War Sky

NARRATOR:
The rosy, unseen voice reiterates,
"This is History!"
And suddenly, like a big joke, the dream we bought
                                        is gone.

For a reasonable downpayment and a simple manipulation
Gray light shimmys into our livingroom,
A vibrant smear that has evolved before
To leering tenors, punchy fighters, public enemy 1, 2, 4,
Tigers, trees and swollen seas,
As if to comfort us,
Now reveals what the camera saw some days ago
From a tank, a plane, a hole in the ground.

COMMENTATOR: 
Through the courtesy of
Heaven above,
The Land We Love,
Modern Science,
Our powerful clients,
Favoring stars
and candybars,
View
Whats New.

MUSIC: SOUSA MARCH: UP AND HOLD UNDER:

COMMENTATOR: 
The Tigers hug the lead
The greasers learn to read
Notorious filmstar bears
Two rather premature heirs
Noted columnist reveals
The diva sleeps with seals
Famous Pink
Downs self in sink
Leaving a note
"Forget to vote"
The Moose meet in Seattle
Marines go into battle

MUSIC: OUT.

SOUND: THUNDER.

NARRATOR: 
In windy Chicago, sung by several,
Builded by man,
Measured by the University of,
In a tidy flat
Where a pussycat
Snores on the sofa,
Couched in a World's Fair pillow,
Live the Antonellis, who are typical of something
Somewhat, with but one gangster in the family,
He by marriage, Vito of the dirty nails. They are solid,
Patient as the sofa, warm as the throwrug.
They observe the Lent
And pay the rent
With the good intent
Of Eternal Joy and Heavenly Peace
After a lifetime on their knees.
The payments met
They own a set
Sized ten-inch screen.
They never had the least suspicion
Their son would be on television.
A ghost.
After a tedious, difficult day
Doing his work in the usual way,
On his bottom
For Weir and Tottem,
Antonelli watches the fun
On tv channels 12 thru 1,
Hears the smooth, professional voice of doom
Liquefacting in his livingroom.

MUSIC: SLOW SWING MUSIC UP AND OUT UNDER:

SOUND: RIFLEFIRE, SHELL BURSTS. UP AND OUT UNDER:

COMMENTATOR: 
Our boys advance over the tough, treacherous terrain.
The beleagured foe, softened up by aircraft and artillery
Still holds this hill, called by our boys, "Old Bloodynose."
We See-

MR. A: 
Mamma! Look! Stanley!

MRS. A: 
Baby!

MR. A: 
Sonofagun, Stanley climbin a mountain with his hands
bleedin!

SOUND: SHELLBURST.

MRS. A: 
Oh: Jesus! He's fallin! The rocks are fallin on him!

MR. A: 
They got him!

MRS. A: 
Baby! Oh Baby Baby! My Babyboy!

NARRATOR: 
Young men of draft age and all who claim your love.
Strange lights are in the eastern sky.
The festival of power resumes.
On the chosen highlands
The arms and their bearers are tested and tempered
In the destruction of living.
In the vital port by electric glare in the pit of night
The battalions thud to shore,
Accoutred, numbered, sleepy.
Trucks lunge down the ramps rumbling.
Screaming whistles scratch the senses.
A Negro marching band strikes up a hero's hymn.

KOREAN
CIVILIAN:
It is beyond my understanding.
Our town was burned last week.
The planes, just two, came by once,
And after the terror, when I grew less afraid
I saw the town was gone
And my neighbors were shrieking
And running like mad geese.
Now we go down the road with what we have
And sleep among the dead,
More spent then you will ever be
And more afraid.

NARRATOR: 
A woman with mad eyes
Bakes pies,
Made of petrol and dust,
Dried blood for the crust;
Aeroplanes, wheat futures rise.

1ST YOUNG VOICE: 
See that sky!

2ND YOUNG VOICE: 
Looks like war -

SOUND: RUSH OF JET AIRCRAFT, SHOOTINGSTARS, UP AND UNDER:

1ST YOUNG VOICE: 
No barefoot boys in them jets -

2ND YOUNG VOICE: 
They're pros, them boys!

SOUND: RUSH OF JETS, ETC., OUT.

CORPORAL: 
(BLOWS WHISTLE) Listen! Listen! Listen!
   "      "     Run! Run! Run!
   "      "     Everyone to their group!
   "      "     Run! Run! Run!

PRIVATE: 
Why don't you get born again and die right!

SOUND: MORSECODE, UP AND OUT UNDER:

COMMENTATOR: 
More North Korean atrocities discovered and verified!
Disguised as peaceloving civilians the enemy remains
behind retreat to kill and plunder. The High Command
takes stern measures.

NARRATOR: 
MacArthur, that grand old man, returns.
Little stars twinkling on his epaulets,
Big gun erect,
Boots shining blueblack as your truelove's hair,
Eyes glinting like fine cutlery.
This steadfast talisman reassures
The corrupt Generalissimo of imminent victory.
Prepare
Young men with new families,
Students dallying in the autumn leaves,
Lovers loving in rented rooms.
Prepare,
Chant Freedom's anthem you learned schooldays,
Sang on holidays while Roman Candles glorified
The shiny lake and meteors fell in the woods
And orators exclaimed concerning
The sanctity of Washington,
Lincoln's humor,
The unspeakable grace of God.
The dead arrive in your harbors for decent burial.
The wounded learn to walk on wooden pegs
and caress with metal claws.
Volunteer for their places in the utmost ranks!

1ST RECRUITER: 
Laddys! Daddys!
Your country needs you
For its wrecking crew!

