Field of Zeros (II)
Shahin Shabanian Jan. 2017
A procession, in a hall, is nearing from afar
At its head, Joe McCarthy walks like a tsar
Wearing the imperial robe and the royal crown
With scepter of power, in hand, walking down
Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohen with him bound;
Holding the imperial robe from touching the ground.
The entourage was the “who’s who” of the 1%
And those who were bought to betray the 99%
Along the hall, on both sides
Men and women were in chains, on the cross,
With their fists raised in the air
It was a defiance of tyranny not despair.
In chain were Big Bill and Joe Hill
For organizing workers’ will,
Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer;
Dalton Trumbo and Arthur Miller
Blacklisted but they resisted with valor;
Paid gravely but never waived their honor.
In chain were Lumumba and Allende;
Mossadegh, Arbenz and others who must pay.
For serving their people, they were chained
For love of freedom, they remained
As strong as grand oaks, without fear
Resisting whirlwinds, knowing death was near.
With many empty crosses on the rows
For the free-thinkers to be chained like foes
Indomitable spirits bound in chain
Even in death, their dust sprinkles earth like rain
What an absurdity trying to shackle the wind
Voices of conscience, tyranny cannot rescind.
McCarthy pointed at me and opened his mouth
From it, voice of his masters came out,
“You met with treasonous characters1 tonight,”
“Treasonous characters,” I exclaimed with spite
And I replied: behold, you’re standing on the land
Defended by their blood, freed by their hand.
For my meeting with the three wise men2,
I asked him how he knew of it then
Hoover opened his mouth,
And the same voice came out
“We spy on your dreams;
Be it in your sleep, or ideals they deem,”
“We spy on birds and bees
On you and whoever there is
We spy on people making love
Peace doves in prisons, we shove
We blacklist prophets and God,
If they criticize torture or shedding blood.”
“Only under the surveillance state,
We can promote fear and exaggerate
Only under the surveillance state,
We will force dissent to dissipate
Terrorists are our foreign policy tools
We create them; they are our ghouls.”
“We fabricate lies for the facts
Forging evidence without any tact
Kings and potentates are in our pay
We don’t care what the world would say
Your Rights are guaranteed, if we say so
If you don’t like it, pack up and go.”
A thunderous voice, from heavens, bellowed down,
“The jester is wearing the king’s crown;
Oligarchs are reigning hidden in the fog
And for the rest of you demagogues,
Save us these putrid diatribes
I, Socrates, couldn’t be swayed with fear or bribes.”
- The inference, here, by McCarthy is the three persons mentioned in part I of the poem: Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Mark Twain.
- “Three wise men” is the author’s characterization of Jefferson, Paine and Twain in his conversation with them in part I.