The floral tapestry receives you.

You settle slowly

into the divan. The hum

and click of the turntable

is the hum and click

of all knowing -

and of a night just like this.

Your competency is all around

you; it is measured by

the old and new.

There is just enough metallica and just

enough hand shaped grain in it,

to be function and art. In this room

you’ve missed nothing

of what the Dream should be.

Fully furnished,

our country ‘tis of you.


The blue beam searches.

It finds the front of the film.

The film comes flowing in.

The tide of an unfamiliar humanity

laps against the glass and you

and your consciousness walk down to meet it,

so ready, so open to the free idea,

you can confront all ideas -

our country ‘tis of you.


You adopt the man and woman right away,

their light consonants, their cadence of tenderness

their kisses, their subtitled declarations

made more sincere by typeface. You

are a romantic.You highly approve of love.

Then there are the children, four and seven.

They play naked among the reeds

with aperture angles made daring.

You highly approve of family.

You are free to approve of family

just like you are free to approve

of the grey goats on the mountain

of the shed by a stream where they all

nestle and of the stream itself

from where they draw purity. You

approve of the quaint dream they spread like jam

across the slice of stars, The Dream

that is, as you understand it:

of being you, free-thinking and cradled

in the divan, sipping wine while

in the kitchen with its purity on tap

ice hums and clicks like knowledge,

tumbles into its own silver box

here in the country that ‘tis of you.


Then the plot in the film rounds

the bend.. The inhuman crime

unfolds. The bullying

power snatches the dissenter,

pen in hand, from the shed

from the goats stampeding their pen,

from the overturned bucket at the stream

and the running reaching lover,

from the pea sized irises of the babies,

four and seven, hiding under the bed.

And you tell yourself

how up until now you forgot

that this is not the same country,

the land of the free. The land of the free

moves within you. It quakes and heaves.

Equal jurisprudence taps

at your temple. Calls its own session

to review its indignation

and draft its cause. There right there

on the very padded arm of your chair

righteous wrath curls into your palm.

And your fingers fold over it

lovingly, mouthing the arrogance

of the governor and the lack

of consent of the governed,

so far, far from here:

the country that ‘tis of you.


And when the hero will not acquiesce

to being accused – - though

it means imprisonment

forever and forever — and when

his swollen eyes collapse

slowly into his broken sockets

until they liquefy into the cutaway

memory of the little farm – - where

the family is digging potatoes – -

and when the cloud draped mountains

cut back to the water torture scene

and to the failed escape scene

and to outrageous little dialogues

and plots of petty powers

looking for a cause to detain

and when it becomes clear

that the man, the proven innocent,

the lover, the father

is to be forgotten and the click

and hum of Omniscience

will echo only into the abyss of forever,

you are left with pity and awe for

the life delivered only into despair.

You applaud his desperate acts: his silence,

his outcries, his refusal to eat –

all that he does to exercise

his last powers, his last freedoms.

You cry out with him

for enlightenment in the world

and quote the foresight of forefathers,

like those who drafted judicial review

for the country that now ‘tis of you.


Now in the dark

the floral sheets receive you.

You settle slowly

onto the pillow. The hum

and click of the clock

beside you is the hum and click

of all safety –

and a night just like this. Your mind

and breathing tread home from

that strange country. You muse

on art and function again, attach it

to a consciousness raised.

Your exhalation moves slower now.

It cleanses the distress. It blows indignation

gently like a cloud riding

from your mind. It wafts

out of the window, mingles with

other runaway angers from other

free peoples and the cool fresh

dark of ease. Soon even these

will become one wave indivisible, a fog

that dissipates somewhere over the harbor

thrusting boldly out

of the country that ‘tis of you.


The individual molecules

quiver softly, sigh mile upon mile until

they reach the morning of that same hour.

Here, over a reserved piece of Guantanamo,

a flag snaps into the sky. They see it

from the corner of their swollen eyes,

the lonely, confused, and defiant men,

boxed away like your disc of the art film.

Beyond a decade now, with fates forming as sand,

they lap at the hope of all knowing, lap at

the notion of a trial, the dream of exoneration,

in acts of desperation lap

at the heart of an unfamiliar humanity

beating slowly to forgetfulness, while

freedom and home and the loved ones

liquefy, become the torture of water,

wash silently into the sea

under the very hum and click

of the wind-worn flag

of the country that ‘tis of you

and me.

