Corporate Citizen/2 (Products/3)

by Mark Chmiel

Dear Carla

What’s it to the CEOs of the corporations happily ensconced in the Military-Industrial Complex
If their “products” are used to burn flesh
To burn it to a crisp

Specifically 34 year-old father flesh
Or 82 year-old grandmother flesh
Or (yes, it happens) three year-old daughter flesh

Someone
Somewhere
May apologize
As if that matters to those who have to look on
And then bury their unrecognizable beloveds

If the corporate leaders ever think of such an image
It’s but the merest nanosecond flicker of consciousness
Because they must go back—
No idle daydreaming now—
To the next action at hand to maximize profit
For the benefit of their shareholders

(I can hear the professors at the business school saying,
“Don’t take cheap shots at these companies
They are the pillars of society
They provide jobs
They insure our security”)

It’s the same old story
The fight for money and glory
The same explanation maybe even given
By those crafty scientists
Who contributed a more efficient way
To make napalm burn to the bone

As necessary as it’s been to go to witness what is happening in Palestine
(Or Guatemala, or Chiapas)
So much of our work is right here

I received word last night that Henry and five others
Had been arrested at the corporate office
Of one of Israel’s most loyal sellers of arms
(and most generous benefactors of the university)
He’s sitting in jail right now

Eager for long and slow walk with you,

Perry

 

–from Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine

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