Tag Archives: terrorism

Like Miles Says, “So What”

NarcissusWorks: The Ghost Anthology:

No, it’s not a real poetry collection.

No, I didn’t write the one line poem attributed to me.

No, I didn’t give my permission for, or seek, inclusion in this farcical volume.

But think about it. If you ARE a living poet and you WERE somehow included, it’s probably one of the few, if not the ONLY time in your life that you will be included as a “poet” along with the likes of Rainier Maria Rilke, Walt Whitman, Jack Keroauc or even Ron Silliman.

This freak act of iambic penterrorism, or whatever you want to call it, has by the simple fact of random collection given you, me and everyone else on its table of contents a kind of legitimacy — the same kind of legitimacy that we now share with 98% of historical figures, that we are referenced in print by yet another source.

In this world of screen names, false accounts, spoofed IP addresses, and other ridiculously easy ways to remain anonymous while spouting damn near anything from a virtual soapbox, maybe that’s as “REAL” as it’s ever going to get.

And as a parting thought … think of the MILLIONS of folks who post what they call poetry on their websites, on poetry bulletin boards, anywhere they can get access, that their friends and readership laud with attaboys, right ons and “oh how deeps” … folks who remind us all of watching American Idol audition outtakes (if they were for poets, instead) who WEREN’T included on this voluminous list. Why us, instead of them? Perhaps because some of us in this anthology actually ARE poets.

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Stale Yellow

This morning my country’s on orange alert;
or maybe stale yellow, if you feel perverse:
the color of bullies, who’re cowards, in fact,
who put down in others convictions they lack.

The war is on terror, they’ll loudly proclaim;
but killing is killing, no matter the name.
Nobody learns nothing by point of a gun,
‘cept when to stay hidden, and which way to run.

Freedom’s a journey, not some point in time
when your way of living is the same as mine.
Truth is an ocean and peace is a verb;
How we each get there shows what we deserve.

This morning my country’s enmeshed in a war
financed by the rich, fought by the young and poor
who trust in their leaders and will pay the cost
regardless of who we say has won or lost.

The war is for freedom, those leaders will say;
the world is our oyster, let’s keep it that way.
But force just accelerates, it won’t evolve;
making more problems than it ever solves.

Freedom’s a journey, not some future point
when who we like has the run of the joint.
Truth is an ocean and peace is a verb;
How we each get there proves what we deserve.

This morning my country’s on orange alert;
or maybe stale yellow, which may be much worse.

22 FEB 2007

Stale Yellow (demo)

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Instrument of God

You call yourself an instrument of God,
selected to seek vengeance for some wrong;
I wonder, do you ever think it odd
that retribution should be your sole song,

that God, who has a symphony of life
to call upon or move on His behalf
should need your petty anger as his knife
to separate the good wheat from the chaff?

How brazen, that you think you know what irks
God most, that your convictions reflect His;
How hypocritical to think your bloody works
can ease some Divine pain. What sad hubris!

What’s more, an instrument that only doles
out death — what a small repertoire indeed!!
To think that funeral march alone extols
the virtues of your maker, or His needs,

supposes Him so helpless, small and weak;
no mountain, but a mere mud-spattered clod.
No wonder that He gives you leave to speak
to call yourself an instrument of God.

12 JUL 2005

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Against a Greater Evil Than the Dark

I do not fear what terror comes by night
and would with malice trouble fitful sleep;
such bugaboos may cause a moment’s fright,
but fade in cowardice as daylight creeps.

More brazen ne’er-do-wells parade by day,
and mask their ill intent with angels’ tread;
it is such foes as these, that seek to prey
on those awake, yet unaware, I dread.

A winning smile may hide an evil heart,
and artful praise so sway the doubting mind
that where truth ends and outright lying starts
would take a trusting soul lifetimes to find.

Too often, those who harbor foul design
use some imagined pretense to impose
their will, and lay their claim to me and mine.
They are like wolves who dress in lambswool clothes,

and in broad light of noon steal with a pen
or briefcase what no midnight thief would dare,
proclaiming all the while to be a friend.
Against such brigands, too few are prepared.

As teachers, senators or men of god
they pry into the storerooms of the crowd;
with words of velvet, hide their iron rods
well-used to beat down those who protest loud.

Foul hypocrites! Your speeches that divide
the poor crowd’s reason from its tender soul,
reveal you have no meaning left inside
save for your selfish need to wield control.

If you would speak my piece, or use my name
to justify your actions or your cause
and then when failure looms, leave me the blame,
do not expect from me grateful applause.

You will condemn me, should I speak my mind,
or cause one hapless stray to doubt your means;
Regardless, I will point out where I find
your acts a danger to my truth, or dreams.

15 MAR 2005

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Thoughts on the 9/11 Report

Well, I have done it. Purchased the “official” 9/11 report. And read it through, at least at this time on a cursory level. I will re-read it in detail, of course.

There are a few things that trouble me. They are as follows:

1. A war on terrorism will not succeed. That is because terrorism is the symptom, not the cause. The cause is a state of global affairs that gives rise to the belief that terrorism is, for many, a justifiable and perhaps the only viable alternative to advance their agenda to the point where it will be considered.

2. If we are to engage the problem of alternatives to terrorism for those who now employ it as their sole means of communication, we have to start looking hard at the fact that we are a single human family. National “rights”, and boundaries, really must have no meaning if we are to address, fairly and honestly, the grievances of one group of people versus another. The fact is, that as a human species, we are in effect a single family — albeit in some cases only distant cousins.

