Thursday, July 31, 2008



(Words by Joan Baez)

Infinity gives me chills
So could the waters of Iceland
But there's a difference in finding diamonds in rust
And rhinestones in a dishpan
Miracles bowl me over
And often will they do so
Now I think I was asleep till I heard
The voice of the great Caruso

Bring infinity home
Let me embrace it one more time
Make it the lilies of the field
Or Caruso in his prime

A friend of mine gave me a tape
She'd copied from a record disc
It was made at the turn of the century
And found in a jacket labeled "misc."
And midst cellos, harps, and flugelhorns
With the precision of a hummingbird's heart
Was the lord of the monarch butterflies
One-time ruler of the world of art

Bring infinity home
Let me embrace it one more time
Make it the lilies of the field
or Caruso in his prime

Yes, the king of them all was Enrico
Whose singular chest could rival
A hundred fervent Baptists
Giving forth in a tent revival
True he was a vocal miracle
But that's only secondary
It's the sould of the monarch butterfly
That I find a little bit scary

Bring infinity home
Let me embrace it one more time
Make it the lilies of the field
Or Caruso in his prime

Perhaps he's just a vehicle
To bear us to the hills of Truth
That's Truth spelled with a great big T
And peddled in the mystic's booth
There are oh so many miracles
That the western sky exposes
Why go looking for lilacs
When you're lying in a bed of roses?

Bring infinity home
Let me embrace it one more time
Make it the lilies of the field
Or Caruso in his prime

Joan Baez

Joe Hill

Joe Hill

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
alive as you and me.
Says I But Joe, you're ten years dead
I never died said he,
I never died said he.

The Copper Bosses killed you Joe,
they shot you Joe says I.
Takes more than guns to kill a man
Says Joe I didn't die
Says Joe I didn't die

And standing there as big as life
and smiling with his eyes.
Says Joe What they can never kill
went on to organize,
went on to organize

From San Diego up to Maine,
in every mine and mill,
where working-men defend there rights,
it's there you find Joe Hill,
it's there you find Joe Hill!

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
alive as you and me.
Says I But Joe, you're ten years dead
I never died said he,
I never died said he.

Performed by Joan Baez


Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportees)


(Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)

words by Woody Guthrie, music by Martin Hoffman

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are packed in the creosote dumps
They're flying you back to the Mexico border
To pay all your money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportees

My father's own father, he waded that river
They took all the money he made in his life
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees
They rode the big trucks till they lay down and die

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportees

The skyplane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon
A fireball of lightning, and it shook all the hills
Who are these comrades that died like the dry leaves
The radio tells me they're just deportees

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportees

We died in your hills and we died in your deserts
We died in your valleys we died on your plains
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes
Both sides of the river we died just the same

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportees

Some of us are illegal, and others not wanted
Our work contract's out and we have to move on
But it's six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportees

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit
To fall like dry leaves and rot on the top soil
and be called by no name except "deportee"

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportees

Performed by Joan Baez

Fountain of Sorrow

Fountain Of Sorrow

Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer
I was taken by a photograph of you
There were one or two i know that you would have liked a little more
But they didn't show your spirit quite as true

You were turning 'round to see who was behind you
And i took your childish laughter by surprise
And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes

Now the things that i remember seem so distant and so small
Though it hasn't really been that long a time
What i was seeing wasn't really happening at all
Although for a while, our path did seem to climb

But when you see through love's illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to hide sometimes, but now you're all right
And it's good to see your smiling face tonight

Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
But that magic feeling never seems to last
And while the future's there for anyone to change, still you know it's seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past
I'm just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you

In my lessons at love's pain and heartache school
Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
There's this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to hide sometimes but now you're all right
And it's good to see your smiling face tonight

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to struggle, you've had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you've got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright

Joan Baez

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Beginning of the No

the beginning of the "NO"

