On the Road to Philly and Back, USA 2002
Paul Reinhertz , May 2002
“The Inner Eye of Certainty”,
the moon whispered to my heart,
“The revelation of knowledge without
experience”, he answered.
What will this mean ?
what will it accomplish,
This mad goal of the
The voice of America whispers in my ear,
with unmoving lips the big boss says, “India and Pakistan,
Need to know that war is not an option.”*
Only the war on terrorism, has meaning.
And the little boss signs papers in the Kremlin,
worth noting for its footnotes of senselessness,
That the warheads not be destroyed,
but stored for “quality control”*
And the little boss strolls in the rose garden
holding hands with Ariel Sharon, holding hands
With Ari Fleischer, holding hands with Condoleezza Rice, holding hands with the oil barons, saying
“We are closing the books on the cold war”,
and opening a new account on America the aggressor,
The only superpower, the arbiter of the free market
selling a bill of goods on Iran and Iraq as the axis of evil
Using old fashioned Madison Avenue techniques
to turn our minds towards wars of the past
Conflicts of sacrifice, vigilance, the good fight
quietly preparing the cold bed of Ashcroft’s self righteousness
Solid Babbitt of Texas, such an earnest speaker
with his broken cadences, of broken meaning
on why we don’t need Kyoto,
don’t need a Start Treaty
don’t need the tribunal courts treaty,
don’t need to heed global warming,
don’t need unproven scientific facts,
don’t need to hinder the free market
just a few tariffs for our own profit,
don’t need anything not good for the American economy,
“don’t need no stinking badges,”*
Either you are for us, or against us
O Beautiful for spacious skies, and for oil drilling
in Moab, Utah, in the Arctic Wilderness,
In the coastal waters of the new nation born out of the old East Timor, they need the revenue, God Bless Their Souls And the images flash past on the Garden State Parkway, of bulldozers and smashed homes, of babies killed in utero Of children throwing rocks instead of carrying books, of the church of the nativity, of manger square, misguided martyrs a million troops massed along “the line of control”
I pass the tollbooth at Bergen and pay thirty-five cents
pass the tollbooth at Viet Nam and pay with tears,
Pass the tollbooth at The Berlin Wall, and pay with my heart pass the tollbooth at Afghanistan and pay with my soul and at each tollbooth say, “Thank You” for the Men and Women Black and White, brave and timid, yet willing to put the endpoint on the history of Bombingham, the Sixteenth Street Church children, the only saving grace for the children of Birmingham who deserved to live children of Nablis who deserved to live children of Jerusalem who deserved to live children of Soweto who deserved to live children of Biaphra children of Bhopal children on the garbage heaps of Manila children in the brothels of Bangkok
And The Wichita Vortex Sutra* looms ahead on the New Jersey Turnpike:
a swirl of mass graves,
ghosts of Hutus, ghosts of Tutsis, of Bosnians,
torched innocents in Gujarat,
Milosevic at trial,
Netanyahu raging on the sidelines
waiting in line to sign his name in blood
on the pages of history
Saddam’s laboratories of revenge
an “American Taliban” lured by idealism
labeled as treason, sacrificial lamb
Cheney’s deprecating smile
mocking America’s intelligence
our ravaged fisheries
conspicuous consumption of fossil fuels
I open my New Annotated Bible and look for a prayer
Open the Q’ran and look for a prayer,
Open the Upanishads and look for a prayer,
Open the Bhagavad Gita and look for a prayer,
The Book of Nanak, the book of Zarathustra,
The book of Morman, Buddha, Baha’ullah
Remembering that we sat in a little Chevy Chase room
and actually were serious that “Donnie” Rumsfeld might
Attend a concert, might hear the voice of Rumi
might be diverted from his goal as secretary of war.
“Oh what’ll ya do now my blue eyed son,
What’ll you do now my darling young one ?
I’m a going back out before the rain starts falling….
And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinking
And I’ll know my song well before I start singing”*
What is temporal and what eternal ?
“Know whereby Thou art Allah,
And Whereby Thou art not Allah”*
What is contingent and what is everlasting ?
What is real and what is reality ?
What is war and what is peace and
What is “pulling the wool over our eyes” ?
Naivete’ is temporal, innocence eternal.
Try it. It will change your life.
* Donald Rumsfeld on NPR All Things Considered
* George W on ABC Nightly News
* “The Treasure of Sierra Madre on capitalism
* Allen Ginsburg on reality
* Bob Dylan on prayer
* Ibn ‘Arabi on knowing yourself