Tag Archives: grief

Sonoma Fog Light

268The last poem I wrote for Grace before she died.

I never managed to find a way
for you and me to live at the ocean
that and a thousand other dreams
I never managed to realize.

So now I drive up Highway One
through foggy landscapes–
you always loved them the best–
gathering the images of lupin in seas of grass
cedars and cypresses, sheep and cows,
barns and tacky vacation homes
all soft in their gray splendor.

I stop and walk along the Sonoma shore
pausing for you at the edge.
The sun breaks through the winter fog
shining the waves breaking up around black rocks
shimmering the water’s backwash
into flashing electric pulses
rushing to me through the milky air.
I know you’d know that vision
like you seeing your own true self in a mirror
like me looking into your clear bright eyes.

January 2014

The towers falling

I poured water for morning tea,
                    hearing Larry Bensky
           say “Airliners have crashed into the twin towers
                                          of the World Trade Center,
              the towers have collapsed.”
    I go into shock,
        dead to emotions,
                    before I even start the obsession
         of seeing the towers falling,
                                   the people running,
                the smoke rising,
            the towers falling
            the towers falling
                                               the people running.

Tonight Jimi sings
               “The sky is hellfire red”
         his guitar screaming
                   a healing theme for this day.

The distinguished panel
              of presidential historians and PBS pundits
        affirm our national resolve,
                  our strength as a nation
                                       to rally our forces
                                              to address this threat
                                   to seek out and punish
                                              the source of this attack
                        on freedom.

I shout “Get Kissinger!”
                 I see the bodies of Salvador Allende,
             Patrice Lumumba,
          I read the hit lists the CIA gave Suharto
                        to guide his slaughter –
       hundreds of thousands of Indonesians –
                                                      when he “assumed power.”
   Eliot Abrams affirms, once more,
              our support for the freedom fighter death squads
                                 we armed from Iran
         the freedom fighter drug lords
                            who free-based our ghettos.

The smoke rising
the towers falling
The smoke rising
people running.

“America was targeted for attack
because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity
                                       in the world.”
                President Nobody

Jimi sings Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower.
                              “There must be some way out of here.”

Finally, I can cry
           for my thousands of dead brothers and sisters.
      for my millions of dead brothers and sisters.

                          Ernest Lowe, September 11, 2001


This next morning I remember that many people with whom I share my life and poems have witnessed only a fraction of my two-thirds of a century. Perhaps they know the name of Salvadore Allende, in the news now as the courts of several countries, even including the US, consider the prosecution of Henry Kissinger for his leading role in supporting General Pinochet’s terrorist coup in Chile and the murder of Allende and thousands of his compatriots. (Nixon administration.)

But who is Patrice Lumumba? In 1960 The CIA assured a brief tenure for his democratic socialist regime in the Congo, protecting the multinational corporate interests in the rich minerals of Katanga Province. Through his murder the US put Mobuto in as a dictator who raped his country for the next four decades. (Eisenhower administration.)

Mohammed Mossadegh was the Premier of Iran who nationalized his country’s oil reserves in 1951. (US media ridiculed him because he cried in public for the pain of his people.) Alan Dulles, Director of the CIA and attorney for major oil companies, provided US support and direction for Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi’s royalist coup. The Shah of Iran’s dictatorship tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of his people. This is the basis for the rage against the US of the Ayatollah who finally threw him out. (Eisenhower administration)

This morning the SF Chronicle’s local section headline reads: Bay Area somberly wonders why. The media are piecing together the details of yesterday’s terrorist attack on America. An Arabic flight manual in a car abandoned at Logan Airport. The intercept of Bin Laden’s cell phone calls. But who speaks of the long context in which these “madmen” murdered my brothers and sisters in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania?

I misremembered Jimi Hendrix’ spelling of his name when I first sent out this poem. I can never forget his guitar’s shrieking of the Star Spangled Banner. His recording is perhaps one of the most deeply patriotic works of art in our country’s tragic history. Jimi felt the soul-ripping distance between our American Dream and the nightmare of our napalm and agent orange in Vietnam’s jungles. His anguished song calls us to live the dream.

September 12, 2001

(For these notes I refreshed my memory from a 1984 book by a renegade Wall Street Journal reporter, Jonathan Kwitny, entitled Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World. “How America’s worldwide interventions destroy democracy and free enterprise and defeat our own best interests.” Published by Congdon and Weed, NY. This is only one of many works telling the stories of American state terrorism.)