I wrote this poem the other day when I read that there are two new books coming out telling the story of Leni Riefenstahl, the German actress and film director who most people know as the director of the film “Triumph of the Will”, about Hitler and his burgeoning Nazi movement, and the Rally at Nuremberg. I was feeling a bit cynical and angry when I wrote this poem. Seemed like the bad guys were winning……..
Leni come back to us
You didn’t live long enough
To make the sequel
To Triumph of the Will.
“Bush at Nuremberg”
Legions of fascist christians parading
With banners of the end times, bloody gold crosses, red white and blue streamers blowing in the spring breeze.,
But not to this crowd. The rapture is coming. Ultimate art, they say. Good art, they say.
Bring ‘em on,
The new fuehrer says
Burn the books
Burn the music
Burn the condoms
Abstain in the name of the Lord and our president.
Support our brave men and women in uniform.
And put your sex into the war.
Leni, Leni where are you now?
Every movement needs “art”
This fascist christian regime
Shoves arrogance up your ass,
But not “artfully”.
You said you knew nothing
About the holocaust.
You stuck to your art
Like a fly in a pile of shit
But in this regime
A shit pile is art.
A pile of charred children is art;
“certainly not too much of a price to pay for oil, er, I mean freedom”
It’s the art made by smart bombs who know just enough to kill as many future terrorists as possible.
The crowd roars,
Bush in a camouflage generals uniform. Cocaine high.
Mutters to the crowd (you could make this look “good” Leni)
Simultaneous orgasm of the fascist “mind”
Then Cheney speaks. Rove. Gonzalez. A frenzy. Hate and religion mixed.
The “enemy combatants” from Guantanamo are paraded through the crowd in chains. People spit on them. Others recite the Old Testament. “Its in the bible”, the crowd shouts, “we can do anything if it’s in the Bible”
Leni, come back.
Imagine, you could be “embedded” with a patrol somewhere on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Imagine the artistry of, the shock, the awe of an Improvised Explosive Device blowing through armor that isn’t even there. That never was there.
Blowing through brains, through limbs, splintering bone, blood spurting. But its art, so you can still say you never knew. Art is always apolitical, you might say. You could show our troops, bravely, beautifully, fighting for “freedom”. Fighting for the “American Way of Life”. I
Members of Congress, in their own little viewing stand, clap politely. A few cheer. Some, like the Senator from Connecticut, foam at the mouth, others get erections. Look what a few taxpayers bucks can buy. We’re buying a war. WAR is the ART America has brought to the world. The rapture is the big painted backdrop to this passion play.
Think of the possibilities Leni. You left us too soon.. Your greatest opportunities are here. Now. But rest easy. Your art goes on. This Bush regime is dangerous, horrible, brutal enough. If they discovered how to use art, they might be unstoppable.
Good bye, Leni. I wonder what you could have done with television. I shudder and turn if off.