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A poem by Mary Oliver (New and Selected Poems: Vol. 1)
By Daniel Garrett
I wonder if in the end
there will be something of us
left in them:
that the great circling metal wings
might find themselves wanting
to circle with another span
of metal wings
so attracted to the glint
and gorgon eyes
that in the blue-arched rhapsody
of their fling
they might at last begin to sing
songs of desperate desire
and of earth
I do know that the
poor fucks we scorched
were scorched by us
we sent from our
that the air sucked out of daughters’ lungs
by high explosive hits
was sucked out by us
that the dismembered children
what is left of them that can be
and those later
from all the depleted
In Air America: Under the Imperial Eye, Chris Floyd reports on the recent revelation that Iraq's supposedly "sovereign airspace" is constantly under surveillance by a network of drones operated by the State Department. Apparently the only reason this news came to light is because of a publicly available government appeal for private bids on the project. Neither we nor Iraqis were meant to know:
"Iraqis were outraged this week to find they are being spied upon by a fleet of American drones hovering constantly in their supposedly sovereign skies, long after the supposed withdrawal of American forces."
By John Judge
Now, I know you think you tough,
But you better keep you distance
If you dealin` with a brother
Knows Non-Violent Resistance
You be braggin` bout you juice,
Dissin` everybody, laughing Ha Ha,
But you won’t be smiling` long
When you run into Satygraha
Dr. King he had more power
In his one little finger
Than whatever you’ll let loose
By pullin` on that trigger
Now, I really don’t think
That you’re getting` the whole pitcha
But you’ll know it soon enough, if
I have to get non-violent witcha
Violence gets back violence,
Always has, every minute, every hour
But that cycle’s gonna end
When it come up against Truth Power
Well, my infant son
such bubbling sounds are softly fit
to the comfort of the cradle nest
but I see you are ill-prepared
for adult reality in our society
during this modestly-named Scienific Age.
I’ll tell you a story of once-upon-a-time,
a future time when you will face
both life and your contemporaries
with precise social grace.
First, learn the voice of command;
Ready on the right.
Ready on the left.
Ready on the firing line.
Also, the standards of a serviceman:
Military Code of Justice;
By Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
I live in an asylum
where conscience is forbidden
our fat keepers
so they treat us well
at feeding time
our troughs are full
we lack nothing essential
and if we never complain
and make our own beds
and march in formation
to perform assigned chores
our keepers allow us
to murder our children.
By Ed Stone (1918-1977)
A new generation of war poets is providing powerful insight into ongoing conflicts by putting their vivid impressions into words. Sean Rayment and Michael Howie report.
17 April 2011 - For centuries, soldiers have used poetry to describe the horrors of war. The celebrated First World War poets – Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke – memorably used cathartic verse to illustrate the futility of a conflict that saw a generation of young men perish.
Yet war poetry offers much to the reader, too.
By Dave Lindorff
By Larry Kerschner
1890 Wounded Knee, South Dakota
Lakota massacred by U.S. Army
A blue-coated motorcycle gang
armed with rifles and pistols
rolled into this peaceful
residential neighborhood at dawn today.
Chankpe Opi Wakpala community members
together and shot down.
Unarmed men, women and children were
pulled from their homes.
Commenting on reports that
those trying to flee were run down and
shot in the back,
one biker is quoted as saying
It was great sport
like shooting fish in a barrel.
Reports of the number killed
range from 150 to 370.
1890 Buenos Aires, Argentina- U.S. troops
intervene to protect U.S. business interests
1891 U.S. troops battle with nationalists in Chile
my hidden face
does not go before me
I cannot see
the dogs of war
blood and tears
children become gravediggers
Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
Slay your Christian neighbors, or by them be slain,
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill,
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
If you love the Holy Ghost, go murder, pray and die.
Onward, Christian soldiers! Rip and tear and smite!
Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite.
Splinter skulls with shrapnel, fertilize the sod;
Folks who do not speak your tongue deserve the curse of God.
Smash the doors of every home, pretty maidens seize;
Use your might and sacred right to treat them as you please.
