Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sandy Solomon: Little Letter to the Future II

In our time, war seemed perpetual,

an economic fact: pay to build

a bomb, blow it up, pay to build

another bomb, repeat, repeat, repeat.

We stopped asking people of means to send

their kids to die, so war became a kind

of secret in the media—even in the ether:

When the poor fought and died, silence.

After a politician stood, hand

on heart, to signal his respect before a casket;

he’d lunch with lobbyists for a tank or plane,

(maybe less than useful, but you couldn’t tell

when the need might arise). Of course, to afford

all that military hardware, Defense

had to limit soldiers’ pay, which meant

their families stayed on what we called food stamps 

to supplement their piss-poor wages. In our time,

most didn’t seem to question why the system

worked that way. The way it worked seemed

to work fine, or fine enough, leave

aside the enlisted. Leave aside that our roads

crumbled, pot-holed and cracked; our bridges

broke apart, collapsed; our trains ran

late on wobbly ties. Our water mains

leached lead and burst. Our schools opened

fewer days. Our libraries shut.

We could have spent our funds on something

besides war.  In the battle zones that once

were someone else’s countryside or towns,

ruin, ruin and death, but we lived

far away in dreamy dreams: we gave

our kids their baths; we mowed the lawn; we worked

to pay off the car, the house; we borrowed

and paid off. Would wars never end?

They mutated one into the next.

Have you learned to resist the martial charge,

or are you fighting still for ruined ground?


 

Copyright 2018 Sandy Solomon

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