The Bushiad and the Idyossey (the epic battle of testosterone circa 2003)
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2006-04-10 17:20:50 UTC
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The Bushiad and the Idyossey
(the epic battle of testosterone circa 2003)
Translated from the orginal English by
Victor Littlebear


A Bush satire in Homeric style, The Bushiad and The Idyossey use satire
and irony to recount events during nine months from December 2002
through September 2003, and were inspired by events as they occurred.
Narrative epic poems of 24 chapters each, they feature George Bush and
the war in Iraq.

As vividly described 2,500 years ago in Homer's epic poems of the
battle of Troy and the struggle of one warrior to return home The Iliad
and The Odyssey, war is the product of powerful, ambitious, often
insecure men who have difficulty separating their personal motivations
from those of the state. In Homer's works, these conflicts are abetted
by powerful immortal gods who use mortals to satisfy their needs, and
who work behind the scenes to fix events and outcomes. As war occurs,
the "honor" of battle is always at great cost in lives and suffering.
Author and poet Robert Graves found abundant satire in Homer's work.

The blood lust that overtakes the minds of men on a periodic basis
continues unabated in our modern age. In The Bushiad, and The Idyossey
the Greek gods of old are supplanted by contemporary corporate gods,
also immortal and with insatiable needs for increased wealth and power.
Like Homer's Greek gods they do all they can to make sure the outcome
is fixed.

In this Bush Satire, The Bushiad and The Idyossey, George Bush, Donald
Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell
and others in the Bush Court are the players in this modern epic,
fostering conflict and warfare in concert with the corporate gods.
Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Osama bin Laden, Kim Sung Il of North Korea,
"Old" Europe, The United Nations, Canada and any that stand in their
way or that can be used to further their ends are vulnerable. The
Bushiad and The Idyossey demonstrate that when power-mad,
testosterone-poisoned religious fanatics in league with greedy
multinational corporations wield unlimited military might, all humanity
is vulnerable. Homer would recognize the tale.
2006-04-10 17:23:42 UTC
Chapter One: The Rage of George

December's rosy-fingered dawn gently
Brushes sleep from his dream-soaked eyes,
But Resolute George wakes up royally pissed,
Roiling with rage, his insides scorched
By a hot and furious furnace, welding
Purpose ever tighter to his heart.

What insult, humiliation or disgrace
Could cast his soul so completely in revenge?
His pain and family's lust for vengeance
Are hidden under wraps of stately words, yet
Placed before a world transfixed by
Calls for guts and glory in the kingdom
Over breakfast, Sly Ashcroft, who taps into
George's mind much as he does his phone,
Lays down his counsel to this Prince, this
Leader risen through his family's honor to
Take his place in hallowed history,
And wield the presidential scepter.

Sly Ashcroft, whose panoptic plan
Seduces hearts and minds through fear,
Waits eagerly for Armageddon when
Saved souls will reign with God above. His
Inner vision colors all he sees with
An impenetrable, opaque shroud of faith.

Sly Ashcroft whispers, "Hold fast,
My Prince, the moment approaches. Our path
Is through strength. Power is manifest and
He who weakens falls behind, will lose the race
To promised land where victory brings acclaim
And legends of leadership are carved in stone. Hold fast!"

But Resolute George is also Simple,
Distracted, he looks through the curtained window,
Daydreams of Crawford, Texas...trees to prune,
Littered footpaths to be raked, Creeks
That should be cleared before the rains;
Then Resolute again, he shakes his head.

"Mark my words," he says pale-faced, "Saddam
Has breathed his last, and only when
He's rot or ashes, stinking - better yet
Dismembered before a crowd and fed to dogs - then
Will I enjoy some peaceful sleep, undisturbed
By my family's cries for vengeance."

He kneels, Oval Office now his chapel,
Prays for strength. Eyes clenched tight,
He asks God to bless his holy mission. "Dear Lord,
Restore my family's honor cruelly taken by Saddam.
Help me to prevail and with your strength,
Vanquish opposition in heat of righteous battle."

Sly Ashcroft, counsel given, satisfied
George is held in sway, takes his leave
Not looking back, afraid that Simple George
Might be turned towards him, trance broken,
Baseball stats, chili dogs and dreams of ice-cold beer
Replacing waves of vengeful thought.

Meanwhile Stealthy Saddam sleeps soundly,
Surrounded by dogs and loyal men.
He dreams of portraits of himself, great
Murals filling public spaces, titanic statues
Towering in vast halls, hands raised in salutation
Welcoming his subjects inside the palace walls.

In his dreams, he provides his only counsel,
All others dreamt reflect his face and voice
And offer their concurrence as a chorus. He need
Not breathe, nor beat his heart, nor churn his gut.
Dreaming Saddam is stillness, a portrait
Patient, waiting for the old king's son to strike.

Twelve years of stalemate, why not twelve more,
He asks in sleep. Why not twenty more, not much
By Babylonian standards. This cradle of civilization endures.
If Allah's protecting anyone it's me, and why not? I'm
Strong, good-looking and can get the girls, he dreams,
A scud missile rising in his groin.

Eyes opening in the darkness, his hand
Brushes his pillow, Egyptian cotton, from Mubarak
For his birthday, used this very night, then discarded,
Burned and ashes scattered. His head has lain upon it;
Royalty must be safeguarded, even flakes of skin
And orphaned strands of hair and sweat.

I'm glad I'm me, he thinks, and strokes his body,
Halting at his loins where stands his mighty minaret,
Symbol of his manhood, and his power over men,
An inspiration to himself and all who love him -
His guide, his mentor, counsel and
Adviser second to none.

No astrologer casts charts for Stealthy Saddam,
He leans on no family honor, like Simple George.
"I am the chosen one", he whispers to himself,
While in his hand his erection strains at the cloth,
And counsel comes that he should move again
For safety's sake, and a fresh pillow.

And in that posture, hand 'round its head,
Saddam falls back to sleep till dawn, when
Birdsong lightly lifts him from his slumber, and
Rising he relieves himself in a golden bowl,
Filled with perfumed water and fresh rose petals,
Picked by loyal subjects during Baghdad's silent night.

2006-04-10 17:26:22 UTC
Chapter Two: Rattling of Sabers

As February's feverish talk of war spreads,
Nations send delegates to the great council,
Where each has his say about the looming storm
And proposes a response. The assembled
Choose sides: one calls for peace,
The other war.

They fill the vast chamber of the United Nations,
On the banks of the East River in the Big Apple,
Where the legs of the twin towers stood,
Colossus standing watch over the harbor,
Now fallen, turned to rubble, only memories
Of silhouettes and gaping holes remain.

Each delegate gives his speech,
Arguments on one side or the other.
Promised U.S. foreign aid or
Loan guarantees on purchases of
Hardware and weapons of destruction
Secure some allegiance to the holy war.

Villepin from France draws firm applause.
He draws upon the loyalty of others who enjoy
The economic benefits of working with both sides.
Colonialism having given way to neo-liberal capital,
The French pursue a policy of "no size fits all"
And apply post-modernist financial theory.

"Iraq is not a foie-gras goose," says he,
"To be slaughtered for its fatted liver."
"This Iraqi pot-au-feu is not yet done,
Politics gets richer while it thickens." They
Lick their lips, salivating at the savory philosophy
And think about reservations for lunch at 21.

"The inspectors, led by Blix, need time," he says.
"Besides, it's almost truffle season and war
Is inconvenient; please be patient." The
Delegates stir in their seats, after all
No one wants to wait in line for lunch. A
Recess is called for the balance of the day.

Proud Powell, sitting at his table,
Bites his tongue and tastes metallic blood,
Sips some water from his glass and swallows.
"Now's not the time to blow my top," he sighs.
"That French Fop and his continental buddies
Have ruined my appetite; I hate old Europe."
Proud Powell, heroic bronze warrior
Of the Gulf war of '91, holds back
His bubbling fury not letting on at all
That other, grander plans were made months ago,
Long before debate in these august halls
In vain hope of finding lasting peace.

