The Ground Gained    by    Jack Marshall

The Ground Gained by Jack Marshall

to me

                                            The Ground Gained

The ground gained once again is lost,

the ground gained at such shameless cost.

The ground gained was desert sand;

the ground gained was someone else’s land.

The ground gained is now returned

to fight and kill for all over again;

the ground gained in sacrifice

to liars, leaders bought for a price;

for idiot ideals launching men into battle,

ordered forth by drunkards in the saddle,

whose tongues trip and scramble

over their bushwhacked babble.

No price too high, no means too low

for human beings worth less than dough;

for young men’s deaths generals never tir

of excusing themselves for friendly fire;

bodies ground under the dirt

whose oily ooze is of greater worth.

Blood that now runs, runs smoother

in gutters cleared by blood that ran there before,

and now over bodies of women who survived,

and like their stunted children who barely lived

through that slaughter, no more live where

dust underfoot would be living treasure.

And now, on that crowded BART car

from thirteen years ago I remember

a scuffle, a shout from the end of the car

I took for a madman’s: “Bush is taking us to war!”

Now those who speak out about the rich — their corporate

rot — are beaten, imprisoned, tortured, or rubbed out.

(c) Jack Marshall, 6.18.14