You who believe in the false
assurances of schedules, the presumptions
of plans, or the promised future
of appointments -- I have news
Today I have nowhere
to go and nothing to do
but watch the Mediterranean Sea
from a seaside table in Menton.
Nobody knows me here.
The couples dancing tangos
in the public square regard me
as the foreigner I am.
lunch in unimpressive French
and sign language.
that pressured me at home
with phone calls, obligations, bills
and headlines carries on,
but I'm not playing.
I focus on the green and red
confusion of a Nicoise salad
while I hurt for an America
I barely recognize.
In the name
of Christ we're Arabizing Arabs
as we once Vietnamized the South
Vietnamese before our vanity
We've sponsored free
elections but reversed results.
To launch the neo-century
we crushed a country and destroyed
Though someone warned
that occupiers lose at last,
the warning was ignored.
wrote that Athens at its peak
sailed fleets to ultimate catastrophe
in Sicily and bled for decades
afterward in consequence,
they reaped the glory of derision.
Why bother talking history
with those whose only purpose
Why reason with unreason?
When shouters violate what's sacred
with impunity, the only answer
lapel-pin flags, they've fouled
what I thought would be a holiday
abroad, not merely a reprieve
before the next resistance.
I've met them all a thousand
times whenever fear and cowardice
demanded loyalty to causes
that were never mine.
is their word for peace, they swagger
like competitors who can't not win.
And when they lose, as they
will always lose, they'll claim
they could have won with more
support, and then they'll whine.
Samuel Hazo is founder and director of the International Poetry Forum.
He is McAnulty Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Duquesne University. His most recent books of poetry include A Flight to Elsewhere and Just Once, from Autumn House Press. He lives in Upper St. Clair. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on independent radio, WYEP 91.3 FM.