N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 3 : S p e c i a l E d i t i o n
L o n g P o e m M a s t e r p i e c e s o f t h e P o s t b e a t s
September 11, 2001
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god....
Blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man....
They stare...Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,...
The lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky...
Hunger allows no choice:
We must love one another or die.
—from "September 1, 1939"
by W.H. Auden
I praise the firemen: truly as heroic as the antique gods,
as Whitman said. Medics, too: divine messengers of mercy
indeed. And I go to each and every one killed or wounded
by terrorism as tenderly as "The Wound-Dresser"
made his rounds in Whitman's Civil War poem,
as devoutly as the firemen's beloved chaplain
who was hit in the head and killed by falling debris
while administering the Last Sacrament
to victims fallen to the sidewalk at the foot of
the doomed skyscrapers. I think of all the victims
and their loved ones with immense compassion
and also mourn the two ancient giant standing
Buddhas of Compassion destroyed by Taliban artillery
in Afghanistan six months before the twin Towers
were destroyed in Manhattan—destroyed ungently,
unlike Tibetan sand paintings scattered by their artists
as a meditation on the ephemerality of art and life.
That being said, I say the following:
Chicken Little said "The sky is falling,"
but on 9-11 the skyscrapers were falling:
a million tons of steel and glass rained down.
Environmentalists had been called Chicken Littles
for sounding alarm over a hole in the sky over Antarctica
and Greenhouse gases heating up the planet's atmosphere.
Weren't those skyscrapers doing to the Biosphere
what those terrorists did to those skyscrapers?
But Greenpeace hangs banners from buildings;
it does not blow them up. If only the terrorists
had just hung a banner from one of the World Trade towers:
"GIVE PALESTINE BACK
TO THE PALESTINIANS!"
and another banner from the other tower:
"HALF MILLION IRAQI CHILDREN
KILLED BY U.S.-LED SANCTIONS!"
This poem is the banner I hang in the air
above the still-smoldering skyscraper ruins
and from every skyscraper on the planet still standing.
A nonstop convoy of dumptrucks took
the obliterated remains of those twin skyscrapers
to the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. Staten Island
where Antler & I read with Allen Ginsberg in April '90
and afterwards took a tour of that stench-exuding
New York City dump. Allen died 4 1/2 years ago
with the arch-example of the "endless Jehovahs" in "Howl"
visible in the distance. Yes, the Empire State Building
was visible from his deathbed window. His 1974 poem
"Jaweh and Allah Battle" is still so timely, right on the button
of the Cain&Abel/Isaac&Ishmael history of the Middle East
and of the human species in general into the mists of time,
the grotesque penchant for humansacrifice to Moloch.
If only Allen were still alive to help us figure out this ongoing Planet News
scoop he had such a bead on for decades: i.e. what on Earth is going on
on Earth? He saw right through all national/international chicanery.
His 1965 poem "Who Be Kind To" invoked that 2001 would be
"the year of thrilling god," not the year when deranged Philistine Davids
sling jetliners into skyscrapers that "stand in the long streets like endless
Jehovahs" &/or Allahs. His "Jaweh and Allah Battle" lays bare
the "High Noon" showdown folly involved when two "Chosen People"s
are squeezed into the same tiny Holy Land and when one claims they're
the legitimate children of their mutual ancestral patriarchal bigdaddy
and claims the other are un-chosen people, mere bastards
of that bigdaddy. Not a situation conducive to cordial vibrations.
Pity the poor innocent people diving into the cool air
from the inferno forcing them out the windows.
Pity the poor innocent humans burned by a hell
created in the human brain. Pity the poor affluent
innocent humans burned alive and crushed like flies
between the layers of the arch-cathedral of Commerce.
Pity the poor innocent know-not-what-they-do people
caught in the inexorable karma of the god of Gasoline
enshrined and worshipped in the temple of wailing Wall Street.
Pity the poor innocent people trapped and doomed in the
larger-than-its-father progeny of the Imperialism State Building
up which the Natural World climbed with humanity in its fist
while U.S. Air Force planes tried to shoot it down
causing the Natural World to plummet to the pavement
—the Gorilla species close to extinction a mere half century
after the RKO plane circled the planet before
the opening credits of King Kong.
Pity the poor humans trapped and doomed inside the twin progeny
of the Empire State Building that soon overtower'd
the Chrysler Building that Lorca cried out from the peak of
decrying Rockefeller's poisoning of the Hudson River.
