Guest poem sent in by Aseem Kaul
(Poem #1223) A Vow
I will haunt these States with beard bald head eyes staring out plane window hair hanging out in Greyhound bus midnight leaning over taxicab seat to admonish an angry cursing driver hand lifted to calm his outraged vehicle that I pass with the Green Light of common law. Common sense, Common law, common tenderness and common tranquility our means in America to control the money munching war machine, bright lit industry everywhere digesting forests & excreting soft pyramids of newsprint, Redwood and Ponderosa patriarchs silent in Meditation murdered & regurgitated as smoke, sawdust, screaming ceilings of Soap Opera, thick dead Lifes, slick Advertisements for Gubernatorial big guns burping Napalm on palm rice tropic greenery. Dynamite in forests, boughs fly slow motion thunder down ravine, Helicopters roar over National Park, Mekong swamp, Dynamite fire blasts thru Model Villages, Violence screams at Police, Mayors get mad over radio, Drop the Bomb on Niggers! drop Fire on the gook China Frankenstein Dragon waving its tail over Bayonne's domed Aluminium oil reservoir! I'll haunt these states all year gazing bleakly out train windows, blue airfield red TV network on evening plains, decoding radar Provincial editorial paper message, deciphering Iron Pipe laborer's curses as clanging hammers they raise steamshovel claws over Puerto Rican agony lawyers screams in slums.
Watching the images from Iraq on CNN this is the poem I keep coming back to - not because it's my favourite war poem, but because it expresses better than anything else this frustrated sense of rage I feel for the arrogance of America. I love it because it brings out so beautifully the contradiction, the hypocrisy at the heart of the American way - the freedom it arrogates to itself and then, drunk on its power, denies to others; the deliberate placidity of a world where an angry taxi driver is the most dangerous thing you have to worry about while the rest of the world burns to ashes to feed your industries. Ghost of Ginsberg, it's time. Aseem Kaul