In 19686, Greenham womyn received invitations to the world’s first International Lesbian Conference. Switzerland is politically ‘neutral’ on issues of war, but every hospital, school, apartment house office building there is built atop fully stocked underground nuclear bunkers, in case of a nuclear war. This is a tale of one of those bunkers meeting a handful of anti-war sheroes.

on top there's new grass
cradled by green
women rest in Geneva park
outlaws in the planet's richest city
paint dry on our hands
not yet arrested
hearts slowly calming with the earth's steady pulse
spring rushing beneath us

beneath us
nuclear bunkers in slight disruption
graffiti settling
doors ajar
secrets sprung

nuclear bunkers
man made
from fears rawest ravings
the depths of desperation
decided by the ruling class of Ground Zero

above ground
spring sun shines
white Alps and blue lake
swiss flag flutters, assuring neutrality
a lie
It can’t happen here
creating rules for the last
war game
running for home ahead of the ball
race for the chair when the music stalls
like time out, I pass, every rotate
like wild cards, foul balls and
under the net for courtesy

like this is the Enchanted Patriarchy
by a magic spell, fixed
like a cut cat
like a horse race
say the password and win your Swiss
chocolate Mercedes limousine bank account

in the lowest world
slouched beneath bedrock
anesthetic  dungeons wait
bow down Geneva
line up
as your world crashes down
plod stumbling down
follow the tunnels down
in confidence — there you go
past earthworms and burrows
and roots of ancient oaks
down below Life’s green impulse
down to the level of test sites
in Nevada where nothing breathes
down past Dante’s diabolic circle
behind steel-sealed doors
protecting armored chambers
for the lucky few
bow down, world
and stay down

beneath the final war
who have made
for immunity
those who have lined
in the proper alphabetical-age-size
who were sorted-registered-regulated-vaccinated
allotted their chemical and credit survival
on the airless stink
of these 800 bunk beds
oozing in vomit and shit
to the rich white god of exemption
in quiet corners
dividing up banks
on each other
in feral fury
with surviving the world
as shiny floors, walls, ceilings
and the future disappears
with food
and air
and the lie of survival

down here
where uranium mines begin
and strategic defense
leaves its shoes at the door
the womyn lived
for 5 days and nights
peace activists housed here
for the world’s first
International Lesbian Conference
by sisters, organizers
in their indifference

free government accommodations
they’d said
clean   organized   private
800 bunk beds
they’d said
and one of us —
(come all the fucking way here from Greenham)
You want us to sleep in a Nuclear Bunker?
Subterrannean Shelter, they corrected
Why — are you claustrophobic?
are there many of you
who Feel This Way?
we’re too busy
organizing our fun conference
to be bothered to re-think
don’t bring your Peace-Camp-Radicalism

down here
sleeping and waking
between workshop conference
visions of transformation
and female utopian peace-and-love
500 womyn lived
for 5 days and nights
in tube-lit subterranean barracks
surrounded by locked doors

and some of us wandered
fluorescent corridors
beyond the room
of our
official accommodations
sleepless and terrified
the fate of the fathers
the complicity of the sister
the violation of springtime
feeling this way

the collusion of neutrality
prepared to die to the last green leaf

and on the fifth night
some of us
pried open those locked doors
with our peace-camp-curiosity
the pharmacies
roomfulls of morphine
& phenobarbital
tombsfull of
10 thousand vials of painlessness
needles, gauze, adhesive tape
enough bandages to swath
the entire bloody planet
this is neutrality’s security

the operating rooms
beds and bins and lights
on wheels
crates of sterilized handsaw
complete with instructions
for civilians
to perform hack surgery
on strangers and on family
the gleaming instruments
of amputation
steel clamps, forceps, straps
flotillas of shiny metal tables
this is neutrality’s defense

deeper we crawled
and deeper
beyond the rooms
of waiting
for death to die
stumbling over secrets
past the proud fraud of neutrality
we found the morgue
and crematoriums
empty, echoing, waiting
for the lucky few

and all this we photographed
and some wrote notes
and some drew diagrams
and some were sick
and some sobbed gently
and some wailed angry
feeling this way
and some shook spray-paint
eyeing the unspeakable corridors
the pristine white walls
of neutrality
cans rattling slowly
NO was the first message
to hit the sterile wall

like a forest of trees to the chainsaw
with the breath of the long root
the womyn inhale Life
and they exhaled
they chanted NO
and the painted NO
and their drums sang NO
and their fists pounded NO

Not for the World
the message left below
for those who build bunkers
and wait
detached from
and a part of
it all
guarantee nest egg defense strategy bank
account insurance policy will of god
sanctuary against nuclear war
NO defense but dissent
the dissent of the grass
splitting cement lids

and far beneath the grass
green seeds of NO
in resistance
snaking round steel bunders
sprouting free beyond this docile park
swarming thickly
under this capital of international
beaten ground reclaiming
cracking sanitized pavements
shaking skyscraper and limousines
and lesbian organizers
who think
they can live
with it

green seeds of change
from a workshop unscheduled
burning light into the darkness
insisting outwards
straining upwards
this steady pulse of Life
rushing under us
our dissent
for the willing ground
of Spring

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