Declaring War

“The Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war…. Congress approved its last formal declaration of war during World War II. Since that time it has agreed to resolutions authorizing the use of military force and continues to shape U.S. military policy through appropriations and oversight.”1

Since 1942
our government has decided that
“war”
no longer need be declared.
War is bad.
We are not at war.
We merely “authorize the use of military force.”

And, oh, what force we have authorized!
We, the strongest military on earth,
with nearly 800 bases in over 70 countries2
who spend more on our military than the next 9 nations combined.3

How many millions of
bombs have been dropped
lands leveled
lives tortured, trammeled, taken
in our non-wars?

We are at war.
We have always been at war,
even if we don’t declare it as war
or if we declare it as war on an abstraction.

We are at war.
Not against terrorism
because war is terrorism
and our empire was built on terrorism
and terrorism begets terrorism.

We are at war
with nations,
with humans,
with life itself.

This is not a new war.
It is an escalation of an old war.
And I do not rest assured
by Congress’
oversight.

When you live
in the most powerful country on the planet
whose government designs death with impunity,
it is your duty to speak up for those who
do not live.

It is our duty
to call it what it is
and
declare war.

References

  1. https://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/h_multi_sections_and_teasers/WarDeclarationsbyCongress.htm
  2. http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21704817-presence-american-troops-foreign-soil-growing-more-controversial-go-home
  3. https://www.sipri.org/research/armament-and-disarmament/arms-transfers-and-military-spending/military-expenditure

Always & Forever

At some points I trust you completely,
naively.
At others, not at all—
jaded.

Who are you,
beautiful stranger?
And who am I?
And what is love?
And is it enough that we ask the same questions,
or must we wait for answers?

My heart and lungs run ahead
while my mind lags behind
and gets lost trying to find
reason in an unreasonable feeling.

A feeling I’ve felt before—
sort of
maybe
not quite.
No, never quite the same.

Is there
a First and a Last Love?
Is the quest for
One True Love
a fool’s errand illusion?

I want to imagine you have
no past
only a future
with me.
Because if we acknowledge our
past loves
that must mean that the
present love
is woefully un-unique
and could dissolve at any moment.

How can we trust anything in this ephemeral existence?

Sure, the cloud’s condensation cycles
down – in – up – around – through
the Earth and the Atmosphere
always
& forever.

It’s never gone.
But it’s never the same.

At some points I trust you completely,
naively.
At others, not at all—
jaded
evaporated
uncertain
and ever-changing.

#ShutDownChi

This is a “found poem,” composed of words and phrases seen on signs at various actions in Chicago on April 1, 2016 as part of a one-day Chicago Teachers Union strike.

Mr. Rahm the Rat Mayor,
Mr. Burns/Rauner Governor,

Go furlough yourselves!
Why do you want children to suffer?
You can’t put students first when you put teachers last.
Teachers make all other professions possible.

We pay our taxes, you pay for schools!
Fund schools not prisons.
Fund mental health not corporate wealth.
Fund black futures.

Tax the rich.
Stop the cuts.
Stop deportations.
Stop cheating our children.

Dumbledore would never let this happen!

We’re no fools. You’re the ones killing our schools!
Broke on purpose.

Class wars.
The unions strike back!
The force is strong in CTU.
¡El pueblo unído jamás será vencido!

We demand:
Fair contract now!
Equitable funding for ALL schools!
Elected school board now!

Sincerely,
Chicago

P.S.
Sorry for the inconvenience–we are trying to save the world.

 

My Name is Stavroula

When you meet me
when you see-hear-say my name
I want you to know:
the assimilation was incomplete.

Nazis killed ma’s grandpa,
burned the village to the ground.

Dad was born in Russia,
partisan parents exiled.

The migration of defeat:
Chase American (-Backed Junta) (Day-) Dream.

Middle class home with
off-white
picket fence
and a spit.

Middle child left home and
found it all over again.

What’s in a name?
A history bittersweet
of a struggle for dignity
in word and in deed.