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North American Dreaming: Plight Of The Blue Monkey

William Burkholder's poem says that it is easier for humans to become Blue Monkeys, dragging their knuckles through the fields of war, than it is for them to raise their hands in the cause of peace.

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And the Blue Monkey rested beside the road,
licking his wounded knuckles,
road dragged, bloodied and blistered.
Upset at the wounds,
blaming them for his pain and suffering.

Scratching his ear with his left foot he wondered,
"Why my fingers hurt so much? Why me bloody?"
I came upon him commiserating, licking those wounds
angry and detached.

"Blue monkey what finds ye on the road today?"
With a last lick and grunt he sneered at me.
"Who you and what you care upright man?
You no want my answer you just no-zeee,
you go now away."

I looked at the poor beast, feeling somewhat sorry for him.
I had always heard of the blue monkey and their kind
but had never actually met one in person.
However, for some reason this one looked somewhat familiar.
He had a common look about him.

"Blue monkey, do I know you?
Have we ever met before?"
He glared at me with red fiery eyes,
rising slightly to his haunches.
I could tell he was surveying me more closely now.

"Hmmmm,'' he said, ''let me see,
open mouth upright man, let me sniff ."
He rose and came closer,
pawing at my hair with those damn bloody knuckles.
"Upright man, yes I know ye,
you see me many year ago now,
you upright man that was my -
how you say - naaaaabore."

"Naaaaabore, oh, neighbor, huh!
Whatever do you mean?
I have never lived next to a blue monkey in my life!"
The blue monkey looked at me with sad eyes and said,
"I was not Blue monkey then,
I live there before I go to war,
before the killing, before my hands were bloodied,
I need bandage, you got bandage upright man?"

I fell back, shocked realizing that this blue monkey,
this thing, was my childhood friend, Jeffery.
"Jeffery, my God man, what has happened to you?
We all thought that you had died in the war!"
"I did Thomas, I did."

I was a bit unnerved,
he had called me by my name
he did know who I was after all.
"Jeffery gone long time now,
I am all that's left.
Me, the - how you say - reezult of conflikt,
when we make no peace, only war,
We become Blue monkey, knuckles dragging.''

He paused, and looked at his hands, slowly raising them.
A tear forming in the corner of his eye.
He seemed to have come to some sort of epiphany
a realization.


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