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Thursday, September 28, 2006


by Joan Gelfand

Alaina says she wants more passion
Andrea quit reading the morning news
Yvette sees “The Devil Wears Prada” –
Twice – her savior is in fashion.

I check my e-mails, avoid over long queues,
And await my daily dose of inspiration
Wondering each day if I’ve paid enough dues.

Adam watches the blogosphere
For flash mobs, trends and hot spots
And we all fret about the biosphere
While white girls don’t do much hip hop

But for me, I can’t help it –
Rhythm and words are my companions, true and loyal
So forgive me now if I don’t exactly know how to do it –
Just say it’s a rant, peace and love style:

I want to save the world, do it now, don’t get caught
By indecision, paralysis, missteps or overwrought.
But the world and I have conflicting views
On how to end this madness. Stop the bombing, end the wars,
I cry - but no one listen to my news.

My nighttimes glisten with the sweat of murder,
Mayhem and slaughter.

I could just go over there, I think,
Land smack down on the pavement.
I’d put on my white gloves; make a stink
Shout “What a horror!” while dancing on the griddle
Of hot sand, tar: “There is no left, no right, no middle
C’mon stop the killing! End the riddle.”

But I’d be dead before you could say red
And then I think:
“If not now, when?”
Wasn’t it I, who called myself a warrior?

Every day new news arrives stinking,
Reeking with tragedies undreamed –
Tidal waves, heat waves, bodies downstream.
A wave of bombings on an unsuspecting train
We seek for terror but what about D.C.? “We can’t explain.”

I voted right, I mean left - is my persistent refrain
I took myself off the list of dinner parties where people complain
Of gas prices and fish prices and politics not spoken
Cuz I’m getting sick of being powerless, feeling broken.

So c’mon people do one thing today for peace
Save a tree, save a child, sign a paper, beg for release
Of fighters and lovers, for peaceniks and hippies
This battle of west meets east is not what we ordered.

Winner of the 2005 Chaffin Fiction Award, Joan Gelfant’s letters, essays, poetry and stories have appeared in numerous national literary journals and anthologies including The New York Times Magazine, Poets & Writers, If Women Ruled the World, and The Streets of New York. Her story “The Art Critic” was nominated for a 2006 Carver short story award. Joan holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Mills College in Oakland, California. A compelling moderator and speaker, Joan founded Salon CIEL, a group of interdisciplinary artists. She is currently serving as Vice-President of the Women’s National Book Association.