From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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4th of July Requiem (poem)

By Thomas Brinson

I sit relaxed in my campsite, camouflaged by sun-infused forest green. Overhead squirrels chatter away. In the distance a woodpecker drums a hollow beat. Birdcalls surround me, mostly sweet and melodic, except for one strident caw of crow. Also, a large blue heron high in nearby tree squawks like I imagine a baby alligator would if threatened.

I watch the green/blue-watered lake, trying not to be too distracted by the school of speedboats pulling humans about like large water bugs. Wave runners loudly create waves to run over or jump. Campfires overcook hotdogs, hamburgers and marshmallows. Watermelons are cut and sloppily slurped. It's an idyllic summer holiday weekend afternoon. Dusk slowly descends, making deep shadows within fading daylight.

I start and stare at roaring fire. Damn I'm good — lit it with but one match! All around evening serenely morphs into gathering darkness until . . .

poppoppopBoomBOOM BOOMBoompoppoppop

Citizens begin blowing shit up all around me. The sounds emulate what our nation does best all over the fucking planet, especially in the lands of black, brown or yellow-skinned inhabitants. The stillborn birth of Amurican "democracy" 232 years ago in this mythical land of the free, home of the brave filled with a profusion of rhetorical redwhite&blue crappola, much of it on sale, is too loudly celebrated yet once again.

I grip my camp chair harder. Grind my teeth tighter. Squeeze shut my eyes against bloody scenes in head again from Tet '68 and today in Haditha. Harden my heart deeper . . .

poppoppopBoomBOOM BOOMBoompoppoppop

AmeriK-K-K-K-a: I really may have to leave you again, certainly in mind and spirit, if not in body . . .

—Thomas Brinson
July 4, 2008
Lake Thompson, NY

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