Loving America

A Poem: "Love the people not the government"


                                     Loving America



We are made schizophrenic

by loving America

by our love of the well-cherished

gardens of our comfortable neighborhoods

of the kind woman this morning

who rebuttoned my sleeve

after drawing blood from my arm

and told me that her friends

two Christian missionaries

had real problems in Afghanistan

–or near there  —

perhaps it was Zimbabwe –

and the cultures of its people

as caught by Bernstein

in West Side Story

and the music of Leonard Cohen

Democracy is coming

to the U.S.A.

Love has problems with knowledge

which is why Dostoevsky said

he would choose Christ over the truth

and Milosz wrote in the midst

of the destruction of Warsaw

Who serves best doesn’t always understand                Milosz New and Collected Poems 50


which is why for Socratics

love isn’t always a virtue


and because we love America

we tend to believe our president

it was only after

the Taliban refused

to turn over Osama bin Laden

we sent our troops into Afghanistan                                                Obama, West Point 12/1/09

as we suppress what the Taliban

actually said:

they would not hand over bin Laden

without proof or evidence

that he was involved in last week’s attacks                         

which Bush refused them                                                                           CNN 9/21/01

and we ignore the unpoetic truth

from FBI Headquarters

why its “Most Wanted” webpage on bin Laden

does not list 9/11

the FBI has no hard evidence

connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.     http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2623

or Cheney on TV

We’ve never argued the case

that somehow Osama Bin Laden

was directly involved in 9/11.

That evidence has never been forthcoming.                            Tony Snow Show, 3/29/06

and we ignore the fact

that America then recruited

high-level drug traffickers

from Pakistan and even France

to assist in the invasion it had already prepared

of Afghanistan

in the same way

that for more than half a century

our secret armies helped  develop

Thailand Burma and Laos

to become for the first time

global opiate suppliers

in alliance with drug traffickers

so powerful and important

they are absolutely never named

in U.S. newspapers                                                                Scott American War Machine

like Li Wenhuan

General of the Fifth Army

in whose honor a huge statue is being built

we ignore whatever our papers ignore

and we suppress the obvious

because we are made schizophrenic

by loving America

while our country is delivered

into the hands of men

like the priapic

ex-senior officer of Enron

who cashed out for a quarter billion

married one of his strippers

and became the second largest

landowner in Colorado                                                    Mimi Swartz Power Failure 193

I don’t believe for a second

that what we think are our thoughts

are only the thoughts of our age

like those who proclaim

that it is language that controls us

and not we who control language                            Milosz Beginning with My Streets 204

we make our own culture

but not just as we choose

and we are bent way out of shape

when we struggle to lead

a virtuous life

in this freest

and most belligerent nation in the world


so many of whose poets

once left the country

committed suicide went insane

play now in the gardens of their ivory towers

and the safely meaningless


have celebrated America’s power

as a country of vast designs and expectations

of a new and more excellent social state

than history has recorded                 Emerson, Sellers Market Revolution 380

or Carl Sandburg your Chicago

alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
a tall bold slugger set vivid

against the little soft cities                Sandburg Chicago

or even you Walt Whitman

celebrating the guns of the new empire

and its Broadway pageants

the way we celebrate fireworks

I chant America, the Mistress—I chant a greater supremacy….

I chant my stars and stripes fluttering in the wind; 

I chant commerce opening,

When the thunder-cracking guns arouse me

with the proud roar I love                       Whitman, “A Broadway Pageant” Leaves of Grass 101

and I have to say to my friends

who as I do love Whitman

you ignore the esoteric

you suppress the obvious

because we are made schizophrenic

by loving of America


I saw it in fragments of a text

as in two shards of a mirror

that it is not we

who speak the language

but it is the language

that speaks us

and then nearby

We can express no more than

the language of our time and place

allows us to.                                                                      Milosz Beginning with My Streets 161

In the wake of our civil war

when Whitman was attacked by Allen Tate

can there yet be a poet

with the breadth of compassion

to do for America

and Whitman’s fervid IDEA                          Whitman Democratic Vistas Complete Works935-6

what Milosz achieved for Poland 

when he translated Simone Weil                      Scott Poets Who Grow Gardens in Their Heads

into the language of his people

the unreasonable hating themselves

even more than they hate other nations                         Milosz New and Collected poems 245

to persuade the militant church and the militant left

the factions of believers and thinkers

engaged in cultural wars

and increasingly self-deranged

by rejecting each other

that they could instead address

the heartlessness

at the center of the capital

conniving with lies and murder

as now in the case of Washington

which targeted a hospital in Fallujah

as “a center of propaganda”    AsiaTimesOnline 11/10/2004, DahrJamilIraq.com 11/16/04

and has sent a fleet

on its way to the Persian Gulf


with “bunker busters”

for blasting underground structures

aiming specifically at Iran                                                     Chomsky July 2 2010

Are we mentally obese?

why do most of us

barely mind or even notice

“They are gearing up totally

for the destruction of Iran“?                                     HeraldScotland March 14 2010




Love America!


Love the people

not the government!

and don’t seriously blame anyone!

not the people

not those in Washington

not even the poets

though What is poetry which does not save

Nations or people?

A connivance with official lies…                          Milosz, New and Collected Poems, 77-78

we make our own culture

but not just as we please

and all are caught up in

a relentless dialectic

the two sides of Whitman

love of power and hatred of pain

which no poet can resolve

until America comes to realize

like Britain in 1956

it can no longer

control any situation in the world                                       Joint Vision 2020 Pentagon

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. He was born in Montreal in 1929, the only son of the poet F.R. Scott and the painter Marian Scott. He is married to Ronna Kabatznick; and he has three children, Cassie, Mika, and John Scott, by a previous marriage to Maylie Marshall.

His prose books include The War Conspiracy (1972), The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (in collaboration, 1976), Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection (1977), The Iran-Contra Connection (in collaboration, 1987), Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (in collaboration, 1991, 1998), Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993, 1996), Deep Politics Two (1994, 1995, 2006), Drugs Oil and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, March 2003), The Road to 9/11 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), and The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (Ipswich, MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2008).

An anti-war speaker during the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, he was a co-founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at UC Berkeley, and of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA).

His poetry has dealt with both his experience and his research, the latter of which has centered on U.S. covert operations, their impact on democracy at home and abroad, and their relations to the John F. Kennedy assassination and the global drug traffic. The poet-critic Robert Hass has written (Agni, 31/32, p. 335) that “Coming to Jakarta is the most important political poem to appear in the English language in a very long time.”

His latest book of poems, Mosaic Orpheus, appeared in 2009 from McGill-Queen’s University Press. It can be ordered from Amazon.comHis other chief poetry books are the three volumes of his trilogy Seculum: Coming to Jakarta: A Poem About Terror (1989), Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse (1992), and Minding the Darkness: A Poem for the Year 2000. In addition he has published Crossing Borders: Selected Shorter Poems (1994), published in Canada as Murmur of the Stars. In November 2002 he was awarded the Lannan Poetry Award.  

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Articles by: Prof Peter Dale Scott

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