Marge Piercy: 9/11 Memorial Poem
Sojomail - September 10, 2003
|QUOTE OF THE WEEK||^top|
"I find it strange that the last place I can really quote Jesus these days is in American churches. They don't want to hear 'overcome evil with good.' They don't want to hear 'those who live by the sword die by the sword.' They don't want to hear 'if your enemy hurts you, do good, feed, clothe, minister to him.' They don't want to hear 'blessed are the merciful.' They don't want to hear 'love your enemies.'"
- Tony Campolo, quoted in Christian Week magazine
|HEARTS & MINDS||^top|
9/11 memorial poem: No One Came Homeby Marge Piercy
himself my lover. He was cream and golden
He never came back. A smear of blood
yet we could not know. We kept looking
with abundant warning. Not Max.
for her children, for health insurance,
They are going to eat chicken that night
The day is bright as a clean mirror.
pages, the novel that is going to make
In his head, naval battles rage. He
For five years, he has prepared.
The day is blue and whistles like a robin.
As there are trapeze families, clans
and those who inherit vast fortunes
The morning smelled of the river,
You can't bury a coffin length of sea
MIA means no body, no answer,
in a storm. Other lives simply dissolve
We die still expecting an answer.
brought into a stadium and never seen
father arrested and then vanished
must be somewhere, anywhere, lost,
In Argentina, the women marched
where people didn't speak English,
them or those they said had been
That no one should be torn
because of nothing they ever did
to dust on a perfect September
*Copyright 2002. Marge Piercy, Box 1473, Wellfleet MA 02667
**Marge Piercy's poem originally was published in (and made available to SojoMail by) The Shalom Center's email bi-weekly, THE SHALOM REPORT: http://www.shalomctr.org
|BY THE NUMBERS||^top|
Affordable rent gap widens for poorThe National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual "Out of Reach" report, released Tuesday, shows costs associated with renting a home are rising as incomes are falling. The study assumes that a family should pay a maximum 30 percent of its income on rent and utilities. ...The affordability gap is widening when compared to last year. The 2002 study said a typical poor family could afford $584 a month while costs were $899. For more information, see http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2001720491_housing09m.html
An interview with Bill Moyersby Grist magazine
Bill Moyers: The facts on the ground. I'm a journalist, reporting the evidence, not an environmentalist pressing an agenda. The Earth is sending us a message and you don't have to be an environmentalist to read it. The Arctic ice is melting. The Arctic winds are balmy. The Arctic Ocean is rising. Scientists say that in the year 2002 - the second-hottest on record http://www.gristmagazine.com/heatbeat/weather013103.asp - they saw the Arctic ice coverage shrink more than at any time since they started measuring it. Every credible scientific study in the world says human activity is creating global warming. In the face of this evidence, the government in Washington has declared war on nature. They have placed religious and political dogma over the facts.
Grist: Can you elaborate on their religious and political dogma?
Moyers: They are practically the same. Their god is the market - every human problem, every human need, will be solved by the market. Their dogma is the literal reading of the creation story in Genesis where humans are to have "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing...." The administration has married that conservative dogma of the religious right to the corporate ethos of profits at any price. And the result is the politics of exploitation with a religious impulse.
Meanwhile, over a billion people have no safe drinking water. We're dumping 500 million tons of hazardous waste into the Earth every year. In the last hundred years alone we've lost more than 2 billion hectares of forest, our fisheries are collapsing, our coral reefs are dying because of human activity. These are facts. So what are the administration and Congress doing? They're attacking the cornerstones of environmental law: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, NEPA [the National Environmental Policy Act]. They are allowing l7,000 power plants to create more pollution. They are opening public lands to exploitation. They're even trying to conceal threats to public health: Just look at the stories this past week about how the White House pressured the EPA not to tell the public about the toxic materials that were released by the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Grist: I'm interested in your explanation of why - I haven't heard this dogma-based argument before. More often, critics interpret the White House environmental agenda as political pragmatism, as simply an effort to stay in power and pay back corporate contributors.
Moyers: This is stealth war on the environment in the name of ideology. But you're right - there is a very powerful political process at work here, too. It's payback time for their rich donors. In the 2000 elections, the Republicans outspent the Democrats by $200 million. Bush and Cheney - who, needless to say, are oil men who made their fortunes in the energy business - received more than $44 million from the oil, gas, and energy industries. It spills over into Congress too: In the 2002 congressional elections, Republican candidates received almost $15 million from the energy industries, while the Democrats got around $3.7 million. In our democracy, voters can vote but donors decide.
