POEMS BY ALEC EMERSON
George & Jesus
Copyright 2003 by Alexander Forbes Emerson
Poems herein which include proper names are
given freely to the public domain, by permission
of the author. Poems herein which exclude proper
names require written permission of the author
for publication for profit. The essay " Cold Comfort"
is given freely to the public domain, by permission
of the author.The letter, " My Fellow American,"
was published by the Blue Stone Press and by the
Woodstock Times of Woodstock, New York, in
April of 2003.
"Smart Bomb" is also given freely to the public
domain, by permission of the author. It is one
of thirteen thousand poems refused by the White
House prior to its invasion of Iraq and the killing
of thirty thousand citizens of that country.
Kindly refer to poetsagainstthewar.org for further
information regarding cancellation of poetry by
the present deadly occupiers of the White House.
BEAR PAW PRINT
68 HOSKING LANE
ACCORD, NEW YORK 12404
Also by Alec Emerson: SOMBER REUNION, c. 1989
As this work is not strained through a white picket fence, I will forbear thanks to
some who, while they deserve thanks, might be displeased to have their names
associated with certain words found herein.
Besides to those unnamed, I am grateful to the following persons for their
encouragement, or help, or both.
Ann Emerson, Denny Alsop, Bruce Weigl, Patsy Riggs, Francie Riggs, Cami
Lien, Nancy Ostrovsky, Carolyn Claire Widerman, Milton A. Widerman, Paul
Widerman, Susan Blog, Thomas C. Ballantyne, Kye Cochran, Betsy Cochran,
Mon Cochran, Will Cochran, o.k. Susan Cochran, David Larkin, Nancy Copley,
Bernard Rubin, Jeff Krouk, Astrid Fitzgerald, Richard Geldard, Priscilla Claflin,
Helen Dicke, Elizabeth Carpenter, Meredith Weaver, Doug Leonard, Erica
Funkhouser, Susan Turner, Joyce Woodman, Maura Kelleher, Julie Korenburg,
Sophia Gabriel, Priscilla Reynolds, Peter Reynolds, Sara Fernandez, Sasha
Puryear (I've got the corner of my eye on you!), Jean Puryear, Martin Puryear,
Lorna, Pia, Miranda, Kim, and Luke Massie, Richard Grossman, Carol Anthony,
Doria Howe, Katie Mayne, Katherine Kalin, Maggie Heinze, Rebecca Kalin,
Nila K. Leigh, Stuart Leigh, Ron Gullickson, Kyoko Yamaguchi, Tatsuo
Yamaguchi, Holly Leon, Lydia Leon, Gonzales Leon, Elizabeth Aprea, Morten
Lund, Meg Lundstrom, Rebecca Mills, Eliza Castanada, Mu Reyes, Russell
Robb, Sidney Werkman, Sidney Wanzer, Evelyn Smith, Jane Upson, Everett
Upson, Thomas Stucklen, Henry Vaillancourt, Anstiss Morrill, Ellen Emerson
Kohler, Lauran Emerson Dundee, Amelia Emerson, Daniel Emerson, Ted
Emerson, Tim Emerson, Aryeh Finklestein, Tom Benedickksen, Dr. Kim, Miggie Symonds,Steven Daniel Riggs, Christine, Naomi Anderson, Louise Wilson, Bill
Anderson, Gary Brown, Derek Campbell, Stanislav Kolar, Tom Benediktsson, June Beisch, Harald Kiczka, Bay Bancroft, Raym Emerson, and Jen Emerson. Thanks also
to the peripheral support of George Haralabopoulos, at the Rainbow Diner in Kerhonkson. Before easing out for his game of golf, George makes good poached eggs, of a morning.
Double thanks to Cami Lien, who drew the lovely print of the two seagulls.
This book is dedicated to the fond memory, in so many hearts, of Socrates A. Lagios
CONTENTS1 THE POETRY GROUP
3 THREE-IN-ONE FROM WORLD WAR TWO
4 FINAL VICTORY
5 NIGHT WATERING SPRING FLOWERS
6 FLOWER SONG
7 RECRUITMENT SONG
9 VICE PRESIDENTS
10 BETTER AND BETTER
11 SEXY GIRL
13 THREE LOVES
14 TWO SEAGULLS
16 FIFTEEN ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND ONE SURPRISE
20 IN BUS NUMBER 2
21 WORLD TRADE CENTER
22 COLD COMFORT (ESSAY)
23 MY FELLOW AMERICAN (LETTER)
The following two poems, AFTER FAIR ELECTIONS and SMART BOMB, were
contributed to Poets Against the War with permission to publish unrestricted by the author.
THE POETRY GROUP
Is this the poetry group?
Where poems are slashed like tires
on a sultry ghetto night?
And tea is served,
and sugar cookies!
Yes. I think I'll have a bite!
I need a little something
to sweeten up my spite.
Now, about my poem.
It is so sensitive,
I think I will not read tonight,
and spare you
a great joy.
The firewood stacked, somewhat loosely,
like bodies in Vietnam,
the odd limb twisted.
The wood, not thoroughly dry,
With some attention, the wood
The question is:
Will I be warm?
THREE-IN-ONE FROM WORLD WAR TWO
Three buddies I love,
yet two unknown,
a bomber crash,
a land mine blown,
who give the third
the strength of three.
How else to count
Three buddies I love,
and the one I know
"Your son is back,
in his body bag."
"Yes. Put it by the door.
The Superbowl is on,
and I want to know the score."
NIGHT WATERING SPRING FLOWERS
Like old man
Den Xiaoping directs
spray of bullets
of Tiananmen Square.
squat tanks churn
Chinese Take Out
of mangled bodies,
Obedient young soldier,
Blind bullets kiss
young wife breasts.
Red trickle joins
of old man,
night watering spring flowers.
I love the air,
and love to play with them again,
and give them fragrance,
and so this little world adorn.
I love the spin of earth and sky,
and again the dawn,
and know that though
I seem to die,
How to betray.
From Honest Abe,
to blow job Bill.
From George to George,
it's all downhill.
It's Tricky Dickie!
It's Tricky Dickie!
It's deja vu
all over again!
all over again.
BETTER AND BETTER
Facism goes better with rummy and coke!
Facism goes better with rummy and coke.
There's a sexy girl
on the assembly line.
Guns and mines and bombs.
She's quick, precise,
and oh, so nice,
with breasts to give you dreams.
Is her country Russia? The U.S.?
France, China, Isreal?
She is so sweet,
so soft, discreet,
I promised not to tell.
Is her planet earth?
Or is she in disguise?
I only saw her breasts,
and did not see her eyes.
She listened, only
with her eyes,
my quiet angel
Then, with her gentle
word, or five,
made me want
Your voice is easy on the years,
no matter how
they wander by.
Your eyes make my eyes happy,
they wonder why.
Your touch, exciting,
Let there the mystery lie.
Two seagulls call sleepily,
down by the pier.
Though dark, the beginning of dawn
must be near.
The duvet is warm.
I wish you were here
Sometimes, it's just a mystery,
how to say you're sorry.
greatest gift is faith,
though sometimes it's a mystery
just how to say I'm sorry.
The worst is fear,
Though sometimes it's a mystery
just how to say
FIFTEEN ACCCOMPLISHMENTS AND ONE SURPRISE
Five gray hairs,
one book of poems.
This doesn't rhyme, of course.
But, in 1978,
in Thetford, Vermont,
I fell in love
with a horse.
Ames went bankrupt.
I don't know
what to do.
Everything I'm wearing
came from Ames.
THANKSOnce I looked in a bathroom mirror,
and saw a stranger,
but it was only me.
Once I looked across a dinner table,
at a lovely stranger,
and saw another lovely stranger,
from another lifetime,
but it was only her.
Once I looked across a sofa
to a friend
who was ill.
I saw a ghost.
But it was only,
I'm a little pissed off.
If I can get up
and hammer these words
onto this fucking page,
then you can
open your shutter,
let in the light.
IN BUS NUMBER 2
In bus number 2, the new boy
doesn't get off at his stop.
He sits quietly, in the stale
smell of Mr. Baker's cigars,
so that he can watch,
for a few more seconds,
the back of my sister's head,
before she quietly gets off
at October Farm
WORLD TRADE CENTER
The ghosts of Wounded Knee
They are quiet and gentle.
No one has young eyes.
Their clothes are neatly patched,
their moccasins carefully repaired.
It happens to be their rotation as guides
in the museum of atrocity.
Last week it was Dresden's turn,
the week before, My Lai.
The week before, Tiananmen Square,
the week before, Nagasaki,
the week before, Guernica.
