Upland Peace Camp #7 (the first letter Poem)
Dear Officer 2503, of the Parkside Police;
Since you took my photo, while I marched, and sat, and slept,
and scratched, at the recent Up Land Peace Camp, at this camp to keep
our Gringo Guard in Gringo land, since you found me sexy enough to
take my photo, I have a request-
Dear twenty five oh three (can I call you twenty five, you
took so many photos, I feel like we know each other, and have drank
beers together), I am a Poet and have Readings coming up In Wahington,
DC on the 18th, at Media on the 25th, and in Philly on November 22nd
and-could you possibly give me fifty five by eight black and white
photos for publicity? Since you took these photos of me without the
asking of me, it’s the least that you should do. Not that you should
feel guilty, by the way. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
I want a real good one, by the way, for the Dela ware Coun ty Times.
And, hey, look, if I should ever chance to take a photo of you, if
you come to a Monday Night Poetry Reading in Philly, that I help run,
I’ll get you fifty one.
Dear twen ty five and three. Don’t you think I look good in
this blue work shirt, in these black cords, with these brown boots,
with my hair some long. Would you recommend another outfit?
I hope some of these are action poses. And do come buy at the Media
Reading. I’ll be selling books and-but your copy will be free.
It might be worth something. Look, my father had the number one issue
of Superman Comics, circa nineteen thirty eight, and his mother
threw it out. Do you know what that’s worth to day?
Dear twenty fiver, have you ever heard Poetry. You should. Not
the stuff they cram down your brain in school that your mind eats
’cause “it’s good for you” (though Shakespeare is forever. And Marlowe)
but some of the real stuff of this century. It’s better than guns. And
can be just as fa tal. If the words are aimed right.
Well, twenty five and three, I guess I’m about finished. Hope-
fully, you’re back to dealing with real crimes and real criminals
(I swear I returned those library books.), and I wish you success in
your chosen field, which I do not believe is photography. I swear that
you will get a photo credit, either under your number or, if you so desire,
under any alias you might want. Might I suggest twenty five ab?
Lastly, you might read some Wilfred Owen. There’s not a great
deal of Wilfred Owen, as he died, at the age of 26, on a World War I
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
and shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasures after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes
And do what things the rules consider wise
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the woman’s eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don’t they come
And put him into bed? Why don’t they come?
That was the first and last stanza of Disabled, published in 1920,
two years after Wilfred Owen died in the war that was “the war to end
Poet and a support person for Delaware County Pledge of Resistance
9/25/88-from original copy written on 9/16/88, during
the Peace Camp in front of the Upland Reserve Center.