How to Find Peace, by Martin Willitts, Jr.

How to Find Peace, by Martin Willitts, Jr.


Oral storyteller, puppeteer, and “Science Magician” who can bounce eggs and throw ordinary playing cards into hypnotized watermelons, Martin Willitts, Jr. gives us a collection on survival, forgiveness, and bearing witness, poems that draw from Willitts’ work as a medic for the American Service Committee during the Vietnam war, then range free into contemporary life, speaking truth about our wounds, speaking truth to power.

America Asks About Justice


We are transporting bananas through fields of bones.
And we dare to ask about Justice?
A church stating good intentions sends Bibles to cure AIDS.
Someone points out
we must save the innocent by bombing them
for weapons they never had.
We stretch lazily across borders and ask about Justice.
Hypocrisy is packaged like corn flakes.


We made men stand naked on a small wavering box,
blindfolded as Lady Justice, a noose around their necks,
threatening to kick the box out from under them,
haggling over the price of gasoline.
This is the Justice we hand out as purple thumbs.


We justify our actions.
We justify someone else’s poverty.
We do not investigate the infected mold of FEMA trailers.
We do not investigate contaminated food given to the School Lunches.
We do allow fraud to exist in non-bid contracts to War contractors
who build things that fail our soldiers.
Justice is a smirking recruitment poster.


We would rather teach children about values
from a book written by a man who was arrested
after violating three of his own values.


This is justice.
We bring justice like bombing raids.


When enough damage is done,
there will be final assessments
of the success or failure.
The end result does not matter.
Justice will be served on a platter like empty collection plates.