Foul Rumsfeld conceived a vile plot, to turn
The rising tide of fear and public apprehension
That flowed from 9-11 to a sour wound of hate. His plan:
Turn 9-11 lemons into lemonade, sell it to the world
To slake thirst for revenge while building
Corporate profits with the grand machine of war.
From all across the U.S. armies gather,
Men and women, battle gear, armor shining,
Organized and prepared with great tools of war,
Sent from from every city, every county, every state,
Grouped in the wine dark Mediterranean and Arabian Sea
Restless and ready for battle in long gray ships.

2006-04-10 17:29:20 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 3: Entreaties Rejected
The Bushiad

Chapter 3- Entreaties Rejected

A formal note from Iraq arrives at the White House:
"Consider please this, our most sincere offer, in full settlement of
our conflict:
For those who through reason would care to choose peace instead of
resorting to warfare,
With utmost respect and provision for feelings and mindful of past
We humbly request your most close attention to matters of mutual
A chance to amend our poor past relations and build toward a more
stable future.

We wish to arrange a small meeting in secret, only those present who
To offer appropriate measures, fair payment, for some goods and
services rendered,
Build peace between nations, once close friends, but engaged now in
A moment to place swords in scabbards, step back, stand down our
gathering armies,
With honor a part of the overall planning, and always with hearts
filled with caring,
Our offer includes countless valuable riches, and honor beyond all

Mistakes have been made, we freely admit it, and humbly apologize for
Our misguided effort to blow up your father exhibits poor judgment,
it's certain,
And if it were under our province to undo such unkind behavior, believe
We'd make it our duty to do so, and promptly, without even wasting a
What's done is done, though, that's the painful truth, not even
Allah can change it,
Our most current effort is geared to repayment, in fashion designed to
your liking.

Our land is old land, the famed fertile crescent where mankind received
his first blessings,
Resources have limits, we have lots of sand and some date palms of
rather fine features,
The camels still range between scattered oasis and carpets are loomed
in some cities.
In short we are simple and quite undemanding, a people accustomed to
Hard working, quite honest and not prone to lying, we note we can make
one concession:
Oil sits all below us, the fuel of the world, and it's yours at a
rather steep discount.

In short, we beseech, we request and entreat you to give peace a chance
and consider
A fair and quite generous offer of black gold, delivered direct to your
And based on your background and that of your comrades whose own jobs
some drilling,
We know you appreciate valuable assets, especially those that are
Please give us reply at your early convenience, since time, as you say,
is the essence,
We remain at the ready to convene this discussion, with fondest
regards, S. Hussein."

The ashen face of George says all. Sweat
Gathers on his upper lip, dry tongue licks his lips,
His nostrils flare and he looks as if to speak
But only silence and rasping breath escape.
Stopped short and lacking words,
He must remind himself to breathe.

At last, composure brought to bear, he speaks,
But in a whisper, barely audible. "This
Is some kind of trick, and I'm not fooled.
No way Saddam wants to negotiate. Besides,
After all the time and money we've put into our plan,
We can't afford the loss."
Like a small child caught in a big lie,
He looks around searching for support.
His eyes dart from face to face, but finds
Uncertainty from those around him. "Oil is the prize,
And now it's on the table, a deal might make
More money in the end," says Condi Rice.

Despite rumors of the curse of Condoleezza,
Others listen when she forecasts the future.
Investing power in her passionate pronouncements.
Her female wiles keep the room of white men
Nervous about the future as they attempt
To possess Saddam's deep pools of oil.

Foul Rumsfeld turns from Condi's low-cut blouse
(It's been a while since he's felt a woman's warmth),
And, shifting his seat he starts to speak. "I
Sincerely disagree, though I value Condi's opinion,
Sly Saddam is a master of the masquerade, besides
I've planned to test some cool new weapons."

"Our weapon sales bring us many billions,
And nothing helps as much as live demonstrations
Before an enthralled world." he leans back
Grinning widely, as heads nod in agreement.
Meanwhile George, eyes closed,
Looks like he's listening, but he's not.

Inside his head Simple George has
A rockabilly tune that's stuck. Something about
"Loving her so much it hurts, but it feels good."
His tapping on the table draws attention and
Heads turn towards him sensing his deep thought.
The room is silent. He looks up.

He makes desperate attempt to push away the song,
But one phrase escapes and leaves his lips,
"There's gonna be just one of us left standing in the end,"
No steel guitar accompanies the line. All
Bow their heads in solemn acquiescence,
A resolute decision has been made.

They stand in deference to their valued leader.
A wise decision has been made. In keeping
With tradition in these halls of power,
Their leader has shown trademark determination,
(This despite the underestimation of his critics
Who label him lightweight with Attention Deficit Disorder.)

Simple George is confused though pleased,
Thinking, "This governing thing's not so hard
As long as I surround myself with loyal, informed staff."
It's twenty-five to twelve; I've made a big decision.
I'll work out now, then scarf a taco salad.
Is it cool the be the free world's leader, or what?"

2006-04-10 17:31:47 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 4: Osama Speaks

Hidden within the confines of an isolated cave
On the edge of Afghanistan's mountainous range,
Osama sits upright on a rounded cushion.
Hands curled in the folds of his tattered caftan
Legs crossed underneath him, hidden far from view,
His eyes closed in meditation.

His solitude is interrupted by an aide
Who enters and walks forward on his knees,
Stopping six feet short of the bearded sage before him.
Clearing his throat he bows his head in respect
Awaits the perfect moment to utter his few words,
"A long-awaited visitor just arrived."

Outside, Dan Rather cools his heels.
Another scoop for CBS is almost in the can,
He can nearly taste the ratings.
First Saddam and now Osama! His February
Interviews put CBS back on the media map,
CNN and Fox can only watch and weep.

In the cave the bearded one lifts heavy lids
Revealing dark deep blackish pools with
Pinpoint spots of light. Reflected flames of candlelight
Seem from within his orbs themselves -
Piercing the darkness, a tiger's eyes
Flickering towards doomed prey.

"Speak," he says. His aide straightens.
"He's arrived," he intones, "and waits outside,
Scarf around his eyes, equipment searched."
"Bring him in, but the equipment must stay out,"
Osama removes his hands from the caftan's folds
Reveals long fingers, with clean nails.

"And bring us tea," he adds, "Darjeeling, please."
The aide departs, finding it harder by far
To walk backwards on his knees than forwards,
His garment immodestly slides up his legs.
He shifts from side to side, pulls at the cloth
Afraid to look inept in the presence of the master.

Dan Rather rehearses a script long planned
Should an interview with Bin Laden come to pass.
Rejecting homilies and Texas countryside expressions,
Dan won't talk of Roosters, Hunting Dogs or Flapjacks
But instead of 9-11, Western Values, the Koran
As topics of his prime time special.
Footsteps approach, muffled voices speak,
Then hands about his head are gently pulling cloth,
The wraps removed, he blinks, eyes adjust
As the sun begins to hide behind the ragged horizon.
"You may come," a voice close to his ear says softly,
"Your equipment must stay behind."

"But," Dan sputters, "the equipment is quite safe,
It's been inspected inside out four times today."
"The equipment must remain outside, that's it."
The turbaned face but inches from Dan's ear,
Hot breath warms the side of Dan's face as the sun
Completes its dip behind the distant peaks.

"All right," Dan sighs, as he's led to the small entrance,
Up a rubble-strewn well-worn path used by
Local chiefs and men for tens of generations.
One path to one of thousands of such caves,
A complex hive ruled not by Queens but Kings
To house Islamic armies massed to fight Infidels.

On all fours, Dan is led into the cave, head
Bowed low less in reverence than protection -
The blood-stained edges of rough-hewn rock
Mute testimony to the armies of Allah that
Use these caves as home and school and mosque,
As deadly battles rage outside.