Onward, Christian soldiers! Eat and drink your fill;
Rob with bloody fingers, Christ okays the bill,
Steal the farmers' savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Saviour's bums must eat,
Burn the peasants' cottages, orphans leave bereft;
In Jehovah's holy name, wreak ruin right and left.
By Rick Burnley
The American Dream is Mother Earth's nightmare
Because the dream is always for more
And to make it come true, what we're willing to do
Leaves her body bloodied and sore
The American Dream can't be sustained
Because we want much more than we need
And we're sacrificing many forms of life
And the reason is just for greed
More is the God that we pray to
And our actions speak quite loud
Like a belly with jaws that keeps stuffing its maw
We're creating a toxic cloud
Mother Nature lies at rest
Feeding all the forms of life
But now she is under the onslaught
Of the two-legged virus's knife
Chop it down, burn it down, then poison the rest
This is what we're good at, what we do best
Now frogs and bees are disappearing
Quickly and world-wide
We've got to quit poisoning our air and our water
Before all life's species have died
Einstein said when the bees are gone
Mankind has just three more years
And if we don't stop trashing our planet
By Rick Burnley
You don't have to wait until you die
if you'd like to check out Hell;
Just head on over to the Gaza Gulag
and hang around for a spell-
It was much worse last December
War planes rained death from the sky
Shredding women and babies into bloody pieces
The whole world wanted to know why
Thousand pound bombs fell on the Gaza strip
All throughout the night
Terrified mothers clutched their trembling children
Who were huddled together in fright
The apartment buildings shuddered
With the impact of the shocks
As the Empire's guided missiles
Leveled many whole city blocks
White phosphorous floated down from the sky
Causing everything to glow
The flakes burned right through whoever they landed on
A murderous ,deadly snow
Once phosphorous lands on a person's skin,
There's no way to put out the fire
Toddlers incinerated by the Empire's missiles
Their nurseries their funeral pyre
Israel used a brand new weapon
"Alternative Methods," a new play, explores the involvement of psychologists in torture. An Iraqi doctor, suspected of treating an Al-Qaeda leader, is detained and interrogated. US forces want to know where the injured leader's safe house is. Susan, a psychologist working on an interrogation team, gains the doctor's trust and bonds with the man she is supposed to help break. Will she continue to assist in the doctor's torture or risk her life to make it stop?
Please check out the website for more information:
The play was one of 200 (out of 800) accepted into the New York International Fringe Festival, where it will go in August. The actors are top-notch New York equity actors. The cast includes Hend Ayoub, a Palestinian actress known for her roles in the award-winning films Death of a President and Private.
Sunday July 11 @ 4:15 PM
Friday July 16 @ 8:15 PM
Thursday July 22 @ 6:30 PM
Absolutely nothing, according to latest work by San Anselmo filmmaker by Ronnie Cohen, Pacific Sun
Born in 1914, the first year of World War I, poet William Stafford grew up hearing war horror stories along with the biblical commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." When the U.S. government drafted him into World War II, he felt he could not go and instead became a conscientious objector, one of 12,000 who lived in civilian public-service camps throughout the country.
"I belong to a small, fanatical sect," Stafford wrote in his journal. "We believe that current ways of carrying out world affairs are malignant."
By David Swanson
The latest hardcopy newsletter from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities opens with an article about poetry about war, which opens with this line: "Many of my favorite poets are soldiers." The author begins with a poet who "has served in the current war in Iraq." Served what we are not told. Then she jumps to Virgil and declares:
"Neither Virgil nor Turner gives us answers to war: they know the questions are more important, and likely answerable only by each of us alone."
So we should each enlist right away in order to answer "the questions"? Or we should all read lots of ambiguous war poetry? Who knows, because this follows:
"What is my responsibility as the gears of human perfidy and greatness grind together?"
Another question that is more important than the answer, no doubt. And yet, what could be more important or - by now - more obvious than the answer?
