Remembering JFK: Voices from a Smoldering Grave . . . Memorial Prose Poem


Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (29 May 1917 – 22 Nov 1963) President of the United States of America

I write in memory of a tragic day in history that changed the destiny of the USA and the world. With the assassination of JFK, the path was open for presidential deceit and deception, for abuses of national purpose and moral authority. Say what you will, JFK was our nation’s last hope for principled charismatic leadership capable of inspiring hope and sacrifice for higher purpose. — 22 Nov 2019


I cannot rest,
My spirit rages;
Incomplete truths, lies — remain.
My grave smolders.

I seek escape,
From casket, eternal flame, defamation,
Contrived by scrupulous minds,
Penned by stained hands.

Protection for villains,
Safety from condemnation.
I was assassinated!

A grievous, immoral, illegal, act!
Complicit forces: Government, military, corporations, criminals!
No remorse, faux tears, false sympathies:
“Your Daddy was a great man, Caroline!”

Fear of contentions:
End wars, reduce military,
Prosecute criminals,
Restore national identity!

Accept faults,
Confess errors,
Compensate victims,
On your knees, America!

Democracy disguised!
Secret State, Shadow State, Deep State, No State;
Cabals, factions, sects, cliques, clans, tribes, parties!
Plots, plans, intrigue – cowards –conspiracy!


In death, I remain:
Timeless beacon,
Image of truth,
Symbol of hope.

Evil continues!
Relishing roles,
Celebrating deceit,
Secure in schemes.

Know this:
From each grain of earthy dust,
I continue to speak,
Silence impossible!


What madness possesses you?
What fury grips your mind?
What passions drives you,
Justified betrayal!

You kill your own,
Oblivious to consequence,
Hardened to suffering,
A grinning demon in morning mirror!

Patriot Act, DHS, NSA, FBI, CIA, DEA, . . .
Acronyms hide vile purpose.
You crave dominion;
My God, you are evil!

My assassination insufficient?
Family deaths: Brother? Son? Lovers?
Each death whetting voracious appetites,
Pleasuring for more?

Plausible deniability!
Cover: National Security!
No fear! No constraint.
No limit to menace


Eisenhower saw, warned, escaped.
Shocked by knowledge and participation,
His image now safe!

Johnson burdened by graves he dug!
Carter repentant for Christian compromise . . .
Reagan, smiling, failing, vomiting.
Nixon, mad with paranoia.

Clinton caught by semen splashes,
G. H. W. Bush enamored with elites, oaths, oligarchy, Skull & Bones;
G. W. Bush, “You are with us, or against us.” He lived both!
Obama, transparent promises, lived lies!

These our leaders!
Cry America! Shout enough!
They lead to please:
War machines, coffin makers, gold collectors!

Libraries, shrines, sacred places to preserve names.
Marble slabs inscribed words, images, reputations.
Keep alive presidential cults, designed to mollify,
Penance for sin! Atonement for lies!

I claim no special sanction,
Beyond my mapped death.
Dismiss me if you will,
Flee, if you wish, from hypocrisy.

Know I walked corridors of power,
Know I stood whispered gatherings,
Know I tolerated secrecy;
For this, I suffer even in death!

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa.

“Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you . . . “
I learned, too late, lessons of betrayal,
I learned, too late, trials of victimhood.

No longer! I speak now for those killed,
Home and abroad, young and old,
Across time and place.
Memories cannot be bought!


Fascism thrives!
Who won? Homeland, Fatherland, Empire, Kingdom, Amerika!
Uber Alles! Deaths in vain?

Surveillance, archives, fusion centers,

Drones, robots, androids!
You defile warriors!
You dishonor soldiers.
You glorify war, dismiss death, distance no forgiveness.
I am cold in bone and body,
Shriveled from age and decay,
Scattered dust on coffin floor,
Guarded by impervious flame.
Like John’s Brown body,
I smolder in my grave,
Asking when will it end?
We are fodder!
Words rise from flames:  
You command, kill, destroy;
For naught! Ask John Brown’s Body!
“. . . Truth goes marching on!”


Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Emeritus Professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Campus in Honolulu, Hawaii, and past director of the World Health Organization Psychiatric Research Center in Honolulu.  He is known internationally as a pioneer figure in the study of culture and psychopathology who challenged the ethnocentrism and racial biases of many assumptions, theories, and practices in psychology and psychiatry. In more recent years, he has been writing and lecturing on peace and social justice. He has published 21 books and more than 300 articles, tech reports, and popular commentaries. His TMS articles may be accessed HERE and he can be reached at

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Nov 2019.

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