by Gary Walton

"US Death Toll in Iraq Tops 500, as 3 More Troops Die" - CNN

Observe the flag-draped boxes
Descending from the airplane
With their feckless, sober attendants
Like so many cartons off an assembly-line,
Each filled with the remnants of stoic faith,
Inflated abstractions as inflame an innocent mind:
All this for what: another tank of gasoline?
What hubris! What calumny to call such waste, justice.

I know that those safe at home
Sitting in candy-colored SUVs or sliding
Off polyester easy-chairs will swell
Full of hot rhetoric and blast the skies
With their prepackaged electronic ideology,
But what real comfort are these words to the
Mothers, sisters, fathers, sons and daughters
Of these who were ground up under the
Savage foot of cold calculated commerce,
Sure to be forgotten in the next whirl of economic
Cycle or spin of the fickle political wheel;

It is so easy to feel smug with stars-and-stripes
Snapping smartly against the virtual blue of
A thirty-two inch plasma tv or shake with pride
At the band's synthetic crescendo that fills the room
With digitized stereophonic ecstasy, a simulation that
Feels almost as good as the real thing;

So, with such a slurry of sensory stimulation,
With such a flood of video-taped, prerecorded
Mind-numbing simulacra, it is no wonder that
We find it difficult to think, much less pause,
To put our foot out to slow the merry-go-round,
To cover our ears in the din of this cacophonous
Wonder, just for a moment, to take a deep breath
And hear our own hearts breaking.

Copyright © 2007 - Gary Walton
Published: 3/1/07   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem