The New World Order

What if instead of suicide bombings, summary executions, torture, beheadings, and

kidnappings, the renegades of retrograde issued a fatwa creating a caliphate of

love, a jihad of joy, an empire of empathy, a realm of reason, where at mealtimes

family could calmly consider the goings-on of the day and pray for tomorrow to

bring happiness to the planet without worrying about being offed for flying a kite or

playing music repugnant to the ears of the morality police whose credo is my way

or the highway, a one-thought road to nowhere but the narrowest of opinions and

viewpoints with no shoulders to move off to in the event one’s intellect breaks

down from the repetitive stress of memorizing and mindlessly chanting slogans

broadcast 24/7 on cable TV as if this was news when the real story is a four letter

word that rhymes with dove.

Author: Martin Levinson

Martin Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published eight books and numerous articles, and his poems have appeared in several literary magazines. He lives in Forest Hills, New York. His website is

29 thoughts on “The New World Order”

  1. I was around in the Sixties when the slogan “make love not war” was in the air. Today the zeitgeist demands the war on terror be relentlessly broadcast 24/7. Those two experiences inspired the poem, the writing of which allowed me to sublimate my feelings of anger and depression regarding the bad actors in the war on terror and how that conflict is being portrayed.

  2. I like this poem for its amusing mixture of indignation, ridicule, high purpose, humor, and muscularity. Many polemical war poems, and perhaps all war songs outside the folksong genre, seem to be one note. This poem reminds me of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was also able to avoid the monotone, to address serious subjects without abandoning his sense of humor. I also was put in mind of e. e. cummings. Ferlingehetti and cummings did not employ the long line structure of this poem, but I sense similarities . If this poem were set to a catchy tune, how nice it would be if this — or a similar poem — could replace John Lennon’s insipid “Give Peace a Chance.” My only uncertainty about this poem is its transition from its attack on jihadists (in the fine extended conceit of the narrow road) to an apparent attack on alarmist media at home. My guess is that the poet sees both “sides” as relentlessly insisting that we all be True Believers.

  3. It’s nice to be compared to Ferlinghetti and cummings. The cable TV reference in the poem has to do with the media’s obsession of showing the same thing over and over again as if we aren’t smart enough to get it the first time, and not shedding new light on situations or broadening our understanding of them. But I like Stephen Sossaman’s interpretation of what I might have meant, which I will shamelessly take credit for as coming from my subconscious.

  4. I find it incredibly wonderful that so much could be communicated in such a short piece. And, what is said is really the essence of what must be said. The world needs love more than anything else. My thought was that the 24/7 broadcasting could also be seen as occurring in the countries which are spawning the Jihadists. The steady diet of religious fervor and hatred for infidels infuses daily life there. My thoughts strayed to some Ezra Pound here. I loved the poem!

  5. Great humor, alliteration… conspicuous theme relating to contemporary ills of
    societal schisms and political problems. Associate UFT writer/poet.

  6. Marty has a way of making the horrors of the moment seem truly ridiculous and turning it into something we can all invest in as sympathetic human beings and readers of poetry, such as the “jihad of joy.” I wish we could all take his advice and live to love another day.

  7. From opening words that force us to recall the near-endless stream of words and searing images bombarding us daily, Marty uses his considerable poetic and linguistic talents to bring us through a long, dark tunnel into the few final words that bring a ray of sunshine, so that we may face this modern world with a bit of warmth, hope and, yes, love.

  8. Marty writes highly accessible prose — and with this poem, highly accessible poetry. Do check out any of his books — you will find his perspective equally inspiring.

  9. I have pondered many of the same thoughts expressed in Marty’s poem. Marty writes with eloquence, humor and ridicule about current events, that are otherwise quite bleak. Yes, the world certainly needs more love and more writers like Marty expressing it with such poise and vigor. Brilliant!

  10. I love Martin Levinson’s poetry for so many reasons. The first, and foremost, is because it is so damn honest, so human. Secondly, he has a keen ear and so there is a lyrical quality to the voice which holds me close. This poem has both things going on. It’s a poem about NOW, here and NOW, and it hums and bristles with an urgency that carries me along every time I read it. Tremendous work, Marty.

  11. I concur with an earlier post that there is a bit of “Beat” poetry (both Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Kerouac come to mind) in the style, structure and substance of Dr. Levinson’s poem. The rubato form of the text seduces the reader into a sense of ease and comfort, subtly masking the depth and breadth of challenge inherent in the poem’s quixotic deconstruction of the current world order. Within the playfulness of these themes resides a joyful hope that perhaps we can someday “calmly consider the goings-on of the day and pray for tomorrow to bring happiness to the planet” — what a beautiful optimism to begin the new year!

  12. Lucid and light as a beautiful feather that floats and gently settles straight on one’s heart – that is the quality of Marty’s creative writings, prose and poetry. A Caliphate of compassion, a new fenestration for religions where reason flows freely like fresh air: ‘imagine’, goes the Lennon song. A narrowing cul-de-sac that muffles by darkness, sensitivities jarred and jaded by 24/7, cautions given carefully for all sides. And the punchline panacea of a four letter word that rhymes with dove, must be copyrighted and quoted extensively.

  13. From Marty’s lips to God’s ears! No one expresses thing’s quite like Marty. With intellect and humor, he is able to take a sad situation and still make you giggle while making you think.

  14. Why not? It’s a wonderful idea to declare peace and a world of reason and understanding. Why not a Pax Amare? Levinson’s metaphor of the narrow road is right on, with the degrading influence of chanting mindless slogans. This poem makes me imagine slogans like “your world view is strangely alien to mine. Please tell me more about it!”

  15. Super Caliphate jihadisitic expletin’ all atrocious. If you say it loud enough it will sound ferocious. Martin Levinson’s “New World Order” offers a brilliantly crafted raggedy road of hope along the puddled mirrors and Prophet avengers, the opaque cosmologies on the freeway to open speech. Bravo! Adeena Karasick

  16. Marty, once again, gets at the essence of what it means to live a life of integrity and compassion. He knows whats important and his writings say so in the simplest of language and always with humor.

  17. A brilliant poem! A modern day version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” As a poet, Marty is on par with John Lennon.

  18. When recently asked to report on what “freedom” means to her, my 7 year-old granddaughter began with the the same word that Marty calls upon in the last line of his poem: LOVE. Whether it’s as complex as the conclusion of Marty’s poem, or as innocent as a word spouted by a 2nd grader, maybe Love is the answer after all. Maybe Love really is all we need.

  19. Ah.. a delightful way to live. The poem speaks to me of what life can be like. I think tonight I might turn the news off and converse about things that speak to me, like this poem.

  20. This is a wonderful mantra to review in the morning, before beginning a day. Optimism and empathy and joy and love bring world-wide rewards in many small ways throughout the world, and throughout the day. We can always find things to complain about; it is more important to find ways to resolve concerns where possible, to find caring wherever it exists, and to create love and fellowship wherever possible

  21. We sat together after a difficult week and read Marty’s poem. We need to do this more often- more Marty, less CNN. Je suis Marty.

  22. Mart like always I feel you catch the attention of the audience and reader. There feeling and humor and sentiment in your writing,

  23. Marty is pure genius! His word choice and imagery is equal to the masters. His writings are always prolific and engage the reader taking him into another realm.

  24. Marty uses poetry to blend a tornado with sunshine. He unites power with gentility. His humane spirit soars with the talons of an eagle.

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