Knights without armor
scrounge rubble. Weld trash
for chamfrons, crinets, tasses, cuirasses;
are told it’s tough. That’s just
war, baby.
Grail Knights without a quest

on another false crusade
as all crusades were false;
in that old land, that cradle land.
Still, not enough

have learned what comes
when Valkyries choose
fake heroes who so much like Joshua

salt the earth, this time
with depleted uranium.
Some awaken to the bad deal

the recruiter sold like a bad Ford
that clunks, burns oil and shudders
down the Baghdad road.
How to go to college
or Valhalla in that

awful special tribute of the
tri-fold flag and pomp.
Formalized and useless

tragedies of broken families
mirror Ali. Ali who in the press
forever holds out burnt-off stumps

to me; measure of our success, reflected
in that other mirror of crushed walls,
poisoned wells and burnt over
wadis, in those deepest dark eyes.

Gene Grabiner

Joy To Be Home

There is nothing more sad than our joy to be home

"And there's no light to see the voices by;
There is no time to ask - he knows not what."

Wilfred Owen

She held her hand our for me,
a dream I did not want to end,
her path and mine refused to cross
before the great call to arms,

I, deep within myself,
knew that it
was highly unfair for her
to marry a man
burnt as badly
I was,
for no matter how
many decoration and ribbons
placed upon my chest,
the flesh left over
from a blast
in the direction
of my hurling body,

I saved three white boys
from dying,
yet, when I came
to Magnolia Sweets,
I could not watch the movie shows
with the white man,
I was directed by guards
to the balcony,

when I took a job mopping floors
at that Richmond hospital,
they complained
that my looks
scared off the patients
and their families,

so I was switched to the midnight shift,
I saw her,
my first love,
holding the hands
of one of those men
I'd saved,

as a matter of fact,

neither recognized me
underneath a new face
the VA had given me,
passing right in front of me,
there was nothing more
I could offer either
of them,

changing my mop water,
I punched out for the night,
walking into the cold Richmond air,
heading home,
riding the bus,
at the back,
I stood
letting the white ladies
have my seat,

there are no thank you's
for those of us
cursed with
this hideous dress,
our only salvation
is to realize,
that even a point blank wound
does not change the color
of a man's
enough to be treated
like a warrior
in need
of a woman
who loves him
in spite
of himself.

Copyright, William "Wild Bill" Taylor, June, 2003

I Used To Dream

I Used to Dream

They asked an Iraqi
civilian what he
thought of all this.
He looked the Marine
in the eye for a moment,
and said, "I thank God
I am free."

I had to wonder if he
would be just as happy
to live if his arms were blown
off like the little twelve year
old boy on the block.
Behind the eyes of this beautiful
little Iraqi boy was once innocence
and naivety.

Now, he has been forced to grow up
and endure a pain almost too unbearable
to endure for any man, let alone a child.
One day he lived with his parents,
the next day they were gone, and he was
forced to live on without even his arms.
He was just becoming a young man.

Now, he will never know what it is like
to hold his wife with his two arms.
He was told that he was a beautiful little
boy, and the translator translated back in
English for him, "I might look alright on the
outside, but I am not alright within.
I used to have dreams when I used to
think of life.

Now, they've been taken all away, and
I don't dream of my dreams anymore.
I have been liberated from my dreams."
We are making sure that others will never
be able to hold weapons of mass destruction.
Let this little boy serve as a reminder.
I thank God his mother on earth can no longer
see what happened in three weeks that took her
nine months to create.

Lori Ann Day


Detainee #393463c

I am a tiger.
In a leap of fire
I break your limbs
One by one.
Far from anger,
Disarmed by strength,
I wait for time
To undo you.


Once more I write you a letter
Regarding the sparrows you sent last year.
The birds wake me each morning,
Squawking and snapping their beaks.
I have dreams of out wheeling the rain,
But when sleep is denied me, I see the mistake.
Tightly held stillness keeps me alive.
Please consider taking back your gift.

Andrew Grossman, 2006

Detainee #225841x

Sometimes a man stands during interrogation
And walks toward the door, and keeps on walking
Into a courtyard that stands somewhere in the East.
And his family one day hears that he has died
And say blessings on his memory.
And another man, who remains inside the room,
Stays inside the torture and the terror.
His family has to go far into the world to find him
And when they do, he breaks in their arms.
His smile of stone keeps on walking.

