N  a  p a  l  m     H  e  a  l  t  h     S  p  a  :     R  e  p  o  r  t     2  0  0  9









the idling Black Hawk helicopter thumping,

the blades above drowning the world, 

belongings of four dead soldiers.

A black vinyl body bag—

an American contractor killed,

a suicide bombing in downtown Baquba,

35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

"To feel the weight of your comrade,

to lift the dead body of a fellow American,

who can prepare for that?"

Silence of the horror—waking up to reality.

A technician for the Missouri National Guard,

conducting military’s a “hero mission”,

retrieving from the battlefield

the body of an American soldier or a dead contractor,

with ritual and respect, from instance of death

to the moment  bodies are loaded onto a cargo plane.

Cataloging the names, transporting the personal belongings,

40 soldiers pay their last respects

before the bodies are flown to a base in Balad,

On one mission, a chopper and a second Black Hawk


carried six dead American soldiers,


an impossible fit if their bodies had not been so broken


from the bomb blasts.




For Allen


I woke up to reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poems

written in memoriam for Allen Ginsberg

speaking in ethereal tongue about an ethereal being


I began asking:  Allen, what do you think

of our predicament, our petty dictators

their New World Order; what questions would you ask me


as you did in the past about the Persian Gulf War;

your inquisitive mind eager to learn, urging me

to tell you my tale as we go shopping at the Good Will,


searching for white shorts and shirts, pots and pans and utensils,

as we eat your home-cooked vegetarian lunch in your apartment?

What would you write about the Patriot Act


my naked American Buddhist

gay millionaire poet

What would you feel about 9/11


and those Americans thirsty for revenge

the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq,

you who admire my poetic heritage


“The rich poetry of Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Rumi, & Hafez”

What would you think of bombing Iran,

the looting of Iraq’s ancient artifacts

from its museums while American army stood by?


America exporting its democracy

With its bombs and fighter jets.

What would you have written,

the great political bard of America?