H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Mea Culpa


Robert McNamara

recalculates his numbers & concludes

it is presently more profitable

to sell books than to trade the life

of one American soldier for the lives

of ten Vietnamese children, each child

representing a gun,  a bullet,  a bomb,

an artillery shell constructed

& sold at profit to the United States


His fault, he admits,

that the numbers did not add up,

the children,  the soldiers,  the students

at Kent State & Jackson State,

an endless black weeping wall, we have

known this together, O beloved

sisters & brothers, my fathers & mothers,

my children, we are all as we were then,

numbers in McNamara’s inventory.


Lamb of God, Compassionate One,

Desert Prophet, tell me once again,

it was not my fault, say to me,

I am a hair on your head,

your sparrow,  a petal in your flower,

do you recognize me?  do you remember

my face?  am I still wanted,

dead or alive?






[Originally published in NHS 1996, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs96/index.html#17.]