American History



If we go back, if we walk into the old darkness, we will find

Washington brooding under the long bridges,

The dead still ablaze in the anguish of the egg,

Screams reverberating in the compression chambers of shells,

Soldiers that disappear into the tunnels inside the flashlight,

Sioux bodies falling, and soap buried alive.


Sugarbeets that give blood migrate to the stars,

Drunken ward-heelers crawl in the icy gutters.

Our history is the story of something that failed:

A greedy fire is burning on our fingertips,

Fingers that turn over pages of deeds, fingers on fire,

Fingers that would light the sky if lifted at night.


Robert Bly

from The Insanity of Empire


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