Dying-In to End the Wars | June 29, 2010
By Dan Pearson
On February 22, 2010, Chris Gaunt began conducting a weekly sit-in at the local offices of her US Senators, Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, in Des Moines, Iowa, urging them to refuse any further funding for war. A number of other local peace activists joined Chris in conjunction with The Peaceable Assembly Campaign. As part of the sit-ins which took place during office hours, Chris made a point of connecting with the office staff, person-to-person, while she endeavored to educate them on the dire urgency of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite these efforts, it was clear that the Senators themselves were not willing to seriously consider voting against war funding or even listen to the rationale that Chris and others were offering. Chris recognized that, to be taken seriously, more had to be done.
On March 11, 2010, Chris changed the weekly peaceful sit-in to a peaceful die-in. She lay down on the floor as if she were dead, with a note explaining that she would remain there until she could get a straight answer from the senator about cutting off funds for the wars. The office staff called on the police to physically remove and arrest her. She and others have returned to conduct die-ins nearly every week, a total of eleven times, since. Speaking of the results, Chris describes the opportunities she has had to interact with a variety of people, including Senate staffers at all levels, both in Iowa & DC, Federal Building Security Officers, Police Officers, Prosecutors, and now Judges.
Below is a poem Chris wrote about her experience as well as an excerpt from a letter to Senators Grassley and Harkin and their staffs.
Dan Pearson is a Co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
Dying to End the Wars
By Chris Gaunt
Dying-In, I should say.
Dying in the Federal Building in Des Moines, Iowa, 7th floor.
Dying in the offices of Senators Grassley & Harkin.
Dying to stay until my Senator starts voting NO on continuing to fund these wars.
Staying dead past 5 pm closing time? … YES.
Return to die again the next Wednesday.
Get to know the office staff before you die.
Let them get to know who you are and what you want.
Come in a spirit of resistance.
Arm yourself only with LOVE.
Care to join me?
Dare to raise your voice by using your body.
Speak loudly in the dead silence.
Come, die-in with me to end these damn wars.
Pick your day.
Choose your own way to simply say:
NO MORE $$$ FOR WAR
From a June 17, 2010 letter to Senators Grassley and Harkin and to staffers Nick Podsiadly, Kurt Kovarik, Tom Buttry, Rosemary Guiterrez, Aaron McKay, Derek Miller and Rob Barron:
The message I have been bringing to your Iowa offices since last February is:
NO MORE $$$ FOR WAR.
By Dave Lindorff
Kevin Neish of Victoria, British Columbia, didn’t know he was a celebrity until he was about to board a flight from Istanbul to Ottawa. “This Arab woman wearing a beautiful outfit suddenly ran up to me crying, ‘It’s you! From Arab TV! You’re famous!’” he recalls with a laugh. “I didn’t know what she was talking about, but she told me, ‘I saw you flipping through the Israeli commando’s book! It’s being aired over and over!’”
A soft-spoken teacher and former civilian engineer with the Canadian Department of Defense, Neish realized then that a video taken by an Arab TV cameraman in the midst of the Israeli assault on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza of him flipping through a booklet had been transmitted before the Israelis blocked all electronic signals from the flotilla. The booklet had pictures and profiles of all the passengers, and he'd found it in the backpack of an Israeli Defense Force commando.
By David Swanson
I wrote a review of Karen Malpede's new play "Prophecy" when I had only read but not yet seen it. Karen read the review and invited me to lead the first in a series of talk-back discussions following performances in New York, and I did so on Wednesday. For that incredible privilege I'm glad I wrote that early review, but I'm sorry it was so insufficient as an attempt to convey the intensity of the phenomenon that is "Prophecy."
By Sherwood Ross
I write to you in my last hour
In the last hour of the night
The hour of fear before the light
The hour of persecution and execution
Of the headsman’s bloody institution
Of prisoners dragged from their cells
Hearts pounding, legs trembling
Piss-soaked with fright.
I write to you from the land of discredited dreams
Of delicate white petals spilled upon the floor
Like semen wasted in the fingers of a whore
Of American dreams twisted into nightmares
Of a president’s lying schemes
For which Christ has no parable, no metaphor.
I write to you when poets are beaten in the streets
When students are shot dead for protesting war
When men earn their bread making killing machines
And never question what their work is for.
I will show you the land of the dying cities
Where the many see little hope to get ahead