To read the entire Moyer's interview, link to:
SojoMail readers hit reply
As a child and as an adult, I was the victim of bullies and helplessly witnessed the bullying of others. At least one of the other victims and I were taught pacifism but were unprotected by either our families or ordinary members of the churches, who sometimes witnessed the sadism. I am convinced that a miracle informed another intended victim how to escape one incident alive, but my willingness to fight for my life saved me.
While I do not claim there is a one-solution-fits-all solution to the question of how young people respond to violence, adults using scripture to advocate pacifism often forget that the early Christians were often killed in spite of prayers. Unless adults are actively involved in protecting children like Donis, these adults will seem to be telling the children that no one thinks that it is important that they live. I suspect that adults who do not offer to take blows for the children are not actually pacifists and are avoiding facing the children's reality. With the lowering of the cost of cell phones, children might be given them with the police and pacifists' numbers on speed dial. The pacifists might have a person on call 24 hours a day to help the children face potential violence. Without measures like that, it is likely that these children will look to violence and gangs as a way of staying alive.
Kevin Williams writes from Minneapolis, Minnesota:
You should rename your magazine to "Bushhaters." All you and your readers talk about is your hatred for the Bush administration. I've never hear a group who claims to be so Christian spew so much hatred.
Donna Vogelpohl writes from Sapulpa, Oklahoma:
Rik Wenger's comments in Boomerang could have been my own. I was raised Pentacostal Assembly of God. I think that is about as fundamentalist as you can get, and I left that belief system behind 20 years ago.
I really enjoy Sojourners even though I am utterly ashamed of the term "Christian" when I see what Bush has done to it along with the same ilk for the last 2000 years. Jesus was willing to die and forbid the apostles from harming others on his behalf.... I call myself a Jesusonian - for I truly believe in the life and teaching of Jesus. Thanks.
Thomas Heck, professor emeritus of Ohio State University, writes from Santa Barbara, California:
I like the interfaith tone of SojoMail. In my way (as a Christian) I am always thinking about cultivating common ground for the major religions - the Abrahamic ones in particular. There is one common ground that Jews, Muslims, and Christians in fact do agree on: that the region of Israel/Palestine is "holy land." Believing in equal access for all to this common heritage, I have put up a Web site [http://www.holylandprotectorate.org] suggesting that this region should be accorded the same status as Antarctica, namely, a nationality free zone. I have even crafted a sample re-draft of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, substituting "Holy Land Protectorate" for "Antarctica." The idea may be shocking to some. It calls for evenhanded justice and tough-love today, hopefully followed by peace for the grandchildren tomorrow. Please have a look, think and pray over it, and spread the word if you agree.
Michael and Karen Bagdes-Canning write from Cherry Valley, Pennsylvania:
Maybe we missed your point, but we were really disappointed that Sojourners felt the need to give voice to yet another rip on marriage [last week's "Funny Business"]. Your choice to print that tired old joke only helps perpetuate the notion that marriage is good for the woman and bad for the man. To find it in a publication such as yours, which we have come to know and love, is disheartening. The truth is that a good marriage is good for the man and the woman and is often the start of many "happiest days of our lives." We can't speak for all married couples but we can say that our marriage of 25 years has been a blessing to both of us.
Anne M. Mulderry writes from Kinderhook, New York:
A sexist joke from Sojourners? How sad it makes me to reflect upon the failure of even people actively concerned with justice issues to fail to recognize that marriage contracts ended/end the chances of so many women for happiness. The significance of the white/black contrast may be beyond a child's understanding, but surely it should not be beyond your editors.'
Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of views. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice heard? Send Boomerang e-mails to the editor:
Hillel Cafeby Yitzhak Frankenthal
It is now 11:59 p.m., half an hour after the suicide bombing at Hillel Cafe.
Just the night before, my wife and I and two of our friends were sitting at the cafe until around 11:40 p.m. The place was packed. I can now hear the sirens of the ambulances racing through the streets of Jerusalem. I cannot get the images out of my head; images of severed arms, decapitated heads, people with nails and pieces of iron stuck in their bodies, broken tables, the cake and sandwich bar shattered into thousands of pieces. What happened to the sweet waitress who was serving us? What happened to the young busboy? We were sitting in the middle of the room; all those people came there for a good time and were carried out in coffins. Is the high ceiling still in place? The glass wall shattered into millions of shards, covering body parts and swimming in the blood that spilled on the floor like water. "Shema Israel, hear O Israel," we pray - but Israel is not listening.
Read the rest of the story at: