Big Bridge #10

An Open Letter to America


Michael Castro


Song of the Golden Harp

Nobody guarded the family jewels--
the history of mankind,
the treasures of early civilization,
carted off the shelves, out of the cases.
Traffic jams of looters crept past smiling soldiers
in otherwise empty streets.
The conquerors, i.e., “liberators,” stood within
shouting distance
but they ignored the cries for help.
Cries came from around the corner, around the world.
The troops stayed put.
They ringed the oil ministry in bombed out Baghdad
& let the thieves have at the loot.
The golden harp will no longer play in public.
The song we hear over & over,
“Operation Iraqi Freedom,”
will lack accompaniment.
The lyrics empty as the museums.


Collateral Damage

Bomb a city to get one man.
Blow up a mountain to destroy a cave.
Use a howitzer to splatter a mosquito.
Burn down a haystack to find a needle.
Napalm a forest to turn over a new leaf.
Install Astroturf to get rid of the weeds.
Pollute the ocean to catch a fish.
Make enemies of your friends to get your enemy.
Poison the air to extract the oil.
Cancel the Constitution to defend the Constitution.
Tear open the ozone to fart out all your gasses.
Destroy the company to make sure you’re paid millions.
Mangle the body to destroy a cell.
Kill all the dreams to snuff out a nightmare.
Fire the comedian to keep his jokes from getting serious.
Marginalize the poet & all the truth tellers.
Mangle the meanings to babel the language.
Dull all the senses so that nothing outrages.
Vaporize the checks! Stack the balances!
Destroy the village in order to save it.

Smash all the mirrors.


The Monsters

Saddam is alive, making tapes,
in the recording studio with Osama,
they click glasses in a toast,
they are like ghosts in the haunted house
we’ve found irresistible
in this horror movie keeping us up till all hours,
this movie we’ve made & paid for