In a larger space, a few candles shedding light,
Dan sees Osama sitting at the far end of the cave
Arms outstretched in greeting, slight smile on his face.
"You are welcome, Mr. Rather," says Osama,
His voice soft and higher pitched than Dan expected,
It reminds Dan of Aunt Jenny back in Texas.

"I appreciate you letting me see you," says Dan.
His hands in Osama's vise-like grip, he feels others
Pat down his sides and back. He thinks of
"The Godfather", Lucca Brazzi, held in such a grip
While a garrote round his neck, eyes bulging
Lucca breathes his last for the Corleone Family.

But Osama lets him go, turns left, where
On a wooden table inlaid with mother-of-pearl
Sit two glasses and one steaming pot of tea.
"Before we talk, we must have tea," Osama's voice is
Almost childlike, as he looks for Dan's agreement.
"OK," nods Dan, "two lumps, if you don't mind."

"My pleasure," says the Sage, and hands Dan a cup.
Warm in his hands, it offers comfort from the cave,
Where coolness has prevailed for ten thousand years
Despite intense sun and often broiling temperatures.
Dan's glass of tea shakes in his trembling hands,
Small ripples that Osama notes, without comment.

"Ask your questions - I will answer," says Osama,
His straightforward manner catches Dan off guard.
"I have nothing to hide - it is already revealed
And has been for more than one thousand years."
With that his eyes close and he waits. Dan pauses,
Then arrives at his first comment.

"I didn't know you could speak English," Dan says,
Realizing for the first time since hearing his voice
That Osama's English has a hint of Texas twang,
Though where that comes from Dan could never know:
The Special Forces Aide assigned Bin Laden in '92
Was raised just down the road from Crawford, Texas.

"Of course I can speak English," Osama smiles,
"And I read it, too. To know an enemy, his
Language and its meaning must be understood.
To say it like Dan Rather, when it comes to English
'This dog can hunt." Osama grins, Dan spills his tea,
Warm wetness spreads quickly in his lap.

"Sir, the first thing I must ask, all America
Wants to know, the first thing I must ask is this -
About 9-11, what do you know, what did you do?"
With this Dan's sweat begins to run, he
Swallows hard, unsure what to expect, afraid
He'll be dismissed, or worse, be shot.

"I knew you would ask me this...relax,"
Bin Laden hands Dan a silk napkin and uses one
To dab his own brow, even though his forehead's dry.
Dan wipes his lips, notes the subtle gesture,
Knows this man is no brutish fighter,
But educated, complex and bright.

Refilling Dan Rather's cup with tea,
Osama speaks. "9-11 was an iconoclasmic event,
Designed to resonate on many levels." Dan
Looks confused. Osama goes on, "Let me explain.
Iconoclasm involves destroying images or symbols
Deeply intertwined in the roots of any culture."

"Western culture is replete with symbols and icons,
Despite your Second Commandment prohibition.
You'll find far fewer icons within Islamic culture,
Though I'll concede that ornate decoration
Often takes its place - always naturalistic -
Reflective of man's place in paradise."

The interview is going wrong, Dan thinks, he wants
Sound-bites he can use, not lectures! Osama continues,
"This war of symbols, cultural destruction, goes back
To the Crusades. Mosques were destroyed, dismantled,
Replaced with cathedrals devoted to western values -
Decadence, exploitation and money."

Bin Laden breaks for breath. Dan interrupts.
"George Bush says you are Evil." Dan
Senses furtive movements to his left, Osama
Waves to the dark and it stops. "You attacked
Us by surprise and killed innocent civilians."
At which Osama answers: "They are now in heaven."

Dan sits and blinks, new
Understanding of this man dawns on him.
Osama whispers, "This life is nothing,
Window-dressing, a stage set by merciful Allah.
And all who die in service to Allah are martyrs.
Victims, martyrs...they are all welcome in paradise."

Dan's heart speeds up, forehead gets clammy.
As a boy he'd often felt this way at revival meetings,
Talk of afterlife and redemption made him dizzy -
Walking hand in hand with Jesus, God's endless love,
Apocalypse, souls rising, non-believers left behind -
He'd get nauseous and throw up.

"I don't feel well," says Dan, "I must be getting ill.
I'd love to talk some more, perhaps tomorrow."
He turns and rough hands lead him out. There's
A murmuring at the far end of the cave, and
Through the sounds of exit he hears Aunt Jenny's voice,
"In-s'Allah Dan Rather, In-s'Allah."

2006-04-10 17:34:03 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 5: The Underworld

Below the weary world walked by man and beast,
Covered by a thousand feet of rock and concrete,
Fueled and lit by the energy of the atom,
Air scrubbed and washed by banks of filters,
Another world, clean, and safe from all danger,
Shelters its occupant in a plush and comfortable home.

Like the resting place of Pharaohs,
Built deep within the heart of massive pyramids,
Surrounded by stone, with provisions for the future,
Impenetrable, hidden, all construction plans destroyed
(Along with those who designed and built them),
It's an underworld made by Halliburton to protect one man.

Dick Cheney, hard of heart, sits at his desk
Staring at a bank of television monitors,
Some hawk dishwasher detergent and hamburgers
Others display the faces of the ruling circle: Sly
Ashcroft, Proud Powell, Foul Rumsfeld, Condoleezza,
And Simple George, patron saint of Pax Americana.

Hard-hearted Cheney, bitter, scared and insecure,
Due some say to his Pisces Moon
Opposing Neptune in Virgo, smiles in
A half-grin, the left side of his face lifting while
The right side sits immobile, dragged along
Like some reluctant dog pulled unwilling by a leash.

One monitor shows no face at all, no ads
For SUVs nor Big Man Pizza Specials. It just
Displays a line; that line records a heartbeat,
For the moment, regular at 48 beats per minute.
The low rate is due to high-dosage beta-blocker
And the lingering effects of 50 milligrams of Cozaar.

The rate goes up, the half smile fades.
Cheney chuckles at a comment made by Ashcroft,
A joke made at the expense of Condoleezza,
Some rumored tryst with Rumsfeld,
How their union might produce a child
With the Powell-like color of café au lait.

"A Whitey in the woodpile?" Ashcroft cracks,
And Cheney's heart throws a premature contraction.
A monitor beeps and prints a paper strip,
Testimony to lingering stirrings in his hard heart,
So long deprived of love and warmth and comfort,
Now resigned to pharmaceuticals.
On another screen, Simple George is talking
But Hard Cheney does not listen, merely
Picking out a few words here and there
Like "nukular," and "mass destruction" and "terrorist,"
Cringing at the poor syntax and mindless repetition
Drummed into the head of poor Simple George.

Distracted, Cheney thinks about
The legend of Saint George.
Patron saint of England and armed forces,
Dressed in red-crossed garments, sword held on high,
Then thrust into the head of the Islamic Dragon
In selfless defense of Western culture.

He considers the two Georges, how history has merged,
Brought them together now, at the right time.
The new crusades! A resumption of the battle,
This time under Stars and Stripes of red, white, blue,
With swords from heaven, dropped by eagles' talons,
Striking down the Moslem hoards once and for all.

"Know the legend of St. George?" he asks Don.
"Destroyer of idols and false gods, he was a martyr,
His body flayed, burned, crushed, amputated, and made headless,
Yet he returned to address the troops generations later
For which, in 1348, the Order of the Garter was established."
The mention of garter lifts his heart rate to 56.

Hard Cheney, who switches easily from
Chief warmonger to chief executive officer, is
Eager for the thrill of battle, the command of men,
And as his body double sits up top in the Senate,
Millions are unaware that unseen down below
Cheney orchestrates dark destiny of Biblical proportions.

He led Desert Storm and kicked Noriega's ass,
Now he fantasizes about the largest army in the world
Engaged in a newer, bolder crusade against the east.
Undaunted by the treachery of so-called allies, he knows
This new mission will be the beginning or
The end; it's in the Bible.

"Saddam's deploying his newest missile,"
Hard Cheney starts a joke for Simple George.
"Yeah..." says George, waiting for the punch line.
"Yep," says Cheney, "we've destroyed his Al Samood
Now he has no choice but to deploy his biggest;
Tomorrow Al Phallus rises above the desert!"

The monitor displays the smirk on George's face,
Sly Ashcroft blushes, embarrassed by the joke.
Foul Rumsfeld winks, points his finger to the left
Unseen by Condoleezza whose face appears that direction,
And wanly offers a condescending gap-toothed smile.
Cheney throws a burst of tachycardia.

The heart monitor spits out a paper trail. A
Nurse makes her way to Hard Cheney's chair,
And wiping spittle from his chin she turns up his IV,
"Its time to say goodbye to all your friends and take a nap,"
She says. Low-fat cookies and soy milk are by his pillow,
If he behaves, she'll sing to him as he goes to sleep.

2006-04-10 17:36:09 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 6: Fatherly Advice

The weekly call from Poppy comes right on time,
As the setting sun's last rays begin to fade
Golden hues give way to pinks and deep blues.
Night's sheer curtains draw closed upon the world,
Colors fade to grays and blacks in dimming light
As Resolute George picks up the ringing phone.

"43, this is 41" says old King George, "How are you?"
"Right fine," says George, "been waiting for your call."
Simple George emerges, grasps a rubber ball
And begins to compress it, building up his grip.
Forearms work with the effort, tendons taut,
Hands squeeze with memories of curve balls thrown.

"This Saddam thing's heating up," the old man says.
"Yep," says George, "Things are in control, don't worry."
"Not worried, 'you da' man'" says Poppy, "Just
A bit confused about the plan, want to understand."
George stops squeezing, feels his face flush,
Warmth moves up his collar, back of his neck goes red.

"There's not a lot to understand," says George.
"Saddam is evil and we're gonna take him out."
"Evil's bad," say Poppy, "Can't put up with evil.
Might be a good idea to wait a bit, build more support,
More countries on our side, go in more united."
George drops the ball, it's grabbed by Spot the dog.

"You don't like what I'm doing?" George asks curtly.
"Didn't say that," says Poppy. Resolute George cuts him off,
"Same conversation, same complaints, same accusations,
Like a broken record for 40 years. Never good enough,
Not smart enough, too impulsive, too rash. Well I'm President,
And for once you need to just shut up!"

George sweats, dark round stains in his shirt,
He wipes his wet upper lip on the back of his hand.
Like a major league pitcher with a long 3-2 count,
Batter crowding the plate, crouching low, defensive,
One ball after another knocked hard foul into the stands,
George feels the tension mount, his frustration builds.

"You had your chance," he vents, "You blew it!"
"It's up to me to clean your mess and do the job right."
Sweat drips from his nose to the blotter on the Lincoln desk,
Joins other spots and stains. Pizza grease, coffee drops
All offer silent testimony to the strain of command
That accompanies attempts at absolute control.
"Slow down son!" the old man says, "Don't fly off the handle.
Diplomacy takes time, can't be telling allies they
Have no role to play but yours. Not smart."
"Not smart you say," Resolute George is burning red,
"Not smart is what you've always said, not like Jeb.
He was always smarter...but I was first, the older brother!

"You never thought I was good enough. I proved you wrong,"
George the resolute sneers with narrowed eyes, "Now
The world will find out that I'm the one with power!"
Things have gotten out of hand. "Now son," Poppy stammers,
"All I'm saying is that you can't do it alone. We all
Need friends. When this matter's done the world will go on."

But Resolute George can't stop. His shirt is soaking wet,
Hangs off his neck like a jersey after extra innings.
"I've drawn the line," he says, "48 hours to clear out!
If the world doesn't like it, fuck 'em." Spittle flies from his
"I've got the power now, and I'm gonna use it!"
He finally sits down, his anger spent.

"So that's it?" says Poppy, "Proving you're top dog.
Well, son, I'm not going to try to talk sense into you.
That anger of yours, lashing out at those who try to help.
It's your Achilles heel. I watch you on TV, calm and careful
But I know the rage that roils deep inside you and
Even though I love you, always have, you scare me."

"Look Dad," George says softly, drained from his tirade,
"I know you're the hero, the flyer who saved lives.
You've got nothing to prove to anyone. But
This moment's mine, my time for honor, my time for glory,
My time to escape your shadow, be remembered.
Show the world that I really am my own man."

"You're mother's here, she'd like to say hello," says 41.
"Sure, put her on," says 43, tightening his tie.
"Georgie, it's your Mom," Barbara's voice reassuring and
Simple George's eyes well up with tears, "Hi Mom" he says.
Suddenly wetness runs down his cheeks, lips quiver,
"Mommy," he says, "I think Daddy's mad at me again."

Her soft and soothing voice helps George slow down.
He collapses deeply into a cushioned chair
Wipes his eyes, his sleeves darken with salty tears.
While Barbara talks of childhood pranks and baseball games,
Thoughts of Saddam, Anthrax attacks, hijacked planes recede
Into the sweet embrace of motherly love.

2006-04-10 17:38:30 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 7: The Gods of War

Ares' heirs sit fat and happy in the desert.
Budgets bloated, armor shining, the gods of war
Choose sides and divvy up the world. They name
The conflict "Shock and Awe," these deities of destruction,
With the US deadline come and gone, Sly Saddam in hiding,
Wall Street rises with the expectation of clashing armies.

"We will equip the US side with fearsome weapons,
Destructive power such as the world has never seen,
Accuracy so fine even great archer Odysseus,
Unmatched in all of Ithaca in his prowess with the bow,
Himself invested by his gods with eagle's eyesight
Could not equal!" says Lockheed Martin.

"The blast effects? Awesome! Considering
The low cost of the explosive we use, incidentally,
Bought from brother Dow the master chemist.
We're the masters of compressive physics, and
Compared its effects on tissue and soft organs
To searing heat, which also kills - but much more slowly."

"When selling in the weapons market, competing
For an edge, the efficiencies are more refined
Than ever since brother Hughes installed
The GPS, its noose tight around the globe, making
Delivery nearly as reliable as FedEx, and
Explosive calibration the center of cost benefit."

The Iraqi trade show has begun. All weapons in the field
The newest generations of technology, (as if
Forged by great Haephestus, blacksmith for Achilles),
Pointed bunker busters of a thousand pounds are
At the call of corporate gods and men they choose
As salesmen for this decade's best in weapons.

"You mention brother Hughes." says Boeing, "I will concede
that GPS has changed the game. Alone among us
I give armies wings, carry them into the heavens
Where they look down upon the battle lines with
Near omniscience in their gaze from space, selecting prey
Like a falcon seizes upon a distant mouse for dinner."

"We can shoot a missile right up Saddam's ass,
Or between his eyes if we prefer, or slightly to the left
Take out his right eye milliseconds before his head explodes
In a ball of brains and blood and bone," intones Raytheon,
Chiming in to make sure his powers are not forgotten by the others
Who think of their own bottom line and shareholder dividend.
"Look," says Hughes "we're all in this together. The
After-conflict market should be very, very hot. Remember
Most of these weapon systems have not been seen before
And with the credit promised and the loans to be extended
Close to 50 countries will be anxious for new toys,
While their neighbors vainly wish they'd joined our side."

All heads nod round the table in anticipation
Of high profits and impressive quarterly results.
The best is yet to come, some think proudly,
With the introduction of the platforms placed in space;
Heaven's wrath in orbit 200 miles from earth,
Wielding a High Energy Laser Emitting Nuke: HELEN.

