A Poem by Richard D. Hartwell

Monsanto’s –

“Sustainable Agriculture”
“Product Stewardship”
“Ensuring Environmental Standards”
“Protecting the Safety of Communities and People”

Buoyed up by destructive agents:

“Elite seed genetics with cutting-edge traits,”
with depleted nutrition and strain-designed sterility;
“Weed control products,”
requiring more applications in increased quantity;
“Glyphosate and Roundup,”
surface application, with soil and water contamination.

Held aloft by outlandish promises:

“Combating insects,”
including killing Monarch butterflies and honey bees;
“Controlling weeds,”
but creating mutated, outlaw weeds on steroids;
“Increasing productivity,”
except when compared to best-farming practices.

Maintained only by Monsanto’s monetary motivation:

They made millions from the sale of DDT,
deadly only to the disease-carrying insects,
until found to kill humans and contaminate water, too;

Billions made from the sale of Agent Orange,
deadly only to the enemy’s jungle concealment,
until found to kill humans and mutilate embryos, too;

Hundreds of billions from glyphosate and Roundup,
deadly only to the weeds choking nutritious crops,
until found to kill humans and their generations, too;

Trillions to be made from the sales of sterile, designer seeds,
deadly only to farmers’ income for required annual re-purchase,
until found later to kill seed-banks, the future and perhaps humans, too.

Note: All quoted material from


A Poem by Stefanie Bennett

‘After Monsanto and Dow Chemicals’

It’s growing up diagonally
At 69 and remembering
September 11
[Not specifically because
Cousin Ricki
Was there…]

It’s the tick-tacking accuracy
Of whether anthrax spores
Are absorbed
In our
Morning coffee:

… Pseudo market forces,
PC hackers
[Con amore]
Or trilingual brokers
Ensnared by
A crust
Of bullion rising

That collars the phrase
– We become
What we deplete.

Why I Can’t be Poetic

A Prose/Poem/Essay by Richard D. Hartwell
I write poetry, some of it good, but when I started to compose verse about the impact of Dow, Monsanto and my government on Vietnam, I cried. I just couldn’t put into poetic from the residual ills of Agent Orange on that gorgeous country and its beautiful people. I ache for it and for them and for me.I have no venom for the damage done to my flesh. For my minute part in the American War; yes, the American War, not the Vietnam War; I insist on that when I sit alone in the VA hospital–for my small part, I carry several scars, some outside, some inside, some from metal, some from chemicals. And I carry burdens of remorse that no labeled syndrome can encompass. Of this or these, my wife learned only recently, nearly forty-five years after the fact. That is my personal problem, dealt with after divorce and booze and drugs and tears and nightmares: personal.

Dow, Monsanto, Washington

- Are you all still with me? There is a public part to this as well:My first wife, Esther, gave birth to our son John in 1968. He committed suicide in 2004, after living with the rapid ravages of multiple sclerosis.

One of John’s two sons was diagnosed as developmentally delayed.

Esther had a spontaneous delivery of another son, Nathaniel, in 1971; he died within twenty-four hours, defective, premature.

My second and current wife, Sally, gave birth to our daughter Jaime in 1976. She has a genetic birth defect and is both physically and mentally challenged. She still lives with us.

Sally delivered our son, Joshua, in 1979. He struggled in school and was in special education classes throughout middle and high school. He and his ex-wife and two children live with us.

One of Joshua’s two children, while very young still, appears to be delayed in speech skills.

Our third child, Justin, has emphatically decided not to have any children.

None of this is poetic. All of this is prosaic. However, the odds of these afflictions affecting the progeny of a single sire are astronomic, unless, of course, he scouted the dead orange jungle as well as the healthy green one.

No, I have no venom for the damage done to my flesh. As for the damage I’ve done to my soul, I continue to seek absolution that has not been forthcoming. But for the damage done to my family, to my children, and to their children–yes, I do have venom. I have a personal poison that bubbles to the surface whenever I see the struggles made by them. And then I see the pictures of a reunited Vietnam

struggling with the residual poisons left to flow and fester through generations, and I realize how lucky I am.My government refused to accept responsibility for my children’s problems, but I had a job and we’ve gotten along. The same cannot be said for those suffering still in the aftermath of the chemical warfare created and produced by Dow and Monsanto and knowingly used by that same government that denies responsibility for John, Nathaniel, Jaime, Joshua, and perhaps my grandchildren too.

