Ground Zero

I
Rather, the face of terror
is refugees dying in Darfur
OFWs flogged in Saudi
Women sequestered in Kabul –
There, hour on the hour
people open the day
that blurs into another day
of uncertainty & despair
& missiles fall on any which way
Who’s winning the war?
Who’s losing the game?
This Texan drawls
that cowboys always score
in shootouts & ugly brawls
His Asian underlings
mimicking his crazy act
of keeping body count
on the rifles’ butts.
Ground Zero is wet dream
of Pentagon & Palace hacks
trucking out cadaver bags
of stupid young boys coming home
from Baghdad, Gaza, Basilan
where uniformed kids play with bombs.
They’re lighting candles in New York
but Ground Zero is everywhere –
In every heart where history
is an Uzi aimed
at civvies lined up in an alley.

II
& So they’re luckless victims:
The towers that crashed down
& buried their kinsmen
under the hot, smoking rubble
& the cries & shrieks of the dead & dying
would blur all distinctions
between victor & victim.
How judge the event then?
What banality of evil is this?
The stage had long been set
when white men crossed the ocean
for ivory, spice & black, black gold
that let hell break loose.
Centuries after & no one remembers
the first insurgent to fall
from a Yankee crackshot
& the anger Manhattans felt
is the anger insurrectos wailed
when they stood their forlorn ground
It was so long ago
few know about the blood-soaked bodies
of Indios Bravos in Samar & Tirad Pass.

 

III
(coda)
He received the morning news calmly.
Of course, there was unease unsettling him a bit –
The innocents, the grieving families & friends
gave him that sinking feeling…
But like a gyre that recovered its axis
he knew it was historically foregone, predicted.
They had dunked it in their faces:
The fiery flight was subalterns’ reprise
of what old mariners set across the seas.
Everything would come grievously full circle.
The tears, gnashing of teeth were the same old rage
that afflicted once the colonial natives.
Yes, sadly they did have to pay in New York
He could only stare blankly at the human cost.
It happened once. It would happen again.
Unless all receive wisely the lessons learned.

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