Saturday, September 1, 2012

Protest Poems!!

My muse of the day:

1st:  I wrote this in college, during the Myanmar Buddhist Monk protest.  Was the 1st thing I thought of when I read Stu McPherson's post!


Bhikkus clothed in red robes and sandals
march peacefully through the streets,
like blood flowing through veins,
from sunup to sundown with overturned
alms bowls:  their only source for food
reversed in remonstration.
They chant an old Buddhist mantra:
Let everyone be free from harm.
Let everyone be free from anger.
Let everyone be free from hardship.

I stand in the middle of the Square
in my hometown. People are walking
all around, but hardly anyone looks at me.
I take an American flag out of my backpack,
unfurl it, light my lighter,
and slowly move the flame towards the flag.
The only thing I can hear is Anti-Flag
streaming though my headphones.

People line the streets as the monks continue their march.
The police stand in the background,
guns drawn, waiting to take them down.
When given the order the police open fire into the crowd.
Monks and laymen scatter, but some fall.
Blood flies through the air.  Children, women,
men all scream, cry in horror.

My flag is burning, the fire warms my right hand,
and I smile, satisfied.
I look around at the people staring at me.
All I can hear is
They want to tiptoe, walk around it
Wave the flag and cowardly salute!
I see a young girl in a purple coat
who looks like the six year old version of me,
holding her mother’s hand.
They are both still, mouths open
as I desecrate their flag.
All I feel is the power I have,
like the power I feel when wielding my pistol
and gunning down plastic targets
at the shooting range on the outskirts of town.

The city is silent,
the street empty, bare,
but the remnants of the carnage remain.
Blood stains the street, sidewalk, buildings,
everything.  A sandal lies in the middle of the street,
covered by a splash of blood.
Streaks of red lead to various buildings
as victims bleed for peace.

2nd:  Wrote right around Easter soon after I started practicing Buddhism.

Jesus Looks Down On Me

My parents have a Catholic cross
hanging in their hallway with palm leaves behind it.
Ever time I walk down the hall
I still imagine Jesus looking down on me,
mad because of something I had done;
when I was younger, he was upset
because I hit my brother
or stole a candy cane from the Christmas tree.
Now he’s mad
because I’ve replaced St. Brigid’s Cross
with the statue of the Buddha on my dresser.,
and I spent last Christmas morning meditating
instead of at church.
Yesterday I looked Jesus in the eye
and whispered, Nothing is permanent,
not even you.

3rd:  I've Always wanted to write a poem about these damn billboards!!

Jesus is Everywhere
Jesus Christ is our lord and savior.
It’s right here in this book,
yes, I’m talkin’ about the Bible…
I quickly change the station.

Although I’m only doing 75, okay 85,
a sign slowly creeps up on me:
I’m watching you—God
He’s watching me rock out to the Ramones in my car?
That’s creepy, even for God.
I push down harder on the gas pedal.

I pass a green sign stating
JESUS in bright white letters
and beat my head against the steering wheel.
Some one thought Jesus would like
to have his name plastered to a sign
and stuck in the middle of nowhere?

And only three billboards away,
just in case I missed the message:
CH_ _CH.  What’s missing?
Now this is just too much.
I pull my car to the side of the highway,
grab the duffle bag full of spray paint,
and proceed to scale the billboard.
The first thing I do is fill in the blanks with the obvious:  UR;
then I create my own answer:  Buddha.

I drive off, smirking to myself.


  1. signs slay wife and i race to see who can catch the worst on our drives home....ugh...they even sell jesus buck knives at the gas station...feel the middle one...i march to a different tune myself and it often raises the eyebrows of those in the Christian Mecca in which i live....and the powerful images...and i hope that little girl with her mom remembers it...and it resonates with her...

    1. Thanks! My older brother was texting me about those billboard while driving to KC!!

  2. LOVING THESE!....the first reminded me so much of that picture of the monk self-immolating.... I also loved the lines about Jesus- 'nothing is permanent...not even you'...these poems were real & honestly written...and totally capture the essence of rebellion and free thought....thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks!! I thought of my 1st poem when I read recently about the monk setting himself on fire. I like to write what I know and not bullshit around, so you (aka, a reader) get what/who I am.

  3. wow..this first one...powerful stuff...third one...ha...glad we don't have much church billboards over here in germany..think that's more an american thing..the second one really hit me cause i grew up in a catholic environment and you would think that martin luther ended that play with guilt and fear of doing things wrong...sadly it has survived in some circles..

    1. Thank you!! My brothers drove from Missouri to Colorado to go camping the other day, and kept texting me all the crazy stuff on billboards that they saw!! I grew up in Catholic Schools, but yeah...most of my immediate family is atheist/agnostic more than anything! I bounce between Atheism & Buddhism myself!

  4. very often those Jesus billboards are there to hide front for something illegal going on behind them.

    dear brother

    BTW, most people who do these link turn off their verification because people do tons of comments and verification is hard to read, you often have to do it more than once, and it takes up so much time. you will certainly get more comments if you turn it off.

    1. Changed my setting on verification!! Thanks! I didn't even notice that when I set up my account! And yes, illegal "things"...ohhhhh, high school memories!!