bare-legged little
blowing almost away in thin summer dresses
or patting the forehead fidelity of dogs
their own fuhrer in final scorched repose
his uniform coat
his pair of pajamas
a burned body in a bomb crater
in April in Berlin bearing the tight-boned grin
with sixty-million souls
for company, remembering
those sentimental interludes
that poisonously sweet tea-cake ambrosia
tasting of the smoke of burning flesh
and the ash-drift confection
like a Christmas evening snowfall
oh, the wrong gods are in the mountains
above the overcast
or riding a red river of crushed roses
when weeping and harp-willowed
is the world
it dashes our children on stones.
Nothing is even, even this line
Yesterday I dreamt the sky
E. Russell Smith
This is the land
This is the oil
This is the tractor
This is the farmer
This is the son
This the war that George fought.
but don�t we all dear Em doesn�t everyone
have cut off hands gripping knives in their
too big heads aren�t we all blood crazy thirsty
in our midnight selves to avenge the curdled
mother�s milk rotted on our parched cracked
tongues convinced the death of the little princes
& princesses in the baby tower & the enemy
their king will release us from her untimely
abandonment like the Pharoah like Herod
like Hitler like Bush is this a dagger divine
regal Lady MacBeth I see before me handle
toward my hand come let me clutch thee
we must be able he taught us to imagine at
least this much darkness in us & then & then
Em then to wrestle down the spirits who
would delude us into attacking the living
breathing world turning to face the hot fanged
wolves that haunt us who if we�re brave enough
would rather play & full leafed trees dancing
toward us & the frozen child huddled asleep
deep in her forest bed shivering in slow
thaw as we remember ourselves her father
her mother & the enemy our sister brother
perpetuates the endless cycle
of bullets >>>>>> of weapons >>>>>>
of mass destruction *
DE C A Y
We must speak out when we feel
our / government / is / wrong. We have that right.
In a time of terror,
PROTEST IS PATRIOTISMOur flag isn�t some bloody rag to be waved by politicians.
& let me tell you,
Such rhetoric that deafens us to slaughter blinds us
to our quickly approaching end. For we have already entered
A PERIOD OF MASS EXTINCTIONnot seen since the age of the dinosaurs.
Or in other words, I mean Albert Einstein�s:
�I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.�
they that know
the truth of it
with such brilliant color
in bright eyed remembrance
its breath upon the fire
the very birth of it
into the quiet chaos
like some bright bell
in still silence
to change the world
this used to be
In the battlefield of crosswalks
I join the dancing band, circling the courtyard
Tapping my finger on the edge of the trigger
And over the hill, just slightly over the hill
The conflict boils and blasts
Along the horizon,
Is a streetcar named
She uncovers her breasts exposing
A tatoo of a butterfly
Now it�s time to take cover
Hiding from the masochists, capitalists.
Trying to take the next cab
As it pulls over, I run toward it
My mother shouts out, "Don�t Go!"
The slow motion film tries to speed up
But it was all over too fast
As I sit here wishing to re-wind it all.
I shop with my white girl immunity and i�m safe till i get on that plane
I want to stuff myself stupid and go back to sleep
branded right down from my head to my feet
yeah it�s fat and obscene my american dream
but you�re only jealous cause you want the same
Who�s gonna die for my SUV
Who�s gonna die for my SUV
And i�m thinking i might get a facelift
because that might make the world seem more fresh
because it�s not been the same since the day the world changed
and the war cry keeps beating it�s tired old refrain
I mean how can i shop in this negative frame.
who knows what�ll be the fashion next week?
who�s gonna die for my SUV
who�s gonna die for my SUV
And it�s just not the same as it used to be
the mcmuffins just aren�t quite as sweet
and the tips have dried up and the times nearly up
on the joker who�s taking the heat
And i want another mcsunrise and i want another mcsweet
a mcfuck, a mcstock, a car built like a truck
a gas guzzling rip roaring empire�s last wank
Who�s gonna die for my SUV
Who�s gonna die for my SUV
Michael R. Brown
"Hell is paved with priests� skulls"*
Some things never change.
