-In Memory of JFK jr., July 21, 1999
At 5000 feet per minute
The plane is falling
From the heavens
Like a god descending
Or natures cyclonic cloud
Like a finger pointing
suddenly death, mayhem, grief.
The human world aghast
At the power of it.
Time rips the wound open again.
Everyone's eyes turned
In the same direction
Witnessing the next mythic crises
In an epic that never ends.
I saw JFK In 1959
From a second floor window
On Bay Parkway and 86th street
In Brooklyn, New York.
I was nineteen.
He was youthful, tan, smiling.
He looked up and waved at me.
The final night of the Cuban missile crises
I sat with my mother at the kitchen table
waiting for Brooklyn to explode
into a vaporous mushroom cloud
as the showdown occurred
on the high seas.
I was asleep in the Golden Eagle hotel
In San Francisco's North Beach
When Fred Klein shook me awake
Screaming, "Kennedy's been assassinated!
Kennedy's been assassinated!"
We watched the TV in Gino and Carlo's
the tragedy washing over us.
The film with Jackie
Climbing out of the car.
Oswald shot by Ruby.
Johnson being sworn in
On the plane
Jackie standing by him.
The future seemed
To be expunged from history
And we were flying backward in time.
LBJ continued the war
And the youth of America revolted
Society split between the middle and ruling classes
And the young gone Bacchanalian.
Norman Mailer at 1965 Berkeley teach in
Repeating, "Hang LBJ upside down everywhere"
Then Martin Luther King is shot on the balcony
And Robert Kennedy is shot in a hotel kitchen.
History turns backward
To the 19th century.
Nixon like a Tammany boss
Cursing, racist, anti-Semitic
Sending his gangs out
To maraud and intimidate.
Then he too falls.
If he were Japanese or Roman
He would have fallen on his sword.
After the assassinations
There is nothing but
The upheaval of fundamentalism
And its marriage to corporate wealth.
Wealth that doesn't fall
Into the hands of those in need,
But accumulates in the offshore accounts
Of those 5% who already own everything.'
'Politics moribund in a coffin of bribery.
History in reverse.
Democracy a horrifying hallucination.
Clinton only endless masks
bound hand and foot by his excesses
though some distorted version
of a world at peace slips through his mind.
'Now another Kennedy falls from the sky.
The sky of our memory.
The sky of a possible return to national sanity
The sky of humor.
The sky of ironic detachment from foolishness.
Down into the murky depths of the sea.
The dark sea of the past.
The dark sea that is rising
The dark sea of the repressed.
We are told it was an accident of fate.
The plane lies at the bottom of the sea.
The sea beaten bodies lie all around it.
In the male line only
Ted Kennedy, haunting the senate
Like the ghost of Camelot,
And his two sons left
Is there no curse, no conspiracy, no plan?
Only the successful and almost complete extinction
Of the strong power they possessed.
Where do we go from here?How shall we rise again?
Deeper into the unfathomable murk
Of Worldwide Corporate Capitalism?
Deeper into the retributions of nature
Against the mindless audacity of greed?
Deeper into the widening ozone hole?
Deeper into the lung choking cutting of forests?
Deeper into demagoguery and corporate controlled speech?
Deeper into racism, ethnic cleansing and genocide?
Deeper into imprisoning the darker races?
Deeper into a diseased, impoverished and war torn world
Where America drops remote controlled bombs
To intimidate and maintain capital's markets and resources?
Deeper into the poisoning of the seas?
Run the film backward changing
The falling into rising!
Like Orpheus we must bring
The Eurydice of renewal,
Of a shared future
Of a healed planet
Up from Hades
But we mustn't look back
Or go back to the past
We are emerging from.
© Allen Cohen All rights reserved.
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