painting © by Claudia Chapline

In a dream, I’m standing on a ladder painting a large (American) flag. When I awoke the next day, I sketched the flag in my journal and then I made a small painting from the drawing/dream. The stars resemble exploding bombs, the stripes, missiles. A skeleton’s head emerges from the war machinery.

For me, the flag painting symbolizes the discrepancy between American ideals and manifest American policy.

March 11, 2006*
Claudia Chapline
Artist, activist, Gallery owner
Stinson Beach, California

* Around the time of the dream, marking the third anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Iraq, the U.S. invasion and occupation had killed  hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.



March Wind in February

Roaring dark branches crash against the house
weather strips whistle wind songs sunbrellas
flap white caps yellow chairs in the lagoon
pine trees wave hello crane pulleys sway overhead

aluminum thoughts plastic words fly in and out
say goodbye dreams fragment gates open
between sleep and waking I wheel out and in
outside a feral cat cries

elsewhere a flag shreds the far groaning
screams in a wind of fire I see it a flag of
death red stripes of blood dripping on the
white ribs of civilizations the stars fiery
sparks from bombs bursting in the blue black
night of lands destroyed in this wind of war

but here now in Eastcoot Creek wild salmon
still spawn between the willows
here the camp the captain time being what
not forever spilling seeds of life in silver mist.

October 10, 2001

On the anniversary of my mother¹s death
the United States is bombing Afghanistan
they are bombing Afghanistan
to rid the world of evil

To rid the world of evil
the U.S. military
is killing Afghan civilians.
food drops onto landmines.

my tears are falling
on the anniversary of
my mother¹s death.
it is Arts Day in California.

How They Strut

High mucky mucks decorate each other
with ribboned medals of valor for service
in the war of their making

women of the world
raise your voices against their wars

I see the goddess Kali dancing with them her
dance of death she wears a necklace of skulls
she holds a bloody head in her left hand a
burnt child in the other

women of the world remove your rings
that sparkle with African tears

how they strut those high mucky mucks
preserving freedom to kill for oil

women of the world join hands
in a circle of love

how they strut smiling those
greedy killers patting each other¹s backs

walk together toward a necklace of peace
women of the world

how they strut those old men with pendulous bellies
while their young civil servants sons of other fathers
fall and die in their War on Iraq

how they strut while the world cries
for the voices of women
the voices of love.


For Kay Ryan, U.S.A. Poet Laureate

If I were Poet Laureate of the USA
I would send a Poetry Plane to Afghanistan
dropping food and poetry on hungry citizens
apples of love and also oranges falling
into mothers¹ baskets sonnets and villanelles
flying books by Dickinson and Frost as
well as primers for the little ones

If I were Poet Laureate of the USA
I would encourage the Secretary of Defense
to drop books instead of bombs
Operation Book Drop would make friends
and cut costs

If I were Poet Laureate of the USA
I would ask Homeland Security to send
Armies of Teachers and Builders of Schools
so all children everywhere could learn
to read and write
since war doesn¹t work
shouldn¹t we try education?

Claudia Chapline

Claudia Chapline © 2009


  1. joyce Says:

    Iraq War Facts, Results & Statistics at March 10, 2010

    4,386 US Soldiers Killed, 31,716 Seriously Wounded

    Spent & Approved War-Spending – About $900 billion of US taxpayers’ funds spent or approved for spending through Sept 2010.

    Journalists killed by US Forces – 14

    Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed – 9,411

    Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated – A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

    For more on the human and financial toll of the U. S. invasion and occupation of Iraq on the 7th anniversary of Shock and Awe:

  2. joyce Says:

    Breaking News and Commentary from Citizens For Legitimate Government
    03 Apr 2010
    All links are here:

    Former IAEA chief: Iraq war killed “a million innocent civilians” By Patrick Martin 03 Apr 2010 The former head of the UN’s chief nuclear agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, said in an interview with the British newspaper Guardian Wednesday that those who launched the war in Iraq were responsible for killing a million innocent people and could be held accountable under international law. He was clearly referring to US President [sic] George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and their top military and security aides.

  3. Plum Dreams Journal » Blog Archive » FROM JOYCE:Skeleton Remains of U.S. Found, Once Vibrant Nation Murdered Says:

    [...] American Flag of Death, another dream with an image of a skeleton, depicting the violence and prevalence of the [...]