When the eagle lands: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

“History with all her volumes vast, hath but one page.”   – Lord Byron

 

“Is it only in the army in the Philippines that Americans sometimes commit deeds that cause all other Americans to regret?” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” – Clarence Darrow

 

Da Nang March 2002
Da Nang March 2002

 

When the eagle lands: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

 

Despite luggage filled

With packages of raisins

Jars of peanut butter

And other edibles as

Directed by Huyen

I felt as the guest who

Shows up for the feast

Empty handed – on arrival

In Da Nang

Despite numerous trips to

Tijuana in my youth

This traveler was not

Prepared for the depth

Of poverty – starvation,

Suffering at every turn

It was easy to spot

Hidden behind toothless grins

The kind gentle hands

Welcoming this foreigner

Whose generous form was

Warmly and securely enveloped in

Skeletal arms – for those still able

Fragile, contorted bodies in

Wheel chairs or makeshift

Gurneys – smile with what is

Left to them – perhaps the light

Radiating from their eyes

Their parents exposed to

Agent orange – a gift

In their own best interest

Bestowed by America,

Monsanto and Dow Chemical

The same Monsanto producing

Between 70% – 100% of all

Genetically Modified seeds

Declare war on life itself

Flashbacks of mutilated bodies

Float into my periphery

As the chemical giants

Tally ill gotten gains – where

Will they strike next?

MARS, GENERAL MILLS,

KRAFT, NESTLE, PEPSICO,

KELLOGG’S, COCA COLA

UNILEVER – make up to

90% of food at your

Neighborhood grocery retailer

Under the auspices of your

Elected officials – whose pockets

Deeply lined from corporate coffers

Sociopath ideology; no empathy, no remorse, no guilt, no shame

The masses complain and complain

Yet fail to alter consumptive practices

One month, we walked the streets

Of Da Nang – handing out sacks of

Rice and other foodstuff

Twelve years later

Yet I still feel like screaming

Alone into my pillow

“Out, damned spot! Out, I say

*

Peace

Léa