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May Day in Munich

The wide, fierce strides
of square-jawed blondes
remind me of Dachau,
German shepherds, Eva Braun--
but that was so long ago
I begin to feel guilty.

The Marienkirche tour guide
nears tears as he tells us about
the damage to his church
in ’44 as countless bombs fell,
but the ivory head and hands
of the madonna and child
were spared—Gott sei dank!
And this ancient and sacred statue,
safe now in a glass booth,
is clothed anew on the first
of each month.  It has, he smiles,
as many clothes as a Barbie.

Bombs fell everywhere--downtown
too on the Frauenkirche,
seat of archbishops and a pope.
Last month an unexploded bomb
was found beneath a Schwabing bar.
The controlled explosion
destroyed nearby buildings.
An official explained:
the city can’t be liable for
the long-term consequences of war.

The tabloid press reveals,
four years after his death,
that a beloved actor hid his past
in the Waffen-SS.
But did he choose it, they ask,
or was he forced?
Re-runs of his hit series
were immediately cancelled.

At a mini-Oktoberfest  
a woman in her sixties
urges citizens to sign a petition
to prevent the building of a mosque
funded by the Emir of Qatar—
“he’s a dangerous man, you know.”

The Freedom Party is behind this.
They’re opposed to Islam,
“an ideology as well as a religion.”
Their webpage features their hero,
Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian,
and self-proclaimed friend of Israel,
who has compared the Koran
Mein Kampf.  But as he explains,
“I don’t hate Muslims; I hate Islam.”

In the bookstore downtown,
the featured bestseller is
Er Ist Wieder Da.*

Oh Kleio, my muse,
you relentless scold.
Is it you who won’t let go
or we who hold too tight?

* He's back.

James Hannon is a psychotherapist in Massachusetts where he
accompanies adolescents and adults recovering from depression,
disappointment, and the loss of comforting illusions. Before becoming
a therapist he taught sociology at several colleges in New England
including Clark University, Dartmouth College, and Suffolk University.
He is a Quaker and a long-time social activist in the anti-war, racial
justice, and prison reform movements. His poems have appeared in
Cold Mountain Review, Soundings East, Psaltery and Lyre and others.
His collection,
The Year I Learned the Backstroke, was published by
Aldrich Press.  

Previously published in Eleventh Transmission:
"Diminishing Returns" by Gary Beck.

Published December 12, 2019

Special Project: 45 Poems of Protest

May Day in Munich

by James Hannon
(Acton, Massachusetts, USA)
Eleventh Transmission: "May Day in Munich" by James Hannon
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