Highest greetings from Amsterdam, where I’ve been spending my summer so far working with my pals Steve The Fly and Sidney Daniels to try to open up a temporary autonomous zone of our own called the Bohemian Embassy somewhere in the city of Amsterdam this fall.
At the same time I’m working on completing the final stages of production so my new book, IT’S ALL GOOD—A John Sinclair Reader, can go to the printer under the careful hands of my publisher, Ben Horner.
My daughter Celia, who’s designed and produced the book for me, was in Detroit working with me on making the book and now is back in New Orleans finishing up. She’s done a beautiful job from the front cover photograph of the author in front of the Hempshopper on the Singel canal (snapped by the proprietor, Sidney Daniels) to the back cover reproduction of a painting by my friend Frenchy made here in Amsterdam at Café The Zen during the recoding of my album Let’s Go Get ’Em.
I’ve been previewing the book in this column by running selected pieces from the 25 essays and 25 poems that make up the John Sinclair Reader, and I’ve got a short essay and a poem from IT’S ALL GOOD to contribute to this month’s entry here. Already available through CD-Baby is the album I’ve made of the 25 poems in the book set to music and performed by a variety of musical ensembles I’ve collaborated with over the years.
This is a big moment for me as a poet and writer of 50 years standing, to collect some of my favorite works in one volume and include the musical versions of the poems as a download card that will; be inserted into the book itself. I’m proud of this work and very thankful to Ben Horner for having the nerve to make it his first book publishing venture.
This column coincides with two important dates in my life: August 5, the day I was released from the Detroit House of Correction in 1966 after serving a six-month sentence for possession of marijuana; and August 6, the day the United States government sent the airship Enola Gay to drop atomic bombs on Japan—the only instance in human history where one country has used a weapon of mass destruction on another.
For me this atrocity represents an awful turning point in the history of civilization and the beginning of the end of our illusions about the actual nature of our country. Everything has been downhill morally and culturally since that terrible day of August 6, 1945, and the really horrible thing is that it could happen again at any moment that a government in possession of nuclear weapons decides that one of its enemies must perish.
It’s long been something of a truism that marijuana smokers are peace-loving people. We don’t hurt anyone, and we aren’t about trying to do away with our enemies through the use of weapons of mass destruction. Many of us feel that all nuclear weapons should be destroyed and the possibility of further use of weapons of mass destruction be forever abandoned.
That’s certainly the way I feel as a citizen and a marijuana smoker, and I’d like to offer the following selections from IT’S ALL GOOD in the spirit in which they were written.
MASTERS OF WAR
War is never something to be proud of, but an unprovoked war of brutal aggression to seize and control the resources of a small, defenseless nation halfway around the world from the United States is particularly shameful.
While it was extremely painful to witness the merciless bombing of Afghanistan to drive out of power our former allies, the Taliban government (remember the “heroic Islamic freedom fighters” of the 1980s?), our nation’s blitzkrieg assault on Iraq heralds a new era of American imperial atrocities of frightening proportions.
But of course our populace doesn’t remember the heroic Islamic freedom fighters of Afghanistan. Allen Ginsberg said, “the name of yesterday’s newspaper is amnesia,” and the war in Iraq revealed that nearly three of every four Americans had come to believe that Saddam Hussein had ordered the airstrikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon just a short year and a half ago.
Forgotten also has been the fact that our military establishment supported and helped arm Iraq in its eight-year war against Iran not so long ago.
This is madness, for sure, but it is also a precise measurement of the degree to which our citizenry has been successfully dummied down by the relentless, decades-long attack of the wholly compromised news media and the mass entertainment corporations that own them.
Now it’s “America At War,” “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” “Homeland Security,” “Shock and Awe,” page after page and hour after hour of disgusting pro-war propaganda building public support for the bully-boy adventures of our illegitimate president.
With its ducks all lined up in a row following the Bush putsch of November 2000 and the Republican Party takeover of the House and Senate in the disgraceful 2002 elections, the ugly cabal of unbridled greedheads who rule our social order is now determined to install its long-anticipated New World Order.
The regime change in the United States engineered by Karl Rove, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Chief Justice William Renquist and their henchmen proceeded so smoothly and with so little protest from the electorate that foreign conquest by their smash-and-grab tactics seems easy—and they’re going for it in a big way.
So pay close attention, ladies and g’s, because the nightmare has only started. The meanness and unmitigated greed which for so many people around the world have for so long characterized the American spirit are now unleashed and will soon be functioning at full force.
It’s time to stand up and be counted in opposition or stand by and watch the imperial juggernaut steamroller everything we hold sacred.
April 20, 2003
for Charles Moore
There is something
about the American
set on de-
eager to bomb.
There is the hatred
that fuels the A-
with the urge
to crush & destroy—
This is where
they built Fat Man, Mr. U-
& they sent
& Little Boy
to level Hiroshima
& Nagasaki —
They love Fat Boy
They feed him the sweets
of their hearts
singing their filthy songs
into Fat Boy’s u-
& let the rest of us
eat the shit
of their hatred
that is not them—
Ah! Fat Boy
so round & ugly
so full of hate
with the dead spirits
of the Americans
in the deserts of Iraq
Thanks for listening, and I hope to see many of my readers at the festivities at and around the Cannabis Cup in Clio. I’ll also be taking part in an event staged by the Grannies For Grass organization at Fried Eggs Productions, 15426 Harper on Detroit’s east side on August 30 at High Noon. Free The Weed!
July 16-18, 2015
© 2015 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.