Pity the innocent bystander minions of Rockefeller crashing
an oil-laden Exxon-Valdez into pristine Alaskan shores.
Pity the poor commuters sardined into the twin Molochs
that punctured a hole in the ozone layer and was planning to crash
a half billion two-car garages through the Great Wall of China.
Pity those innocent accomplices aboard those skyscrapers
rammed into the sky sabotaging the atmosphere for the entire planet.
Pity the poor realityTV hostages cowering in front of their televisions—
their favorite commercial-riddled soap-operas/sitcoms/gameshows
pre-empted by the bad news not everyone buys Madison Avenue—
cowering in front of televisions where this terrorism gets reported
but not the terrorism of Global Economic Godzilla.
Pity the poor people who died for Rockefeller's sins.
Pity the poor people who died for Hitler's sins
that caused a Zionist state to be imposed on Palestine.
Pity the souls who were snuffed because Commerce rules
rather than an interfaith ecumenical spirituality to foster
compassionate harmony among all the peoples of the planet.
Pity the poor humans trapped and doomed inside the karmic
bull's-eye of the nature-blind cyclops on U.S. Dollar.
Pity the poor children seeing this on their TV screens
even more violently psychologically indelible than
the exploding Space Shuttle. This explosion hit home
more than all the explosions in movies—more than
the White House blown up in Independence Day.
This Pearl Harbor struck at the end of the summer
Hollywood launched a movie version of Pearl Harbor.
Just like FDR knew it would take something like a Pearl Harbor
to get the U.S. into World War II,
so Bush Jr. & Sr. & Cheney knew it would take something
like terrorists blowing up a skyscraper
to get America into World War III—
to get Congress to divert money and attention from environment,
education, and every other urgent priority
to Star Wars missile shield and every other futile stop-gap measure
to protect America from the karma of T.R.'s "Big Stick Policy."
A mere half century before T.R. waved his pre-nuclear Big Stick
at the rest of the world,
Whitman imparted a planet-embracing blessing from America
to the world:
I salute all the inhabitants of the earth...
Good will to you all, from me and America sent!
Toward you all, in America's name,
I give the sign of democracy.
My spirit has pass'd in compassion around the whole earth....
I have taken my stand on the tips of peninsulas
and on the peaks of high embedded rocks
to cry: Salut au monde!
How could he suspect the Long Island along whose shore
he heard and observed mockingbirds as a boy
and from whose eastern tip he beamed
his "Salut au Monde" blessing as a man
would a century and a half later be
an overdeveloped Manhattan suburb more famous
as the place where Joey Buttafuoco's jailbait girlfriend
shot his wife in the head?
Damn the terrorists for provoking a run on flags,
for making the flag factories work overtime,
for reintroducing the bill to ban flag-burning,
for making Winston Smith love Big Brother even more,
for increasing likelihood Bush will be re-elected in 2004
(like hostage-taking terrorists in '79 knocked
Carter out of the White House and put Reagan in),
for making Bush a big hero for no other reason than
he's our country-right-or-wrong's Commander in Chief,
for unifying the country around the Son of Desert Storm,
for intensifying the threat the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge
will be drilled, every last drop of oil be squeezed out of the earth
and burned, rather than accelerate transition to non-fossil fuels,
for putting Global Warming on the back burner,
for putting the Rainforest Holocaust on the back burner,
for putting the whole spectrum of the Environmental Crisis
on an even more remote back burner,
for distracting attention from Population Bomb terrorism
fomented by Vatican rather than Taliban,
for riling up chauvinism in America despite Ferlinghetti's
1958 warning that nationalism is "the idiotic superstition
that would blow up the world."
Damn the terrorists for following the example set by U.S.A.
at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The first "skyscraper" was only 130 ft. high,
built on Manhattan in 1870 when land began running out on the island
the Dutch bought from the Indians for a mess of glass beads.
The Woolworth Building babel'd 60 stories heavenward in 1913.
The Chrysler Building 77 stories in 1930, from the top of which Lorca
shouted out his warning about planet-raping skyscrapers
just before the Empire State Building was built:
Now there's no one to mourn the wounds of elephants.
There are only millions of blacksmiths
forging chains for the children to come,
There is only a mob of laments
unbuttoning their shirts in hope of the bullet
and dark nymphs of pestilence scream.