When there�s small-hours muttering in the street
At least there�s coffee again.
People wear their silence like a cawl.
Wild legs flying, my dog barks into the waves
My salt-matted dog spins, red gums
storm clouds full of war & sufferingthreaten from the mountain.winter snow buries old men near the borderin Afghanistan, while young children in Detroitprotest the killing fields in Iraq, Israel, & Oakland,with boycotts of Disneyland and McDonalds.january half over and the ground is wetwith blood in the snow.the war, just over the next mountain,and threatening summer; a long way off.somewhere, between the white rock and blue sky,gray bones lie drying in the sand.the day is like a soldier,creeping slowly to a freshly dug grave,and mourning flowers on a hillside,somewhere near the far horizon& red desert morning.San Francisco, California
although she moves in a personal winter --
from The Jane Poems (Doubleday & Co. N.Y., 1974)
There will be another war,
"[U.S. administration officials] acknowledged that the case must be
Against the war I�ll refuse
Ottawa, 24 January 2003
in this field,
Minnie Bruce Pratt
We had a different driver on the way home. I sat
on the seat behind her, folded, feet up like a baby,
curled like a silent tongue in the dark jaw of the bus
until she flung us through a sharp curve and I fell.
Then we talked, looking straight ahead, the road
like a blackboard, one chalk line down the middle.
She said, nah, she didn�t need a break, she was good
to the end. Eighteen hours back to home when
she was done, though. Fayetteville, North Carolina,
a long ways from here. The math of a mileage marker
glowed green. Was Niagara Falls near Buffalo? She�d
like to take her little girl some day, too little now, won�t
remember. The driver speaks her daughter�s name,
and the syllables ring like bells. I say I lived in her town
once, after another war. The boys we knew came home
men cocked like guns, sometimes they went off and
blew their own heads, sometimes a woman�s face.
Like last summer in Ft. Bragg, all those women dead.
She says, "One was my best friend." Husband shot her
front of the children, boy and girl, six and eight. She calls
them every day, no matter where she is. They get very
upset if she doesn�t call. Her voice breaks, her hands
correct the wheel, the bus pushes forward, erasing nothing.
There was a blue peace banner from her town today,
and we said stop the war, jobs instead, no more rich
men�s factories, refineries, futures built on our broke bodies.
She said she couldn�t go to the grave for a long time,
but she had some things to get right between them so
she stood there and spoke what was on her mind. Now
she takes the children to the grave, the little boy
he wants to go every week. She lightly touches and
turns the big steering wheel. Her hands spin
its huge circumference a few degrees here, then
there. She whirls it all the way around when she
needs to. Later I hear the crinkle of cellophane. She
is eating some peppermint candies to stay awake.
We live on a fat red
A pox of small explosions
Some of us
Those of us
What d�you call it / that thing
for Our President, January 23, 2003 Washington, DC 20009
(paloma = dove)
i cannot name you
Broken fall whispers
Marching in the graveyard
From side to side
Blowing the gremlin
Red on red
war on my TV.
she stuffed herself to claustrophobic proportions
belly ache a reminder she still had work to do
she baked during moments of frustration listening
for the difference between fireworks and gunshots
she had been startled the week before by a
strange man in the yard tonight
she baked without looking out the window
perhaps it was the New York Times story
the Israeli tank blowing up two little boys
on bicycles who didn�t know the curfew was still in effect
the whole one the one who maintained his limbs
was buried with his chocolate bar in his hand
perhaps it was Noah�s impending flood God with crumbs in his beard
or the appearance of an angel-afraid-of-dogs in the forest
perhaps a lot of poets had died in the last few weeks
and with them their hats
or perhaps it was the rose on the bus lying on the dashboard
in wet paper towels confiscated at the border a memento
a kiss an apology
what she really wanted was to stay up all night creating a path
of words burning clay singeing the wick of mortal time
what she remembered was this is not a dress rehearsal
what did it matter the embarrassment of being human
when we are all pedaling away from the same tanks
with our chocolate bars and
our misinterpreted dreams
Nearly Hallowe�en and the high spooks tell
we must exorcise the desert demon.