HELEN, elegant, sublime and powerful,
Holding men in sway and seducing gods of war
With the promise of her death ray, a golden beam of light
Directed from the skies, vaporizing bodies with its touch.
More powerful than Medusa who merely turned men into stone
HELEN is the ultimate prize, consort of the gods of war alone.

Hunkered down behind his desk sits Simple George.
He also thinks of HELEN and her power, longing
For the day when perched in space aloft awaiting,
The right time comes to unleash her fearsome steady stare,
Pure energy of the power of the atom, focused oh so tightly
On the enemies of peace.

Unknown to Simple George, though, is a secret.
That HELEN is a fickle lover prone to dalliance,
And at that very moment as he daydreams
Paris holds HELEN in a strong embrace.
A cushioned berth atop France's Arienne Rocket
Will soften her ascent from the grasping tug of earth.

Meanwhile in the fields of war, the product demos quicken,
Broadcast to the eager public by the ever present media
In bed with army squadrons, aboard the long gray ships.
They act as go-between, mediating images of war
Sometimes false, sometimes true as fits the mood,
High ratings reflect success with reality TV.

In Baghdad the morning meal is interrupted,
Huge munitions from the gods of war aloft.
Guided by stealth and GPS the missiles do their work,
3,000 pounds of high explosive, 600,000 bucks apiece.
500 fall in just one day, like finale on July the 4th,
Except it's March 15th.

"It is not a beautiful day in the neighborhood,"
Cracks General Franks about the morning's shock
And awe, defiling Saint Fred Rogers, from
The land of make believe, who taught the values
Once bestowed by parents and grandparents, back
When families still shared stories and warm meals.

2006-04-10 17:40:45 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 8: Juggernaut

The Western forces race across the desert
Fueled by gasoline supplied by other Arab nations
More than pleased to make a profit from Iraqi misery,
An ancient neighbor invaded once again by Infidels,
Constantly beset by conquest, first by Caliphates,
Then colonialists, now capitalists.

The world's most powerful military meets a rag-tag force.
Reduced to small arms and with limited provisions.
Saddam's legions, emaciated after 12 years of sanctions,
Mount a weak guerrilla effort, pick off armored vehicles
As they speed along highways leading to Baghdad,
No traffic to fight, no speed traps to avoid.

The Western drive's so fast Iraq's troops are left behind,
Falling to the sides, left to fight or to melt away,
In either case, cut from the coming battle of Baghdad.
The mobile force of rolling thunder sweeps forward,
Past smoking ruins and blackened husks, road-kill in the desert
Left by the airstrikes leading the advance.
The gods of war who lend their power to the West
Are up against others who give assistance to Iraq.
Russian gods like Aviaconversiya help jam radar,
While Belarus-based Dipol provides Iraqi night vision.
Competing for the chance to sell their killing arms
The greedy gods of war make allies of the highest bidders.

A cold front sweeps down from eastern Turkey
Bringing intense weather changes to the region,
Wind gusts 60 miles an hour, blowing west to east.
The desert sand, reduced to dust from eons of erosion
Creates a massive, raging storm suffused with rain
A black shroud covering the land and all upon it.

Blinded by shifting dark clouds of desert dirt,
The Western army's forced to slow its hurried pace.
Its vision hampered, targets mere muddied shapes
Digital images lose clarity and shots ring out from all sides.
Men go down, bloodied and bleeding from grenades,
Iraq's army drawing close enough to pick off targets.

Smoke from burning oil wells deepen the darkness,
Acrid, black and thick, the smoldering Ichor of the gods
Adds misery to the act of ordinary breathing;
Tar and noxious compounds combine with dust and rain,
A sticky, smelly paste violates every orifice
Coating nostrils, throats and tongues with foulness.

The Iraqis, people used to sand and storms,
Hunker down and try to make tomorrow's plans,
Unsure if fight or flight will prove to be the better choice,
And torn between supporting their ancient land
Or jumping at the chance to escape Saddam's harsh rule
Some shoot, some sleep, some pray.

Saddam, ever Stealthy, moves from house to house,
His body-doubles help confuse his whereabouts.
The US is unclear which sites to attack,
As head of state Saddam's a fine, choice target,
Like a wildebeest stalked at water's edge at dusk
Dinner for the lioness with full lair of mewling cubs.

Saddam sits at ease with home-cooked meals
Finding refuge in the quiet homes of ordinary citizens.
Eats with his fingers, dips chunks of bread in chickpea paste,
Yogurt mixed with cucumbers and mashed eggplant,
Drinks strong cups of tea. Leaves sinking to the bottom
Tell of his future, or perhaps not.

Raised on tales of broken occupations
Of colonial empires with grandiose plans
To force modern civilization and western values
On Mohammed's rugged people of the Arab lands,
Saddam's forces know their orders,
Though communication links are largely broken.

The plains of Tigris have fed countless generations,
Sustained troops that crossed from Asia seeking fortune,
Western armies bent on conquest of the trade routes,
And grain-starved neighbors short of food.
Through it all the ancient people of this land remain
A living link to the first dawn of civilization.

And now amid the thunder and the wind
It seems possible that history will repeat itself.
Invaders from the West, overconfident and rash
Will underestimate the power of Islamic heart,
Miscalculate the measure of its army's strength
And spread itself too thin.

Just perhaps, as so often told in stories 'round the fire,
These winds will blow the sand so hard, so fast, so steady,
Invaders quickly covered, buried below huge dunes,
Armaments and armor worn away, shall turn to dust,
Mouths fill with sand, lungs gasp for breath
And as morning breaks at dawn they will be gone.

But now both armies rest,
Men eat their meals, teeth grind on grit,
Each bite a reminder that this war is far from done,
The gods have only just begun to play.
The battered bodies on both sides a small taste
Of the misery and hardship still to come.

2006-04-10 17:44:08 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 9: The Prisoners

Morning births a sunrise darkened by dust.
Despite the waning winds, fine particles float;
A thick reddish fog envelops all. The
Horizon disappears, blends into a sky suffused
With an eerie blood-red glow that makes gauging
Distance and direction nearly impossible.

Staff Sergeant Jack McClellan pries open his eyes,
Lids stuck together with a dry, crusty glue
Teardrops binding small particles of desert sand
Into salty cement, gritty and hard to remove.
Blindly, he grabs his half-full canteen, pours
It across his face. Eyes slowly break their bonds.

Blinking in the gloom, he scans the landscape.
His comrades melt into desert, bodies
Half submerged in sand, here a hand, there a foot,
Look lifeless, sleeping soundly from exhaustion,
Chests and backs move slowly with each breath.
Sand flies flit hurriedly amid the human dunes.

McClellan, Siever, Charles, Holcomb and Evert
The oldest 25, the youngest but 18,
Bonded in three weeks of battle and barrage,
Now clump together on the ground, huddled really,
By the base of a tent shredded by the savage wind -
More barrier than safe shelter.

McClellan, senior member of the squad
Is in charge of this boisterous band of boys.
Computer games are more their speed, not battle,
Their main sport instant messaging, downloading MP3's.
Activated by the war, now called to serve
In war games by the Commander in Chief.

McClellan, Mac for short, sits up,
Shakes himself awake and rises off the ground.
Sand cascades down his uniform, now reddish brown,
Forms a small pile at his feet, covers his boots.
Desert ants scurry to reopen their entry holes
Filled this time not by wind but by Mac's disturbance.

"Get up you dogs," he yells,
Pushing his boot tip into each man's ribs,
Like a kindly uncle, not roughly but with affection.
One by one he makes sure each man's awake.
"Shake the sand out of your ears," he says,
"Saddam's army is not sleeping, I assure you."
Four young men emerge from the sand.
Like mummies rising from the dead,
Covered with dust, wrapped in gauze,
Limbs stiff from silent sleep, they slowly stand,
Legs shaky and unsteady from disuse and slumber,
Each man comes back to life to join the muster.

