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MITA'AM - A Review of Literature and Radical Thought, Edited by Yitzhak Laor

 

STEEPED : In The World of Tea. A Literay anthology

 

poem:

YOUKNOWOMSAYIN

Jack Hirschman

30 Oct. 2004

How many sons and daughters
of all the hundreds of men and women in Congress
are fighting in Iraq? Two.

Well, it’s a volunteer army
and the men and women in Congress, what with
deals and private investments,
are pretty much all of them millionaires. Youknowomsayin.

Their kids don’t have to take
a military wash because they’re dirtied up
with racist slurs, riddled with fear of jail,
hounded by poverty, like the 20 per cent
of African-Americans in the armed forces
(African-Americans represent only
12 per cent of the population),
or the heavy per cent of Latinos
and poor whites as well, taking orders,
doing a job on a country half of whose people
are children 15 years old and younger.
Youknowomsayin.

And I’m supposed to feel patriotic
and embrace this push for planetary comination
on the part of that junta of deaths-heads
that daily floats its moral abominations
on the channels of our despair?

Nuclear fear’s brought God back from the dead,
and Holy Wars look each other in their lies,
while children here and children there
are ravaged to the roots of their still possibly
innocent smiles.

In their little heads, in their doorways and beds,
they wish they may, they wish they might
bury you, you killer squirt,
for all the children that you’ve hurt,
and they’ll throw happy dirt on your corpse,
Mr. President. Youknowomsayin!

 
 

Kabbalist, populist, and communist, Jack Hirschman has published over sixty books of his own poetry, plus some 45 translations from a half a dozen languages, as well as editing anthologies and journals. The poem "YOUKNOWOMSAYIN" appears in I Was Born Murdered (Sore Dove Press, San Francisco). A representative selection of his poetry, Front Lines: Selected Poems (buy directly from City Lights, buy from an independent bookshop, buy from Amazon), was recently published by City Lights Books, San Francisco.