Next Tuesday, a small ceremony
will mark the opening of
the World Trade Center.
The ghosts of Wounded Knee
RETURN TO JCROWS.com
A Harvard party. 1968. So many smart boys and girls! Not in Vietnam. One boy
chatted with me about summer jobs. I told him about mine. Then he told me about
his. His dad, an appliance designer at General Electric, got him his job.
General Electric had a little problem. A certain new model refrigerator seemed to be
catching fire and burning down houses. Lawsuits had begun. The company
stonewalled the lawsuits and hired their appliance designer's smart young Harvard son
to find out what the hell went wrong. He was given a secret, locked laboratory, full of
refrigerators. He hooked them up, turned them on, and ran them hard. He watched
them carefully, day after day.
They purred and purred, week after week, all summer long.
The last week of a frustrating summer arrived, and he prepared to wrap it up and go
back to school. Then a refrigerator caught fire.
He nailed it! He watched it happen! Bingo! Sweet success!
He described to me how a wire carrying house current ran through a grommet in the
baffle in the base of the refrigerator. How the baffle and the wire vibrated when the
compressor was running. How the defective grommet allowed the wire to chafe on
the hole in the baffle. How the insulation on the wire wore through and the bare wires
contacted the baffle. How the baffle had enough carbon in it to heat up and self ignite
when it touched the bare wires. How the purring condenser coil fan whipped the
smoking baffle into a hot fire. Bingo! Sweet success!
He proudly recounted his recommendations to General Electric. Besides a rerouting of
the wire around the baffle, and a change in the baffle material to one which would not
conduct or burn, he suggested that the plastic in the fan be changed to one with a low
melting point, so it would melt before fanning a fire. Bingo! Sweet success!
A Harvard party. So many smart boys and girls. It would have been fall, as we chatted
about our summer jobs. But before November, when my brother dazed me by coming
home in a body bag. But I remember that conversation, the pleasure of two smart
boys chatting about technical aspects of their summer jobs.
The faint, sickening stench of murder didn't wake me until three o'clock in the morning,
twenty years later.
How many more houses burned, after the cause was known? How many more children
screamed? At what profit to General Electric?
The stonewalled lawsuits, the stones solid lies. The pinstriped prisoners of a lie calmly
palming the secret discovery of their smart young Harvard son.
To those who suffered at such sick profit, I'm sorry.
A Harvard party. 1968. So many smart boys and girls. Not in Vietnam.
My Fellow American
April 10, 2003
Blue Stone Press
New York 12484
My fellow American. In a democracy, among adults, every syllable and
evry silence is political. We have just witnessed the crime in broad daylight.
We have the ability to kill anywhere in the livable world, to wage war
with any technique, from controlled slaughter to the vaporization of cities,
with less risk to our population of soldiers than if they were spending
their time driving on our highways. That ability has been directed at Iraq,
with the world as witness.
The currency of war is not money. It is truckloads of body parts and mangled
children. Money is a standard of value and medium of exchange. In a
decent society, it can be a useful tool. But in war, bodies become the money.
Children's bodies, which once were living and had value in Iraq, are being
buried even as the appointed administration of our nation congratulates
itself and prepares for another war.
My fellow American, in a democracy, among adults, we can change this.
Or not, as we choose.
Alexander Forbes Emerson
The following poems respond to a call for poems by Poets Against the War
with permission to publish unrestricted by the author.
AFTER FAIR ELECTIONSAfter fair elections
Adolf had his shot
at the evil empire.
What the hell.
After fair elections,
let George have his.
As the blast wave
rips off your arms and legs,
Your ears are blown.
You won't be able to hear
Hey, we took out thirty thousand
men, women, and children,
as if it were a video game.
Ain't we great.
Thank God they didn't have families.
Now the rest of them can learn
about Happy Meals, that Things
Go better with Coke,
the plight of the Red Sox.
A lot of them, especially the ones
with red sox and no feet,
are sure to vote for the Red Sox,
now that they respect
Proudly declaring the marriageHEADS UP
of the corporation
and the state,
before being strung up
with piano wire
from a lamp post,
Spirit sick rich kids
buy pretty white houses,
whine about evil, work like devils
As liberals whine,
over white cheese, and white wine,
smart bombs distribute
From America there was a nice boy,SAD LIMERICK5
who played his F-16 like his toy.
He took out Iraq,
and when he came back,
his nice mom greeted him with nice joy.