As I flip channels to escape ads (or try to) I keep seeing the image
of the Falling Man who the History Channel claims has been identified
by his family and they are African American and they say he was one
of those whose love of life lifted everyone but cannot keep him crashing
to Earth to escape the flames that turned the towers to plumes of dust.
Interspersed with the image of this young man are shots of first the one
struck sky-scraper and then the second plane crashing again and again
into the second tower and then one and then the other tower collapsing
over and over as the spreading cloud of dust then rushes right at all of us.
Meanwhile 16 years later it is almost 16 years since the U.S. (that is us)
invaded Afghanistan and more than 14 years since the U.S. (that is us)
invaded Iraq and the U.S. just doubled down with a new Afghan surge
(as it did at the time of Obama’s first year) and still has thousands of troops
in Iraq after a series of battles in cities taken in the original invasion 2003-04
in Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul where tens of thousands more Iraqis were killed
caught between U.S. bombs and artillery and (ISIS) Islamic State snipers.
Civilian casualties increased in Afghanistan every year since Obama’s surge
there (which, of course, really began under the Bush regime in ’08) so the “U.S.
bombed Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia in 2016”.*
So over and over I see the upside down fleeting image of the falling man hurtling
to Earth head first as we all went to endless war as the bipartisan war parties
signed off on the Patriot Act, and total surveillance, and the funding for the wars
actually a giant, indeed unbounded slush fund for the privatized occupations
created specifically so corporations like Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) and Blackwater
could operate outside accountability, beyond any rule of law, outsourcing torture,
outsourcing assassination, paying bribes to and arming the very forces we were fighting
and created the Islamic State in Syria in Iraq in the Iraqi detention camps set up by the U.S.
from those who rose to power as the U.S. systematically assassinated the Al Qaeda leaders
above them. And the most horrible part of the whole bleeding ulcer mess thing is to see
that poor soul young African American beloved man still hurtling head first to Earth. Again.
*NBC News headline in Glenn Greenwald Intercept piece on how Hillary’s war-mongering effected the 2016 election.
James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.