FRIENDS

In some way are the surprising things unfolding
with Trump, especially internationally,
simply the same as they’ve ever been
except now Russia might be a friend? And is it
perhaps the case that politicians and pundits
are upset about such an alliance

because they don’t know how to accept
this new reality since for practically
70 years they’ve lived in a world
in which Russia is always meant to be the enemy
lurking, the easy entity of distinction and distraction?

The war won’t be quite so total
as early as they’d like, not beginning
on their favorite front. They are caught off guard
because it doesn’t quite line up
with the emerging Asia pivot, which was intended
to appease China a little longer, despite the obvious signs

that the American military and its allies
have been building up a presence surrounding
the People’s Republic. But now
they have a potential ally in Russia.
After that sets in, after they accept

the new Trumpian Fascism by way of acquiescing
to his and his advisors capricious orders
so far as they remain alive and television standard
comfortable, they will recognize that really this is
just the next logical phase of the American project.

Many are likely to be tickled by Joe McCarthy’s ghost.

The country after WWII was proto-fascist even then
with its militarism and anti-communism,
anti-poor, anti-black,
anti-anyone-who-refused-to-do-business-on-American-terms.

There’ve been slight moments of resistance
that’ve always managed to be co-opted, presented
as proof that really the United States is a diverse,
welcoming, and benevolent force for good
in the world, when in reality it is the scourge

of the earth, the bloody evil empire.
The narrative of American virtue is going up in flames
and the id is being revealed. Still, some are surprised.
Many horrified. Others have seen it all along
and never allowed their protest to be neutered.

But in the end dissent was always drowned out
just enough to suppress it, to dampen its cry,
to bully its hope into a numbed anxiety
of creative endeavors. The state taunts
the non-violent and the oppressed

and the seeing, often to the point of actual murder.
It has done this nearly over the entirety of the globe
for the sake of entrenched businessmen, kleptocrats
dressing and written up and published
and broadcast in and under the guise of innovators,

philanthropists, hard workers, benevolent overlords,
job creators, movers and shakers. And now
one of their own who like them is only out for himself,
perhaps to an extent just that much more
than the others in their small cabal,

speaking in terms just that much dumber
and embarrassingly banal, is at the symbolic helm
with a few new friends long consigned
to an arm’s length optic relationship. So the composed
elite are flipping their shit for a bit,

but they’ll find a way to keep building the maelstrom.
Others must continue to fight against the squall
of the war machine and its many fronts.
Primarily this will be through the work
of solidarity with those most directly targeted

by the empire of death. We must seek to be shelters,
proclaimers of peace and love and justice.
And we must be honest about how foolish
it must appear, to stand up against the invisible,
fiery, iron fist of state sanctioned hate and oppression,

but opposition is best done in the opposite way
to the modes of the oppressor. Yet, others of us,
like this comfortable white guy musing
must humble ourselves and recognize that not all
will react like that and can yet be friends,

allies, partners. In the end I don’t know what’s coming.
I’ve worked hard to see what is in front of me,
and where we’ve come from. My vision is imperfect.
May I simply be an instrument of peace
in whatever capacity I’m needed. For you. For strangers.

For enemies that could be friends. My sway is little.
Your influence is small. How shall we join in truth,
find ways to emulate harmony, radiate balance?
How shall we be vigilant and plastic,
sturdy and a cushion, just and forgiving, connected

and unfastened, passionate and discerning, life giving
and sacrificial? How can we know unless we ask?
How can we hear the answer unless we quiet ourselves?
How can we speak peace unless we have listened
to its deafening silence

that calls violent acquisition to account?
How can we demand others to let go
unless we too have let go? These are nervous words
reaching, for even with as much thinking
as I’ve done, as much sitting with the sick and dying,

our time now feels different, even after I’ve recognized
in many ways it’s the same as it’s ever been. The veil
has been lifted anew and we behold what is behind
the curtain and the flags of which its folds are sewn.
There’s no more room for denial,

only invitation out of the noxious smog,
a muted listening to the siren song.

 

Among the inspirations: Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States

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