"Yo, Mac, wussup?" says Evert, hailing from Detroit.
"That's 'wussup Sarge,'" says Mac, smiling but eyes tight.
"Mornin," says Charles, youngest of the group,
Mac nods his head and kindly winks in his direction.
"Huh?" says Siever, "Huh...what's goin' on?
"It's so quiet...I can't hear anyone, can you?" he asks.

"Shut up," Mac says softly, listening to silence.
Holcomb's standing quietly by Mac's side, spitting sand
"Where's the platoon, Sarge?" he says. Mac
Puts his index finger to his lips and signals for quiet,
Takes off his helmet, cups his ears. Finally
He turns and tells them, "We're alone."

"Stow the gear, and let's move out," says Mac.
The others quickly stuff sacks and move to the tent.
"Just leave the fuckin' tent, it's trashed," says Mac.
He pulls out a map, shredded and torn,
Just one week's use in coarse sand
Has turned it brown and brittle.

"Get CentCom on the phone," Mac barks, "plot position."
Siever grabs the phone and finds it dead, sand
Falls from the mouthpiece like flour through a sieve.
He holds it to his ear, then shakes it,
A rattling sound and more sand falls from it.
"It's dead, Mac," Siever shakes his head, "No go."

"Shit," says Mac, "Ok, let's plot our course and head out."
Mac turns the map in his hands, but half is lost.
Torn by raging winds, the paper's blown away
To the Persian Gulf, where it briefly floats
Before joining icons of wars fought long ago
Now settled on the sea's dark sandy floor.

"We'll head East," he says, pointing to his right,
Where now a red orb glows. "Move out,"
He commands, the group moves towards the light.
Holcomb looks behind, his dirty face worried,
Remembers when his older brother ditched him at 12
For two cold winter days in the Pennsylvania woods.

"You sure, Sarge?" he asks, anxiety in his voice.
"Just follow orders, soldier," Mac replies, not looking back.
So they walk, hours passing as the sun rises higher,
Stop from time to time for a drink, canteens near empty.
Temperatures rise as shedding useless gear,
They make way to an uncertain destination.
From the right they hear an engine. All
Stop and heads turn to discern the make,
Hoping that the company's been found, that
They will be welcomed by their countrymen,
Provided food, and water to slake their thirst,
And news of others in this god-forsaken sand.

"Hit the deck," Mac orders, they all comply and drop.
"Be on guard, no friendly fire. And shut up!"
The engine rumbles closer, 200 yards away.
A small vehicle with no top appears in the dust,
Figures sitting stiffly, no guns raised, no helmets,
Fabric flaps in the wind from four heads.

"They're not our guys," whispers Mac,
"Wait till they get closer, then rise up, shoot in the air,
Point your weapons at them and yell 'Stop!'".
Not a sound, not a whisper not a cough.
The vehicle pulls closer, laughter can be heard
Light banter between friends.

At 20 feet Mac and his men jump up and fire,
But for the sand the vehicle would have screeched.
Instead its front wheels bury themselves,
Two men riding in the back are thrown to the ground.
The other two in front have hands in the air,
Mouths bleed from impact with the dashboard.

Mac and his men now yell and gesture,
Direct the four to lie down and not move.
The vehicle's a Jeep, American made, but old,
Falling apart, no insignias or markings.
The four men are scared, clearly surprised
To find Americans wandering in the sands.

"Civilians," one of the four intones, "We are civilians.
Please don't shoot, we do not fight, we are your friends."
"Ann Arbor, Detroit...Detroit Bears...do not shoot,
I have been to America, I have eaten at MacDonalds!
Big Mac with fries and large coke," and he smiles broadly,
No teeth in front but one capped gold on the left side.

"Ok, stand up," Mac orders, and gestures to his boys
Who gather round the captives, amused
By talk about MacDonalds and Detroit Cubs.
One of the scarved men spins and grabs young Siever,
A steel blade's point pushed hard near his carotid,
"Drop your weapons", Gold-tooth hisses, "Or he dies."

The other boys raise up their arms and aim,
"Let him go!" yells Charles, his hands atremble.
Siever's pants go black with piss, his face is white.
"I will shoot your fucking head off!" Holcomb shouts.
Holding Siever from behind, Gold-tooth drags him backwards.
Mac knows he's made a bad mistake, not fatal yet, but close.

The point of gold-tooth's knife breaks Siever's skin,
A rivulet of rich red blood trickles down his neck
And Gold-tooth looks at Mac and grins. His
Smile spreads wider as the point presses harder.
"Ok," says Mac, "Drop your weapons guys,
Just do it, NOW," he yells, the young men all comply.

Positions are reversed, Americans face down,
While ragged robed and bearded men
Gather up the M-16s and disarm the squad,
Packs and belts, boots and helmets removed,
Hands tied with coarse rope pulled from the jeep,
Americans now captives of Saddam's fierce Fedayeen.

2006-04-10 17:46:03 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 10: Interrogation

Marched for hours on bloodied bare feet,
Mac and his band are locked in an old stone hut.
Alone in a barren landscape devoid of life,
It's like some old abandoned ghost town -
Doors off hinges, flapping wooden shutters -
Home to snakes and desperate men.

The boys try to act tough, while
Mac, the leader, keeps his cool. He
Won't give in to these deceitful demons -
Fighters with no uniforms, no honor,
Not real soldiers who respect the rules of war,
They heap dishonor on the fighting man's tradition.

Once inside, hands bound, they're placed against a wall.
One Fedayeen guard remains inside, the others leave.
Stepping outside they argue in Arabic, but
Their sentiments need no translation,
They plan to kill us, Mac thinks to himself,
And swallows thickly.

Two men return inside, force Charles to his feet.
"Name, rank and serial number, that's all," Mac instructs.
"Shut up, you," a Fedayeen with twisted nose kicks Mac
Hard enough to make his point: harder kicks are coming.
Charles gets up meekly, his crotch is wet.
He's pissed himself in fear, Mac looks away.

The other boys tremble like frightened kids,
No video game, this is the real thing, real blood.
Twisted nose grabs Charles by the collar,
And spouts orders needing no translation.
Hands bound, Charles looks at the others,
Searching for support or the promise of freedom.

Not good at school, Charles enlisted at 18,
Son of Miriam and Walter Charles of Ames Iowa,
He joined up in hopes of starting a career
Different than his dad's, an insurance salesman,
Who though a thoughtful father, never made a plan
To write his only son a term life policy.

Into the growing desert dark, they trudge,
The muzzle of an M-16 in his back,
Charles is shoved to his destination. The
Fedayeen know the spot, been here before,
No need for maps in one's backyard, traversed
Since childhood on foot or camel's back.

"OK, stop," the voice is Gold Tooth, "Turn around."
Charles complies, unsure of what's to come.
"Here, have some water," Gold Tooth gestures to another,
And a canteen's brought to Charles's upturned face.
He opens wide in anticipation, his lips chapped and dry.
Sand pours into his mouth and down his throat.

Charles gags and chokes. Fedayeen laugh.
Falling to his knees he vomits moist sand
Then choking, red-faced, looks up confused.
The savage men enjoy the cruel game,
Offer Charles the canteen again, then shout insults.
The more he suffers the greater their delight.

Gold Tooth nods to another, white scar across his cheek,
Who walks behind young Charles, grabs his hair,
Pulls his head back, draws a long sharp blade
And swiftly arcs the knife across his throat.
Red blood cascades down Charles' hairless chest
And blackness envelops his mind and limp body.

One by one Mac's boys are taken,
Gold Tooth says, "Interrogation," but none return.
Siever, son of Nick and Barbara Siever of Mt. Eden, TX
Football star, quick halfback high school player
Whose first kiss was Ellen Beskind in the gym last year-
Bleeds swiftly into the parched earth.

