Sketches for
The Ring of Indochina
by Karl Young

all through     only by hot air balloons     millions of people    the whirlwinds    
that part     could the besieged Parisians     around the world     of revolt    
of the world     get over the Prussian lines     watched on their     will continue    
highly potent     to the rest of France and the world     television     to shake    
marijuana    Gambetta flew over the Prussian lines     or listened to     the foundations    
grew      and landed in Tours, setting up there     their radios     of the nation    
in abundance     a second government in the province         as Neil Armstrong     until the    
and could be used     balloons patched together     uttered the words     bright day of    
with complete     from cotton and varnish, filled with     he probably     justice emerges    
abandon     inflammable coal dust, left the city     didn't understand:    in the process    
some soldiers     every other day throughout the siege     "That's one     of gaining    
made     the Prussians commissioned Krupp     small step     our rightful place    
carburetor J's     to make an anti-balloon cannon     for a man,     we must not    
cans with holes     but neither it nor the sharpshooters     one giant leap     be guilty    
punched in     did much to stop the balloons    for mankind."    of wrongful deeds    
their sides     the thing that worked against them     After walking around     let us not    
to accept     was their own nature:     the black dust     seek to satisfy    
a dozen joints     they couldn't be steered or propelled     and slippery rock    our thirst    
a manifold     but blew where the wind took them     to plant flags     for freedom    
at the top     twisting and turning as they went     and minor gadgets     by drinking from    
allowed them all     often shooting up thousands of feet     Armstrong and Aldrin     the cup of    
to be smoked     then dropping nearly to the ground     unveiled     bitterness    
at once     nearly hitting the ground     the plaque     and hatred    
some rolled     within a few minutes of taking off     that would remain     we must forever    
envelope J's     the aeronaut would be so confused     on the moon     conduct our struggle    
envelopes     he wouldn't have any idea     and broadcast its    on the high plane    
in which the weed     where he was or where he was headed     message:    of dignity    
had been generously     some landed in Germany     "Here men from     and discipline    
packed and rolled     some were blown out over the ocean     the planet Earth     we must not    
fatter than cigars     after a flight of 14 hours     first set foot     allow our    
some developed     one confused and nearly delirious     upon the moon     creative protest    
smoking rituals     aeronaut came to land in Norway     July 1969 AD    to degenerate    
the grunts     carrier pigeons proved most effective    We came in peace     into physical    
could stay     in getting information in and out     for all mankind"    violence    
wrecked all day     but the balloons strengthened morale    Below the message     we must rise    
in a haze they hoped    when Gambetta, the great orator     were replicas     to the majestic    
would relieve         who actually reached his destination     of the signatures     heights of meeting    
both terror     took off the crowd roared Vive la France!     of the astronauts     physical force    
and boredom     Vive la Liberte! as it did on each following launch     and the president    with soul force

on the rolling      the Prussian troops played      As Apollo 11      I have a dream     
hills of the      accordions danced polkas and drank      entered earth's      let freedom ring
Golden Triangle      liberated wine delighted      atmosphere      to pray together
poppies grew      by the orgy of Frenchmen      its surface      let freedom ring
in vast fields      killing each other      temperature      to work together
their white and      Communards executed priests      rose to 3,000 degrees C      let freedom ring
red flowers      and prominent citizens      The crew      to struggle together
waved in the breeze      while fashionable ladies      flattened      let freedom ring
changing the color      at Versailles castrated      to the back      to go to jail
of the hillsides           and pissed on dead Communards      of the module      together
with each gust      the Commune reinstated      by their speed      let freedom ring
as the bulbs ripened      the Committee of Public Safety      watched the      to stand up for
the hill people      executed suspicious citizens      orange-yellow      freedom together
notched them      furiously threw up barricades      flame of their      let freedom ring
to let out the sap      and just as furiously      heat shield      I have a dream
and collected it      defended them      surround them      my country
when it was ready      as the wellarmed and wellfed      in rings of fire      'tis of thee
they saved a little      Veraillais overcame      as it burned away      let freedom ring
for their own use      one barricade after another      After splashdown      I have a dream
but most went      the Communards began      divers threw      sweet land
to supply the world      burning the city      biological isolation      of liberty
with 70% of its opium      and executing more hostages      garments      I have a dream
morphine and heroin      as the barricades came down      into the module      let freedom ring
some was processed      both sides started killing      from underwater      I have a dream
in Thailand      with exquisite indiscrimination      once inside them      of thee I sing
and sold by pirates      as the Communards succumbed      and on the boat      land where
who had belonged to      the furry of the Versailles      they were hosed down      my fathers died
Chinese Nationalist      reached fever pitch      and scrubbed      I have a dream
armies expelled      continuing the slaughter      with iodine solution      let freedom ring
in the revolution      of old men and      A helicopter      I have a dream
the rest went forth      people with dirty hands      took them      land of
through processing      until the number of dead      to a mobile      the pilgrims'
stations in Laos      exceeded the dead      quarantine facility      pride
and flown from there      from the Prussian war      President Nixon      from every
to Saigon      and the Revolution's Terror      greeted them      mountainside
for distribution      the Prussians watched with glee      through a      let freedom ring
to American troops      not all the cannons      small window      I have a dream
or importation      Krupp could make      in the facility      let freedom ring
to the rest      could have more thoroughly      the cameras          thank God Almighty
of the world      destroyed the city      cranked on      I'm free at last