In the moments silence,
Hearts don�t beat,
They grow and shrink
Worlds expand and break the air
As other, bigger worlds contract
Tiny holes appear from nowhere
Having nowhere to react
In the space between the flash and bang,
The stroboscopic afternoon,
The sudden drop from can to not,
A cobweb softly snaps.
Between the answer and the question
One hand deafeningly claps
As the tree becomes the seed
Pausing just enough to take a life
The tension slips
The perfect pane becomes a pain machine
And as the drop releases grip
The mind lets go the dream
In the moments startled argument
The cell divides again
Two voices stall in emptiness
The first wave hits
Between the tock and tick
And understanding clicks.
In the moments silence
Death knocks at the door
And roars and shits.
In your head I whisper:
take my arms, we might dance
do you know how to tango? or maybe some kind
of boogie-woogie, is there music there? can we listen.
this is a story for which there is no witness, for I wasn�t born or even
thought of. I was only told about this war
by my elder brother and then he died. in this story, the century is still new,
my brother is tall and no one expects him yet
to sicken and cough through my childhood, no one expects
we will disappear.
when I am not yet born, this story: uniforms, you see. the cloth needed by an army
of new recruits. they were given freshly-made fatigues. let them go
cleanly. some blessing, some clean shirt. there�s a lot of cloth needed
in wartime. a war is good for business
when you�re in textiles.
after a while the shortages set in. this is the real beginning of most war stories.
they began sending us old uniforms. I mean, taken from the dead.
any denomination of man, when dead, his body�s not worth the next soldier�s cloth.
you know how they died in that war, don�t you? the shortest english word
is mud. what they turned into.
trucks piled with empty uniforms arrived at our factory.
my brother�s job, it was to cut off the buttons, medals, any
clasps or zippers, anything that wasn�t cloth then take what remained, fabric,
to soak. vats full in the factory, break down the fibres,
reweave it into new cloth for fresh lambs. my brother only wondering right at the end
whether these uniforms were coming through
repeatedly, unending, his hands going over the cloth, the buttons, the dead men.
he would wash his hands. he was only thirteen and he had buttons
from all over the world, he was proud of his metal collection. it included
colours from every country. you understand what I mean. the dead
came from everywhere.
To my father:
He had made it through so many winters,
so it seemed wrong, unfair (if such a word
Do you think anything really matters
there was once a king
He tippexed the twin towers off
Sometime during Eternity*
*quote from Lawrence Ferlinghetti
In a rush of air and wings, soaring up, they arrive,
small, still statues in the open spaces
of an old and rangy tree.
Three, four, and finally, twelve mourning doves
dark against the fogbound sky,
one week beyond that indelible darkness, that fear,
as the world begins again the slow circle of renewal
we call the new year.
I stand alone in the turning garden
lifting a song for the ash-covered city,
for its tumbled dead and the living
who search, exhausted, remembering life.
Words fly up, begging solace,
and the answers that come sound nothing
like the raw noise in angry men�s throats.
Between the fire and our fury, dreams
disconnect from our hearts. Apples turn to ash,
the honey of ironic prayer thickens to ash in the mouth.
Everything we believe lies open for inspection;
who shall live and who shall die, and who will be inscribed.
From the east, the smoke floats up the river,
across the country, over our eyes.
The doves offer no song, absolutely still in the bitter day.
The weight of war clouds the sky
and twelve birds sit watching.
Robert W. Proctor
In 1918, I, a man of the 20th century, ordered 10,000 men
I was not taught to hate or love,
my depression era parents only
trained survival of the meekest.
When parental guidance spoke,
it was work or be worked
from above as slaves.
Family was to be cared for
as extension of self,
blood of course thicker than water.
Love was bestowed by gods not mortals.
Liking was taken personally �
"You are always loved," they said.