This makes EVERY war in effect a civil war. Brother against brother — for the majority of religions on this planet accept as one of their tenets some degree of universal brotherhood.

3. With respect to that universal brotherhood. The United States must make a statement to the world, and must lead the other “so-called” civilized nations in one very important point. We must accept Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Druidism, Wiccanism, Sufism, Voodoo, Santeria, Ba’hai, Sikhism, Confucianism, Atheism, and all the rest, as absolutely equally viable paths to that exclusively human (at least, human-claimed, for none of the other species that have evolved and existed for millions of years on this planet have found it necessary to indulge in the nuances of comparative theology) province, enlightenment. If we are capable of being enlightened (as we claim), then we need to accomplish it. That means returning spiritual truth where it belongs — to each and every individual.

4. We need to focus our resources not on exerting our influence through military might, or covert operation, or corporate interest, but through demonstration of our principles by enforcing them upon ourselves. Eliminate special interests. Eliminate preconceived biases. Restore (or, rather, considering our own systematic programs of terrorism that checker our own historical national agenda — vis a vis the Comanches, for exampl?) “justice for all.” Not justice that meets our needs or serves the expediency of the moment, but justice that punishes our friends when guilty, and praises our enemies when they are courageous and in the right.

5. Finally, we need to think long and hard about something that G.I. Gurdjieff once said, that was almost echoed in Obama’s recent speech at the Democratic convention: “As long as a single person is in prison, no one is free.” No matter what the reason — because prison population, like terrorism, is a symptom. And to address the cause, we cannot continue to just build more prisons and graveyards. Or schools that teach rigid ways of looking at the world. Or churches that preach hatred and xenophobia in the guise of building their own brand of “chosen people” to pit against the rest of the world.

Ah, I could go on.

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The Art of War on …

Poverty, Illiteracy, Hunger, Drugs, and ultimately what I’d like to address, Terrorism.

Does it appear to anyone but myself that our great “national” causes (that we cast as decisive “battles” since Johnson’s Great Society and its War on Poverty) deal primarily with the symptoms, and not their underlying causes? Let’s take Terrorism, for one. Terrorism is violent action taken to bring attention to one’s issues. To me, that makes it a last resort. A final desparate parley when all other avenues have been exhausted. I can think of one absolutely sure way to eliminate Osama bin Laden as a threat: sit down at the table with him, with an open mind, willing to admit where he is right, and willing to prove where “we” are right. As Marshall McLuhan put it in his book “The Medium is the Massage”, propaganda ends where dialogue begins. But the problem is that in the world political arena, there is an “adult’s” table and a “kid’s” table. And those that sit at the “adult” table take it for granted that because they are sitting at that table, that they are doing everything right.

There is an old saying: “There are four kinds of people in this world. Those that like you for the right reasons, those that like you for the wrong reasons, those that don’t like you for the wrong reasons, and those that don’t like you for the right reasons. The first three groups need not command your attention — but you must address the last.”

Part of the problem with eliiminating terrorist threats is that we have not provided terrorists with any other viable means for communication as equals. As a result, they are left desparate enough to use “whatever means necessary” to wage their own “War on Hypocrisy.” Part of that hypocrisy might be, from a Muslim perspective, that so-called Christian countries, who are not interested in having anyone step into their lands and tell them how to behave or treat their subjects or interact with their neighbors, or control their national industries and elections, seem very interested in doing those very things in other places – which is a direct violation of the Christian truism “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you aren’t willing to take advice from parties that are diametrically opposite from yourself ideologically, then stay out of their business, too.

The point is that dissidents, to become dangerous, must feel that no one is listening to what they have to say, or that any dialogue in which they participate is a farce. Having a “dialogue” on how to best address global tension, for example, without any interest in or commitment to changing your own national actions as required to resolve conflicts, is hypocrisy; just like waging a war on drugs and focusing on the ghettos is obvious hypocrisy, as the only people capable of large-scale importation of drugs typically are not ghetto residents.

With respect to the “current” war on terrorism, which seems to be focused on Islamic Terror: that is a war we, as a “Christian” nation will never WIN, so long as we deny that there are things about Islam (and every other religion other than our own) that are worth learning, and learning from. And there are things to be learned from non-democratic nations that are applicable to our dear Democracy, particularly as we see it slipping away, eroded by the very “rule of kings” that we were supposedly founded as a bulwark against.

Back briefly to the adult vs. kid table. The problem is of course that who sits at which table, globally speaking, is largely defined by military might. We as a global community seem to believe that all other ideologies aside, as long as you are well armed, you deserve attention and respect. Of course, that’s part of the problem — we are basically telling anyone disenfranchised, alienated, ignored or otherwise marginalized that if you get your armaments together (remembering that about 75% of the world’s high tech weaponry is produced by the USA), and prove that you will use them, then and only then will you be worthy of notice. And then we wonder when the guns are pointed at us. Hmm…

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9/11 Remembered

Another nine eleven comes and slips through afternoon;
not a single house on my block flies a flag or sings a tune.
There seems to be no notice or remembrance of the day
that two years back began the work to take our souls away.

Another nine eleven day and no lines have been drawn;
just like the game of chess, I guess, life moves slow for its pawns.
There isn’t any patriotic rhetoric on CNN or Fox,
no reminders of the war still on that risks the ballot box.

Another nine eleven here and our alert is high,
expecting that the enemy will be seen in our sky.
There isn’t an eye watching the manuevers on the ground,
where politicians scramble to the apathetic sound.

11 SEP 2003

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