by Jeremy Nathan Marks

Daniel Ellsberg, Whistleblower Who Exposed Top-Secret History of the Vietnam War, Dies at 92 —Slate, June 16, 2023. Photo: Dr. Daniel Ellsberg speaks to reporters Dec. 22, 2011, at Fort Meade, Maryland. PAUL J. RICHARDS/Getty Images via Slate.

I believe that to be a proper critic 
you need to lead a platoon through 
the shit 
and sit on every side 
of the table 
read the cables 
from embassies and fire 
compose a dissertation
on aptly named Decision 
then join a think tank that took 
its name from something as light 
as Research and Development. 
Nor would it hurt to graduate 
from Harvard 
and possess an IQ north 
of the notes a Stradivarius 
hits in the hands of prodigious 
digits that can clean an M1 
beneath a blindfold 
like Jim Brown’s men 
aboard the U.S.S. Tigerfish
in one of those Cold War consensus 
Daniel had it all 
Ooh Rah 
entering the Corps 
because he was no paper 
lion but under General Lansdale 
read every last word emitted by the Pentagon 
and courted charges under the Espionage Act 
from men who believed the original sin 
of American freedom was journalism.
But before people say 
he was just another Eastern
Establishment Jew like Kristol 
Bell Glazer or Chomsky 
bear in mind Harvard had quotas 
and Daniel grew up in Detroit 
the same city where Philip Levine 
discovered Garcia Lorca 
who spoke of what was inside 
forgotten little animals 
when he lived in Gotham 
but that could have been Hanoi 
Hue or the Iron Triangle where Annam 
Chorus Frogs warned peasants by their silence 
Daniel defoliated the pretensions 
of National Security 
and for interests of state 
we cannot now forget to say 
Requiescat in pace
or better yet 

hold for him a Minyan.

Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in the Great Lakes Region of Canada. Recent work appears/will appear in Rattle, Terrain.org, Belt Magazine, and Poetica Review among other places. 


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