Burning the Flag by Jeff Poniewaz

Jeff Poniewaz

Bruce J. “Jeff” Poniewaz | 1946 – 2015

Burning the Flag

I burn the flag
that massacred
Wounded Knee.
I burn the actual

specific flag flown
by the U.S. Calvary
that crucified the Sioux
on Christmas 1890.
I burn the flag
that fiddles while
rainforests burn.
I burn the flag
everyone stands & sings
“rockets’ red glare” to
just before a football game
while every second a
footballfield of rainforest
burns. I burn the flag
that dropped napalm
on children in Vietnam.
I burn the flag
that swapped guns for
cocaine with deathsquads
that raped & murdered
nuns in El Salvador.
I burn the flag that
propped up the Somozas
in Nicaragua all those
decades. I burn the flag
that burned Neruda’s library.
I burn any flag that
promotes flag fetishism
and pep-rally nationalism
that forestalls a global
alliance for peace
and ecological sanity.
I salute the flag
that lives up to’
the word “freedom.”
I salute the flag
that lives up to
the word “democracy”
–government by the people,
not by the Forbes 500.
I salute the flag
that is an example
to the whole world
of ecological enlightenment.
I salute the flag that’
salutes the whole Earth,
the Human Family
Whitman invoked
in “Salut au Monde.”
I salute the green
flag of Whitman.
I salute the flag
of Ecology, with
the oval “e” where
the stars used to be
and green stripes
where the red ones were.
I salute the flag
with the cerulean blue
of our planet gleaming
in a sea of black,
more love-inspiring
& goosebump inducing
than the Old Glory
with holes in it that
inspired Francis Scott Key.
Better we burn the dollar
& the yen-the flags that
command our true allegiance–
and declare world-wide
Debt Amnesty so we can
stop killing the Earth
to pay our debts, and
start anew with an economy
in harmony with the Ecology.
Better we burn the flags
of all nations in front
of the United Nations
than all nations burn
in nuclear war or
ecological holocaust.
I salute the flag
that is more offended
by the desecration
of the environment
than by the desecration
of any flag.
I pledge allegiance
to the Earth!
I salute the flag
of the Earth!

July 4, 1989

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