Holcomb, who's red hair and boyish charm are legend
In his home town of Newburgh, New York,
Is pushed roughly out the door by White-scar,
Who grinning, casts a glance at Mac and winks.
Voices move off across the sands, then silence
As Holcomb breathes his last, strangled with wire.

Finally Evert, only son of Ruth Evert.
Born poor into the projects of Detroit,
He held his own against the local gangs,
Resisted drugs and easy money, did well in school.
Ruth's handsome son in uniform dies slowly, suffocated
By gas soaked rags wrapped 'round his head.

Mac sits alone in the stone shed, waiting.
Gold Tooth enters, sits down facing him.
"Where are my boys," Mac asks, not friendly.
"Moved on," Gold Tooth says, "Interrogation."
"If they're harmed you'll pay, that's a promise!" Mac hisses,
"Let me talk to them, to say goodbye at least."

"They will be fine," Gold Tooth lies smoothly,
"It's you I want to talk to," his diction has improved. Mac
Leans back against the cold stone wall behind him.
"Why are you here?" asks Gold Tooth. "Why are you in Iraq?"
"My mission?" says, Mac, "You know I'll tell you nothing.
I'm no young boy you can frighten."

"I don't care about specifics," Gold Tooth continues,
"Your orders mean nothing. I'm asking you, McClellan
Why are you here, invading my land and killing my people,
What do you want?" He motions to Crooked-nose at the door,
Who holds a small bronze tray with tea pot and glasses,
Sets it down before Gold Tooth and leaves.

Gold Tooth leans around Mac and cuts his bonds.
Mac briefly courts a desperate move, then reconsiders,
He might be killed; if the boys still live they'll need him.
Gold Tooth hands him a steaming glass,
Mac takes it, brings it to his lips and smells the tea,
Takes a small sip - it soothes his parched tongue.

"Drink, McClellan, then we'll talk,"
Gold Tooth looks like a kindly uncle
Beaming at his favorite nephew.
Mac swallows, and Gold Tooth resumes his talking,
"Answer my question," he directs, used to giving orders,
"Why are you here, what's the point?"

"Saddam's evil and making weapons of mass destruction,"
Mac recites it just like he's been told:
"We're here to liberate you and the Iraqi people,
Long held in the grip of a cruel dictator
Who kills without a second thought
And invades neighbors when it suits him."

It rolls off his tongue as easy as the still warm tea.
Proud of his recitation, he has learned well.
He knows it is unlikely that Gold Tooth
Will embrace his U.S. military logic,
Admit that Mac is right, give Mac a warm embrace
Welcome him as savior and not enemy.

Gold Tooth stares, then breaks up.
Laughter bounces off the old stone walls,
Body rocks in the dust, head shakes side to side.
"How sweet and oh so simple, you Americans.
Do you believe your own PR? I'll
Tell you how it really is; you listen.

"You in the West live an unbalanced life,
I know, because I lived there as a teen. My
Father worked for Exxon, oil man like George Bush, Jr.
His knowledge of Iraqi oil fields extensive, he
Used his knowledge to make a small fortune.
When I was 15, he was killed by Saddam for his money.

"I might have been killed too, halfway I did expect it,
Instead I was adopted by a family near the Tigris.
Inducted by the Fedayeen, raised to be a fighter,
I was trained in close combat and assassination.
Instructed in the arts of torture, taught classes in Quran
I came to fully understand Islam's holy mission.
"The West's deluded, thinks that history has ended,
That capitalism is the final phase of social evolution,
And the only work left to do is to refine it.
That means exporting values, economics and culture
To all the other countries of the world,
For all time to come."

He pours more tea, lukewarm but wet, Mac drinks.
Gold Tooth continues, enjoying his captive audience.
"Of course, this is all wrong. Just read Sayyed Qutb,
Egyptian scholar of the 30's, he described the problem,
Diagnosed the illness and prescribed the only cure:
The holy cleansing of the world, the destruction of the West.

"Jews, Christians, you got it only half right,
Choosing from the scripture those parts which
Fit your definition of the good and righteous life, but
In the end divorcing man from nature, man from God!
You divide the world in two, one part religious, one political,
And make law to keep them separate!

"The West has turned the world upside down,
Man and his laws at the top, God at the bottom.
The West has veiled its immorality
Behind a false set of beliefs,
Your view of good and evil is distorted,
Your moral compass upside down, inverted."

Mac does not listen to the lecture.
He thinks only of his lost boys. Gold Tooth
Looks at Mac and sees he is distracted.
He's told Mac the holy truth to no avail.
He motions to Crooked-Nose at the door,
Mac, silent in his thoughts, is led outside.

By now the sun has set, bright stars dot the heavens.
Mac looks up and sees lights moving,
A formation of F-22s, headed toward Baghdad.
He hopes night-vision flyers will look down,
Can pluck him from these madmen, lift him up -
With that last thought Mac slumps, stabbed through the heart.

Gold Tooth, White-scar and Crooked-nose
Gather belongings and cover the dead. Kicking
Rocks and sand over five still bodies, none stop to pray.
No words spoken, no tears shed, they leave.
Overhead the thunder of jets rolls down
Upon the quiet desert sands.

2006-04-10 17:52:55 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 11: George Dreams

George stands in a golden meadow,
Warm sun shining, he feels the Texas heat,
Removes his windbreaker, then his shoes,
Lets bare feet feel the ground. A blackbird
Rises from the brush and swings low toward him.
George ducks just as its beak grazes the top of his head.

Turned toward a familiar clapboard house,
Maine's surf bounding ashore, white waves crashing,
George runs home, the blackbird in pursuit.
His legs slip and slide beneath him. No traction,
No matter how hard or fast he tries, he makes no headway
As the blackbird gains ground for another swipe.

"Quickly George, quickly," shouts his mother, Barbara,
White hair blowing in the coastal breeze.
George is on all fours crawling in the high grass,
Sharp stalks scrape and snare his face and arms, he panics.
The blackbird almost on him, bigger than before
More like an eagle now, talons stretched in his direction.

He hears a screech and falls on his back, arms flailing.
His mother stands above him, reaches down and slaps him hard.
His face stings and he begins to cry. The blackbird sits
On Barbara's shoulder, her hair twisted in its beak,
His black eyes, deep dark bottomless pools
Stare at George who cannot look away.

Suddenly he's yelling: "I didn't do it!" feeling angry.
He's back on his feet in the dry Texas grass,
Laura yells, "Quickly, George, quickly!" from the house.
Her hair is white like Barbara's, and George dislikes it.
"Why did she change her hair?" The blackbird
Now sits on George's shoulder, whispers in his ear.

George can't hear the bird over Laura/Barbara's yelling.
He tells her to stop talking, but she keeps on and on.
George knows this bird is telling secrets,
Important secrets he must hear and remember,
But he can't make it out, can't understand.
George's dad shoos the bird away.

"C'mon son," says George Senior, taking Junior's hand.
They walk to the house, salt spray at their backs.
Blackbird nowhere to be seen, George feels safe.
His hand feels warm in his Dad's firm grip.
He looks at his feet. His shoes are back on,
But he feels very small, so close to the ground.
As they near the house he turns to Daddy and looks up
Expecting his familiar face. George is surprised to see another:
Dark hair, broad swarthy features, black mustache...
The face seems familiar, but George can't place it,
Name on the tip of his tongue, he struggles to remember.
George feels his hand squeezed tighter.

"Who are you," asks George, "Where's the blackbird?"
"I am the blackbird, don't you know my name?"
He asks in deep and accented voice, resonant and rich.
Dressed in black he wears strange headgear and a cape.
"I can't remember," George stammers, searching.
"Darth Vader?" asks George. His voice trembles.

"Not quite, young Bush, but close. Hussein's the name, Saddam.
I am your father!" "No!" cries George, tries to pull away.
But Saddam won't let go, "Join me, Son. Together
We will rule the world, Father and Son together at last!"
"Never!" shrieks George, "The world is mine!"
Saddam lets go, and George falls.