Andrew Grossman, 2006

Detainee #096422p

What my heart will be is a tower,
And I will be right out on its rim:
Nothing else will be there, only pain
And what can’t be said, only the world.
Only one thing left in the enormous space
That will go dark and then light again,
Only one final face full of longing,
Exiled into what is always full of thirst,
Only one farthest-out face made of stone,
At peace with its own inner weight,
Which the distances, who go on ruining it,
Force on to deeper holiness.

Andrew Grossman, 2006

15 Minutes On The News

15 Minutes on the News

15 minutes on the news
devoted to a 'crisis'
of great magnitude.

We hear, watch
But do we listen, see
and will we feel
their new found freedom

as the bombs drop around them?
as the fear surrounds them?
as the F16s hound them?
all the bloodshed about them?
all the killing, murder, death besieging them?

we turn away,
resume with our lives
After all
we are dead inside.

Mute/silent witnesses,
To a crime
Where innocence dies.
Every day
The fresh blood of children screams out
replacing their voices
Every day
A piece of our hearts rot away
every day

Are we deaf
to a child or a mother's cry?
Ask yourself why?

The collateral damage of Qana
Precision targeting
Of defenceless women and children
as we, the whole of mankind
watch on
muted voices,
while the stench of the burnt flesh
of children covers us.

Why do the children have to die?
Ask yourself why?

15 minutes on the news
generations of destruction
Turn the channel over
we have seen enough

Yousaf Mukhtar,
3rd year medical student



The war becomes incandescent the brain,
In the to resound of the myths and legends,
The died appears behind the mirrors...
Saying that in war all lose.

Poets bleed trying to shout,
Expelling messages ignored,
Asking for peace and future,
But to the money the lords point...

And the money points all to the war!

Goldsmithery, how much is this gun?
Why it is in poor countries...
Where food the people can't buy?

H├ęber Vicente Bensi Bensi


Illusions / Elections

Fierce fighting last year during the advance,
Your main task is now civil governance.
How many died during hostilities
Keeping peace at oil refineries?
How many died since "Mission Accomplished"?
Democracy can't be shipped, and packaged.
During police work and guard duties,
Is there open combat by Iraqi's?
Particularly, Iraq is hostile,
With authority, unprovisional.
The Tigris River has a garrison
As if a river can be a mansion.
If green were the color of sympathy,
I'd have mine set up like a company.
It's going to take a coalition
To scope the daylight using night vision.
From bomb blasts and mortars, gimme shelter.
This is really about helter skelter.
A huge weapons cache does not make a mosque
In a severely radical Iraq.
Here's the quote Secretary Rumsfeld gave:
"You go to war with the army you have"
But how does that help one who's life he gave?
That sounds like a command with expletive.
["Not the army you might want or wish to have"?]
The question was much more definitive.
He had asked a question about armour
And he got an answer about power.
Mr. Rumsfeld, "Do you have a Humvee?"
Land Mines don't honor a West Point degree.
Man the gunner's hatch, you're vulnerable.
The roads are ripe with risk, none peaceful.
And drive down to patrol another mosque,
Temperature, 85, in Iraq.
For his big bold style, ten gallon hat,
Cited for doing what was important,
President Bush was named man of the year.
A cloud of smoke billows up through the air.
The desert is famous for its illusions,
The United States, for its elections.

Mary Scardino
4 March 2005

On The Eve of Remembrance

Laura Oliver

This poem is an imitation of John McCrae's 'In Flander's Fields"

On the Eve of Remembrance

Into Iraq I dare not go
Where there are bodies, row upon row
That line the streets; and in the sky
The larks, shot down, can no longer fly
Loud blasts shot from guns below.

We insult the dead, by roaming low
They lived, died, fought a true foe
Loved and were loved, and now we tromp
On Flanders fields.