—the Jesus Chrysler Building that crucified the Biosphere,
from the top of which Federico Garcia Lorca wept
over the New Jerusalem and the New Golgotha,
and wept over the New Roman Empire's gunboat diplomacy,
and wept over the Hudson River "drunk on oil" vomiting into the bay
above Staten Island where New York would come to accumulate
one of the largest/foulest mountains of stench-exuding garbage
in the world, to which the debris of the World Trade Center
would be trucked 70 years after Lorca wept over the New Rome
from the top of the Chrysler Building:
I denounce the people
that lifts its cement mounds
where the hearts of animals beat,
where we'll all tumble down
in the final merrymaking....
I denounce the conspiracy
of these office buildings
that don't broadcast agonies
and that erase the jungles.
If still alive, wouldn't Lorca denounce skyscrapers that don't broadcast
agonies of a half million Iraqi children UNICEF says were killed
by U.S.-led sanctions, or the fact the lush rainforests
crucial to the continuation of life on Earth have been vanishing
a footballfield per second since the 1980s?
A mere year after the Chrysler Building,
the Empire State Building, 102 stories,
was completed in 1931 and, soon after, King Kong,
symbolizing what's left of the Natural World
in the form of a giant ape, climbed to the top
while Air Force planes, foreboding an upcoming
Massacre of Endangered Species, shot him down
and he dropped to the street in the movie that came out
68 years before people were jumping off the top
of the World Trade Center, not because as in 1929 the Stock Market crashed,
but because America's oil-driven foreign policy crashed
into the precariously tall temples it built to its god of Commerce,
because the bombardment of Baghdad launched by Bush Sr.
returned like a radar-proof boomerang to haunt Bush Jr.
The oil-driven war against the Earth known as the Industrial Revolution
crashed into the Ozone Layer that protects the Earth from the Sun,
and the karma of America's getting drunk on oil for over a century
crashed into skyscrapers like a drunken-driver into World History.
What if Black Elk in his old age, instead of converting heartbroken
to Catholicism and waiting heartbroken on the reservation
for John Neihardt to write down his heartbreaking story,
what if, instead of weeping on Mt. Harney, Black Elk had taken
flying lessons from Orville Wright and what if he had tried to fly
a biplane into the Empire State Building soon after it was completed
in 1931, to protest the U.S. Calvary's genocide of the Indians
and Buffalo Bill's genocide of the buffalo to make the world safe
for McDonald's? But, as the movie King Kong showed,
biplanes are indeed mere mosquitos to skyscrapers.
On a foggy Saturday in 1945, a B-52 headed for Newark
crashed into the Catholic War Relief Services offices
on the 79th floor, killing the pilot and thirteen others.
Despite fire damage and a gaping 20-foot hole,
the building was open for business on Monday morning.
And what if Black Elk had—heavenforbid!—flown a biplane
into the Chrysler Bldg while Lorca was proclaiming therefrom?
And what if—what if!—Allen Ginsberg had not died in 1997
and had been on the roof of Tower One making a musicvideo
titled "Half Million Iraqi Children, Three Million Congolese"
to the tune of his "September on Jessore Road"
with Dylan, McCartney, Sting, Springsteen, Bono
and Willie Nelson when the jet crashed
minutes after Allen et al had coffee served by the guy
everyone liked whose day job was breakfast cook
in the Windows on the World restaurant on the top floor,
a sweeter guy you could never meet,
played stand-up bass in a folkrock group.
Damn the terrorists, and by "damn" I don't mean
"damn to eternal torment in some bottomless pit of a hell"
such as Muslim and Christian fundamentalists mean by "damn."
But rather I mean "damn" as in "Goldarn those misguided fools."
Damn the Crusades and Hitler for inspiring Christendom and Israel
to inspire Muslim fundamentalists to crash airliners full of people
into skyscrapers, turning them into highrise Auschwitzes!
Damn the terrorists for unleashing a tidal wave of flag-waving!
At least this newfound ecumenical interfaith openness
motivated by an intercreed need for unity against terrorism
is preferable to, say, the condemnation of homosexuals
common to Jewish, Muslim and Christian fundamentalism.
More people killed in America by handguns
since John Lennon was killed by a handgun
than died in the Vietnam War.
More U.S. Vietnam War vets have committed suicide
since the end of the Vietnam War
than U.S. soldiers were killed during the Vietnam War.
America, it seems, is its own worst terrorist.
