The Fall of America1971Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road--long bamboo huts
Noplace to shit but sand channel rutsMillions of fathers in rain
Millions of mothers in pain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of sisters nowhere to goOne Million aunts are dying for bread
One Million uncles lamenting the dead
Grandfather millions homeless and sad
Grandmother millions silently madMillions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit & groan
Millions of families hopeless aloneMillions of souls nineteenseventyone
homeless on Jessore road under grey sun
A million are dead, the million who can
Walk toward Calcutta from East PakistanTaxi September along Jessore Road
Oxcart skeletons drag charcoal load
past watery fields thru rain flood ruts
Dung cakes on treetrunks, plastic-roof hutsWet processionsFamilies walk
Stunted boysbig heads don't talk
Look bony skulls& silent round eyes
Starving black angels in human disguiseMother squats weeping & points to her sons
Standing thin leggedlike elderly nuns
small bodiedhands to their mouths in prayer
Five months small foodsince they settled thereon one floor matwith small empty pot
Father lifts up his hands at their lot
Tears come to their mother's eye
Pain makes mother Maya cryTwo children togetherin palmroof shade
Stare at meno word is said
Rice ration, lentilsone time a week
Milk powder for warweary infants meekNo vegetable money or work for the man
Rice lasts four dayseat while they can
Then children starvethree days in a row
and vomit their next foodunless they eat slow.On Jessore roadMother wept at my knees
Bengali tonguecried mister Please
Identity cardtorn up on the floor
Husband still waitsat the camp office doorBaby at play I was washing the flood
Now they won't give us any more food
The pieces are here in my celluloid purse
Innocent baby playour death curseTwo policemen surroundedby thousands of boys
Crowded waitingtheir daily bread joys
Carry big whistles& long bamboo sticks
to whack them in lineThey play hungry tricksBreaking the lineand jumping in frontInto the circlesneaks one skinny runt
Two brothers dance forwardon the mud stage
Teh gaurds blow their whistles& chase them in rageWhy are these infantsmassed in this place
Laughing in play& pushing for space
Why do they wait here so cheerful& dread
Why this is the House where they give children breadThe man in the bread doorCries & comes out
Thousands of boys and girlsTake up his shout
Is it joy? is it prayer?"No more bread today"
Thousands of Childrenat once scream "Hooray!"Run home to tentswhere elders await
Messenger childrenwith bread from the state
No bread more today! & and no place to squat
Painful baby, sick shit he has got.Malnutrition skulls thousands for months
Dysentery drainsbowels all at once
Nurse shows disease cardEnterostrep
Suspension is wantingor else chlorostrepRefugee campsin hospital shacks
Newborn lay nakedon mother's thin laps
Monkeysized week oldRheumatic babe eye
Gastoenteritis Blood Poisonthousands must dieSeptember JessoreRoad rickshaw
50,000 soulsin one camp I saw
Rows of bamboohuts in the floodOpen drains, & wet families waiting for foodBorder trucks flooded, food cant get past,
American Angel machineplease come fast!
Where is Ambassador Bunker today?
Are his Helios machinegunning children at play?Where are the helicopters of U.S. AID?
Smuggling dope in Bangkok's green shade.
Where is America's Air Force of Light?
Bombing North Laos all day and all night?Where are the President's Armies of Gold?
Billionaire Naviesmerciful Bold?
Bringing us medicinefood and relief?
Napalming North Viet Namand causing more grief?Where are our tears?Who weeps for the pain?
Where can these families go in the rain?
Jessore Road's children close their big eyes
Where will we sleep when Our Father dies?Whom shall we pray to for rice and for care?
Who can bring bread to this shit flood foul'd lair?
Millions of children alone in the rain!
Millions of children weeping in pain!Ring O ye tongues of the world for their woe
Ring out ye voices for Love we don't know
Ring out ye bells of electrical pain
Ring in the conscious of America brainHow many children are we who are lost
Whose are these daughters we see turn to ghost?
What are our souls that we have lost care?
Ring out ye musics and weep if you dare--Cries in the mud by the thatch'd house sand drain
Sleeps in huge pipes in the wet shit-field rain
waits by the pump well, Woe to the world!
whose children still starvein their mother's arms curled.Is this what I did to myself in the past?
What shall I do Sunil Poet I asked?
Move on and leave them without any coins?
What should I care for the love of my loins?What should we care for our cities and cars?
What shall we buy with our Food Stamps on Mars?
How many millions sit down in New York
& sup this night's table on bone & roast pork?How many millions of beer cans are tossed
in Oceans of Mother? How much does She cost?
Cigar gasolines andasphalt car dreams
Stinking the world and dimming star beams--Finish the war in your breastwith a sigh
Come tast the tearsin your own Human eye
Pity us millions of phantoms you see
Starved in Samsaraon planet TVHow many millions of children die more
before our Good Mothers perceive the Great Lord?
How many good fathers pay tax to rebuildArmed forces that boastthe children they've killed?How many souls walk through Maya in pain
How many babesin illusory pain?
How many familieshollow eyedlost?
How many grandmothersturning to ghost?How many loves who never get bread?
How many Aunts with holes in their head?
How many sisters skulls on the ground?
How many grandfathersmake no more sound?How many fathers in woe
How many sonsnowhere to go?
How many daughtersnothing to eat?
How many uncleswith swollen sick feet?Millions of babies in pain
Millions of mothers in rain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of childrennowhere to go
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