Neruda Asking Generals to Come See the Blood in the Streets

some of the generals’ beaks
point to the dead, a million
sanctified by Allah
five thousand
the walking dead a million
zombies in red-white-and-blue
those old colonels’ slag- cooled eyes
flash grenade proof, they follow
patterns on flat screens, like the B-25
bomber sights of old, matrixes bringing Hellfire
some games, some toys they demand:
Sky Warrior, Predator, those UAVs
240 miles per hour, 4,000 pounds
of laser-guided bombs, missiles,  ordnance
for MQ-Reapers scouring tribal desolation

just steel and optical heavy alevin to their mighty
mothers,  next-generation jets of death
F-35 Joint Strike Fighters
US taxpayer Weapons ‘R Us,
2,443 buys them, five Christmases from
now, $300 billion, General Dynamics
Boeing, jobs-for-generals supersonic

we garner generals with book deals
flops for Palin or Patreaus
the goo of glue hard like whale
sperm on their fingertips
signing over their lies
the folded fiction of history
generals with jowls, some ultra
marathoners, midgets in humanity
the metallic breath they bark
crow- culling ether strips paint
Hillary or Michele
the salute of estrogen
congealed in testosterone

barking jodies, the one- two- three
it’s all money-land, man
we are first to fire, first to bomb
laser-guided Army, Navy, CIA
old men in leather chairs, the sniff
of DC, some humidor lounge senators
their hipster interns writing prefaces to
their two thousand page
bills to nowhere, generals with
four stars, and three, smiles grim
these overseers of PTSD, rape, how many
died in Vietnam, the sound of torture
Hollywood, first lady at the Oscars

Iraq, one-two-three
trillion, busted sinks, emptying schools
so many curled spines waiting for death
some magical cronyism in Congress
deeming us all fit at 75 to push
McDonalds brooms, fine at 80
Mister Bricklayer Man, Cousin Custodian, Gal
Friday, work, work, work those artificial
titanium hips
for  deep-earth bunker-busters
Massive Ordnance Penetrator
MOAB Mother of All Bombs
thirty thousand pounds
heart stopping B-2 bombers
AC-130s loaded down with Hellfires

weddings flattened like naan
orphanages ordinance laced like
Waco, another Bush in office
some suit of a wife cheating
Congressman, more war chest
just for TV, full-page ads
the muscle-less men and women
of Press smile all the way to bank

the birds pick at our eyes
bloated bellies
we now sing their songs
hoping for strychnine
some sweeter gem of an elixir
for our masters, something
penetrating, some spongiform
speeding up the Captains and Admirals
mad cow screams
quicker to their Bedlam
anything for the bringers of crows
the dogs of war at their sides
even they can’t stomach the acid
in the air, the poison in flesh
the death biscuits served
by Uncle Sam and Mister Smith

*–* end *–*

I’m Explaining a Few Things

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I’ll tell you all the news.

I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.

From there you could look out
over Castille’s dry face:
a leather ocean.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.
Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel?         Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings —
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!
Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull’s eye of your hearts.

And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!

— Pablo Neruda

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.