Yet the headlines screamed "Terrorism Strikes U.S.!", not:
"U.S. Foreign Policy Boomerangs into World Trade Center
U.S. Military Policy Boomerangs into Pentagon."
In October '67 Ed Sanders tried to levitate the Pentagon
with levity, not with explosives or an airliner full of jetfuel.
Yes, Ed and an army of hippies surrounded the Pentagon
like the ghosts of Ghost Dance past, except they wore peace-paint
rather than warpaint, and attempted to levitate the Pentagon
with Allen Ginsberg's "Pentagon Exorcism"
and the Egyptian Book of the Dead. A flower child
daintily stuck a flower's stem down one of the rifle barrels
pointed by the ring of soldiers poised between the
five-sided symbol of war and the flower-arm'd hippies.
Contrast that gentle image of potent flowerpower
to hijackers crashing an airliner into the Pentagon 34 years later
like Slim Pickens riding an A-Bomb in Dr. Strangelove.
I burn the flag whose foreign policy accompliced
the obliteration of two skyscrapers full of thousands of people.
I burn the flag that tries to enforce the Manifest Destiny
of the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" American Dream.
I burn the flag that stole an election
from the man who wrote Earth in the Balance
and gave it to the Son of Desert Storm,
the Oil Industry's candidate.
I burn the flag that supported rightwing dictators
from Franco who killed Lorca
to Pinochet who killed Neruda.
I salute the flag that influences an end to global eco-cide,
that promotes a World Eco, and not just Trade, Organization.
I salute the flag that promotes Salut au Monde world peace!
I deplore anti-American terrorism as much as Dan Rather,
but I deplore pro-American terrorism too: selfish self-centered
"national interest" (i.e. "corporate interest") pro-Americanism.
What about the terrorists who were trained at the U.S.-run
school for terrorists under the patriotic-sounding name
"School of the Americas" at Fort Benning, Georgia?
What about the U.S. (under Reagan) being the only country
ever condemned for international terrorism by the World Court
(in 1986) and then vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution
calling on all countries to adhere to international law?
What about the Contra terrorists covertly financed by Reagan
via Col. Ollie North: Arms for Drugs a.k.a. Iran-Contra-gate?
What about the U.S. terrorism against Nicaragua secretly financed
by sales of crack cocaine in America's inner cities in the 1980s?
And what about the CIA fomenting the military coup that on 9/11
in '73 overthrew democratically elected Salvador Allende,
resulting in his death, the deaths of thousands in Santiago
soccer stadium, the chopping off of Victor Jara's hands
and the heartbroken death of Whitman's grandson Pablo Neruda?
What about the terrorism of America dropping napalm on civilians
and Agent Orange’s longterm eco-cide against Vietnam?
And what about a "plan approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff
in 1962 to commit acts of terrorism in the U.S. and blame Cuba
to create a pretext for an invasion," as revealed in James Bamford's
Body of Secrets NSA exposé published five months before Sept. 11?
And what about the terrorism of Manhattan Project scientists
who systematically injected thousands of unsuspecting Americans
with plutonium since 1945 to test the effects of radiation on humans,
as exposéd in The Plutonium Files by Eileen Welsome?
And what about the "Stern Gang Irgun" Zionist terrorist group
Allen Ginsberg referred to in his "Jaweh and Allah Battle"?
And what about the environmental terrorists who are throwing
monkeywrenches into the life-support systems of Spaceship Earth
and the FBI doesn't go after them like they go after Earth First!?
What about the human madhouse crashing into the edifice
of Evolution?—isn't thousands of species going extinct worse
than three thousand individuals of one overpopulous species?
Pity the poor Arawak Indians and their Caribbean ecosystem
decimated when Columbus crashed the Nina,
Pinta and Santa Maria into Hispaniola.
Wasn't Spanish Inquisition Spain a terrorist that crashed
a Trojan Horse full of conquistadors into the Western Hemisphere?
Wasn't religious intolerance a terrorist that crashed a Mayflower
full of witch-hunters into Plymouth Rock?
Wasn't Ellis Island the American Dream Fantasy Island
that forced the Indians to occupy Alcatraz?
Oct. 16 ABC News reports the first bioterrorism attack in America
took place in 1763 during the French and Indian Wars
when the British gave the Indians blankets infected with smallpox.
So, America’s chief ally in the War Against Terrorism
committed the earliest bioterrorism in the Western Hemisphere!