Invent a reason to quarrel with a foe
To Bush, angry fists we throw
The torch of freedom and peace is nigh
If we only see the truth through the lie
We cannot sleep, because poppies stir
In Flanders fields

~ Laura Oliver on Nov. 10, 2004

Shadows of War

Derek Sellen

I have been writing poetry for forty years and wanted
to express the way that the shames of this war cannot
and should not be escaped but shadow us in our daily

Shadows of War

I walk in the gardens,
on the run from the news.
The orange waste-sacks,
bellied with swept leaves,
crouch between the limes
all along the bare avenue -
prisoners of Guantanamo.

I walk in the orchards,
abandoned to autumn.
A dog leaps playful
out of its owner's control,
runs with the leash trailing
among the shit-coils in the dirt -
barking an echo of Abu Ghraib.

I walk in the break-time,
see poems on a classroom wall,
Owen, Sassoon, Sorley,
the texts of this year's syllabus:
words wailing like shells,
beyond the limits of our hearing -
mourning the corpses of Fallujah.

November 2004

By Dawn's Early Light

By Dawns Early Light

By starlight
the skull flies off
spinning, crashing
by the tree bough
a rainbow of blood
like a peacock fan
lashes the sky

By moonlight
doves coo
side by side
warmed in down
in sleepy bliss

By headlight
a tiny body
makes an arc of grey
smashed by steel
broken bones
splinter in silence

By limelight
players create peace
men's hearts
softened by wit
and dreamy jest
long for what's right

By flarelight
broken bodies
lie mangled
legs butchered
and ragged
coils of colon
slick and gleaming

By candlelight
lovers stroke
warm skin alive
kissing warm dampness
moist in their passion
electric with feeling
soaring and blissful

By streetlight
a young man
scared almost witless
surrounded by hatred
is carved by a devil
tortured in cruelty
and knifed to numb coldness

By firelight
two friends
watch evening falling
dreaming of old times
awaiting the dawning

By gaslight
the ovens
are crawling with dying
herded to slaughter
from their loved ones
heaped like some debris
and buried like cattle

By dawnlight
the sun shines
on all that is human
the saint and the sinner
the thug and the saviour
by each ugly scarface
and each selfless martyr
a world that is waiting
each day
to be born

Copyright © Kaneix 2003



On the side of the 'bird' in large letters:
'From Uncle Sam' and a grin
The missile cost so many dollars
So many gifts that could have been...
Perhaps for ten thousand children
And two worlds so much nearer
But death from the sky could never bring
A tiny horse to our Samira

Having lost its track and trajectory
The maps of its mind don't work
And who will ever know why
It saw the house as a target
Was it lost and dreaming too?
And through a fever of confusion
A little village house
Seemed a better place to die
Than its sad mechanical mind
Too cold and lonely in the sky

Ten days go by in a fiery heat
before a GI passes by
Thinking of his lovely daughter
The apple of his eye
The bloody bones he tidies up
And throws them in the sewer
'Some damned unlucky Iraqi cat or dog'
Our world is now one fewer

Copyright © Kaneix 2003

The Feast Of The Holy Innocents

The Feast Of The Holy Innocents

Poem from Roger B Humes

Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceedingly
angry; and sending forth killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem,
and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to
the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled
that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama
was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children,
and would not be comforted, because they are not.
[Matthew 2:16-18]

once a crusade has begun
such consequences are inevitable
once the line is placed in the sand
there is no turning back when crossed:

they play upon the dusty street
heedless that tomorrow may never come
for immorality is the greatest ally of youth
until it faces the brutality of the sanctimonious

a quiet pause the eye of storm
before the shrieks of laughter drown
in a crimson flash which melds with the red
that slowly seeps over the dampening soil

lifeless unclosed eyelids
pale cold outstretched hands
flaccid broken limbs
taut silent ashen lips
undone dreams

and the mothers rush in with tear filled eyes
a chorus of voices unable to comprehend
the instant that shattered their hope and lives

they kneel in the sand
kiss the unending horror
stroke the disheveled hair
clutch the limp bodies
which had held the promise
of a future that disappeared quicker
than their sobbing exhaled breath

only women can create the universe of life
and only they truly understand the meaning
when the candle is snuffed
and no more than darkness remains

