In clouds of flak, blind
ambushes, orders to attack impenetrable bases, in blazes of
glory unreported in stories of Greek hotel
resorts being bombed and
military drafts, laser guided
missiles, stealth aircraft and tossed Red Cross
life rafts under stormy skies . . .
In condemned international
spies, every serial promiser's lies, covered
back-shelf magazines and unzipped flies, televised
handshakes, deals and
makes and breaks, stock market
bells and eighty millimeter shells I recognize .
. . In melting
glaciers and climbers falling off of
mountain sides, burnt bridges, wisdom lost inside
a rising tide of assumption and fears . . .
In costly campaigns devoted to character smears broadcast into
broken homes, smashed in windows,
late-night informercials selling junk too useless
to be sold in stores, shady dives in shady
disposable lives and lonely faces, u.s. currency
in cuban hands and travel embargos, vetoed
weapons bans, revolving doors and credit cards . . .
In ATM machines, dirt shacks in Tennessee, secrets
revealed on daytime talk shows, designer clothes
stitched by kids in third world countries, shrines
and monestaries, on pliers pulling nails off toes,
I've read of how the story goes . . .
In one-sided federal policies, police lines, corporate
crimes and imbellished stock predictions, hurricanes,
and scabs and picket signs,
falling from the skies, capitol executions,
moltov cocktails and bloody cultural revolutions,
logging mills on national reserves, the whooping crane
and silver backs, the last dodo bird, the navajo and
cherokee, dammed canyons, canals and droughts,
flood plains, mass migrations, and breeding grounds,
I've stood in them and seen the signs . . .
In rifled barrels, relief ships,
warlords and torn up shores, dying coal miners unpaid in
scores, and foreign sails, behind Arabian women's veils, in
newsreels in movie
halls, Pall Malls and canned
goods, torn hoods and surplus captains ties,
Kennedy's speeches and Robin Leach and tabloids too
false to rationalize,
in blue roses and students and
tanks, in Tibetan frozen frostbit noses, gulags, yellow
stars, sickles and lederhosen,
the Berlin Wall and basic human
rights for all, Woodstock in '69 and yuppies,
condoms and cheap wine,
patriotic ads for war bonds,
burned bras, reformed ex cons and rehabilitation, hope
and reclaimation and cute and catchy political
I recognize them every time and
something dies; I see children's eyes.