NEW YEAR'S EVE: The new year is starting on a sour note, because of America's tepid response to the tragedy in Asia. My friend Malory put is in this very succinct way:

"Mind you, President Bush initially offered only $15 million in aid (again,compare this to the $1.7 billion he threw at Florida, and compare this tothe $62 million Spain alone has pledged). It was only when he was roundlycriticized thanks to the media coverage of the tragedy (which still pales incomparison to 9/11, mind you) that he doubled the sum (which STILL is onlyhalf of what Spain is giving)."

She is so right, but because of international pressure and from citizens here in the states, the US has finally pledged $350 million. What has been most disturbing are the redneck yahoos calling conservative radio and flooding chatrooms with their ignorance about the tragedy. Yet another reason to be ashamed to be an American lately. Here's my response:

Banda Aceh

Airplanes flying into buildings
cannot hold water against water,
the loss of life, while painful,
is a mere drop in the Indian Ocean,
which sends death in leviathan waves
and dispatches 100,000 souls in seconds.

America cleans up its dead so easily,
mourns them properly, or runs
its too smooth hands over concrete
or dirt where the lost have reduced to ash.
From Sri Lanka to Sumatra,
there will be no ceremony, just tears
running through the crevices of worn palms,
as bodies are bulldozed into mass graves.
America is good at words like devastation,
because its only had a pin-prick,
can apply a well-worn sound bite to salve
wounds with manicured fingers.

Rednecks dismiss anything with a foreign name
– like tsunami – as GOD’S WILL
on the UNCHRISTIAN Third World.
Would rather send more money
and their heterosexual boys to die in Iraq,
or prostate themselves before JESUS
to stop those faggots from taking over the world.
They call conservative radio, anonymously
divesting their ignorance:
Ain’t nuthin’ but ter’ists and ragheads
down thar anyway, they gotta fend fer themselves.

In Banda Aceh, the pool outside the Grand Mosque
is full of debris and bodies, bloated by sea and heat.
Men and women cry, hands to Heaven,
which is not taking calls this week.
If you ask at a church in say Texas, they will tell you
God is on holiday in America, spending Christmas
with the faithful, has put on the answering machine,
the little red light blinking five million times.


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