Back to Insom04' On-Line! Home Page.

George Wallace



How quickly a scene grows.

Two weeks or so ago, Cindy was essentially alone out here at the crossroads. Now, even with her away, there are two Camp Caseys, tens of thousands of people have come through, there's many hundreds camped here every day to show that her message for Bush, to "Meet With Cindy," is from her but is also a message from America - that the president ought to meet those who disagree with him, not just play before those who agree with him.

Speaking of Bush supporters, a handful of counterdemonstrators have set up camps too. Lining Prairie Chapel Road, are pro-Bush slogans "Get along home Cindy" til you get to the crossroads.

Prairie Chapel Road, by the way, that's where the stand of 'Our Lady of the Ditch' is felt most profoundly. Cindy's encampment awaits her return, dozens are camped here, just off a triangular patch of grass that was declared 'off limits' by the local authorities, essentially down in the ditch.

While a mere handful of Bush supporters are here on any particular day, all over Crawford you find anti-war vigils. Camped at the Peace House. In the ditch. And on a parcel of property provided by a neighbor who took pity on them, an area of flatter land but no shade, there's a huge tent erected there, big enough to handle three New York Bar Mitzvahs or one big gathering of anti-war vigils.

Of course this is Texas, it seems tiny on the huge prairie horizon. But like I say how quickly a scene grows. The media with nothing to do is there for Cindy and despite the fact that Bush operatives have tried to expand her message and then 'git' her, and despite the fact that the normally effective smear and discrediting plans have been put into vociferous action, she won't go away.

The people come, they drop everything and leave their kitchens or their work.

The main story here is Cindy, who has as they say 'put a face' on the opposition. The main story here is mothers of fallen soldiers, the dead and the injured. The main story here is soldiers who have yet to go, families of soldier, peace activists, people compelled by the simple decency and sincerity of her question to come, veterans of former wars who know better.

The main story here is America standing with Cindy.

"The Jedi Poet" Rick Burnley and George Wallace - Photo courtesy of George Wallace -

I plant myself down in Cindy's ditch, holding signs and taking
communion with those there. The Oregon wife. The Chicago veteran. The Arizona mystic The Iraqi marine vet.

"Alaska Girl's Banners - Photo by George Wallace -

It is a kind of a throw down chili. There are spinners, quilters and guitar pickers. Poets, priests, politicians. There's a banner maker from Homer Alaska, she's brought dozens of colorfully painted peace banners with her and has them on display.

There's the wife of an active duty soldier about to be deployed, all bravado and brass along the side of the road, she confronts me to make sure I'm not one of 'them'. After a moment though, that changes. She has accepted me into the group, and takes me to a collage of photos of soldiers in Iraq. She points to a dead soldier, covered in chalk-like dust.

"I can't look at those," she chokes, and falls into an inconsolable weeping. I can't look at them either.

Who and who and who. There are conscientious objectors and Vietnam vets. There are mothers whose sons have died and mothers whose sons are still living. There's a woman from Lake George who had been following the story and just couldn't stand by and let something like this happen. There's a former Russian orthodox priest who worked soup kitchens from San Francisco to New York City, who sees this as 'a spiritual thing' (he's assigned to 'waste management' at the camp, on one morning alone I help him shift more than 100 bags onto a trailer - it's one thing to attract support, it's another to feed and clean up after it.)

There's Ann Wright, a 29 year Air Force veteran who is 'second in command'-ing the camp in Cindy's absence. There's the 20 year old from Tulsa with a Celtic tattoo on her chest to 'catch evil,' who just had to drive on down here - and on the way, picked up two folk singers in Abilene." There are folk singers and playwrights and poets. There's a Mama Cass class torch singer in a flowing purple dress.

Genevieve "Chappy"  Van Cleeve - Click The Pix To View her VidClip!
Click The Pix To View "Chappy's Sound Off"

There's a playwright from Venice Beach California with perfect hair, and a gal named Chappy, a roaring performance poet from Austin who brings the crowd to their feet with her ranting.

Rick "The Jedi Poet" Burnley - Click The Pix To View his VidClip "The Vampires of War"
---==--Click The Pix To View Rick Burnley's "Vampires of War" VidClip.

And there's a bedraggled mystic ditch warrior from the woods of Arizona named Rick who whispers his fourteen stanza poem - which he says he 'channeled' - in anybody's ear, a surprising powerful cadence despite the sing-song and overt focus on the authority of Jesus, somewhat odd in the ear of someone from secular 21st century New York: 'the president has told us/that Jesus changed his heart/but if he's really read the Bible,/it seems he's missed one part/I know he'll hate to hear it/because it's a bitter pill/but the Bible's fifth commandment is/thou shalt not kill.'

And then there's the African-American mom, saying what many are saying - never mind draft, this is poor people fighting a rich man's war. Her son was killed during the invasion, the first from Georgia. 'Bush knows it was wrong," she says. "We know it was wrong. The point is to get them out. My son died in a unit that went the wrong way, the day Jessica Lynch was captured. It was supposed to be a 41 day war.'

Bush hasn't met with her yet.

On stage a succession of individuals offer testimony to their anguish and their determination, well into the dark hours of the night, the Texas plain giving back some of the heat it has absorbed all day. Individuals whose lives have been moved, shaped, altered or irrevocably bound up in the trauma of the war in Iraq.

There is Jeff Keys, a Marine Lance Corporal who plays taps over the improvised graves when the sun goes down.

All told, it is a moving vigil. Simply stated, deeply felt, and
profoundly heard.

I retire to the tent I have set up on the perimeter of Camp Casey (my sign: Peace. Poetry. Tent). I've taken my turn at the podium, I've read and delivered my poem for Cindy. I have shared poems from Poets Against the War to those who stopped to talk with me, and poems sent to me by friends who want them read out. I've heard story after story from those who could not fail to come to Crawford, as I have, and be part of this thing Cindy Sheehan began.

I'm tired, and hot, and dirty, and a tent is just the thing. At night
it's just me and Texas again, Scorpio rising in the August heat. So quiet. I can hear a horse neighing, a ranch or two away. I can hear some cows engaged in some flagrant cow ecstasy. Silence conceals so much, reveals so much, and profiles much more.

A rooster crows at dawn.




Next Page . . .


- News, New & Of Note!  - Click Here for the latest happenings from our friends and family in the Poetry, Music and Art World! -

Pix, Clips and Page from kindred Keepers of The Flame! Join us in celebrating the LifeArtSpirit of Allen Ginsberg! Click Here to Enter!

On Sunday, May 15th 'Ode to the Sidewalks of New York Jazz/Poetry Reading' was hosted by legendary musician, writer, poet David Amram & his Trio at the Bowery Poetry Club. Photog, Jeremy Hogan was there and although still on the road, he was able to wire in these images from the celebration! Click Here to view the photos from the show!

Click Here to read about The History of Insomniacathon.

More info about The Literary Renaissance

- Click Here for Links to the Family and Friends of Insomniacathon in and around this World! -

Insom 04' Galleria!  - New & Expanded! -  Click Here to Enter! -

Dave Amram Birthday Special! Click Here for VidClips, Pix and Debut Mp3's from  the new CD "The Long Road To Nowheresville!"

Jack Shea - Filmmaker, Poet, Songwriter, Friend.  - Click Here for More -



Insomniacathon On-Line! is proudly sponsored by:

WFPK 91.9 FM and streaming on the Web at!
A Power Point in the Poetic Universe!  - Click and go to: -