The columns of death glow faintly white
Within the forests of this destroying planet.
Here gleeful beasts track each other
Through lanes of winter and rotting heroes.
Of late, it has been impossible to caricature the kind of nation the United States has become; the deaths of migrant children in custody, the packing together of detained people so tightly together they must stand on commodes, the extensive efforts to provide more weapons to the murderous Saudis bombing the wretched people of Yemen. At what point do we cease employing the example of Nazi Germany as a worst-case contrast with America, instead finding so much depravity similar in character that we can only see comparison? All this flies in the face of the anodyne clichés dispensed in the course of public education to us as students: “due process,” “human rights,” “checks and balances”…melting into scenes from The Godfather where all evil is “just business” of our family.
And what a family we are, unrivalled in our aggression, persecuting and causing countless deaths due to economic blockades, threats to other nations to cease trading with those who displease the Dons in DC, and of course dispensing our always-willing “intelligence community” to subvert, arm, and overthrow any government that fails to knuckle under to our demand for a “favorable business environment.”
We leave you upon parched shores;
The iron twist in vines
Over our graves: the deafening sound
Of silence over everything.
Turn from the rebel body: here;
The crude question of the grass;
The spirit’s face bleary
With sightlessness. It is enough.
We leave you.
The first extract is from Kenneth Patchen’s poem, These Unreturning Destinies; the second is from his poem, We Leave You Pleasure.
Both are taken from Kenneth Patchen Selected Poems, New Directions, 1936