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Sep 2015
they say you'll never forget
where you were on 9/11
i was nine
i sat in the kitchen
and watched the television
play out the violence hour after hour
my child-like mind conflated the Two Towers
in Tolkien's literary fantasy
with these acts of misanthropy  
and i was taught at the dinner table
that very evening
that all of life could be reduced
to capital letters defining a
cosmic struggle of Good vs. Evil

and yet
regardless of their affiliation
on this defunct
political spectrum of
left left
left right left
politicians canonize a legacy of
injustice and oppression and
in order to suppress
democratic expression
they propagate the notion
that dissent is treason

because the wars we wage are blessed
by the sagely insight of rich old men
who sit safely in mansions protected by
picket fences as white as their skin
while they play off our emotions and
turn us into thoughtless sheep
content to stomach the whims of
politicians propagating vengeance

i will speak this out even
when my voice shakes
because i have seen the hypocrisy
of this war on terror
that relies on terror
to cultivate more terrorists
in order to perpetuate the notion
that Orwell posited

war is peace
freedom is slavery
ignorance is bliss
isn't it

in my naïveté
i rejected the reality of
torture and murdered children for
i nursed a secret hope that
despite the pictures and videos
that served as empirical evidence
we were still somehow
the good guys and
they were the bad guys

but Americans rained white
phosphorous on Fallujah
dropped the world's first
and hopefully last
atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
we toppled democratically elected socialists
whose interests betrayed our self-serving agendas
cultivating a policy of extra-judicial assassination
regime change is the name of the game
just ask the CIA
they'd tell you
business is booming but
then they'd have to **** you

so i switched off my TV screen
and picked up books
i read Slaughterhouse-V
and treasured the way Vonnegut
looks at the lives of even
bees and butterflies as valuable
intoning "so it goes"
every time a living thing dies

i read O'Brien's
recollections
of Vietnam
a month later
he said that
like white lies
tall tales and
fishermen’s yarns
every war story
has a bit of truth

and i've seen the proof
in the photographs of
Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay
in the aftermath of drone strikes
that left pieces of kids scattered
across the desert sands of foreign lands

i see the toxic side-effects of
systemic violence in the eyes
of homeless veterans suffering
on the streets with PTSD
a flicker of fear livens a
deadened gaze at the sound of
every backfiring engine
as if they're a thousand miles away
on some distant shore

betrayed by their own
government once again
a Purple Heart is
a death sentence
when there are 22
military suicides a day
thanks for your service
now die in silence

like bad religion the phrase
war crime is rather redundant
and i testify not because i
aim to disrespect the
men and women in uniform
on the contrary

when i say
**** war
it is because i
cherish every brother
and every sister
who has perished in the
churning gears of conflict

they shoved tall tales of hope
for a collegiate education
and far-flung travel
down our throats
just sign here
right along the dotted line

we want you
to march into hellfire
we want you
to send missiles into
tiny huts and villages
tracking cell phone signals
we want you
to sit down
shut up and
just do as you're told

to every fallen human who
has been sent off to fight on
behalf of this
or any other
corrupt nation
i sincerely apologize
for not taking to the streets to protest
a vitriolic ideology

i regret filing my taxes
when 54% or more of our budget goes to
military expenditures so they could
stick an M-16 in your hands
and ship you off to die for abstract
and so often arbitrary phrases like
freedom and justice for all

you were robbed of your liberty
by a capitalist system that seeks profit
like a false prophet for
bank accounts soar in times of war  
and in my apathy i hammered
nails into your coffin

and i pride myself on  
being an anti-militaristic
non-violent anarchist because
i don't hate soldiers
if i did i would remain
silent and apathetic
and let the government
abuse its youth

i celebrate humanity
regardless of ethnicity and creed
which is precisely why i despise
this system that sacrifices
generation after generation for
conquest and imperial notions

pray tell
will we turn from the
error of our ways
wake up from
this terrorist daze
before it's too late
and say

the State can try to
whitewash history but
i refuse to let them
brainwash me
I wrote this poem when a woman walked out of the venue after I read a poem about overthrowing the government. She told me her son was in the military and said he had buddies who died so I could have free speech. I wish she'd stopped so I could've responded to her the way I'd have liked to. Guess this will have to do.
Pearson Bolt
Written by
Pearson Bolt  Ⓐ
(Ⓐ)   
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