Smoke & Mirrors

“Smoke & Mirrors”

Smoke like wild

fires burning

from a lightning strike

moving too fast

like a motor bike

on an open road

smoke like mushroom

clouds after the heavens


and become death

smoke like taking

away your breath

as you stare up

at the toxic sky

smoke like people

asking why

smoke like too much

apple pie

smoke like we make

others die

smoke like cancer

long after the fire


smoke like two cigarettes


for two decades

smoke like choices we’ve made

and bills we’ve paid

and wreathes we’ve laid

again and again and again

smoke like the sword

but still not the pen

smoke like heads bowed

and incense and amen

smoke like today

still mirrors back then

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We Can’t Forget

We are believers

we’ve placed full faith in

a magic that uses

words to transform

chaos into the norm

human beings into

disposable things

buildings into rubble

life into death (by drone)

bodies into ash (and bone)

cultures into terror (ized)


one religion into

worse than the next

and in the center of the world

we keep making bets

and holding our breath


for more

stolen treasure

spoils of war

has it been a pleasure

weaving hatred and fear

lasting a day

lasting a year

lasting a decade

lasting a score

our memories fade

as we sneak out the door

but we can’t forget


that have long been


and we curse now the fruit

all our labors begotten

as bey sings to barry

ellen giggles with bush

they can’t cleanse their guilt

from the hindu kush

where we pushed and we pushed

Sisyphean, we

pushed and we pushed

led by blind kings

you see

being all we could be

we pushed and pushed more

pushing three cups of tea

and two decades of war

taking kids tired and poor

hungry red white and blue

saying “this is exactly what jesus would do”

placing boys running kites

in the sights of a drone

but these are not sins

for which we must atone

as we get a VA loan

and ignore the fall

leave bygones like Saigon

and ignore the call

as curtains are closing

and darkness sets in

it’s Frankenstein’s monster

and our Cheshire grin

did we try to win

or was it all a ruse

dreamt by men of tin

who get paid win or lose

and although you might choose

to forget the past

it’s there like old land mines

just waiting to blast

it’s the power amassed

many fold all these years

by bush and by cheney’s

ethical peers

and where have the tears

that we cry now long been

for Afghanistan’s women

and children

and men

and for all the war dead

and the bread that’s gone stale

and the red blood that underlies

our fairytale

it’s a check in the mail

it’s pill bottles piled high

it’s the newsmen who still ask

“they hate us, buy why?”

it’s hey, hey, my, my

it’s mcdonalds apple pie

and it’s hamid karzai

an old unocal guy

are the taliban worse

than the warlords they fight

and who are we to judge

when we teach might makes right

my heart breaks for women

from Kandahar to Kabul

but would they fair better

beneath saudi rule

in the kingdom that bombed us

twenty years ago

and kills folks like Khashoggi

for sport and for show

it’s where our dollars go

when we fill up our tank

when we bow and kiss rings

helping fill up their bank

helping them to spread hatred

from west to the east

Wahhabist Jihad

an oil fueled beast

we tell victims families

to go and pound salt

if we knew it would happen

how’s it not our fault?

