Sep 142011
 
Saddam's boys, fed lion's hearts
And bad philosophy, were sent into the rape room
Under P.S. 106, Baghdad,
Same ground that saw a Ninevah arise
Same wide-eyed folks that made
A few of civilization's unending things,
Set golden bird upon a ruby bough to sing.

"Not in my name"
	shall we set, we
The people of Hamilton and Adams
Not for such names, nor for our own,
Forgotten since our civics' texts
Have gone to rot as assuredly as Rome's poems
Burned by Visigoths to watch
"Vandal Idols" on a commandeered TV
in the fumbled coliseum.

"Not in my name"
	shall these be set free.
Not by us, the people of Lincoln and Paine,
Not with our bullets of inalienable rights,
Nor our hatred of tyrants,
Not by our strength, our success,
Not by our sure hand in a selfish world,
Not by our open palm
	shall these be set free.

These same who crouched in a shit pit
Or were shot for sheer sport.
Power plus a few roaring lies
And arabist France is your firm friend,
Scoring oil off of marsh arabs' misery,
Breathing grievance and flattering tyrants
	alone in their ego-lovely
	palaces of misapplied plaster,
	walls caulked with exquisite fear,
	real memories of friends, father
	or sister suddenly dragged out at 1 AM
	and shoved into the State's Mercedes
	and returned in ribbons,
	eyeless, legless, earless, hymenless,
	or not at allÖ.
The fear of faces too used to fear,
Same faces Stalin made in Russian clay
Holding his neighbors' feet to the fire
Or cinching raw hands in unforgiving wire.
"Not in my name"
	shall these be made free.

Same Saddam, god-damn,
Who put a hit out on a retired president
And called Kuwait his "13th Province,"
Shattering desert quietude with lies,
Living detached as a NYT op-ed writer
From the eternal verities.

Same Saddam, god-damn,
Who paid suicide bombers' families to live on quince
And retire to palm-shaded villas
After sending Sonny on to see Allah;
Same suiciders who put a two-fer hole
In New York's presumptuous skyline:
Front teeth fell out square with 3,000 lives
As jerks in Jersey City cheered
And Palestinians rah-rahed in parade,
Making Gaza glamorous once again,
	full of light, full of hope, full of song,
As know-nothing Americans knew, just knew
It was all our fault anyway;
Not even giving gashed Jihadis
	credit for their kill, not really.

Same Saddam, god-damn,
Ö. I can't go on without respite, without tonic,
A cool cloth for my lips, hot cotton
Laid on my ears, much abused,
Carbon darkness for my eyes, my eyes
That see in seemless verity
One nation, under God,
Riddled with raconteurs of the Apocalypse
Who never missed a payment on their Saab.

Allah, Allah, Allah,
Forgive these few, these free,
These blind men holding diamonds
Who think they're weighted with bricks;
Forgive these few their compassionate disaster
Who see sorrow in a tyrant's swat,
How sad his up-bringing must have been;
Forgive these few their huddled asses
Who buy the pap and propaganda 
of the feckless press.

Allah, Allah, Allah,
Sear me with second-sight enough to see
What comes of free people with no will to be free;
Who shrinky-dink and containerize the globe
After pacifying panzered fascists,
Who set the Technicolor sights of Hollywood 
in every human eye
And take air-conditioned flights
To the winds' four corners
And hear half-good English spoken there
From some kid wearing Adidas
And yet do not believe
	Fallujah's on their subway stop
	or Kabul is come to Washington.

Forgive these few, O Allah.

Allah, Allah, Allah,
Walla walla walla
Washington


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