Poem for Our Destructors

A Poem by Shibek

Monsanto is the Pope’s kneecap
Tickling the rib of shit monkeys
To erase corpse markers
Where smiles are lethal

Nicer than flaming meteors in bed
Monsanto chases the drowning toes
Thankful for trauma injuries
To hunt the human cells

Monsanto the genetic collage
Profit swagger of a bloat
Tumbling injection infection
World’s merry-go-round

Monsanto the neem patent craver
Refusing to withdraw chemistries
Strangling the untapped genomes

Green wrappers on cannons
Make not an ecology
In this double helix hypocrites

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Monsanto Fat, Dow Chemical Poison

A Poem by Mary Simon

Monsanto fat, Dow Chemical poison
the beginning of the fourth generation:
we are what we eat, drink and breath,
we are what we make love to–
Monsanto’s cholesterol, flabby hearts,
mad cow diseased brains
Dow Chemical’s degraded genes, weakened muscle,
the slow decline in cognitive ability–
will there be a fifth generation?
Will mankind perish before the sixth?
Monsanto poison, Dow Chemical fat.

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Gets Rid of the Evidence

A Poem by Seymour Brownstein

A man was buried nobody knew,
His identity checked away from view—
Life can be a spiteful frolic,
A necessity to probe in spite of colic.

No one claimed him, no one cared,
A wretched face, perpetual woe,
Found in a corn field away from it all,
A man was buried, that’s all we know.

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How Monsanto Gets Rid of the Evidence

Posted on September 8, 2012 by mhbrownstein

A Poem by Seymour Brownstein

A man was buried nobody knew,
His identity checked away from view—
Life can be a spiteful frolic,
A necessity to probe in spite of colic.

No one claimed him, no one cared,
A wretched face, perpetual woe,
Found in a corn field away from it all,
A man was buried, that’s all we know.

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A More Perfect Union

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Catch A Match

A Poem by A.J. Huffman

strike moment, I spark.  Catch, flame, fly. 
Consuming my surroundings, I sputter, cough, choke
on the repercussions of my success.  Flicker, fall
out.  Puff, I slink away in one last breath
of smoked regret.

Thousands of miles away, a companion
strikes a cigarette outside Dow Chemical headquarters,
watches clouds lightly streak pristine sky, stands
gloriously ignorant, oblivious to the disastrous
havoc I, his billion-dollar brainchild, have
ravaged across innocent lands.

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Because of Agent Orange

A Poem by M. Lapin

There are things you must explain to me
darkness is one, the red flare of light another

Again the morning sky overcast and dust,
a pallor of bruised flesh and blackened eyes.
Again the rains do not come, a stutter of thunder,
lightning the blink of a bulb burning out. Nothing more.

Every child who died before birth from Agent Orange poisoning
entered the night sky a new star—
every child who died before the age of ten from Agent Orange poisoning
entered the day sky dust particles and acid.

Again the afternoon dry and quiet, the wind
curse words and disease, a spread of injury.
Again evening came with the silence of the screech owl.
Again the sky cleared, the stars shined,

we could see clearly exactly what we caused.

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When We Were Savages

When We Were Savages
a collaborative poem in five parts by the Jeff City Poets:
Michael H. Brownstein
Kurt Groner
Bob Boldt
Dick Dalton
& Michael E. Strosahl

I—Ota Benga (c.1883-March 20,1916)
Michael H. Brownstein

I was the hunter of elephants—
I fed my village for weeks at a time—
but I made two mistakes:
I welcomed the men with no skin
and I did not die a warrior’s death
when they killed everyone in my clan.
I fought hard and took many of them
before they captured me whole.
Why did they not kill me?
They told about lessons to be learned,
but they underestimated a hunter of elephants.

it was a man without skin
who bought my freedom,
took me to his world
away from forests and glades
to a place of noise and metal.

Yes, I returned home,
but there was no one to return to.
Yes, they put me on exhibit when I came back,
these strange people gawked,
wanting to sit at the same table as me
and, yes, my teeth,
sharpened into canines,
frightened and thrilled them.

It’s just that I missed the forest.
I was an elephant hunter,
a great man of my people,
a provider and warrior—
how sad I could not return when I wanted.
In my soft unnatural bed
I dreamt of going home,
finding a mate,
beginning a new clan—
wasn’t I the hunter of elephants?
The Great War got in the way,
men with no skin fighting men with no skin
and I did not understand.

I could not die a warrior’s death
I with capped teeth
living in a room without trees,
without brush.
This was no way to live—
the glory of teeth hidden from view,
dressed in clothing that chafed
skin and soul,
working in a large building,
making things of no intrinsic value.
So I let myself die—
the gun a weapon of my enemies
and in the battle to death,
I died a warrior,
the hunter of elephants.

There are many myths about me,
many more lies.
Remember me not
as the caged man in St Louis,
not as an exhibit in Washington DC,
nor as a man behind metal in the Bronx,
but as a man.

I was on view,
I was an exhibit,
but I was never a slave.
Yes, I gorged on bananas,
yes, I bragged about my teeth,
yes, I snarled better than the lion nearby
yes, I knew how to put on a show.

I was the first performance artist,
but never a prisoner in a cage for long—
just enough to look into the faces
of men who could never outdo me.

II-Ishi (c.1861-March 25, 1916)
Kurt Groner

I was a man of no name, from the Yahi people,
people who were brought to an end with the rush for gold

My people were no more, the last died at Three Knolls
I went to hide in the wilderness

When found by the white men,
my wrists were bound—
I just smiled and gave them no fight

They called me Ishi, Yana for ‘man’,
but I gave them no name,
for there was no one of my people
to speak it for me

I was put on display as the ‘wild savage’
I was studied like a specimen at the University,
was given a job as a janitor

They recorded my voice
to leave a trace of our language and customs

I was sick with consumption and ready to die,
I dreamed of my people,
I saw bright lights and wondered
what would be next for me
from the shadows of a life I no longer lived

With the rattle of my last gasp,
I said my goodbye:
“You stay, I go”

III-Minik Wallace (c.1890-October 29, 1918)
Bob Boldt

I lie here, one in a sea
of cots and coughing bodies,
heaving our last.
I lie, Minik, the first and last,
Inuit son of a mighty hunter.

Icebergs float past my bed
in this municipal gymnasium,
now a field hospital.
Sometimes the icebergs
become starched nurses
making rounds,
followed by pallbearers.
All around, the smell of antiseptic
and the breath of death
no delirium can staunch.

Yesterday, I smelled fresh seal blubber
hung in the cold air to dry.
Why did I come back here if not to die
in the bad air of this new world?
Now I will ride the smoke to see
this Jesus or my mighty hunter father,
whichever can get to me first across
the icy wastes of Paradise.
I still remember
when Robert Peary took us off
to where the giant icicles
pierce the grey sky.
Manhattan they called it
and they called me Wallace,
Minik Wallace.

Why did they carry me to this cursed land
of fouled air and fish in cans?
This land I cannot understand
and cannot leave;
this land of the psychopaths.
In my childhood,
I only met one of these kunlangetese.
On my island these issues were resolved:
thirteen went hunting that day,
twelve returned.
I thank Mr. Peary and the Museum for my education,
and I understand perjury.
I would give all the Bibles in the world
for a good kayak and a whalebone harpoon.

IV-I Transform…
Dick Dalton

as moonless nights
without stars
I glisten
with diamonds of sweat.
in the land of the free
I transform…
coming soon
to the home of the hypocrite.

was an outspoken Garveyite.
Our house was burned.
They said
“He fell
under a streetcar.”
in the land of the liars.
I transform…
freed with knowledge
taught by

Black absorbs
centuries of subjugation.
White repels
the heat of truth
his soul enslaved
his culture his cage.
I transform…
“By any means necessary”
striking fear in their hearts.

Justice demands,
“People of color take
The Hajj
erases color
for the few who see the soul.
I am Malcolm X
an outspoken messenger of Allah.
Our house is bombed.
I transform…

Look inside.
for the bell of the streetcar.

V-Who Really Were the Savages?
Michael E. Strosahl

At Circus World in Baraboo,
we played the freaks,
we were the baboons,
the ferocious feline
stalking the bars of a cart,
back and forth,
while mom laughed,
snapping pictures
of her captured monsters.

At Niabi and
even Lincoln Park in Chicago,
we wandered between enclosures,
amazed by beasts on display,
making faces at the animals until
smacked on the back of the head,
herded on to the next display.

I was still riding in grocery carts
when I asked my mom
why that man by the carrots
did not take a bath.
I remember her turning red,
embarrassed as he looked up
and we quietly moved away
while she explained
we come in many shades

and that was all it took for me.
Yet I can claim no innocence
to other differences:
pointing at the woman with no legs,
laughing at the man in his dress,
whispering about those girls
dolled up and standing on street corners.

I read somewhere
that once a zoo in the Bronx
put a man on display—
a distant savage out of place
for visitors to watch
as he paced his enclosure,
watching us
watch him,
making faces as we
twisted ours,
holding back a snarl
as we roared

and I stopped to think,
remembering the circus,
the zoos,
gawking at those on display
as if they were ours to judge.
Were they so strange
in those distant days,
in those recent yesters,
when we would stare
and they would shrink in fear?
Though they were our captives,
the thought occurs now that

we were the savages.

Posted in Bob Boldt, Dick Dalton, Kurt Groner, Maik Strosahl, Michael E. Strosahl, Michael H. Brownstein | Leave a comment

Dislocated Arms

A Poem by Tim Staley

I’ve read enough women poets to know
they bleed for life
and men bleed against it.
I buried the soldier in me
like a placenta that still
pulses underground.
Lynn Strongin says,
tough-minded poetry
will necessarily
be the most triumphant
in the end.

A mind isn’t tough at all,
it’s blown to shreds in a second.

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