"We just don�t always like you,"
they spoke true.
But I did not need to learn to hate you
it came naturally a by product of heritage
a natural extension of ancestral strife.
One day I dropped out of ancient conclave,
never having learned these lessons,
actively fighting thoughts intrusive.
It was then I decided if I was going to hate
it would be for good reason and not self-indulgence.
And it is for this reason, that when we met
I saw no colour of nationality or culture
I only saw poet.
you would be so very nice
Good Morning Middle Age
I woke with a backache.
On election day, we came to the
edge of our continent to watch
a boat depart.
It was a green day and if it were
long ago or a cruise line
we might�ve waved kerchiefs,
thrown multi-colored pastel confetti,
drunk champagne bubbling into sea-froth.
But as it was, we stood silent.
Some of us had forgotten to vote,
others no longer cared, calling it a
conspiracy, arguing, "makes no
In a still row we raised our palms to
shield our eyes from the glaring sun,
watch the battleships set out to sea.
Men in green, men in beige and grey camouflage,
men in neatly-cropped hair, loins still stinging
from all-nighters. Blue, brown, green, red-eyed
men with round fingertips, earth-hand, fire, air,
water hand men answered : "All hands on
board, Sir !" Cutting a dark swath across the
blue swells they looked back at us,
believed we were saluting.
Brothers, sons, uncles, fathers
drift out. We stand ashore, waiting
as if the net in our fingers were not
sufficient to catch even one.
This net spinning forth from our lips
like webbing overnight,
this rattle and din now ceased.
The day was green and the tide
bouyant. From afar years later
perhaps you and I shall return
to this shore of our continent
and believe we can hear them singing
as they return.
Since the death
of 500,000 Iraqis goes unmourned
so I will not mourn them
but continue drinking to excess.
Though it has been written
that under the eternal threat of war
children gain anxiety disorders
and are found banging their head against floor and other available cement �
I will not mourn them.
I will not mourn the dying and deformed
because an idealist cannot be happy.
And I want to be happy.
So I will laugh and marry
and continue drinking to excess.
i don�t like you, so
Every time we speak of it I understand
another loneliness. What lives in us?
Every atrocity, a landscape filled
with mountain paths, every prayer committed
to a deeper wilderness.
The morning sky twists yellow
above the nearest peak.
I think of the spirit dissolving.
You lift yourself onto a shaky elbow,
your voice so low I can hardly hear.
You speak of the origin of hymns,
move your head slowly from side to side.
You talk about the mind, its grooves carved deep.
The hollow the head makes.
Shocks to the psyche, buried in years,
no light touching the body
as detonations ripple through.
From time to time, my hands warm on your skin,
I dream what was intended. As the world threatens
to implode, I turn in a strange kind of hope,
though I am a child of the only myths
in which the gods die too. What can we do
against the determined dark?
Death is easy to pronounce.
He deserved to die.
They ought to be shot.
Hanging�s too good for him.
The words fall glib.
sentencing them to death.
you speak without guilt, or fear
of misplaced allegiances.
You just need something to say,
The right sentiment, rightly declared
whichever way your loyalties blow
in the gust of the smokefilled air.
A country burns.
The death-dealers deserved to die, you say.
Death is easy to pronounce.
It�s the smell of burning children that�s hard.
January 2003, Mumbai, India.
We are so defined by the stories we tell and those we as children hear.
At the height of concern about the possibilities of chemical, biological
How do we experience peace as a fullness of life, not an absence of action
and adventure? How do we live peace without constellating its opposite?
A dream speaks: Dad gently warns me not to pay more attention to the dead.
Their time is over. Sparse spring rains demand we plant the desert in grain.
Fields of gypsies
when will it end?
How has it been for you... since 9/11?
You, the Arab, you mean.
You say it with such sincerity
and love that I almost forget to be frightened.
Might as well ask how it�s been for me
forever... how it�s been watching hatchet
images of my uncles starring enemies on t.v.