If the FBI vault

is cracked open one day

just what will all

of the patriots say

flags still on display

hate still in their heart

they’ve killed all the horses

they’ve burned down the cart

we think that we’re smart

but we’re stuck on repeat

we’re stuck on repeat

we’re stuck on repeat

perhaps it’s high time

we control, alt, delete

we hit the reset

so there’s no more Saigon’s

but I hear the drums pounding

with sights on Iran

as hawks eye Eurasia

and Eastasia too

the colors have always been

red, white, and blue

here in Oceania

the land of the fee

of A-Bombs and statues

of Robert E. Lee

where we sip twisted tea

and we pay our war tax

and keep wondering why

there were terror attacks

your alternative facts

never get to the root

but reality’s out there

just take it off mute

then turn up the volume

and open your mind

and don’t be surprised

at the things that you find

like the kingsmen behind

lying us into war

after blow-back that ricocheted

right through our door

when this empire’s color’s

sped from walk to run

on a September Tuesday

two thousand and one

as we all ignored

every last smoking gun

but we’ve made ourselves dizzy now

rounding the sun

2002 and 2003

enduring, enduring, but hardly free

2004, and 2005

jingoism on overdrive

2006 and 2007

blood-lust still from nine-eleven





we created hell when we promised heaven





the war has long remained unseen





nine-eleven babies now wear army green



we wash our hands

we cut and run

we think not of the damage done

as we went round

and round the sun

and round and round

and round some more

twenty long years

of endless war

but forty since the CIA

thought up a new game

to play

in this graveyard

where empires die

where there’s far more

than meets the eye

hey, hey, my, my,

the wind chimes ring

war crimes, not freedom

we did bring

and we’ll bring still

with drones in sky

forever we

will terrorize

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, barack obama, collateral damage, democracy, human rights, Khashoggi, NYC, peace, poem, Poetry, poetry for peace, refugees, refugees welcome, Saudi Arabia, taxes, trauma, Uncategorized, veterans, veterans for peace, Vietnam, war, war tax resistance, womens rights, Yemen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on We Can’t Forget

All Humanity

Aren’t you glad 

how, though just a tad 

we’ve started to see 

all humanity?

But isn’t it sad 

that it’s just a fad?

Though it doesn’t have to be 

because all of us hold the key.

Let’s grab tea, sit down and talk 

of a fate not scripted in chalk

let’s wipe the board clean 

unplug the machine,

and hand in hand

from our cages 

we’ll walk






at a safe social distance

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Medicine Not Bombs

They say we are at war

but if this were a war

we have left our soldiers

without bullets and combat boots

if this were a war

we have left our airmen

without bombs and jet fuel

if this were a war

we have left our sailors adrift

without so much as a compass.


That say we are at war

but if this were a war

and those fighting it

were this ill equipped

there wouldn’t be so many

innocent people dying.


They say we are at war

against an invisible enemy

but scientists can see it

and doctors can see it

and what they see is a virus

not an enemy.


They say we are at war

but war is a terrible analogy

though if you look

you can clearly see

a direct correlation

between the mountains money

we spend killing people

and the bread crumbs left over

to heal them



Posted in Afghanistan, america, american dream, covid19, human rights, humanity, Iraq, life, MLK, poem, Poetry, poetry for peace, taxes, Trump, Uncategorized, veterans for peace, war, war tax resistance, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Medicine Not Bombs

At the end of the day

You may think everything

is slipping away 

but we’ll be alright

at the end of the day.

The stocks that collapse 

are just games that men play 

so we’ll be alright 

at the end of the day.

We still have the moon 

and the stars and sun’s rays 

yes, we’ll be alright 

at the end of the day.

Oh say can’t you see 

that community pays?

With compassion and love 

my friends, we’ll be okay.

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First day of spring 

uncertain times 

songbirds still sing

the wind still chimes

the rains still falling down 

the gardens grow 

humanity has many 

springs to go

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The Quiet Of These Hours

It’s not too late 

to start a garden 

it’s not too late 

to plant some trees

it’s not too late 

for solar power 

or water catchment

or keeping bees.

It’s not too late 

to think of others 

it’s not too late 

to learn to cook 

it’s not too late 

to learn a language 

or read 

or even write a book.

It’s not too late 

unless we give up 

it’s not too late 

to turn around 

in the quiet 

of these hours 

can be where 

tomorrow’s found.

Are you happy 

and contented 

with this world 

that you can see 

if you’re not 

then switch the power 

walk outside 

and plant a tree.

It’s exactly

what we’re missing 

a real connection 

with the earth 

let the quiet 

of these hours 

be humanity’s 


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This Humanity

If the barge stops coming 

and you have more than you need 

will you share with your neighbors 

or will you give in to greed?

If the barge stops coming 

and the shelves are stripped bare

will you hoard a year’s surplus 

or will you be kind and share?

If the barge stops coming 

and the markets all close

will you let people starve 

or will you help ease their woes?

If the barge stops coming 

will you wake up and see 

that we are all part of 

this humanity?

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We Grow Posy Flowers Now

Our gods have all abandoned us 

mortals left to dance with death 

blindly in them we did trust 

stop your prayers and save your breath.

Lungs ripped out and veins run dry 

ash and bone are all that’s left 

we dance beneath a falling sky 

ignoring yesterday’s bereft.

We grow posy flowers now 

still poppies die in far off lands 

will we ever wonder how 

to wash this blood off of our hands?

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This Virus

No doctors or vaccines 

can save humanity 

and the planet 

from this virus 

known as capitalism

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