Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Poets and presidents...

Jack Hirschman was named poet laureate of San Francisco today. This is a very good thing! Many San Fransicans already considered him the city's natural poet laureate. A long time social activist and critic of the status quo, Hirschman's poetry is both provocative and prophetic.

Meanwhile, President Bush castigates critics of his "war" and claims "the American people know the difference between responsible and irresponsible" when they see it. Mind you, half the American people think we should have never gotten involved in Iraq and even more think Bush botched our involvement there.

So, at long last, maybe the president ought to listen to the poet:


How many sons and daughters
of all the hundreds of men and women in Congress
are fighting in Iraq? Two.

Well, it's a volunteer army
and the men and women in Congress, what with
deals and private investments,
are pretty much all of them millionaires. Youknowomsayin.

Their kids don't have to take
a military wash because they're dirtied up
with racist slurs, riddled with fear of jail,
hounded by poverty, like the 20 percent
of African-Americans in the armed forces
(African-Americans represent only 12
percent of the population),
or the heavy percent of Latinos
and poor whites as well, taking orders,
doing a job on a country half of whose people
are children 15 years old and younger.

And I'm supposed to feel patriotic
and embrace this push for planetary domination
on the part of that junta of deaths-heads
that daily floats its moral abominations
on the channels of our despair?

Nuclear fear's brought God back form the dead,
and Holy Wars look each other in their lies,
while children here and children there
are ravaged to the roots of their still possibly
innocent smiles.

In their little heads, in their doorways and beds,
they wish they may, they wish they might
bury you, you killer squirt,
for all the children that you've hurt,
and they'll throw happy dirt on your corpse,
Mr. President. Youknowomsayin!

Jack Hirshman
30 October 2004


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