No 26 - 2005
Letter, on the brink of war
for Diane and Olivia
You’re already painting the porch? You ladies are up early.
And you say the frogs are croaking away in the pond?
How normal it all sounds.
Here too it’s spring, and after the worst winter in years,
the weather is heavenly,
which makes the crisis all the more ghoulish.
I can’t wait to get out of here.
In the face of monstrous events,
everything I have to do, shaving, shopping, for instance,
seems so trivial.
But looking back from the future at our time,
I already know how delicious, how foolishly ordinary,
such trivialities will seem.
In retrospect it will seem amazing
-- if we survive --
that we could go about our normal lives,
with this hanging over our heads.
But it only hits me now and then.
Mostly, I want to go to bed and stay there
as if that could make this go away --
you never get enough sleep in wartime.
It’s one of those points in history
that everything turns on -
I keep thinking I should put everything down,
right now, record it while it’s hot,
but don’t feel up to it.
It’s so much like the Thirties, it’s scary -
the Bush election, like Hitler getting in with a minority vote,
and a gang of psychopaths taking over the government, etc.,
then turning the country into a war machine,
with the military at the service of corporate interests.
And 9/11 our Reichstag fire,
and them using it to scare us to death,
they even talk of shock and awe -
another term for blitzkrieg’s sturm und drang,
and instead of Jews, the roundup of Muslims.
But you have to ask, Who’s next?
Catastrophic, maybe, for those they label Evil,
but our lives, too, will never be the same --
payback time is coming.
A Brazilian friend says
it’s like the takeover of the Colonels in her country,
with armed soldiers patrolling streets,
railroad stations, bus terminals, subways, etc.
It’s not just that our government is doing openly
what it has always done covertly -
regime change in the interests of the rich
has always been our specialty.
But now that they have the excuse for it -
the war against terrorism, as they once cowed the country
with the threat of subversives in our midst --
and it’s the end of democracy at home,
the constitution shelved.
Civil rights? Don’t make me laugh.
When we protest, it’s going to become a war against us.
They have an insane goal - to rule the world -
and the military might to get there.
Iraqi oil will pay for it all? Ha-ha.
Is it a hopeless dream that, someday, a court,
like the one at Nuremberg that tried the Nazis,
will bring these criminal psychopaths to justice?
They must not escape. This is our vow.
But it might be too late to restore the world they destroyed.
Right now, how I want to hear those frogs in your pond,
so sane, so normal -- still.
Will they be croaking
if we come next year?
And dare we talk about the future?
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- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
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- Modern Poetry in Translation
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- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
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- Poetry Salzburg Review
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- Second Aeon
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