Roger Humes

Baghdad 2003

Baghdad 2003

The Vampire Elite takes control
We must bomb your ancient capital to save it.
We bring democracy with our tanks.
We first got you as fully disarmed as possible,
Through labyrinthine UN protocols,
Before we struck.
We needed to start the war quickly,
As our case about you having secret
chemical weapons was falling apart -
Our forged documents had become known.
We bring you Starbucks and our pornography
You must be grateful for us re-bombing Baghdad
Your oil will be safe in our hands.

Nick Kollestrom

A Message From Tony Blair

A Message from Tony Blair to the People of Iraq
(a week after the start of the attacks by US and
UK forces, March 2003)

Look into my honest eyes.
Listen to my honest lies.
Look into my angel face.
Just hear the sincerity in my voice.

I want you all to understand
the better future we have planned.
We bomb with Christian love, not Christian hate.
We come,
not to conquer,
but to liberate.

It is essential, and I want to make this very clear,
that our first aim is to make the world a safer place.
And with precision bombing you need have no fear.
And though you've not actually uttered threatening words
to Britain and America, or indeed the world,
and though you haven’t acted yet,
we believe you pose a threat
a threat that cannot be ignored.

I tell you frankly that so great is the threat
that act we must, while there is still time,
or we may live to reap the bitter harvest
of regret.

I’m sure you will appreciate
that we have the right
to remove regimes
that we dislike.
We have the right to assassinate.
We have the right to decide your fate.

So the purpose of our mission,
now that war has started,
is also perfectly clear:
we come to bring you hope
and take away your fear.

Your army, as you know, is hopelessly outgunned.
Resistance by your soldiers is completely senseless.
We’ll simply massacre. We’ll wipe them out.
They cannot touch us. They’re defenceless.

We wreck your homes, your lives, your infrastructure.
You needed help.
Without it you would have had no future.

Our peace, justice and democracy
you will soon enjoy and celebrate.
Remember, we come,
not to conquer,
but to liberate.

Your cities shake and thunder with our bombs.
Tumbling buildings. Plumes of flames.
Roaring jets and shrieking men.
The crash of glass and children's screams.
We see the mushroom clouds again.
Now you can appreciate the genius of our civilisation.
Remember, this isn’t war:
it’s liberation.

We destroyed your tv station. We cut your phones.
Your power and water supplies we cut.
We destroy public buildings and private homes.
You see billowing smoke and conflagration.
But it isn’t war:
it’s liberation.

Your hospitals overflow. They cannot cope.
We are killing you softly with our love.
Death and destruction are everywhere.
Your future fills with hope.

And if you cannot comprehend this desecration.
Just try to understand,
it isn’t war:
it’s liberation.

Cruise missiles, depleted uranium,
pulse, cluster and bunker buster bombs
may shock you.
And perhaps, you’re just a little awed.
But please understand we come to help
and this is your reward.

Regrettably we can treat nothing as sacred:
it is a fact of war.
No artefact of God or man,
no suffering, no pain, no law
can impede the progress of our plan.

One advantage of our attack
is that we will build for you
a new Iraq.
So don’t worry about the scale of the destruction.
Our companies will make it all as new
and your oil will pay for reconstruction.

Look to the future.
Your children will not easily forget
how we came to help.
Round the clock bombing
may have left them traumatised
and perhaps a little mad,
but soon we are sure they'll realise
just what luck they've had.

Some ask if I'm untouched by human suffering.
I can tell you my sleep is undisturbed,
though I deeply mourn the thousands killed.
I am not shaken,
and I am not stirred.

So finally I say,
that for a brighter future
a little bombing is a small price to pay.

Ignore the carnage, terror and destruction.
Our purpose
is not
domination or exploitation.
This is not
a war of conquest.
It's a war of liberation.

