He could have hailed from Texas with all his gospel.
He approached us--
we, stretching bodies on this Miyako Island sand, hair in the perfect breeze.
He's a retired man, stepping pristine sneakers into pristine sand.
He points to my friend, "you're American." And to me, "you're half."
He used this time to speak with foreigners--practice his English he acquired at Texas
Christian University. "I am a Christian" "I am a hater of sinners" "I believe in God, the son
of God and the holy ghost" "I believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins"
( I was waiting for the war question, the Bush question)
Here we were just hours after President Bush, in the name of America,
began the bombardment of Iraq.
This island--Miyako-- with its turquoise stillness, soft sand, green sugar cane fields
could not feel real.
This war-- miles away, endangering people I have never met--never will, information filtered so much, what can feel real?
Am I allowed to feel lucky?
The preacher declares he wrote a letter to Bush denouncing this war.
"If he was a believer in God, he wouldn't have started this war."
I won't pretend that I know the travesties of war. For the sake of the souls who do have
this knowledge, I won't pretend I know.
The preacher, done with his gospel, we three-- still in half womb position,
knees dug into sand, arms outstretched above us--
said little, smiled, and continued stretching.
I just found out in an e-mail that I won (no money) but a nice acknowledgement and publication (if desired) in The Tom Howard/John Reid Poetry Contest for that poem right there.
I wrote it after visiting the lush Okinawa island, Miyako in April of 2002. Hiromi, Brenda and I had boarded the flight from Haneda to Okinawa literally minutes before Bush would declare war on Iraq.