Friday, April 1, 2011

Seeking Peace in Sacramento: "Gulag Guantanamo" at Poets for Peace

This grizzly guards the governor's office.

While in town to help with Poetry Out Loud, I read at the Poets for Peace commemoration of the 8th year of troops in Iraq. It was a crowd of veterans from the Cold War, and since I was in Sacramento, I read "The Reagan Memorial Poem" to recognize our former governor's contributions to peace. They were also seasoned enough to get all the allusions in "The Compassionate Conservative Blues" and "Hymn of Enough."
The tough thing about poems with citations to fact is that fact often grounds the discord in a reference instead of in the imagination. The inverse of this flaw is a poem contained in the imagination can be blind to the significant events of its time.

That said, I offered up "Gulag Guantanamo," a new song that considers the progress of Castro no longer being the number one violator of human rights on the island:  
If the law’s a crime in Gulag Guantanamo
make no scars that show, so no one can really know

Chained until you piss yourself,
chained until you tell
the names of all your neighbors,
the woman at the well.

The water knows the answer[s]
that’s why we poured it in your lungs
and breathe question in your ear.
So let the answer come, the one[s]
we want to hear.

Since the law’s a crime in Gulag Guantanamo
make no scars that show, so no one can really know.

Wine turned to water
for this cruel communion
Sheik al Libi’s mind broken
to State the Union…

Along archipelago from black sites to Bagrham
we've sown a bitter crop
and the harvest just comes & comes.


Tough town at the heart of it. It cost the guy in the painting his hair and it isn't done with him yet.

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