new clothes

it is easier to put feathers back
on a chicken
than to take back your own words.

   arab saying

i

it’s all done
with
intelligence.

someone tells
you something &
you believe
them.

there’s no
room in your
mind for
doubt.

ii

when you’re
right, you
know what to
do––

dispense with
trials; diminish
legal rights;
invade.

iii

you’re with
us or against
us.

our friends are
good & worthy of our
favor; our enemies are
bad & can go to
hell.

it’s as
clear as the
difference between

heavenly
light & stony
impenetrable
dark.

saddam is an
evil, genocidal
murderer

whose personal
survival is an imminent
risk to everyone’s
security.

& when he’s
dead, the world will be a
happy
place.

trust
me.

iv

you learn
nothing by
listening; you
learn nothing by
seeing––

by some
privileged code
of tip-top
secrecy & counterfeit
espionage––

you
know.

v

with the
crush of your
power, countries are
stripped of
sovereignty & citizens of
humanity.
& your proliferating
enemies will never
forgive
you or your
countrymen.

vi

we don’t take the
time to speak their
language or respect their
ways.

we do not
come with open
arms or generous
souls; no time for
meager
sensitivities.

we come with
iron helmets; our
hearts enclosed in
armor; our eyes
shut.

we have our
own fury &
paranoia to
express.

that’s why we’re
here.

we’re trained to
kill. it’s what we
do, the corporal
said.

vii

shoot first.

viii

three men in a distant
northern province were
obliterated by a surveillance
drone because
one was taller
than the average
afghani.

such is the
quality of
judgment by which
lives are mis
taken &
history
transformed.

ix

your war is so
abominable in its
effect & trivial in its
cause

the global conscience
shocked &
intimidated to
silence.

x

did you not intentionally
dupe the world into
war?

your armies
assault without ever
asking
why.

xi

is there a difference
between truth &
spin? reality &
perception?

(maybe, you
wish you hadn’t, but you
did.)

what happens if
your conscience finally overwhelms
your
ego?

xii

you speak from a
sinking pedestal affirming
& reaffirming your imperative
conquest.

the world that stood behind
you now waits listening before
you.

the props of
power fall
aside as your
brag drones
on.

now you’re alone
with the shadows of your
deeds

& humankind can clearly
see the very little

man you truly
are––