Damn the U.S. terrorists who pretend to promote peace
while being the world's biggest arms merchant.
Damn the U.S. terrorists who dropped
two million tons of cluster bombs on Laos,
some of which continue to kill or maim children
who discover ones that waited decades to explode.
Damn the U.S. terrorists who rejected as inconvenient
the Kyoto treaty to stop Global Warming signed
by 165 nations two months after September 11.
Damn the greed-head traitors who sold out
whatever environmental moral authority
America might have had as result of
to steer Spaceship Earth clear of Eco-Apocalypse.
Damn the traitors who threw monkeywrenches
big as skyscrapers into the life-support systems
of Spaceship Earth despite Buckminster Fuller.
Damn the greed-blinded traitors who steered
the urban-industrial juggernaut fullspeed-ahead
into the exquisite beauty of Nature's intricacy.
Damn the traitors who betrayed America's promise.
People who live in glass skyscrapers
shouldn't hurl jetfuel fireballs into the sky
—even if the jetfuel is exploded gradually over the breadth
of the entire continent rather than in a splitsecond
into the face of the temple of the god of Oil & Money.
How many fireballs dramatic as the inferno'd Trade Center
are exploded daily into the atmosphere to hasten
an Eco-Apocalypse that could ultimately cause more suicides
than jumped from those twin pinnacles of human hubris?
Icarus falling with wings of flame from the 110th story.
Lovers jump holding hands as mythic as Paolo
and Francesca da Rimini in Dante's Inferno.
There are a million stories in the Naked City—
3000 of them have just had a horrific ending.
People who live in flammable houses
shouldn't drive tankfuls of an explosive
they complain if its price approaches
the price of Bovine Growth milk they buy
for their children. How dare the Powers That Be
charge as much to poison the lungs of our children
as we pay to put milk in their Sugar Frosted Flakes!
Meanwhile Tony the Tiger is devoured alive
by the merciless overpopulation of Asia
and America put a Tiger in its Tank
so it could put a tiger in every zoo
in every major city and fuel
carloads of humans to gawk at them.
People who want peace shouldn't drill
oilwells in Holy Lands so the God of War
and the God of Religious Fanaticism can turn them
into cyclones of soot for the whole planet to breathe.
The FAA wants the airlines to strengthen cockpit doors
to prevent them being broken through by terrorists.
But what about the terrorists who hijack Spaceship Earth,
who break into the cockpit of Spaceship Earth
and monkeywrench its life-support systems?
Those who monkeywrench the planet's life-support systems
are the terrorists to keep an eye on,
not the Earth First! Monkeywrench Gang.
Skyscrapers roughly shaped like Rockefeller's first oilwells,
Skyscrapers that are missiles as truly as nuclear missiles,
Skyscrapers that are missiles no Star Wars shield can
protect us from. Skyscrapers we climbed like Jack's beanstalk
to strangle the golden goose that sustains the planet's banquet.
Temples of Moloch and Mammon, whose priests
tell us we must go to war and sacrifice our children
so we can go on worshipping an Economy whose health
is predicated on maximum consumerism rather than
on Thoreauvianly minimizing consumerism and work
in order to maximize a freedom more real than
the cliché "freedom" advertised by the Flag Industry.
Isn't it high
time to modify the economy
such that mega-consumption is no longer used
as criterion for the health of the economy,
but rather the most minimal possible consumption?
Despite the surge of attention shifting to Terrorism,
isn't now the time to re-arrange our planetary priorities toward
the "Salut au Monde" blessings of democracy, sufficiency and peace
Walt beamed from tips of peninsulas and peaks of high embedded rocks?
It's no mere coincidence the Chrysler Building
and the Empire State Building resemble titanic hypodermic needles,
for skyscrapers inject junk into the sky, into the water, into the land.
"How long this Addict government support our oil-burner matter habit
shooting gasoline electric speed before Mankind's utter bust?"
wrote Allen Ginsberg in "Friday the Thirteenth" a month before
the first Earth Day. "When violence floods the State,
flowery land razed for robot proliferation,
who can prophesy Peace, or vow Futurity?"
That great eco-prophetic poem begins:
"Blasts rip Newspaper Gray Mannahatta's mid day Air Spires,
Robot airfields soulless Market electronic intelligence
business skyscraper streets empty soul'd exploding.
