by Eleanor Goldfield

Today, March 19th, marks the 17th anniversary of Shock and Awe, the most recent imperialist assault on Iraq by the United States. Even as we struggle in these times, we must recognize that we do not struggle alone. That there are those worldwide that ache and cry out for peace. And that we, as children of empire, are in a unique and powerful position – to create that peace.

I dedicate this piece to my veteran comrades, including but certainly not limited to Emily Yates, Matthew Hoh, Mike Prysner, ryan endicott, Daniel Lee and Mike Camp.

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 still sings –

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 sisters, 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 –

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?

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