Bill Zavatsky



Weren't we the ones

who set off the first atomic bombs,

dozens and dozens of them, in fact.

I even remember some of the names

and places: Big Boy, Yucca Flats, Nagasaki?

So of course it's a terrific idea to blame

others (as former Secretary of Defense

William Cohen so obliquely puts it

in his 1997 conference statement).

Others. The others we've been getting at,

braining, shooting dead, making sign

treaties that we never intended to honor

since, oh, about the day of Plymouth Rock.

Who are the eco-terrorists, Mr. and Mrs.

America? I can feel the earth shaking

from Iraq to here, in my freezing New York

apartment. When the mode of the terrorism

changes, the sides of the planet quake--

somebody said that. Plato. I seem to have

so much time, but I keep thinking about

the billions of my dollars going . . . where?

Junk orbiting the planet. Young men and women

coming home in metal coffins, staggering home

on metal crutches? Is this what I'm paying for?

Too many questions in the cold New York City night

for me to ever answer. I'm not going to depend

on the Democrats, and I stopped depending on

the Republicans a long time ago. I won't vote

for Hillary Rodham Clinton because she voted

for the war--and should have known better.

Poetry ought to stand up in the freezing night air

and scream, sometimes, eschewing the niceties

of being nice and sensitive. Sometimes poetry

needs to holler. Don't you like that? Are you warm

in your warm apartment, in your beautiful oil-heated

home? What kind of rain of death are we imagining

for Iran--and how will I be a part of that?

It's cold out, it's February, people are dying

in the streets and in my own little room

I wonder if I can change anything. Right now,

though, I'm finished. I have nothing more to say.

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