It’s hard to generalize when it’s so personal. It’s hard to be poetic when it’s so public.


The Fiftieth American War/Viet Nam War Commemoration

This is from rdhartwell, one of our forum members and an American War (Viet Nam War) veteran. He was responding to me when I asked him how he felt about the following threads:

He gave me permission to post the response:


It’s hard to know which of many conflicted feelings to emphasize. I am, however, always pleased to see a public acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of millions of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. I am also pleased to see that the Air Force Reservists exposed to Agent Orange are finally receiving their just due from the Administration of Veterans Affairs. I appreciate Carey Wedler’s caveat in his essay that Michael posted acknowledging that nothing, absolutely nothing, has been done to compensate the millions of Vietnamese affected, directly and down through at least four generations.

In addition, the extremely limited disabilities acknowledged by the Administration of Veterans Affairs to afflict the children (and then only the first generation!) of Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange is in direct contradiction to the same scientific studies relied upon by the United States Government to make the initial and all subsequent determinations of presumed causal connection. My own damaged and deceased children and grandchild attest to this just as creditably as those in Vietnam. The difference? My government has and continues to ignore other than a narrow band of first-generation defects; and, I am blessed enough to be able to take care of my children and grandchild on my own. The Vietnamese government, on the other hand, acknowledges the genetic afflictions of Agent Orange down through four generations and does everything it can to alleviate and ameliorate those with very little funding and NONE from the United States.

One final item before I relinquish my soapbox. The complicity of Monsanto and Dow, both in the production of and cover-up of effects of Agent Orange, is very little known to the vast majority of the public. Yes, I am gratified to see the Vietnam War Commemoration; however, where is the US/Monsanto/Dow Vietnam War Condemnation? Soon, fairly soon, the rest of us will be gone (as so very, very many are already), but the children and the children’s children will remain and will still need help; ours and theirs.

The collusion and corruption between and within both the government and “its” corporations (perhaps real ownership is the other way round) has so radicalized me that forgiveness is impossible.

All my best-


Đây là từ rdhartwell, một thành viên trong diễn đàn của chúng tôi. Ông đã được đáp ứng với tôi khi tôi hỏi ông làm thế nào ông cảm thấy về các chủ đề sau đây:

Ông đã cho phép đăng các phản ứng tôi:


Thật khó để biết được nhiều cảm xúc mâu thuẫn để nhấn mạnh. Tôi, tuy nhiên, luôn luôn hài lòng khi thấy một sự thừa nhận của công chúng về các dịch vụ và sự hy sinh của hàng triệu cựu chiến binh Việt Nam trong thời đại và gia đình của họ. Tôi cũng vui mừng nhận thấy rằng dự bị không quân bị nhiễm chất độc da cam cuối cùng đã nhận được của họ chỉ là do từ chính quyền của Cựu chiến binh. Tôi đánh giá cao báo trước Carey Wedler trong bài luận của mình rằng Michael gửi thừa nhận rằng không có gì, hoàn toàn không có gì, đã được thực hiện để bù đắp hàng triệu người Việt Nam bị ảnh hưởng trực tiếp và xuống thông qua ít nhất bốn thế hệ.

Ngoài ra, các khuyết tật rất hạn chế công nhận bởi Cục quản lý của Cựu chiến binh để gây đau đớn cho các trẻ em (và sau đó chỉ có thế hệ đầu tiên!) Của Việt Nam Cựu chiến binh bị nhiễm chất độc màu da cam là mâu thuẫn trực tiếp với các nghiên cứu khoa học cùng cậy bởi Chính phủ Hoa Kỳ để làm cho ban đầu và tất cả các quyết định tiếp theo của kết nối quan hệ nhân quả giả định. Riêng của tôi bị hư hỏng và trẻ em đã chết và đứa cháu chứng cho điều này chỉ là creditably như những người ở Việt Nam. Sự khác biệt? Chính phủ của tôi đã, đang và tiếp tục bỏ qua khác hơn là một dải hẹp khiếm khuyết thế hệ đầu tiên; và, tôi đủ may mắn để có thể chăm sóc con cái của tôi và đứa cháu một mình. Chính phủ Việt Nam, mặt khác, thừa nhận những phiền não di truyền của chất độc da cam xuống qua bốn thế hệ và làm mọi thứ có thể để giảm bớt và cải thiện những người có rất ít kinh phí và NONE từ Hoa Kỳ.