How it�s been for almost twenty years
not one year, standing in airports, pronouncing
my name, verifying my birthplace, and wishing
it actually was different.
But don�t ask me how it�s been since 9/11.
Ask them: the boy soldiers in lions� cages
in Guantanamo bay,
the Afghani villagers, standing at the tub
while their homes are ransacked,
the American boys shivering in the encroaching
winter in a mountainside that does not
remind them of Macon, or West Chicago
Ask them where they lay their heads
at night, and will it be there tomorrow.
Ask all the thems in the Sudan, Somalia, Ivory
Coast, Nicaragua, Colombia, Vieques, Phillipines,
Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, East Timor, Tibet,
the countries in the Axis of Evil.
South Central L.A., West and East Oakland, Newark,
Chicago, Chiapas, Pine Ridge;Wounded Knee.
Ask the people of Iraq whose prayers now
must condemn our country because we have
bulls eyed them, hair lined them; taken aim.
war is gud 4 bizness in th 19th centur
ee addiksyun 2 fossil fuel mind set sens
but not sew gud 4 pees or life or 21st
centuree aims receipes n realiteez
or is it th wepons sales by evree
countree 2 evree countree n th
kontinualee shifting allianses
changing tongues killing mor
that have made th world sew
unsafe sew squirellee that th
i m f dusint seem 2 mind inkrees
uv defisit 4 war yet 4 peesful
programs that is seen as sew
kleerlee fiscal irresponsibilitee
munee 4 health 4 th environment
not as gud as munee 4 big bizness
deth masheens that will definitlee
keep konsumrs down ducking n
lying being lied 2 hurts us toxiciteez
now we can sell yu all thees wepons
uv kours but yu need 2 promise 2
follo our leeds in almost evree thing
n 2 not use thees wepons un less we
say theyr onlee 4 yr proteksyun n 4
paying us n 4 downgrading individual
human life preventing wind powr n
solar panels being usd as frendlee
enerjee sources wch dont kill us like
a lot uv organizd religyun can war
famine povrtee hate is nevr as inter
esting as love love is alwayze mor
beautiful mor giving mor uplifting
mor intricate generous refind nevr
gross goez thru walls doors makes
mor opnings that carree mor love
bettr thn who controls th oil field
Sonja A. Skarstedt
The spread of algae amplifies undercurrents of disease
did radios hiss like this
shores and shores away through foreign skies
satellites map a watery screen
the sea spits out poxes
a woman�s palms dipped in tuscan
Their men, our men, are pulverizing cities
into truckloads of human dust, bone splinters,
ash that floats back into red lungs.
And freeing them, for what? For laundry,
hiking up the burkah and venturing out,
the first time in years, to wade in a river,
to find, at the shallow end, their wavy
reflections in the mirroring waters.
One girl bunches up her skirt and stares
at her own pale legs extending down
into the riverbed into another, matching pair.
Her half-naked twin, attached at her soles,
looks up. They laugh, squeezing the invisible
muck between their toes. Her mother�s broad
backside is captured in the photograph on page one,
millions will see her now, bent over, scrubbing
in the old way, against a flat, wet rock. This
is how we invade without apology, this display �
the backs of her calves, her loose underwear.
Our own homes are draped in flag cloth:
the windows and the doors some of us peer
out from now, furtively, in this other purdah.
Dawna Rae Hicks
I heard them scream
taken dog to put down
in the British queue
their saddened bits
wearing heavy burka
squats in sodden verge
just outside Eynsham
hand she supplicates with
lavishly scrolled in henna
motorway sacrificed lane
with army convoys
stride into service-stations
all along Calder ravine
big gasmask and little
warmly ferried by
yellow lollipop gasmask
again big again bouncing
gasmask and again
treading about under the hill
beneath steep birches
sick and tired of beauty
magpie cracks "wait"
with its back to the stars
"you just" � sorrow
An opening between anvils blocking the sky:
was the dark age parting?
The clouds outside contain their own ideas,
and release them as they fly eastward over the bois
towards the steely blue city states and principalities,
their fortresses and parking garages.