Sheer matter crackling, disintegrating back to the void,
Maya-cities blow up like Chinese firecrackers,
Samsara tears itself apart." So mused Allen Ginsberg
onboard a plane from New York to Chicago a couple years
before the Sears Tower and the World Trade Center were completed.
That poem ends: "I drag hairy meat loss thru blood-red sky
down thru cloud-floor to Chicago, sunset obliterate in black gas."
Reviewing Antler's Selected Poems in the Spring 2001
Chiron Review out of Vortex Kansas, Linda Lerner wrote:
What he's protesting is everything that sucks the joy out
of people, makes them corpses before they're legally dead—
protesting every inhuman act, however large or small, from
deadening factory work to concentration camp atrocities and wars.
He reminds the reader what it means to be fully alive, and to be
alive in the fullest sense is a person's only reason for existing.
A few months later, Linda Lerner appears on the frontpage of the
Sept. 21 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via a news service news item:
Everywhere were the painful imprints of last week's terrorist strike. The dust. And the lingering smell of death.
"I look at what happened, I smell the air, and it's like something that escaped from a lunatic's brain," said Linda Lerner, an English teacher and poet who lives near the World Trade Center along the Hudson River. "My neighborhood is still smoking."
She added: "It's too much of a close-
up. The smell was so awful, I kept
spraying Lysol. But nothing worked."
Cut to Phil Ochs singing "There But for Fortune"
before he hanged himself in 1976, depressed
by Victor Jara's chopped-off hands:
Show me the countries
where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins
where the buildings stood so tall....
Passage to India! Passage to the bomb bay of the Enola Gay!
Passage to a bullet through the brain of Gandhi!
Passage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
Passage to Korea and Vietnam!
Passage to Shangrila and Singapore!
Passage to highnoon nuclear showdown over Kashmir!
Passage to Pope Urban launching the first Crusade
in an attempt to force Muslims to surrender
to the worldwide urban sprawl of Vatican City.
Passage to Muslim fundamentalists playing into the hands
of Christian fundamentalists itching for Armageddon!
Passage to Cain & Abel and Isaac & Ishmael!
Passage to Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder in India in 1962.
Passage to George Harrison befriending Ravi Shankar in 1966.
Passage to Blake's "Tyger burning bright"
burning less and less bright in the forests of the night
while Hindus clog the sacred Ganges desecrated by pollution.
Passage to Dylan emerging from reclusion to help Bangladesh in '71.
Passage to 1984 coming true a few decades later than Orwell predicted?
In 1984 terrorism was fabricated as pretext for totalitarianism.
Passage to a Brave New World scarier than Aldous Huxley's:
humans manufactured artificially while endangered species
continue to be snuffed to make room for the Genesis-sanction'd
Manifest Destiny of human species overpopulation.
Passage to 2001—A Space Iliad, where there are two monoliths
instead of one, and rather than jump around in awe of them
the apes evolve so they can crash airliners into them.
King Kong meets Planet of the Apes
75 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial.
You Afghan in Afghanistan! You Israeli in Israel!
You Palestinian in what used to be called Palestine!
You American in America! You Brit in Britannia!
You Russian in what used to be called the Soviet Union!
You Aussie in Australia! You German in Allemande!
You French between the Channel and the Pyrenees!
You Italian at the tip of your boot-shaped peninsula!
You Hispanics from Spain to Hispaniola!
You Japanperson in the Land of the Rising Sun!
You Norwegian in the Land of the Midnight Sun!
You Indian in India and on U.S. reservations!
You Pakistani in Pakistan! You Bangladeshi in Bangladesh!
You South African taking your stand on the tip
of the Cape of Good Hope!
You South American taking your stand on the tip
of Tierra del Fuego!
You half million Iraqi children who died due to U.S.-led sanctions!
You Turk! You Kurd! You Indonesian! You East Timorese!
You Hottentot with clicking palate! You Hutus and Tutsis!
You Ugandan in Uganda, country the British originally
recommended as possible location for a Zionist homeland!
You Rwandan with machete bisecting Dian Fossey's brain!
You Brazilian gunning down rainforest advocate Chico Mendes
on his way to his outhouse!
You rainforest nations decimating rainforests that comprise
one of the vital life-support systems of the entire planet!
You Chinese strangling your rivers with dams to provide more
and more electricity for the still-expanding billion of China!
You filthy U.S. presidentiads that gave a rotten environmental example
to the other nations of the planet!
You bumsteer papal-bull papacies that promoted overpopulation
at the expense of future generations!