the CIA      Throughout the Prussian war      the tv cameras      from the
backed the Chinese      and even the Commune      watched     Nixon prodigious
pirates in Burma      virtually nothing was done      watch     hilltops of
and helped them ship      to improve the economic      Apollo 12      New Hampshire
their cargoes out      conditions of the Parisians      being thrust     from the
in Laos the CIA      wealth was not redistributed      into heavy clouds     heightening
allied themselves      nothing was done to replace      by their most     Alleghenies
with Hmong tribesmen      the slums with decent housing      powerful rocket of Pennsylvania
and lent its airline      no curbs were placed      As the ship     from the
Air America      on inflation      entered the clouds     snow-capped Rockies
to heroin shipment      nothing was done to change      it was enveloped     of Colorado
many pilots      unsafe working conditions      in intense light     from the
grew rich      or shorten the work day      16 seconds later     curvaceous slopes
on these deals      or end child labor      all the lights     of California
and bribery spread      no job security sickness or      on the     from Stone Mountain
as their wealth      no disability benefits     instrument panels     of Georgia
increased      or even pensions were proposed      lit up or blinked:     from Lookout Mountain
bringing in      until the last days      so many lights     of Tennessee
top brass      of the Commune      went on and off     from every
and politicians      malnutrition and disease      in such     hill and molehill
from all countries      only grew worse      rapid and strange     of Mississippi
their networks      a British medic observed      configurations     from every mountainside
interlinked      "what pains me most      that the crew     LET FREEDOM RING
with drug cartels      is not the wounds      couldn't keep     and when we allow
the world over      but to see their shriveled legs      track of     freedom to ring
spreading the wealth      really not larger than      them     when we let it ring
to Mafia and Tongs      a strong man's thumb"      a massive surge     from every
alike it      strangest of all      tripped the     village and hamlet
established trade      was the Communards'      circuit breakers     we will be able
with cocaine      failure to seize      turning off     to speed up that day
distributors      the Bank of France      the main     when all of
and brought      had they done so      electrical system     God's children
back to Saigon      they could have frozen      With power returned     will join hands
the drug of choice      the army of Versailles     by emergency batteries      sing
of American pilots      thrown not only France      Pete Conrad     sing the old Negro
opportunities created      but the whole of Europe      broadcast     spiritual
at this time      into economic chaos      back to earth:     free at last
continued to fluorish      and even undermined      "I'm not sure     free at last
impervious to change      the newly formed      we didn't get hit     thank God Almighty
in political power      German state      by lightening."     we are free at last

at first      Marx had initially thought     Just before      some began
the U.S. military      the Commune a farce      reentering      to say
ignored the use      but as it progressed it fired      Antares     the threats
of drugs by its men      his imgination      for the last time,     I don't know
then it encouraged      and focused his thoughts      Shepherd     what will happen
the initiative      as the final act was playing out drove several      it doesn't matter
of budding      he wrote The Civil War in France      white and bumpy      with me now
entrepreneurs      the book second only to the     golf balls      I've been to
later it realized      Manifesto in the canon     along with      the mountaintop
that doped troops      the Commune spread his fame     lots of moon dust      I would like
didn't kill officers      it created a heroic ideal      into the      to live
or otherwise      that would inspire generations     lunar sky.      a long life
cause trouble      and weed out the compromisers     On the way      but I'm not
even if it did      drawing an often uncrossable line     back to earth     concerned with
slow their reactions      between moderate and revolutionary     Shepherd said:     that now
as the war went on      throughout the world     "It is our      I just want to
men sailed      revolutionists of the future     wish tonight      do God's will
higher and higher      measured themselves     that we can      he's allowed me
grunts on the line      against the Communards     in some way      to go up to
got through the day      when Lenin returned to Russia     contribute      the mountain
on weed and the      with most of The Civil War      through our efforts      and I've
night with heroin      memorized he counted each day in the space programme      looked over
bought for      the Revolution outlived the Commune     to promote      I've seen the
$10 an ounce      as "Commune plus 1" and when he died     a better      promised land
paper pushers      he was shrouded in a Communard flag      understanding      I may not
in Saigon      Stalin called the Commune      of peace      get there
sped through their      "a frail dictatorship"      throughout      with you
days on      and made sure not to allow      the world.      but I want you
black Cadillacs      the moderate elements      Interest in      to know
and their nights      or lack of thoroughness     moon walks      that we
on opium      that had failed the Commune     had nearly      as a people
and over it all      activists and cadres     disappeared     will get to
elite pilots      as far away as Tokyo rallied     ratings      the promised land
soared on cocaine      to the cry "Vive la Commune!"     had fallen      I'm happy tonight
as they dropped      but as France recovered     so far      I'm not worried
napalm on towns      from the wars of 1870-1871     that virtually      mine eyes
bombs on cities      the nation focused     no station      have seen
and chemicals      its attention on recovering     in the U.S.     the glory
made in America      its wealth and prestige     carried     of the coming
on everything      increasing activity in its colonies          this broadcast     of the Lord

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Copyright © 2001 by Karl Young