Poem From Washington Upon Hearing the President Praise the War

Maybe men and women need to be quiet for part of the day

Like Orphic birds asleep on the tombs in Italy—

Tuck your head, sleep in the sidelong avian mysteries,

Sleep like the fritillaries in the cemetery grass.

Yes we need less talk. Our country is sick with talk.

We ought to be quiet—put down the telephones—

To inquire of the numberless dead

With the offertory of our minds alone,

No tongues, no tongues at all.


Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

Last night I read poems as part of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival here in DC. I read work that spoke against the war. I mentioned the close to a million Iraqi civilians killed over the past five years. I said that the President’s phrase “The War on Terror” suggests something that can’t be won with our current tactics. History shows that fighting terror with terror is a loser’s game. I’m not sure I said that precisely. When you’re on stage in front of hundreds of people you say what you can. I read a poem by my friend Sam Hamill called “True Peace”. I dedicated my portion of the reading to Sam who is a founding member of the organization Poets Against War.  I threw my hat from the Navy (the one that says: Navy: accelerate your life) into the audience. This being a pacifist crowd, well, you can predict the outcome. Someone gave me my hat back.

Back at the hotel they’ve pulled down both the shades in my room, rather than fix the one that’s stuck in the down position. I guess they figure I’m blind so what difference does it make whether I’ve got sunlight or not?