Hiroshima

by Eric Chaet

– for Teresinka Pereira

You choose subjects of importance to everyone
& say what you’re saying clearly
so rare, & I appreciate it
& you’re brief—I’m sure everyone appreciates that
editors always love it
& most readers have short attention spans
especially, of course, since they expect poems
will be about the usual
personal sorrows & consolations—
not offending anyone who might advance the poet—
&, yes, the bombing at Hiroshima was terrible
beyond the terror & pain most individuals
will know in brief moments of their lives—
many individuals destroyed
immediately, excruciating
or over aching, grieving decades—
&, sure, Truman & the pilot of the bomber
earned some of the blame—
but what about the people who designed & built
the bomb & the plane?
& the rulers of Japan
who ordered the bombing of Pearl Harbor
triggering years of bombing across the Pacific?
& the Japanese soldiers
who committed atrocities all over east Asia?
& likewise the Nazis in Europe?—
& what about all those supporting the troops
& bombers on both sides of every battle, every war?
or who fail to find ways & take the necessary risks
to remove injustice & the consequent rage of victims
before war breaks out again & again?—
Hiroshima, sure, but Verdun, too
the Turkish Armenian genocide
the Holodomor
the European Holocaust
Leningrad, Stalingrad, Dresden
the Gulag Archipelago
Rwanda
Nanking
the slaughter of innocents
in Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina
Palestine & Israel
Pakistan & India
Biafra
Darfur
Congo
Black slavery & the Civil War of the USA
the Russian, Chinese, Mexican revolutions
World War I & World War II—
China’s population was reduced a third
during the An Shan Rebellion
during the Tang dynasty—
& Germany’s population likewise reduced
during the Hundred Years War in the 1600s—
& America’s native population decimated
over centuries of greed & misunderstanding—
& the greatest crimes go on day after day
during times of so-called peace
& prosperity or recession or depression
most people adjusting to being dominated
& learning to concentrate on what they must do
to avoid weakening & becoming one
of the victims of human crocodiles—
that it’s always been so & can only be so
implanted in their minds—
they enforce the subordination
on one another & on themselves
that’s wasting & killing them
& drives some to kill in a rage
& some to organize against some enemy
they imagine lives far away
or like an infection among them
but not within themselves—
you say hope wins—
I hope hope wins!
every day is a struggle for hope
& to use hope & courage & cunning
to change the situation!—
to love the struggle
not collapse from the effort
against evil-doing & the concentration
of nearly everyone on getting along with evil-doers
& with others likewise getting along—
you say:
we wish all bombs be banished
from all countries in the world—
yes, but, then, who are “we”?—
lions, tigers, sharks, crocodiles, & viruses
don’t want peace, it’s prey they want—
you know that there are human
lions, tigers, sharks, crocodiles, & viruses, too—
there are people getting rich by commanding
production & deployment of bombs & bombers—
congressmen run for re-election
bragging of orders for bombs & bombers
they managed to get for their districts
in return for votes on how to fund
medicines & surgeries & salutary or toxic schools—
not just one president of one country of one time
not just one pilot of one bomber—
Truman was just one mostly bewildered human
pushed this way & that
by powerful, more sophisticated men
who weren’t very sophisticated, themselves
& by events way beyond his understanding—
& that pilot had to know
that if the Japanese rulers refused to surrender
thousands more of his comrades would have to die in battle
maybe him—they were shooting at him—
& Tokyo had already been napalmed for months—
it’s complex—it’s a jungle
of humans at their basest & noblest
& viruses, archaeans, bacteria, fungi, animals, & plants
& minerals in solid, liquid, & gaseous forms
with all kinds of forces between & among them in space—
there’s always a war for nutrients & advantage
& there are always elements of cooperation & love
women always looking for men
who can help them raise children
& men looking for women
with whom or on whom
they can discharge the sexual build-up
that will otherwise make them unable
to operate within the consensus of their local quorum—
everyone’s hungry or scared or megalomaniacal
or some exquisite combination—
some more, some less considerate of others
or understanding
of those who look & act differently than they do—
you & I want hope & peace to prevail
we are related in that way
a subspecies
& both of us use words we hope will influence events—
so don’t take this as a put-down, team-mate—
I want our team, however informal, to prevail
& it’s far from prevailing—
it’s slight, weak
for most people, it’s a joke
most of us keep falling into neuroses
dying without achieving
what we started, at least, to conceive—
either winning consolation prizes or not even that—
we won’t be listened to often
we have to make what we say
as close to exactly what is so
as we can make it
as well as being serious & clear—
we have to be wise
as well as brave & strategic.

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Also posted online @ the beatnik (England)

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