The 10 am sun just kisses the facing rooftop
on its journey up its snowy blue trajectory, its infinite
orange-white core blinds me so I shift left to where the sun blast
is bisected by the window frame, crucifying my good vision
trying to look only towards the east, to the forest,
the ring road, to the land of hope, they say,
because we are gradually revealed by the
roving planet repeating,
because that direction endlessly lights itself along the way.
The late afternoon light surprises someone hoarding
his dogs and chicken coop in the shadow of the overpass.
Surprises the houseplants and herbs left outdoors
too late into winter�s subterranean tunnel.
Would a pot of coffee
shimmering on a hotplate bring 100 years of peace?
excerpt from little dead things
the small bones of birds
and we shall attend in the dust
It�s hard to keep your senses orderly
The entire township, heading north in cars, in trucks, on bikes, on foot,
some with next to nothing, some choosing to cart
(as it might be) armchair, armoire, samovar, black and white
TV, toaster, Filofax, Magimix, ladle, spindle, spinet,
bed and bedding, basin and basinette,
passed (each in clear sight) lynx and wolverine and bobcat,
heading south to the guns and the promise of fresh meat.
All followers want to be leaders
All followers are rats
All kings are rats
Who needs cheese
Essa Bokarr Sey
Sparks! o! sparks!
The rumbling sound shook our walls within the dusty
Earth quakes?! No! Typhoons?! No way!!!
B fifty twos...Hmmm...souls are being wiped by
styles and smiles.
Is the bomber feeling the pain?
Refugees are spreading like wild geese.
Oxygen is abundant but they are choked by the
whistling stones that are
propelled by flames!
Gunpowder cannot save us from napalm!
Save the refugee-operation or save the
Resolutions have been buried. Is might the answer?
Shadows behind gallows or silhouettes upon pillows?
Who�s who within these wars of our time?.
Those jailed cannot be bailed by truth and those
bombing cannot snore when
Our time is as sour as lime.
Please stop it! The ghosts that are peeping through
a futuristic window will
haunt our generation.
Some want to rest in the west and eat cheese in the
Oh lord! our time is sour.
Kindly grease our world with peace.
with apologies to William Empson
Here we go to war, boys -
Rally round the flag.
Tony cleans it up, boys -
He�s the oily rag.
Tony talks in sentences
And even paragraphs:
When Dubya tries a speech act
Half the planet laughs.
Wonder what�s at stake, boys?
Why we�re off to war?
Someone on the take, or
Was that the time before?
Just keep it in the Firm boys,
Like the OSS:
Take away the �O�, boys -
Could it be the oil, boys,
Waiting in the ground?
Could it be the oil, boys?
Treat us all like mushrooms,
Hidden from the light.
Here it comes again, boys,
Lorry load of shite.
Let �em show the way, boys,
Dubya and Tone,
And if they want to fight, boys,
Let �em fight alone.
Let �em ride a missile
Down to old Baghdad.
Never coming back, boys -
Wouldn�t that be sad?
1 February 2003
In a classical porch two angels
Are steadily beating their God.
You must train your deities properly.
No point sparing the rod.
St Veronica lends her hankie
To the fallen. Next day
she opens it up: Oh my god!
I have taken his face away.
A wheel on a pole. A raven.
The crowd has formed a ring.
In the centre: death.
And still they keep coming.
Always this bare hillside and the crowd
huddling and thinking aloud,
thoughts that collect in the valley beneath
with folded spectacles, shoes, gold teeth.
It is awfully black down there,
And their limbs are terribly bent:
How lifelike the darkness is
We seemed to be doomed to invent.
Hell is muscular and crowded
Like a gym where the demons work out
Their frustrations on apparatus
Unhindered by rust or by doubt.
God slides down the chute of his robe:
His body seems almost to float.
The late romantic chorus of love
Belts on in full throat.
We watch the universe collapsing
About the victim�s head.
The living are turned away from us.
Not so the dead.