2ND RECRUITER: 
Men and boys
Leave your toys;
Dancing in the dark,
The local baseball park,
Your favorite murder mystery,
Come, make history!
Join today!
There'll be beer
Have no fear
If you're not queer
You'll appear
Your Country's saviour,
The best behavior.
Leave your nagging wife
For a shot at life!
Leave that old stone dorm
For a uniform!
We'll teach you;
Radar, camouflage, flamethrowing, Judo,
Lifesaving, first aid,
Prophylaxis and political science!

(The following lines are delivered in a pompous,
obscene, choral manner, after the manner of "The
Hour Of Charm.")

NAVY: 
Gentlemen who stand
So prosaically on land,
We who sail the endless seas
Invite you if you please
To our floating fortresses;
The stern blockade,
The daring raid,
The bright parade.
True, there aren't many trees
That one sees.

AIRCORPS: 
Fellows on the ground, gather round,
We fly faster than sound!

MARINES: 
In the front of the fight
In the ghastly hours of night
Or in the glare of day
For unspectacular pay
We perform heroic feats
For our eats.
Plus our uniform is chicker
And we all can hold our likker.

SOUND: MORSECODE, UP AND OUT UNDER:

COMMENTATOR: 
The enemy, using coolie labor,
Then proceeded to systematically exterminate
All prisoners of war,
Castrating their corpses
And raping their widows and all female kin.
The male children being put to unspeakable slavery
In government operated tin mines.

1ST RECRUITER: 
Nigger, Polack, Wop or Kike,
It doesn't matter what you're like,
We'll give you all a chance at glory,
Tales to tell when you get hoary,
How your buddy dropped down dead
Snipered by a dirty red.
What happened on your sixteenth mission
When you took along nuclear fission.
We'll give you training, food, bed, pay,
If you make things right by the USA.

2ND RECRUITER: 
The farm is no place for a growing boy,
The nights there are too still for youthful joy.
Pitching cowdung with a fork
Eating beans and raising pork
When you could be in New York -

1ST RECRUITER: 
Leave the rhythm of the city,
Hope, struggle, ironic pity,
The dynamic constipation
Of its restless fornication.
The job, the mob, the sullen sob,
The bony truth, the prosperous lie,
The airy earth and pavement sky.

2ND RECRUITER: 
Security, Utility and Harmony.
A Future in the Air!
Distinguished, silverpolled, behind a desk,
Glittering with burnished gold!

1ST RECRUITER: 
You owe yourself and all you've got
to Free Enterprise's melting pot
So come now with us for a long boat ride
And when you reach the other side
Fight for the system bona fide.

FANFARE.

COMMENTATOR:
Asia in revolt, a message:
We have secret, terrible weapons
That will grind you to bloody hamburger,
Eradicate your beloved villages,
Stain the eyes of your progeny.
Do not ally yourself with the Red Colossus,
Here life is earnest, life is good.
The wage earner earns wages and sleeps sound at night,
Fearing not some loathsome juggernaut will wake him,
And send him to death and worse in Siberia.

Remember, we have never been defeated.
And though we don't know what will happen
In Formosa or in Japan
We are sure eventually
We shall destroy our enemy,
Settle down to a malted milk
And do a rush business in Chinese silk.
We have
Cyclotrons and autostradas
Bibliofilm and pinacoladas
Reservoirs, assembly lines,
Death for spies and traffic fines.
We cannot fall
We're on the ball.

1ST RECRUITER: 
Who's this?

2ND RECRUITER: 
What's that?

NON-LEGAL CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR:
If your heart tonight is as my heart
Give me your hand for you are my brother.
Ah, I see you are not my brother.

Among the scraps of perhaps
Where every symbol is a cheat
And apparently I am a fool,
What shall I do?
Chew the petals off a rose
Like a sweet sick girl in a muggy dream?
Or tear my hair and clothing,
Weeping curses for an unknown god?
Hide in mountains, deserts, sewersystems,
Telling what beads of what love?
The coral atoll is polluted.
White Sands lies deflowered.
Men drop like flies.
Can I cry out to the shrewd, the innocent?
They will inflict upon me forty wounds
Then hang me to a lamppost.
The couple from Des Moines will remark,
"Thus goes the romantic from Louisville."
Justice
No warrior knows thy sword,
No campfollower thy love.
I must live peacefully, in this world,
With compassion.

2ND RECRUITER: 
We'll make of him a stretcher bearer,
For such a lad what could be fairer?

1ST RECRUITER: 
The intelligent way
To prevent decay
Is to die young
So don't delay,
Join the army yesterday.
Perish with every tooth intact,
In fact,
Handsome and brave
in a hero's grave,
The girls will rave,
Your buddies sigh,
Your mamma cry
As she hears the taps
For what sucked her paps.

Or return to home, the nation's best,
Decorations on your chest,
Strut into the local bar
There display an awesome scar
And if you're the sensual kind
Myriad women you will find
Anxious to please
Despite disease.

2ND RECRUITER: 
What do you say, kid -

NARRATOR: 
Mars is awake, the eagle screams,
In ravishment the general creams.
Aware once more
Of looming war
The quaking world
Sees flags unfurled
And numerous hands
In many lands
Well girt
To hurt.
Panic at the county fair,
Terror in the city square,
Chaos in the garden.
For unquiet thoughts your pardon.
The world's revolution shall not cease,
Eventually there will be peace.

___________________________________________________
Written by Robert Rosenberg
Published in _Generations_, Vol. 2, no. 1, 1950,
a student publication of the University of Michigan