LET SYMPATHY PASS
People vote for what will harm them; everywhere
Borks and thieves, bushes hung with union men.
Things are not well with us. Some deep-
Reaching covetousness rules the countryside.
The greedy one begins to eat Alaska,
The Carribean Islands, the rainforests, the Tigris.
What did Whitman say a hundred years ago?
“Let sympathy pass, a stranger, to other shores!”
When was it we wanted the holy mountans,
The Black Hills, what did we want them for?
Tamburlaine inhabits the autumnal woods;
Lame in one leg, half-mad, the old man
Inhabits the chambers of inaccessible oaks.
Didn’t our race make a deal with the old man
So that the boy in the upper room would live?
Now boars rush in and out of the dusky surf.
The two Bushes come. They say clearly they will
Make the rich richer, starve the homeless,
Tear down the schools, short-change the children,
And they are elected. Millions go to vote,
Vote to lose their houses, their pensions,
Lower their wages, bring themselves to dust.
All for the sake of whom? Oh you know –
That Secret Being, the old rapacious soul.
from The Insanity of Empire (Ally Press, 2004)