Soldiers asleep, he stands
Stiff backed: his eyes burn.
Now it is our turn.
You put your fingers in the wound
Gingerly, since you doubt.
The problem is not so much poking it in
As getting the damn thing out.
I linger next to the school ice cream van
Threaten the angelic horrors
As their tongues lap the cones
Say I believe in child slavery
I bite the neck of the strange woman
I�m standing next to in the lift
growl into her flesh
"take me to Transylvania - now"
I wander into the art gallery
reeking of gasoline and carrying a flame thrower
exclaim there�s a need for more spontaneity
I steer this car into the queue at the bus stop
and as my wipers beat away blood
I sprinkle white powder into an envelope
send it to the mayor with the message
Snort anthrax sucker
I stand up in the plane
shout � my shoes are filled with gelignite
we are all going down
And if I had a powerful rifle
And if my cross hairs
Were fixed on your chest
do you think I�d hesitate before pulling the trigger?
When they drag me into the dock
wearing an orange suit
weighed down with chains
wild-eyed, spitting feathers
the judge accepts that I am a victim
of a violent society
offers me 999 years in high security -
Or he says perhaps
a spell in the army may suit your peculiar talents
It�s the army for me
I dream of war. I dream of poets being poets
for Veronica Brady
Heliolithic, the taper honing the flame
ready for the passing, a plastic dish
of solid naphtha awaits its passive melting,
set rigidly as counterbalance, a wrought
iron candelabrum bracing ceramic insulators
left over from the town�s rewiring � now
ensuring the thought is delivered safely.
The trinity unsettles and reseats itself,
the late morning sun cuts through the glass
and foot-notes the altar. Ezra moves through
the large print of text and looks far into
Babylon. A child unknowingly prays for peace,
enjoys the church as a house with thick doors
to keep the fear out, though he�s not sure
about the glass. His father considers the candle,
the flame, how it fills the room, climbs
beyond the roof, outreaches itself.
From beneath the pews a liquid almost gold
seeks to flow freely over the floor � boards
parted by tremors preventing this. The father
knows it to be the candle, the flame wallowing
in its downfall, drowning at the source.
Legend would have it a bird passes through
a panel of stained glass to resurrect
the flame by lifting the wick and with rapid
movement of its wings cooling the naphtha.
Legend has it the flame hardens in its beak
and follows the release, that the gold
beneath the pews retreats, that the father
prays aloud for peace.
John Hartley Williams
Dear Hayden, I have owed you a letter for
Who are the Good Guys now? Who are the bad?
January 28, 2003, a.m.
The sky is a country we cross
Shield your eyes from this oblong patch of light
where the towers once stood, where now there floods
on our TV screens this sky of lost miles, miles yet to be
� now never to be � redeemed, this sky that showers
a rain of ash and scorched maple leaves,
of powdered glass that settles on bridges and cars, a rain through which
phantoms trundle their barrows, carrying heads, arms, bricks
that rained from the burning towers, and through this poisoned rain we see
as if for the first time, a sky that showers missiles without warning,
striking without prejudice the present sacrifice.
Heap up your cinders, pray for your dead, our dead:
Baghdad, too, was a city of high towers once, New York.
Dear lady, fear no poetry
Those you revere so highly
They wrote the human condition
How can you turn your back
Now is the time to look
And consider the reflection
not to ignore the eyes we have all seen,
black moons reflecting emptiness,
Do not promote war, Dear Lady,
let the children live
Do not fear it, Dear Lady
Let the people speak
Do not turn your back
Give open your parlour
Let the poets read
Sandra M. Gilbert
whistles and simmers in the low, south-sliding
If You Are Not Outraged
January 18, 2003
The belligerent voices are yelling in the streets
Radn�ti was a well-known Hungarian poet, whose "body was exhumed from a mass grave in 1946. His widow, going through his pockets, discovered a notebook full of [his] poems."
My mind throws its crumbs into the night�s stopped river.
The Birds are whispering
Tweets into my ears
I must be a Saint
St. All of a Sudden
What are they tweeting?
