“He who lives by the sword dies by the sword,” but the men who are now dying have no such simple entrance into their own lives—the swords they bear (whatever “side”) are not what they live by, not the terms of their living, but alien & unnecessary tools forced into their hands by men who have taken themselves so far from such actual simple tools.
Johnson, Rusk, McNamara, Westmoreland—these are men who live by daggers, not swords, nothing so primitive as that, lies & intrigue & naked, blatant brainwashing propaganda. They use only people as their tools, and as only that, and their game is to set man against man, keep them turned around like they are, at each other’s throats, screaming and killing, throwing bricks through windows, flying their abstract flags, put weird abstract “names” on every man or thing; they have gone that far so that men are not men but americans, community, patriotic, loyal, traitors, all just nomenclature, nomenclature, nomenclature, clattering, closing down on us, and we are none of it but MEN, we do have to get back to that sense of ourselves, see each other as what we are, MEN, at work at simple human business—getting food, making ourselves secure in our homes, making poems, babies, music, houses, tools, whatever acts we can manage of our lives. To get back to that primitive sense of it, as, say, the Vietnamese people have, without blowing it in the process, as the American people have now, and the US soldiers have, as any of these people have here, and make a decent life of it. To keep men simply men, acts acts, and have the sense to see it that way, to leave men alone to themselves, and work at it from that point, ignore those others, the misled “leaders” of this land, leave them to atrophy and die off if they have to build a new life for ourselves, break through to where we can live on our own, as our own lovely human selves.
— February 12, 1966 (written for the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam, upon getting their windows smashed by four breakthrough bricks) [bricks thrown by a local Detroit fascist group, Breakthrough]. See story on page 6.