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Wednesday, March 19, 2003
      ( 10:50 PM ) Jackie  

Valentine's Day BART Commute



I wrote this poem in my head on Valentines Day, 1991, on the way to work on the Bay Area's version of the subway. I'm terribly sad that it is so timely.


Maybe it was something
About the crowd on the BART
And being Underground,
Our bodies pressed close together,
That made me feel this way.


Last week on the radio at work
I heard Ramsey Clark cry

As he described an operation on a child
Performed without anesthetic
Without the bright electric light of the operating room.

The surgeon
Had no water
To wash her hands.

I know... Mothers know
How quickly children
Sicken and die
With no water to drink.

I know
It takes a long time for an adult
To die of starvation.

And that
It is quicker With Children


I know
That disease is spread
When the surgeon Has no water
To wash her hands.

The generals wash their hands
Of the children
Who die Because
The surgeon has no water
To wash her hands.

My hands are not clean.

Maybe it was something
About the crowd
And being Underground,

I felt my own self there In the dark
Under ground
Beneath concrete
Hardened bunker Shelter

I heard the news yesterday in the afternoon
at work.
I was busy.
I didn't wonder then As I do now
What it was like.

He said, One of the generals,
That one of the bombs went right down
the air shaft
He was Proud
Of that.

I wonder I want to know


Were bodies torn apart?
Did they burn?
Or was the air slowly squeezed from their lungs?

Did it take a long time?
Did they scream?


I wonder I want to know
Do children, being smaller, die
More quickly than mothers?

Did a mother have time to hold her dead child
And grieve?

Or did the little one,
Being more full Of life,
Stay
to watch her mother Die First?

Was she alone then?
Did it take a long time?
Did she cry?


I wonder I want to know
What are these other passengers thinking about?
Here Underground Pressed close

I wonder
I want to know
How can the Generals wash their hands Of the children Who die?
My hands are not clean.

I wonder
I want to know

How do they keep from crying? The Generals The Passengers







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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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