That is between
Me and the Birds
Now I am in The Birds
And they are in me
They are dive-bombing me
They seem no longer
To regard me as saint
And I seem to be running
As St. Alfred Lord Hitchcock
Screams out "Cut! Cut!"
However the Birds are not cutting
They are not whispering Tweets anymore either
They are slicing and diving
And I am running across the desert
Is it because I would not tell my own people
The secrets of the Birds?
Who are my people, anyway, I ponder
Now that I am a movie star
As I stumble on in the desert
Upon the answers I receive
Divine illumination and I see
Tiny insects swarm round the heads
Of the Birds that swarm round me
Tiny insects dive-bomb Birds
Birds dive-bomb me
I can no longer translate
Tweet tweet into Bzz bzz
Why do you hate me so
I wrote this in the movies
Even in the dark these thoughts
Do not stop dive-bombing
It is dark here
It is hard to write in the dark
It is hard to think in the dark
The bombing outside takes on a steady rhythm
As I pull down my mask, get runway clearance
And take off with my babies under my wings
Claws extended, bill open and screaming
ROTC struck the wrong chord with me.
I couldn�t take it seriously.
I raised the question with my friends, no, they
didn�t like it but it was required
to graduate high school in Salt Lake City.
I hadn�t thought much about pacifism
by the age of fourteen, but had warred
against war all my life; I tormented
the Rabbi with the question why?
Why why why? A dispute over land.
Was this a reason for a man to die?
ROTC struck the wrong chord with me.
I kept wondering how to be excused.
Asthma would keep me out of the army
but not exempt me from ROTC.
We were required to wear the heavy woolen
uniforms all day every Monday,
but since drill preceded first period
I wore a tee shirt and jeans underneath
and changed in the bathroom--
a simple, elegant solution until a tall
senior crashed through the BOYS bathroom door
while I, now in my tee shirt and jeans,
was stuffing the woolen uniform into my briefcase.
He asked "what�s your name private."
"Tom Jones," I fired back.
"That�s insubordination," he said,
and grabbed my left arm hard with his right
and marched me down to Colonel Will.
I shook myself free of his grip and glowered.
"Do you know what insubordination means, private?"
They stared, jaws clenched, faces red.
Private--what a joke. "Not telling the truth?"
"To an officer, and that makes it worse.
I regret to say you�re out for the year.
Unless you�re willing to get here an hour
before school and march around the track
carrying your rifle and infantry pack."
"For how long?" "How long do you think, Private
RUDMAN, until school lets out, is that clear."
When he said "clear" I glanced down at his spit-
shined shoes, saluted, and asked if he cared where I dropped off
my uniform, swivelled and walked away while he,
apoplectic, boomed abuses, threatened repercussions�
ROTC struck the wrong chord with me.
In another life the Colonel�d been a pit bull.
Yet he appeared almost likeable when I glimpsed him
waiting in line at the 7-11 or chopping at a golf ball.
To be fair, I take it back, to be accurate,
I had more freedom to behave this way
than the Mormon kids for whom this was life.
I knew that my real father would take my side
when I said that there was no way I would stay
and finish high school in Salt Lake City.
ROTC struck the wrong chord with me.
To The Lighthouse lay on a pillow
Big enough for both of us.
The curtained room was warm, quiet �
We made love here. No war then.
The radio was a long way off,
A voice in another part of the house.
A gasometer gloomed on the garden,
Blood-rust coloured; we were near
The sea, and we had a few friends,
Innocent as dust, as leaves falling �
We know better now. Too grown for
Our own good, war is everywhere.
These bad days I think (forgive me)
That it could be no possible sin now
To feel your breath in my breath
In such a warm, quiet room.
Quote of the Day: New York Times
Our wars have won for us every hour we live in freedom
Fadel K. Jabr
Translated from the Arabic original by the poet
(based on an interview with 5 year old Rania in Baghdad)
Ma'mad, hurry, water the rose.
Perhaps because of the twiggy cigars