You filthy 1800s Indian-killer presidentiads that gave an example
of genocide to Germany humiliated by defeat in World War I!
You filthy presidentiads that betrayed Whitman's "Salut au Monde"
and "Democratic Vistas"!
Whitman took his stand on the tips of peninsulas
and on the peaks of high embedded rocks
to cry "Salut au Monde!" 75 years before Lorca
took his stand at the top of the Chrysler Building
at the southern tip of a peninsular island
and shouted out danger, shouted out warning—
shouted a warning to Guernica and Warsaw:
The Luftwaffe is coming!
The Luftwaffe is coming!
shouted a warning to Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
The Manhattan Project is coming!
and shouted out a warning to America and the World
about the Hudson River getting drunk on oil
40 years before a U.S. river caught fire
and 58 years before a million gallons of diesel fuel
went down the Monongahela.
Where is the hero who can transmute
this hellish fate into a heavenly destiny?
Joseph Campbell, pray for us! Huston Smith, pray for us!
Alan Watts, Meher Baba, Sufi Sam and Allen Ginsberg, pray for us!
Rumi, awaken us to our dervish planet spinning toward the brink!
Shalom Salaam! Salaam Shalom! "Peace!" in Aramaic
and Esperanto! "Peace!" in all the diverse languages going extinct
amid the "Buy! Buy! Buy!" lingua franca of the Madison Avenues
of the "limited time only" "going out of business" clearance sale
of planet-devouring Mega-consumerism!
Calling all avatars of compassion! Inspire pity on suffering humans
but also on the one-eyed lion and no-nose bear in the Kabul Zoo!
Oh let Rumi lead the dance to where
the Kaaba and the Kabbalah lie down together!
Oh let Rumi lead an army
of ecstatic pacifist dervishes
spinning like hejira gyroscopes,
spinning so fast all possibility of violence
is lost amid the need to maintain centered balance.
I take my stand on the tip of my tongue
and on the tip of my heightened brainlobes
to cry: Salut au World Peace!
Salut au World Joy!
Salut au Monde O Poets to Come,
annunciate with angelic tongue!
Salut au ever-expanding love of this
beautiful precious endangered planet!
Salut au Peace in every language
that ever evolved in the human skull!
Salaam Shalom! Shalom Salaam!
Shalom Salaam! Salaam Shalom!
[Used by permission of the author.]
Between 1989 and 2009 via UW-Milwaukee, Jeff Poniewaz taught "Literature of Ecological Vision," a course he devised to fill a gap in the Literature curriculum, and another course he devised called “Whitman & Ginsberg: Liberating American Bards.” His poems have appeared in many anthologies, and in numerous periodicals including Earth First!, Greenpeace Chronicles, Los Angeles Times, Blake Times, Exquisite Corpse, Viet Nam Generation, New York Quarterly and The Sun. His collection of eco-poems spanning 1975-82, Dolphin Leaping in the Milky Way (Inland Ocean Books, 1986), was praised by Allen Ginsberg for its "impassioned prescient ecological Whitmanesque/Thoreauvian verve and wit." Jeff won a 1987 "Discovery Award" from PEN, the international writers organization. Lawrence Ferlinghetti called Jeff’s epic “September 11, 2001” the “best poem I’ve seen on 9/11.” Jeff was chosen to be Milwaukee Poet Laureate 2013-15. A volume of his Selected Poems will be published in fall 2013.
Jeff’s note on how his and Antler’s 9/11 poems came to be:
Soon after that horrific day, I told Antler “We should challenge each other to write a poem about it.” And that’s what we did. We didn’t show each other our poems while they were in progress. Only when we both felt our poems were ready did we read them to each other. Both poems turned out well but very different. Both wound up in two major 9/11 anthologies that came out in 2002: September 11, 2001—American Writers Respond (Etruscan Press, Silver Springs MD, William Heyen ed.) and An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind (Regent Press, San Francisco, Allen Cohen ed.). They both also appeared in Van Gogh’s Ear (Ian Ayres ed.) out of Paris in 2004. Antler’s poem also appeared in The Sun (Chapel Hill NC, Sy Safransky ed.) and the Jemez Thunder (Jemez Springs NM, Robert Borden ed.). An abridged version of my poem appeared in Free Verse (Linda Aschbrenner ed.) out of Wisconsin, and a couple cantos from it appeared in Big Scream (David Cope ed.) out of Michigan.