Sunday, April 20, 2008

War - what is it good for?

I remember standing on top of the cold and gray metallic table on the yard reciting a poem to two African American prisoners and a prison guard holding his Mini-14 rifle looking down from the yard tower. That was five years ago. I wrote the poem on war when I was in San Quentin's solitary confinement as a result of signing the proposal advocating for Ethnic Studies in the college program. I had plenty of time in the cell to write since I was locked up 24/7. Once I finished the poem, I couldn't wait to share it with people. I had a limited audience then. Sadly, five years later, the killing continues in Iraq. Therefore, I want to share the following poem with all of you...

A Peace Making War

For Yuri Kochiyama, Nellie Wong, and the Iraqi people

By Eddy Zheng


There is a war raging in Iraq

No No No

Not the war that is killing human beings

to terminate a regime and set up a puppet government

to maintain control over oil and natural resources

to exert political and military dominance

to preserve the superpower status

to hoard the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction

No No No

There is a peace-making war going on in Iraq

the United States Great Britain and their allies are waging a war

out of desperation again poverty

the troops are hundreds of thousands strong

circling Iraq like worker bees

As a warning to the Iraqi people of their peace mission

B-52 bombers are dropping tons of food and medicine

to ensure Saddam Hussein and his guards from resisting

reconnaissance planes are spying and locating their positions

so B-1 bombers can drop loud speakers and radios playing “Blowing in the Wind”

As a humble gesture the Air Force waits until nightfall

and sends out stealth bombers to drop off more food undetected

Satellites are pinpointing the most poverty-stricken areas

so smart bombs and laser-guided missiles can deliver

supplies to each household with precision

E-8C Joint Stars Grounds Surveillance planes

are hovering over Iraq 24/7

whenever a child is spotted without clothes

Apache helicopters are dispatched to drop some off

whenever a woman is spotted being verbally or physically abused

Blackhawk helicopters are dispatched to send a team

of Alternative to Violence facilitators to settle the conflict

checkpoints are set up to make sure no one gets away

without getting his or her needs met

During all the food bombings it is reported that several missiles

full of rice accidentally went to North Korea

MI Abrams tanks are delivering yellow roses to all women

acknowledging their bravery for enduring an oppressive government

The 3rd Battalion 7th Infantry regiment is going door to door

to deliver books school supplies computers and sporting goods to kids

the C-130 cargo planes are delivering

tons of foods clothes water medicine blankets vegetables trees

Thousands of teacher doctors nurses environmentalists engineers economists


to rebuild schools hospitals houses mosques roads power plants parks playgrounds

F-18 Hornet Fighter Jets are making runs at the rate of

6000 food sorties a day

Day by day the troops are taking over cities villages towns ports

everywhere they roll poverty is eliminated

ABC CBS CNN NBC FOX are covering this peace-making war

daily globally

Citizens of the earth are supporting the humanitarian troops

people are pouring into the streets in shifts

singing “Peace is Flowing Like a River”

donating food clothes supplies money

writing letters of encouragement signs of solidarity

Police officers are all over the place

instead of riot gear batons shields tear gas bean bags wooden pellets

they set up refreshment stations help collect donated items

give out good Samaritan citations

As the war comes to an end

the only casualties are

facial soreness from smiling too much

exhaustion from delivering food

faint spells from the natural high of helping people

dehydration from celebrating

The Iraqi people are liberated

No more

sanctions hunger hatred subjugation of women

persecution of non-believers

oppressive government prisons poverty

The nations of the world are rejoicing

they are wondering

Is the peace-making war on poverty over?

No No No

The peace-making war does not stop with Iraq

rumor has it

Syria North Korea Iran Cuba are next

The magnanimous and fearless leader

Mr. George Walker Bush vows

until the United States gets rid of poverty globally

there is no stopping him


The peace-making war in poverty is spreading like SARS

can you hear it

Crazy laughter

can you see it

Happy tear

can you smell it

Peace potion

can you feel it

Mad love

can you taste it

Sweet victory

Yes Yes Yes

at last at last

for the first time in her-story

America lives up to its manifest propaganda

we are a peaceful nation



Anonymous Joy Helmer said...

Bless you Eddy;
I wish more people in the world had the vision that you have. The armies of the world have to be good for something. They can have a positive purpose. This is great! I would like to re-print this, if I may, and pass it out to people, with your permission. I love this kind of dreaming! Many thanks.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Khanh Pham: Thoughts on Online Learning said...

In dark times let us be skillful enough
to learn how to fly in the darkness like bats.

Let me be healthy enough to vomit the lies
we are obliged to swallow every day.

Let me be brave enough to have the courage to be alone
and brave enough to choose the risk of being together
because teeth have no use out of the mouth
And fingers make no sense without hands.

Let me be experienced enough to know
we may be compatriots and contemporaries
of all who have a will for beauty and a will for justice
no matter where they are born or when they live
because we do not believe in the borders of maps or time.

Let me be crazy enough to be called crazy
like the Argentinean madres, the locas, the gnats
who refused to forget in times of obligatory amnesia.

And let me be stubborn enough to go on believing
against all evidence
that the human condition is worth the trouble
because we are badly damaged, quite wrong
but we are still unfinished.

Eduardo Galeano

10:15 PM  
Blogger Eddy said...

Joy is flowing like a river
flowing out of you and me
you may share the poem with others
it should be our duties to spread the idea of peace
we can always dream

10:37 PM  
Blogger John Heckler said...

Hello Eddy,

I just want to say that this poem is a masterpiece and should be published, with copies going to former President Bush, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice, etc. It should be bound in a guilded leather volume and kept in the Library of Congress. All the hardship you have endured has only made you stronger and given you more character to succeed and live the American dream. Best Regards,

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