David Roberts
28 March-9 April 2003



The experience of fighting a war
Changes all men forever.
The experience of taking human life
And being responsible for death,
The ending of life of others
Becomes a, life-altering experience
Of any man who engages in a war,
Who experiences its ugliness, its cruelty,
Comes to know its pornography and savage brutality.

Those who have not been personally involved
In a war as a participant,
Or experienced first hand its aftermaths,
Will never know war’s reality and suffering,
Can never judge war’s validity or worth,
Should ever be involved in any decision
Resulting in a war between nations.
For their imagery of war is fictitious,
Evolving from one’s imagination
Man’s wishful thinking,
Based on movies and books and television,
Nothing more than a fanciful, false myth
Without appropriate context or validation,
Without merit or value.

Most men experiencing war
Become somberly aware of their own humanity,
And the humanity of all human beings and life
Who share this earth together.
Who only want to exist in peace, live and let live,
These men emerge from a war as true men,
Evolving from warriors to human beings.
Yet others emerge from war on the dark side,
Down into that murky, deep hole of savage death,
Where they relish and find irresistible the war experience,
The exhilaration of total power and control,
The wanton and cruel destruction of life,
Driven by the primeval exhilaration of survival,
Flourishing on the elixir of adrenalin rush.
Unmindful of any consequence,
Disregarding tenets and precepts of civilization,
To immerse themselves selfishly
In the darkness and ruthlessness
Of the act of war.

War is addicting, all-powerful, all persuasive,
A reason for being, without means, only ends.
Where killing is acceptable and justifiable,
Is undeniably necessary and even honorable,
Despite the human cost and tragedy,
Disregarding the human suffering and agony,
And in some twisted minds
Spurred on by irrational reasoning
And self delusions the act of war
Becomes a sacred mission,
Condoned, approved, and blessed by God.

In war, a man who succumbs to war’s sirens,
Loses himself forever in its terrible beauty,
Embraces its undeniable lure and stimulation of the senses,
Wallows in his perceived power and authority,
To gain other’s approval and attention
This man who truly believes in the act of war
As the ultimate exercise of will, power and personal authority,
Without regard for any human life or consequences,
Is known as a Berserker.

Curtis D. Bennett

Mr. President


The President of the United States of America
is not God.

He is not
the international community.

He is not the ultimate arbiter
of right and wrong.

He is not
the law.

He has no right to allot death
to this or that continent,
this or that country,
this or that man or woman or child.

The true international community,
the five billion people of this earth
who are not the President of the United States of America
could easily resist
his power
and would do
if it had the organised resolve.

And will do
in time.

David Roberts

26 December 2002

Iraq Legacy

Iraq Legacy

One day we will look back and realize,
Our kids all died…. for nothing.
One day, America will be forced to abandon Iraq.
The American people will have enough
Of war, personal sacrifice and waste of treasury.

American voters will make the choice,
Not Congress, not the President, not the military,
But the people paying the taxes and sacrificing their children.
Our military will be forced to pack it up and move out
Leaving behind the hot, dusty, blood stained soil
Where forgotten kids were butchered and maimed,
Were brutally murdered on behalf of America

Children sent there by spineless, cowardly politicians
Condoned by feckless, incompetent, Military Leaders
Who knew better, but said nothing to protect their jobs.
These kids selflessly gave the ultimate sacrifice of their life
In the name of a misguided, confused, fearful country
Whose President claimed to the American people
He sent these kids to die in that savage land
With the blessing and approval of God.
At that point our war with Iraq
Becomes, the ultimate blasphemy.

Curtis D. Bennett

Coming Home

Coming Home

Inside the gray, steel womb of cargo space.
Flag covered caskets quietly lie
In rank and file, line on line in silence.
Bound together in final military formation
Flags of blood reds, cloud whites and ocean blues,
Drape and caress the dull, pewter boxes
Encasing the broken, ashen, hallowed remains
Of dead young boys and girls,
Forced to pay the ultimate price
In this foreign land with strange people,
Where brutal Death forever lurks,
Beneath the surface, around the corner
Watching with cold eyes that never sleep.