© Karan Founds-Benton, 5 June 2013


Guantanamo Hunger Strike-
April 29, 2013

Today I Pray
I pray for transformation
I pray that something moves within those who control the cells and chains
I pray
That a gust of conscience blows over them…
I pray that it rushes into their minds and ignites the compassion gone cold
That the hatred and rationalizations blocking their humanity dissolves into dust 
And they’re overcome with a sudden thrust of solidarity that combusts 
Like a rainstorm pouring just enough trust to revive the divine in their system
And the Voice of Love speaks so loud and so clear that they’re forced to listen
As they are immediately given the courage to acknowledge their wrongs
And embrace the song of all creation, to stop their war and begin our liberation
I pray that they say We absolutely must close these prisons today, 
I pray that urgency and passion vault their words directly into action,
And I pray that the rest of us can overcome the doubt that this can actually happen, 
I pray for faith,
I pray to stop the hate that seems to be contagious, 
To transform this system that pays Americans wages to keep Muslim men in cages, 
I pray to change this Now! Today! As soon as divinely possible!
I pray 
Because there is a longing throbbing in my heart so deep in must be spiritual
I pray with my art because I can’t even count the amount of times music made me believe in miracles, 
I pray because the men encaged are begging me to pray 
and because this transformation is all I can visualize today
As I fast and thirst, and hunger and search for any possible way 
To reach the power that can inspire these cowards in our government to be brave…
I pray to push the buttons or flip the neurons or warm the heart or awaken the truth
or somehow revive the existence of an honest generous love
Within these human beings who torture and demean 
Our brothers 
Let them discover themselves and us, our preciousness and our oneness…
And if there is anything I can do to help You 
Move the boulders off the caves in their chest, then I beg you to let me know
I will gladly pray with much more than these words, I will pray with locked arms, 
I will pray with blocked doors, with my minutes and hours, days and nights, 
I will pray with my life, I will pray with all these peace poems, 
I will pray until the day that the innocent finally come home

Luke Nephew, of the Peace Poets

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GTMO has been open:

U.S. Hunger Strikers

Hunger Striker's Blog

 U.S. Faster in Solidarity w/Gitmo & Pelican Bay Prisoners


Foreground: EMT prepares the tool for the nasal intubation.       Background: U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Argentina Middleground:...agony awaits. 

The feeding demo is extremely painful, yet it is done with consent. The long-term solidarity fast continues with nasogastric nourishment in front of U.S. governmental symbols of power. The twice-daily force-feeding of Gitmo hunger strikers is nonconsensual and therefore real torture by the standards sponsored by U.S. taxpayers and authorized by members of Congress who just raised the debt ceiling to nearly $17 trillion. President Obama's actions continue to belie his empty words "Close Guantánamo."  As Commander-in-Chief, he could easily order an end to what the Pentagon refuses to call "forced-feeding."   The force-feeding is premeditated  relentless forced penetration of plastic into their innermost sacred cavities !

Andrés Thomas Conteris - fasted on water and coconut water with vitamin and electrolyte supplements. Solidarity fast began July 8, 2013 with 30,000 hunger striking California prisoners urging fulfillment of 5 Core Demands of the Pelican Bay supermax prisoners.  Force-feeding protests began Sept. 6 & Sept. 25 in front of the White House & later in front of the Oakland Office of CA Dept of Corrections and Rehab (CDCR) to depict how prisoners in Guantánamo are tortured with force-feeding twice-daily and how CA prisoners as future hunger strikers have been threatened with a court order authorizing force-feeding.  On Oct 4 and Oct 8 he was tube-fed in front of the U.S. Embassies in Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Oct 15 a similar protest took place in Santiago, Chile.  On Friday, Oct 18 the feeding protest returns to Washington, DC outside a Federal Court hearing on the lawsuit challenging force-feeding in Guantánamo.  He is now on a maintenance fast losing about 1 pound per week, unlike the 5 pounds/week the first 11 weeks.  In January 2014 with the anniversary of Guantánamo on Jan. 11, the force feeding protests will recommence.  Please spread the word. 

Join a Rolling Fast

U.S. Hunger Strikers who have suspended their fast






Diane Wilson - Water only 58 days (lost 48 lbs). Diane, co-founder of CodePink and member of Veterans for Peace, suspended her hunger strike on June 27, 2013 after detention following her arrest for scaling the White House fence the day before. She faced a jury trial in DC District Court on Sept. 5th, 2013.


S. Brian Willson - Suspended Hunger Strike on June 10, 2013 after 31 days on 300cal/day, when a car accidentally hit him. Supporters continue a vigil with a rolling fast, in Portland, OR.



Elliott Adams - Went 80 days on 300 cal/day from May 18, to August 4, 2013 losing 45 lbs.   He is past President of Veterans for Peace.







Tarak Kauff - Ended fast on August 4, 2013 after 58 days on 300 cal/day since June 7.  He lost 29 lbs. On Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace.


Cynthia Papermaster - After 84 days on 300 cal/day, Cynthia suspended her  hunger strike on Sep. 6 which began June 15, 2013. Code Pink member,  lost 35 lbs. The transfer of two Algerian prisoners on Aug. 29, 2013, inspired her to suspend her fast. 

Collaborative of Organizations

Arlington West Santa Monica

- Campaign for Alternatives to

   Isolated Confinement - NY

Close Guantá

Code Pink

Global Exchange

- Fast for the Earth

- The Jericho Movement

The Justice Campaign

The London Guantánamo


Meta Peace Team: "Pursuing peace

   through active nonviolence"

- Metta Center for Nonviolence


No more Guantánamos

Nonviolence International

Nuremberg Actions

Office of the Americas

Peaceworkers USA

Save Shaker

Stop Mass Incarceration

Witness Against Torture

The World Can't Wait

Veterans for Peace

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

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