Can We Have Some Peace and Quiet Please?


The belligerent voices are yelling in the streets
& on the radios calling for the big bombs of peace
to fall, the smart bombs, the bombs that have passed
their college entrance exams. It’s Orwellian the way
everyone claims Orwell for their side–these days
everyone is fighting on behalf of Orwell and God.
Years ago Don Rumsfeld & Saddam Hussein met in
the corner & exchanged secret diplomatic handshakes–
it is only after peaceful gestures like these that the missiles
can fly. In the meantime, the time between the world
mean as is and the world we mean to become,
the endless rains are Yehuda Amichai’s tears watching men
still violently beating their swords into plowshares and back
into rifles & remote-control fighter planes. On the corner
of Spring & Broadway, a taxicab driver threw a baby lamb
out the passenger-side door–everyone in a two-block radius
ran away screaming. In New York City the yelling is
so loud and the quiet so quiet that everyone I know, just below
the surface, is scared out their wits, knowing the violence
these days that can follow an apparent peace. They are calling
Senators with empathetic American voices, urging earthly
generosity and kindness, which their elected leaders interpret
as a vote for pre-emptive strikes. The next century’s gods
have not yet been born and the last century’s are no longer
able to show a child the simple magic trick of pulling
its fingers away from a newly lit flame.