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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism

Kuo, Alexander
Part III: poems of war and revolution: green tanks and other hidden vehicles of destruction,   p. 363 PDF (791.3 KB)

Page 363

Alexander Kuo has published many poems,
teaches creative writing at Wisconsin State
University - Oshkosh. He has been active
in the defense of the ninety students of the
Black Students Union who were expelled
for demonstrating.
for Carroll Arnett
WASHINGTON - The demilitarized zone - the
strip of land between the two Vietnams so
crucial to diplomatic progress on the war
- is in a comparative lull.
This reading by military officers came
Thursday along with the official report
from Saigon that Americans killed in the
war totaled 777 for the week ending Aug.
Military officers noting the lull in the
DMZ were frank to say that nobody really
knows where the enemy has gone from his
old positions.
1. Where the enemy has gone
nobody knows for sure. Yet
we wait for the miracle
in my green tank, waiting for
promises to break the lid
a crucial lull weightless in
one dark end of the infinite.
11. The beast, flaring fire from out
its bowels, crawls in the mud
the very jungle sucking
at its life. The energies
it burned have turned into
stone forever, to be thawed
out of the cold stars at a
distant historic age. In
the meantime we twist sharpened
steel deep into the wounds of
the dead, and the half dead, to
the point of acceptance, in-
divisible arbiters
in the butchers' orphanage.
I too have sat in the house
of God and seen my enemy
disappear into the dark.
Ill. In the diplomatic lull
corpses are tagged and tallied
their torn mouths almost blackened
by the light we sometimes use
as mirrors for recognition.
Most faces bear no hatred
nor love; only the hidden
madness revealed on faces
in moviehouses when lights
had permitted us to see
ourselves. We move the bodies
touching their cold, their stiffness:
there is no way to keep their
caked blood from my hands, and no
single music to measure
the circumference of their wound;
only the shadows of my
footfalls being sucked deeper
and deeper down into those
dark positions of the past.

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