Poets Against War continues the tradition of socially engaged poetry by creating venues for poetry as a voice against war, tyranny and oppression.

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Richa 

55 years old
Grand Rapids, MI

Wrote this poem in 1991. Homeless, ex-convict, recently designated [Ed Note: bio cut off in transmission]


Perception

We stand for America and you best not belittl’er,
‘cause we kicked ass of a would-be Hitler.

That stupid, treacherous Saddam Hussein
didn’t do what we wanted, so he must have been insane!

He invaded poor little democratic Kuwait,
killing babies, raping women, and spreading his hate.

But we weren’t about to just stand by and watch
while that power-hungry Arab tried to kick us in the crotch,

so we sent over planes, infantry, and tanks,
knowing in the end the whole world would give us thanks.

The pilots who flew sorties over that god-forsaken land
Could see little specks moving around in the sand;

they knew what to do thanks to their Pentagon coaches;
just drop their loads and exterminate those roaches.

Those corporate government mercenary—oops!
We meant to say, ah…OUR troops

Had the right tools to get the job done,
and like a video game, it was kind of fun!

The pilots above and the fighters below
risked their lives to insure that that madman would go.

Buoyed by thousands of schoolchildren’s epistles,
our nation’s heroes crushed the enemy with their Patriot missiles.

Look!—they just scored a hit on a military installation!
Rah! Rah! Rah! Feel the exhilaration!

Now an Iraqi propagandist (who’s probably got scabies)
told us it was a factory making milk for babies.

But we know better ‘cause God is on Our Side,
and anyone who says different just plain lied.

We know this is true ‘cause we saw it on the tube,
and if you think otherwise you’re an ignorant rube.

Baby, anytime you want to know what’s snappin’,
just turn on the TV; it’ll tell you what’s hap’nin’.

And as if that weren’t enough, we’ve got to be right,
‘cause we read it in the paper, in straight black and white!


True Peace

isn’t quiet
graveyards are quiet
isn’t patriotic
wars are patriotic
isn’t law-abiding
mass murderers make the laws
isn’t polite
the powerful crush us politely
isn’t tolerant or charitable
injustice is built on those

True peace is
dancing in the streets
a baby drooling in your lap
a child screaming with delight
an elder sharing stories

True peace is
the wisdom of solidarity
the courage to challenge wrongs
the freedom to make mistakes
none with too much and all with enough

True peace is
alive, raucous, fun, messy, exciting, wondrous

True peace
includes us all


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