Tuesday, May 27, 2014

This poem was read at the Chicago Memorial Day Ceremony


With their backs board straight,
and their hand to their head,
the draped box passes by.

With their uniforms crisp,
and their eyes steely fixed,
the draped box passes by.

Gone are the "who-yahs"and the high fives
and the beers, and the babes and the bitchin’,
as the draped box passes by.

“Kill the bastards – they killed ours.
They’re all bad.”
“We go there to help them.  For freedom!  Democracy!”
“We serve our country!
“It’s NOT about money or markets or oil!
We’re defending our freedom and our soil!
“There’s no other way!  Sometimes we must!
Send in the few . . . the proud . . . . . the . . . “
the young ? . . . . the pawns?
The draped box passes by. 

“They can’t speak our language.
They don’t know our customs.
They’re HYMIES, and JAPS, and CHINKS,
and GOOKS, and HAJJIS, and RAG HEADS. 
They’re evil.   They’re terrorists!”
They are “THEM”.   They are “THOSE”.   They are “THEY”.
So it’s OK - - -   to kill them.
There’s no other way,
That’s what the box makers say.

We have courts – but not for “THEM”.
We don’t torture people – but “THEY” are not.
We are CIVIL  - with our approved assassination lists,
We are HUMAINE with our surgical drone strikes.
They” are not.

We have our flag.  We sing our songs.
We love our country.   “U-S-A      U-S-A
We’re # 1.   We’re # 1!”
They” are not.
Don’t bother your beautiful brain.
Don’t think . . . . avoid the pain.
As the draped box passes by.

Who makes the box in which soldiers lay?
This well crafted box for the remains to stay.
Is it more than a box to carry the dead?
Is the box mental and fixed in our head,
By those who profit from wars and destruction
Because they know we’ll follow instruction.

Some of the box makers are out in the light,
They’re proud of the fact they cause us to fight.
But most of the makers work in the stealth,
Applying their trade and amassing huge wealth.

From Presidents to talking heads and others less known -
 - - Create fear, make a box, keep the masses alone - - .
“We know what we’re doing, we’ll save the day,”
“Stay in the box and just do as . . . WE say.”

The boxes are made as they always have been,
By those with the power to develop the spin.
Their words are repeated - -
Down is up . . . up is down
Killing is good . . . they are not
Down is up . . . up is down
Soon the box closes . . . without a sound.

Violence and power are global pollution.
Dialogue and education are the solution.
Talk to those you know . . .  and to the “they”.
(very slowly)  Read and share . . . . and show the way . . . . . . .

With their backs board straight,
and their hands to their heads . . . . . .
With their uniforms crisp,
and their eyes steely fixed . . . . . ,
Gone are the “who-yahs” and the high fives,
What’s left are the whys . . . . ,
As the draped box passes by.