Một tiết mục cuối trước khi tôi từ bỏ thùng xà bông của tôi. Sự đồng lõa của Monsanto và Dow, cả trong sản xuất và cover-up của ảnh hưởng của chất độc da cam, được rất ít được biết đến đại đa số công chúng. Vâng, tôi hài lòng khi thấy các Commemoration Chiến tranh Việt Nam; Tuy nhiên, mà là chiến tranh lên án Mỹ / Monsanto / Dow Việt Nam? Ngay sau đó, khá sớm, phần còn lại của chúng tôi sẽ được đi (như rất rất, rất nhiều người đã được), nhưng các em và các con của em sẽ ở lại và vẫn sẽ cần sự giúp đỡ; chúng ta và của họ.

Các thông đồng và tham nhũng giữa và trong cả chính phủ và các tập đoàn “của nó” (có lẽ sở hữu thực sự là vòng đường khác) đã quá cực đoan với tôi rằng sự tha thứ là không thể.

Tất cả chạy nhất của tôi

Đóng rơm

Dear Monsanto,

I am writing this letter to say thank you to Chairman and CEO, Hugh Grant, and the distinguished Board of Directors of the Monsanto Company. I was fortunate at a young age to experience your largesse when you shared over 50,000 tons of Agent Orange with my fellow country men, country women and country children in the lush terrains of Vietnam in Southeast Asia. As master cultivators of the earth, it must have pained you to see how the Vietnamese people were just sitting around on their swanky rice paddies instead of pulling up their gosh damn weeds. How dare they let their land turn into a gnarly jungle so American GI’s and Viet Cong could not charge one another across an open field with cannons blazing and bayonets at the ready like in the good old days of the American Civil War. Gollum, himself, was probably hiding his preciousss in all that damn foliage, it simply had to go. Of course, your company’s leadership decision along with the Dow Chemical Corporation to keep the presence of dioxins and other “toxic impurities” from the public was a true act of patriotic, self-sacrifice in a time when our nation was at war. The American people in the 1970’s obviously had more important things to worry about at the time than whether American soldiers or Vietnamese civilians and their future generation’s health was being permanently compromised. Like, figuring out exactly how did Mr. Gravy get so wavy or who the hell was it that started that disco inferno?

Now, if this had been your final random act of kindness your legacy would have been forever assured, but, no, you have chosen not to rest on your laurels. Because of your high standards for corporate stewardship we are now able to purchase GMO corn at the local mom-and-pop store known as Wal-Mart. Like caviar wishes and champagne dreams, you have made the dream a reality for so many wealth-impaired people around the world. And, thanks to you, people from all walks of life can shock and awe their weeds into submission using Roundup and have sugar that tastes like ass, I mean aspartame, with their coffee or tea. In conclusion, I must admit to being envious of the city of St. Louis where Monsanto’s corporate headquarters are located. It must be like having Mr. Rogers in your very own neighborhood. So, Mr. and Mrs. Monsanto, wherever you are, please know that your efforts to control the food supply are not in vain and have not gone unnoticed. You have made a difference. Even though my fellow Vietnamese may come off as ungrateful, please know there is at least one rational minded person of the Asian persuasion who still remembers to say thank you to his captors. And if I could be so kind as to remind you that the half-life of Agent Orange can be up to 20 years, perhaps you might spare a few more tons of your finest Agent Orange for my churlish people. Think of it as a fresh coat of paint on a ’67 Chevy. Until then, I’m off to Wal-Mart to round up some produce for tonight’s dinner. I love the smell of genetic modification in the morning.

Yours truly,

Jeff Nguyen

(from his blog

Many Rivers to Cross

An Essay by Jeff Nguyen–from his blog:

Sometimes, life leaves you reeling with nowhere to turn and no one to call out to. The capitalist juggernaut has left many of us one medical illness, one job loss, one paycheck from the brink. People who work all of their lives find themselves destitute in their so-called “golden years” and young people just starting out find themselves struggling under the weight of crushing debt loads. The stress of life inside the kingdom of capital is like an ever-present and mighty, rushing river; a current that carves canyons of despair and futility into our communities and our homes. Indeed, the poets and the bards have always known this truism, that there are many rivers to cross and that sometimes it’s only our will that keeps us alive. May we find comfort in one another’s stories and may we find the courage to change the things we cannot accept by hearing one another’s voices.

Editor’s note: It’s time for Monsanto to cross to our sidce of the river.