Petite Soldat

My historical research has been of great value in my work onstage. Understanding a playwright’s place in history: what may have formed her, what discourse did he have access to. My interest in military history is attributable to something else. My family had fought imperialism against the Spanish in Cuba, then against fascism in Spain in the 30’s, and in the 50’s my father actively worked against Batista, a usurping autocrat who nullified the country’s 1940 constitution. When my parents decided not to participate in their country’s experiment with a softer, centralized socialism, Castro-ism, they immigrated to the United States after having been sickened at seeing Soviets arriving in Cuba. I am proud to say that my family has always reacted to autocrats wherever they’ve lived.  This explains my revulsion to Trump and what he is offering: the One God, One Language, One America, inchoate monolithic thinking devoid of subtlety and nuance. The handing over of one’s sovereignty, one’s civil rights, to one person…in this case an unthinking reactionary with no sense of how the world or his country works.

Here’s a sonnet I wrote some years ago that may further shed light:

Petite Soldat

“The Sky reminded me of a Klee painting: where are you from, where are you, where are you going?”

-from the film “Le Petit Soldat,” Jean Luc Godard, 1963.

It’s just that on the year I was born 

we measured our success in lunches served.

We’d fight poverty and all who kept us back.

I was raised to attend the fight and not look away:

if needed, become fodder to earn a place in the honor

roll, a niche into the pantheon, etched above the bones

From Le Marne, Somme, El Ebro, Moncada, Bastogne—

those places found in the 800 section of the duodecimal

that reared me raised to be snuffed out in a flash

like that poor miliciano forever frozen, arms out flying,

forever immolated at Jaráma by Robert Capa…

…Instead, I fight traffic, run come home to walk the dog.

Looking the other way whenever Bosnia, Syria, Rwanda,

Somalia is spoken of. I worry about our self-cleaning oven.

Please follow and like us:

Stay connected, follow me: