demigod

you've captured center
stage & you're still
ranting.

the whole world is patron
izing you as a rabid
caesar mad with
power.

who is to be
feared? you are to be
feared.

no adversary of
yours is a tenth part as
lethal or as
erratic.

on 9/12 when history
gasped & the world went
quiet

you might have
begun where tragedies
end

as if humanity had
learned something, which
it had
not.

your wars are
useless because victory is
impossible.

there will be no
crowds of
iraqui maidens waving
flags and kissing
liberators.

no cheering
villagers across the
plains of
afghanistan.

just weeping
strophes of
widowed
wives & mutilated
ghosts.

this is not a world
series recording runs &
hits. the dead
are hordes of
errors.

the residue of
war is
terror––

& terror is the
battering fist of
hate.

you have graced us
with many unforgettable
precedents, bad
national behaviors &
shame.

you have taught us
that a terrorist is any
person or group of
whom your regime does not
approve.

you have
invoked the time
worn principles of
domination:

that greater
powers can preemptively
decapitate weaker
powers at
will;

that truth & due
process are extraneous
luxuries in so-
called times of
war;

that friends &
allies matter less than
fixed ideas &
glory;

that freedom does not
extend to those
with whom you
disagree.

& now we get to
witness, by your
appalling example, what
happens when the
overwhelming
force strikes
first.

your brutal-
handedness moves us to
grieve––

your heavy
hand will bring the
world to
grief.