(for Bradley Manning)
“In another world they do not put a man to death for asking questions: assuredly not. … When my sons grow up…, O my friends…, I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing. …” –Socrates (from Plato’s Apologia)
For speaking truth to power… a cold cell.
Naked now…, and yet, they fear you!
You watch a spider weave, perhaps recall
The crime scene, viewed on a monitor:
Men like puppets dancing in the dust, fired
On by U.S. drones; and the button-pushers
Laughing, ten thousand miles away—life reduced
To video porn, sordid and crazily robotic.
The robots shop, vote, fuck, kill, do business,
Take meetings, squawk endlessly democracy,
Free markets; get replaced—interchangeable—
In the Machine… until a voice says “No.”
And the house of cards collapses; the dream
Recedes; the dark, stark landscape, revealed:
A people bought for bread and circuses—
Mostly circuses—more silouettes than people.
But the voice remains: Socrates in the agora;
Christ among the Pharisees;
Galileo Galilei; Paine and Thoreau;
Gandhi and King—questioning, exposing.
Now in the shackled world, a moan goes up
From the well of our debasement: Cease
And desist: the depredations; soul-murdering;
Earth-murdering. … The implacable voice arising.
Out of the chrysalis of what has been,
A global being struggles to be free:
To extricate its wings from the wax of retributions;
To save the dying planet; to balance and revere.
Shia, Sunni; Christian, Jew; Buddhist, Hindu, pagan;
Male and female—fledging to resurge anew:
Out of the yearning cauldron of suffering
And endurance—diamond-cut humanity.
Gary Corseri has published/posted work at Dandelion Salad, Cyrano’s Journal Online, Global Research, CounterPunch, L.A. Progressive, The Smirking Chimp, Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice, and hundreds of other venues. His dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and at universities. His books include the novels, Holy Grail, Holy Grail and A Fine Excess, and the literary anthology (edited), Manifestations. He has been a professor in the U.S. and Japan, taught in prisons and public schools, worked as a grape-picker and furniture-mover in Australia, a gas station attendant, a door-to-door salesman. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.