He Who Has Ears
Good fences make good neighbors
Sounds good enough until
He forgets that his neighbor is kin.
What’s more is monstrocity,
“Great” walls, Berlin walls, Israeli walls. More walls.
Good neighbors my eye. The one
he took after I took his.
Ishmael, first born of concubinage.
Isaac, first born of the wife.
Brothers and a birthright.
Fear there is that appeals for a wall.
Which is more the illusion:
That a wall actually provides security
That we ought to be afraid of our brothers?
He was there
On that day
In front of the television
Watching the Berlin wall be dismantled,
Sitting in the same spot where he was sitting when
Tienanmen square happened,
Or when the subway bombing of the world trade center happened.
It was the same screen he looked upon when
Cruise missils were launched into Serbia, and Ethiopia too,
Where he watched the two planes impact the two towers.
He had seen two space shuttles disintegrate on that screen
And he had watched more wars begin and end
And more soldiers be memorialized
Than any boy should have to grow up watching.
Now, he is old enough to be a soldier,
But the news has left him too scared. Too scarred.
At last, having broken under the weight of the world’s breaking,
And unplugs the television, abandoning it on a busy street corner.
Having discovered the vast and rich ocean of tranquility
That lies beyond the stability of the deadening wall
Known merely as the silence,
The peace found here is not for one’s self,
But meant for the whole world to discover,
If only brothers could stop the fire and maneuver
Of flanking each other with rifles about walls for long enough to
1) bury the dead
2) sit at table
3) come to terms
4) share a meal
One even has discovered, in one’s long quest to find
This lasting peace, that there is, in fact, an institution,
Already in the world suitably equipped and objectively divested
Such that its ranks are already trained to serve as arbiters
Of a lasting peace
Across any battle line
Across any language barrier
Through any wall
One is at peace, and dreams of this peace for others,
For the world, if they would but listen, and seek to learn,
Although amongst all the dreaming the problem remains
How does one inform such a culture?