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Sunday, October 07, 2007


by John E. Simonds

Step this way,
I have an answer
to our problem
of belief and death.
I’ve found under the sand
the Word Made Divine we
were looking for all along.
Too late to bring back
the exploding dead
in their dusty boots
and pre-faded camouflage shrouds,
but through this door and
beneath the desert floor,
what if I told you we found
the arsenal, that grail that led us here?
The mother of all Manhattan Projects,
complete with yellow cake,
that quick-mix pride of nuclear kitchens;
and canisters of flu,
Asian and Avian,
anthrax and eboli;
tanks of nerve gas,
bugs ready to eat
the wheat of Kansas
in an afternoon,
wilder than a hazmat dream
or a toxic expo,
all on shelves clearly labeled
for holiday shipment.
What if we found it all here
like a Soviet May Day parade,
in mail-order warehouse display,
affirming the losses of those
who came here on probable cause?
Who cares how it got here?
Consider the planted clue
another form of “extreme rendition,”
shipping the answers you want
somewhere else to be found,
a new tune from an old score.
(Think Halliburton as Wal-Mart!)
Point is it’s here, and we found it.
We were right, after all, to bend
down the statue and also the rules,
flash the V fingers, plan welcomes
and hope for hosannahs.

Having seen the goods,
can we now blow them up
and go home,
and let others find
what they want
to believe in the desert?

Or was there something else,
another reason to search
for a cause beneath the sands?
(Surely not the price at the pump.)
The Word Made Divine
could be what we sought,
and found was here all along
in the valley where life began,
the place that drew us all back
to remind us how far we’ve gone
in chasing things we believe.

John E. Simonds, a retired Honolulu daily newspaper editor and former mainland journalist, has lived in Hawai'i since the 1970s.