Monday, August 07, 2006

Don't Buy It

Where's the Sense?

How many people do you have
to make homeless to start
a revolution?
Robert Fisk

I sometimes compare
my family and friends
to the good Germans,
who spoke out against
the Third Reich, hid Jewish
families in their attics, then fled
when it was impossible
to be a moral human being
in the German Empire.

I wonder where we will go,
if we will leave in time,
if there will be any place
on the planet
Americans are not hated.

Yesterday, I thought I would
stay here, record the horror –
how Americans let
corporations destroy
our government,
ruin our schools,
squander our reputation,
profit in our name from
crimes against humanity.

I think of the Roman Catholic
Church, the union
of Empire, God and Money —
the Coliseum where Romans
gathered to watch lions
eat human beings,
human beings slaughter
one another –
before CNN.

I think of the farm
in the mountains in Pennsylvania
where I was born —
tall grain, flowered meadows
mist draped hills,
shafts of godlight
breaking through clouds.

Today and yesterday
farm workers were massacred
in Israel and in Lebanon,
farm workers.

How many dead farm workers
constitute a genocide?

I think of New Mexico,
O’Keefe’s amazing light,
the California coast,
beautiful from sea to shining sea.

I wonder how long Barton Springs --
where emerald water swirls
out of a limestone aquifer
we are unwilling to protect
from developers like
Freeport Mac Mo Ran,
the worst corporate polluter
on the planet – will last.

I am an American poet, a mother
who taught her sons to refuse

I think about Konstantine Kuzminski
who escaped Communist Russia
with a number on his wrist
and the soul of a poet,
who wrote torn language poems
for years, syllables in multiple languages
no one could read.

A million people homeless
in Lebanon, as many living in
bombed out homes in Afghanistan
and Iraq.

I think of Mario Savio
in the 60s at UC Berkeley saying,

The way to end war
is to stop fighting.

Possibly he should have said,
stop buying.

©Susan Bright

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good poem, thank you.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many homeless people, indeed. I met a woman in line at the Social Security offices who told me that she personally knew 40 homeless people who have died prematurely from the deprivation that comes with being homeless. I wonder who is keeping statistics on the inevitable results of this travesty of neglect in American society. When I hear of people who have multiple homes becoming a norm and see homeless people in the streets I cringe with shame for our careless country.
It is time we cared for our poor, the homeless as well as those whose labor is price fixed by the Congress while they cynically legislate to feather their own nest time and again.
I fear that revolution is the answer, and I am prepared to join in the revolt.

3:03 PM  

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