Outside, hot desert night winds
Sweep down from the northern mountains
In biting, stinging clouds of dust
Blowing and swirling the tarmac, ruffling flags.
Steel, hydraulic doors whine and close tight

Sealing the precious cargo inside.
Engines come to life and rumble the air,
The huge cargo transport trundles away
Disappearing in the darkness of the taxiway.
Moments later, re-emerging, a roaring shadow
That races and climbs sharply up and away
Into the night air to seek the stars.

Floating suspended between earth and sky
The westbound plane heads for the full moon.
Carrying its sleeping, youthful cargo home.
To the land that gave them birth,
To the parents who loved and raised then
To the government who sent them to fight,
And the politicians who killed them.
In the early morning hours, it touches down
On glistening tarmac of the sleeping base.
To taxi off and away towards the dark distant hanger
Where black hearses wait under tight security.

Once again hydraulics hum the cargo doors open.
The setting moon softly illuminates the caskets.
So quietly they lie, so well they sleep,
With no more promises to keep,
No more miles to go.

Curtis D. Bennett
May 12, 2004

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

From The Complete Poems by Randall Jarrell, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1969, 1996 by Mrs. Randall Jarrell. Used with permission.

Eighth Air Force

Eighth Air Force
by Randall Jarrell

If, in an odd angle of the hutment,
A puppy laps the water from a can
Of flowers, and the drunk sergeant shaving
Whistles O Paradiso!--shall I say that man
Is not as men have said: a wolf to man?

The other murderers troop in yawning;
Three of them play Pitch, one sleeps, and one
Lies counting missions, lies there sweating
Till even his heart beats: One; One; One.
O murderers! . . . Still, this is how it's done:

This is a war . . . But since these play, before they die,
Like puppies with their puppy; since, a man,
I did as these have done, but did not die--
I will content the people as I can
And give up these to them: Behold the man!

I have suffered, in a dream, because of him,
Many things; for this last saviour, man,
I have lied as I lie now. But what is lying?
Men wash their hands, in blood, as best they can:
I find no fault in this just man.

From The Complete Poems by Randall Jarrell, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1969, 1996 by Mrs. Randall Jarrell. Used with permission.

To That Which Lies Beyond

Photo by Alex Shapiro

To That Which Lies Beyond.

As promised
prior to my departure last week,
here are a couple of soothing views
that accompanied me home
from Seattle to Friday Harbor
at day’s end yesterday.

If ever there were proof
of heaven on Earth,
perhaps this is it.
Or at least,
the gateway to it.
I sit here
in my studio
and am back in paradise,
for sure.
I followed this light
to joy.

A pal of mine
from years ago,
about my age
and one of the kindest
and most creative people
I’ve ever met,
just followed it to…
someplace else.

Goodbye Niko,
and may the light be
as beautiful
as you.

Alex Shapiro July 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Art of War


We deplore the death, destruction and lawlessness that the "coalition of the willing" unleashed with its invasion of Iraq. We are shamed by our government's contempt for other cultures and the silencing of dissent in America. We remain deeply concerned about the threat to human life in the Middle East and to the world's memory and history embedded in Iraq. We dramatize our outrage through ongoing visual actions. Sometimes small movements, a ripple can express the collective indignation of a community. Contact Us

Art Changes Everything

A day dedicated to the artist's immense power to end war and oppression.

“This show is the expression of over 60 of the top graphic artists and illustrators working in the United States and abroad whose anguish has compelled them to produce works that challenge the self-destructive ignorance, indifference, incompetence and corruption that is the result of US Middle East foreign policy. These works of art will give a voice to those whose views are not represented by the mainstream media. We will be using this forum as a way to support those most directly affected by the harsh consequences of military combat—the brave men and women who serve their country as well as their family members who must live with the affects of war long after the parades are over.”

Obviously it is just not the poets and writers who express their discontent and angst relative to the Iraq War. Feast your peepers on some of these images.