We Would Have

I bet we would have all been Nazis

we probably would have hunted down slaves

we would have crucified Christ

and probably wouldn’t have thought twice

about putting Lakotas into mass graves

 

we would have massacred coal miners in Ludlow

and killed four college students in Kent

just following orders at home and abroad

killing folks wherever we were sent

 

we can pretend all we’d like

that it isn’t true

but from the day we’re born

they tell us what to do

 

and we do exactly as we’re told

and we always give Caesar more gold

we might not always swing the hammer

but we always pay for the nails

 

we might not be the warden

but we pay for the jails

and history knows where we stand

and all the blood has stained our hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

September Tears

Forget about Afghanistan

just keep your heads in the sand,

and pay no mind to Iraq

and only care about white, not black

 

and only care about white, not brown

look away as cops shoot ’em all down

and as villages burn to the ground

see no evil as the earth spins ’round

 

and speak no evil as we sip our beer

and hear no evil we are blind with fear

as we have been now for many a year

our eyes have dried from those September tears

 

we’ve long been numb, not sad or angry anymore

no art and music, gotta pay for endless war

and build more prisons to incarcerate more poor

we can’t make pie with apples rotten to the core.

 

 

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, america, american dream, Black Lives Matter, collateral damage, Iraq, Kaepernick, poem, Poetry, poverty, taxes, Uncategorized, violence, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Mountains & Oceans

my mind is a mountain

my arms the intermittent streams

where thoughts occasionally cascade

making it to the piedmont

that is my wrists

and down to my fingertips

where they drain

into rivers of words

that flow into oceans

where I have to fight

squalls and gales,

hunger and dehydration,

as I drift

lost and confused

in search of land.

Posted in poem, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Hospital Hill

In Northampton, there is a hospital

on a hill

or at least there was.

My mother grew up

sledding down Hospital Hill

in the shadows

of the Northampton State Hospital

in days when winter

provided more snow

than it does these days.

 

The hospital, a state-run psychiatric hospital

shut down sometime

in the late 1980’s

or early 1990’s

and the local homeless population

skyrocketed

and many former patients wound up

in-and-out of prison

after the doors shut

and they were forced out.

 

There were stories that my grandma told

about people being badly abused

and even killed

within those walls

back in the day.

The closets are filled

with skeletons,

she would say.

 

I went sledding down Hospital Hill as a kid,

though less frequently than my mother had.

During high school,

a few of us periodically broke into

the shuttered,

abandoned

state hospital

usually in the wintertime.

We would leave toboggans

at the top of the hill

just in case the cops showed up

and we needed an escape

or an alibi.

 

There was a fallout shelter in the basement

and paint peeling everywhere in the building.

Once, we found the skeletal remains

of a small animal

in the closet

of a large room

maybe a cat that someone,

maybe a former patient

had cooked.

 

This was all back

before September 11th 2001,

back when (white) kids could be kids

and get away

with breaking into

an abandoned government building

over a dozen times

for lack of anything else to do

in a small town.

 

I’m not sure

if anyone still sleds

down Hospital Hill

but I heard recently

that the old psychiatric hospital

was converted to expensive condos.

Certainly gutted,

with fresh coat of paint added

and the skeletal remains removed

from the closets.

 

Posted in poem, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Year 17

We begin year seventeen

with less fanfare than year one

and I can’t even remember now

what I was doing

the moment that it began

senior year of high school

focused on football, girls, and my truck

not realizing I was stuck in a system

stuck in a small town

stuck at seventeen

mind full of American dreams

now, sixteen years gone

we begin year seventeen

and I was seventeen

when the towers came crashing down

and less than a year later

I had a high school diploma

and a uniform

and I was doing my best to conform

but in 2001, October 7th meant nothing

just another New England fall day

I cared more about Sunday football games

than what the president had to say…

“As we strike military targets,

we will also drop food,

medicine and supplies

to the starving and suffering men,

women

and children of Afghanistan.

The United States of America is a friend

to the Afghan people.”

No, I didn’t care enough to realize

that he was so full of shit,

didn’t care enough to realize

that those weren’t just terrorists we hit

with bomb after bomb

day after day

week after week

month after month

and year after year

at seventeen, I waved a flag

and I cheered.

The food never fell,

the medicine never fell

and the supplies never fell

and by the time

that I was sent to Iraq

America was already

a long way off track

and Afghanistan was already an afterthought.

Years have passed since then.

Sixteen years ago today

we sought blood

we sought revenge

we sought terrorists

but what does terrorizing

a tribal nation

for sixteen years

make us?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

58 People

58 people have died today

58 people have gone away

58 people and now you pray

for Las Vegas.

 

58 people have died today

in Las Vegas

but it’s everyday in Iraq

and it’s everyday in Afghanistan

don’t you understand…

 

that 58 people have died today

in Las Vegas

but it’s everyday in Somalia

and now a million people have cholera

in Yemen

and those numbers grow

as more war winds blow

and they show no signs of calming.

 

58 people have died today

in Las Vegas

but it’s everyday in Libya

and it’s everyday in Syria

I guess they don’t meet

all of the criteria

for your prayers

 

which never help a thing

with gasoline and matches

we let freedom ring

as the fires burn

and we always turn

blind eyes.

 

58 people and dozens more

die every single day

in our endless wars

as we willingly pay tax

and sacrifice the poor

for Caesar

 

up on his throne

with alligator tears

he says he can’t condone

such violence

 

but it’s in our blood

from Columbus down to Jackson

it’s buried in the mud

with our history,

it’s not a mystery.

 

58 people were killed today

58 people have gone away

58 people and now you pray

for the dead.

 

58 people were killed today

in Las Vegas

and it’s really sad

but it’s every single day

in places like Baghdad

 

and it goes on and on

as it will for generations

after we’re long gone

unless we are the change

that we want to see,

so let’s stop blindly shouting,

‘freedom isn’t free’

 

hate just begets hate

so lets respond with love

no matter who,

no matter where,

lets all just rise above.

 

58 people have died today

58 people have gone away

58 people and now you pray

for the dead.

 

Posted in Afghanistan, america, collateral damage, Edward Bernays, empathy, empire, god, history, Howard Zinn, humanity, Iraq, Las Vegas, Libya, peace, poem, Poetry, Syria, taxes, terrorism, Uncategorized, Vietnam, violence, war, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flowers

Vases full of freshly-cut flowers

sit on the sills of windows

opened to the world

and with all the beauty

of the presentation

death hides in plain sight.

We don’t see that life is gone

until all that’s left

are dead flowers

and murky water,

which we quickly discard.

Soon enough,

we are rinsing the vase

and getting ready

to fill it again.

Posted in death, farming, flowers, life, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized, violence, war, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , ,