February 13, 2003



COMPLAINT AND PETITION

Mr. President: On a clear cold
morning I address you from a remote
margin of your dominion in plain-
style Yankee quatrains because

I don’t know your exalted language
of power. I’m thankful for that. This
is a complaint and petition, sent
to you in the long-held right I claim

As a citizen. To recapitulate your
wrong-doings is unnecessary; the topic
is large and prominent and already
occupies the attention of historians

and political scholars, whose findings
will in the near future expose your
incontinent and maniacal ambition
for all to see. Let it suffice to

say that you have warped the law and
flouted the will and wisdom of the
people as no other has before you.
You have behaved precisely as a tin-pot

tyrant in any benighted, inglorious
corner of the earth. And now you are
deviously and corruptly manipulating
events in order to create war.

Let us speak plainly. You wish to
murder millions, as you yourself
have said, to appease your fury. We
oppose such an agenda—we, the people,

artists, artisans, builders, makers,
honest American men and women,
especially the poets, for whom I dare
to speak. We say, desist, resign,

hide yourself in your own shame,
lest otherwise the evil you have
loosed will destroy everything
and love will quit the world.

--Hayden Carruth, 1/28/03

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