by Eleanor Goldfield

On a jungle wall, in embittered scrawl –

these words shouted out to the fall.

We are the unwilling

lead by the unqualified

doing the unnecessary

for the ungrateful

in the cradle of civilization –

savage acts from the “civilized”

is this where we die?

on a dirt road – kicking up dust –

boots on the ground –

how deathly sweet the sound –

of silence

on a city street – blood, sweat and tears – repeat

an old song uncle sam used to sing –

oh say can you see –

hands up –

and shoot.

War is the empire’s game –

at home and away.

will you stand for the anthem – take pride in our shame –

do you identify with their lies –

hate who they say to –

see your reflection in a justice rejection

give up your right –

to think –

for the warmth – of a blood soaked flag –

and a ragged constitution, a sick institution

I say

war is the empire’s trade –

slavery never ended –

genocide now an export, by proxy, amended –

the offended –

just targets in digital frames –

miles away – surveil, point and shoot –

do they know that this ain’t a game?

But war IS the empire’s game

the empire’s gain –

blood soaked dollars and black gold hollows

no one wins in the end –

empires fall –

war echoes.

Who’ll build a memorial to peace?

Who can remember it?

on black granite walls, a solemn attempt –

to shadow contempt –

to polish the pride –

tarnished by lies, a truth’s suicide –

and the young ones who died –

line after line, name after name,

each story different yet too much the same –

the unfortunate sons, the forgotten ones –

remembered at baseball games –

where young minds remind to remain – in line.

And thousands of miles away –

another young mind – an Other – young mind –

sees these others toeing a line –

of imperialist homicide –

and wonders –


That why is a cry, rising – harmonizing violence –

from us to them – and the others over there, our brothers coz we share –

more with the enemies of state – than we’ll ever share – with Our state.

I mean, just look at the state of things.

what happens in war never stays there –

our streets bloody mirrors –

a cop’s ready finger

and bodies – cold as ICE

our streets.

the chain of command that leaves freedom banned – and we –

with nothing but fear in our hands –

begging for more

told to admire the mire

cherish the chains

it feels


but The mighty always seem so –

until they fall –

the throne always so sturdy –

till it tips.

And never will the foundations of empire quake –

till we move.

we children of empire, we dissident souls –

in OUR name these wars are proclaimed –

but that’s not what I want on my grave –

I want change –

give me a hell yeah if you’re with me –

give me a hell yeah if you’re with me!

Coz THAT’s what it takes –

I can not end this – endless war –

but we –

can rattle thrones.

Yeah I’m calling for a STRIKE –

if war is the empire’s game – don’t play.

If war is the empire’s gain – don’t you pay.

what if they held a war –

and nobody came?