The blackbird flies to the darkening east
Disappearing into the blackness.
Golden grasses glow beneath the setting sun.
Lost and alone between Texas wind and Maine surf
Confused, George gazes at a shining point at the horizon,
A lone star alongside the crescent moon.

2006-04-10 17:54:59 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 12: In the Clouds

Fighter pilot Toby Swift leans back in his cockpit
Giving in to the G-forces, relaxing,
His body cushioned by the high-tech molded seat.
Rising sharply, air speed reaches Mach 1.5.
In the black night sky, stars sparkling, he breathes
And lets his 21-million-dollar war chariot fly.

Built by Boeing, child of Ares, god of war
The supersonic F-15 races ahead,
Horsepower surging, air-speed bounding
It responds to Toby's every gesture,
Reacts to him with grace, ready to
Bolt forward, engines roaring.

Swift, 35, married with two children, girls both,
Levels off his craft at 28,000 feet, momentarily weightless
As his gravity-defying maneuver reaches apogee.
He still finds floating awesome, like
An angel high in heaven, he thinks, and
Gazes at his family picture taped to the display.

Hard to believe his loved ones are so far away.
A month ago he enjoyed their daily company,
Back each evening for dinner with the family,
Talk of school, weekend plans, shopping trips.
The base at Ramstein, Germany is not Akron,
But with the family on the base it feels like home.

His wife, Charlene, petite and soft spoken, still shy,
His high-school sweetheart since 10th grade,
Fell in love with Toby at first kiss behind the bleachers.
Watched him walking around school with friends,
Liked his warm smile, dimpled cheeks. Made
A point of sitting next to him in English class.

At first he took no notice of her, but she was patient.
In time he turned to her, borrowed pen or paper,
He'd say "thanks" and smile, two dimples forming.
She'd smile back, silent, and then look away, not coy; just
Genuinely shy and self-effacing, sure he thinks her odd,
Not knowing his gaze remains on her.

For his part, Toby found himself drawn to this quiet girl.
Unlike so many others, who always talked, always preened.
Charlene was different, reserved and well behaved.
He began to think there was something special here,
Despite his usual attraction to dark, exotic types,
He found Charlene comfortable, enjoyed their talks.
And then the kiss behind the bleachers, and then more,
Two souls united, life's companion found at last.
They knew they would always remain together,
Make a family, children around the house crying, laughing,
Toys scattered in every room; and
So it was, has been, will remain.

Toby's 4th fighter wing flies from the carrier Odyssey,
Based near Turkey, Mid-east duty its mission.
Daily flights into Iraq are the new routine, high
Altitude flight first, then low attack to fire missiles,
Batter Saddam's Republican Guard, who
Prepare for General Tommy Frank's Marines.

Until the order comes, Toby stays in holding pattern,
Sipping Air Force lemonade from his helmet straw.
Two hour's fuel left, steady at three-quarters full,
Massive Pratt and Whitney engines gulp high-octane
Belching out hot wind at 200,000 pounds of thrust.
Six Hellfire missiles sit under wing, silent but deadly.

On the ground, just yards from dug-in Iraqi troops,
Samir Aljub, his wife Ansara and two daughters sit
Huddled together in their mud brick home, eating
Rice, dried meat, tea and sugar cookies, almost
The last of their provisions stored before the war. They
Sit by a lone candle, afraid more light will attract notice.

Samir works by day, hauling sacks of flour,
All types, not just wheat, but lentil, chickpea, too.
The work is hard, but steady, except for the dust
Which fills his nose and makes him cough at night.
He enjoys his friends, his boss is a kind man,
He makes enough to feed and clothe his family.

No lover of Saddam, Samir is not political.
His wife Ansara stays at home, tends to the girls,
Prepares meals, cleans house, washes clothes.
Tuesdays, she meets with friends for tea and cookies,
The older children looking after the younger while
The women chatter, gossip, trade stories and laugh.

Samir and Ansara's fathers, bricklayers, worked together,
Thought their two children would be well matched,
Samir's willingness to work, Ansara's devotion to home.
Married at 16, they settled down in Hilla on the Tigris,
Held off on having children till 25, then money saved
They had two girls, Samir's pride and joy.

Samir, now 36, hopes his daughters will find good husbands
Devout, but not fanatic, he prays each day to Allah,
Forehead to the ground in reverence and reflection.
Turned to Mecca, he gives thanks to Allah, reciting
The holy scripture for guidance and protection, he
Offers praise for his life, his family and his future.

Samir hears the rumble of approaching aircraft,
Such sounds have been frequent these past weeks.
The army stationed nearby promises protection
But Samir fears the opposite is true. His
Family in his arms, he sits. They pray and hug
As the drone of aircraft becomes a roar.

At 12,000 feet Toby initiates his target software,
A digital 3-D map illuminates his path in green.
The target is predetermined by mission specialists who
In a darkened room in Qatar, screens flickering
Plot coordinates and transmit them to Toby's craft
While he sits back and lets the chariot fly itself.

His air speed drops to 600 miles per hour, still fast
But to him it feels like crawling. He is impatient.
At 10,000 feet he fires his first missile, a bright streak
Accelerating to 1,800 miles an hour. It
Follows its guided path to his first target, explodes
An Iraqi tank - flames rise, men run screaming.

Toby sets himself for another run, command instructions:
A bunker to the rear, near residential structures.
Intelligence indicates some risk of civilian casualties
But concludes that there's no choice,
Collateral damage is a calculated cost of war.
His target chosen and locked in, Toby awaits his signal.

At 0430 hours he releases Hellfire two.
Designed by General Dynamics, it's aptly named.
Built to explode but also burn intensely, melt armor,
Molten copper and phosphorus fuel its searing flames,
It feeds on matter of all kinds, earth, air and water,
Hellfire is just that, a flesh-consuming demon.

The missile overshoots its target by thirteen yards;
Not bad, considering the instructions from Qatar.
But it's enough to send it past the field of battle
Smack down on Samir's home, family within.
The walls collapse in a massive concussion
The phosphorus begins to burn.

Samir, his wife, and children are already dead.
Allah has answered their merciful prayers
By sparing them the agony of burning flesh.
Body fat adds to the inferno; within
Twenty minutes time the four sweet
Mortals disappear completely.

Well aloft, Toby knows not who he's killed,
Makes three more efficient runs, dispensing missiles,
Notes that his fuel has dropped to one-fourth full, time
To head home to the Odyssey, get four hours rest,
Send an email to Charlene, tell her to hug the girls.
He sips his lemonade and banks west.

2006-04-10 17:56:49 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 13: Déjeuner

Far from the shadow of the Eiffel Tower
In a private dining room at the Hotel Crillon,
Jacques Chirac sits at a linen covered table.
His fine, well-tailored suit, a blend of silk cleaned
And pressed by careful hands that afternoon, is
Accented by his Hermes tie, with gold embroidered fleur de lys.

At the table: Aerospace Industrialist, Monsieur Pierre LeBlanc
Economist Monsieur Paul Lehmann.
Retired Général du Corps, Gerard Tessan,
To Tessan's right, his aide, Michel Dubois.
Next to Chirac sits Madame Fournier,
To take minutes for Le President.

The first course is served, fresh crab en croute.
Chirac takes the first bite, the others soon follow.
They eat in silence, the gold-rimmed plates are cleared.
"Gentlemen," Chirac intones, "You know why you are here,
Our plan, so neatly drawn is in danger of collapse,
I want to understand plan B since A has failed."

Madame Fournier sits quietly, her pen ready.
"Monsieur President," begins Lehmann, "You may be right,
But I must disagree, our plan's only been set back.
Our strategy will prevail, patience is called for.
As membership in the E.U. grows, so will our currency,
The Euro, in circulation and in trade."

He continues, "This Iraqi war may pose a problem, I admit,
But the United States and Britain are going it alone,
In time their resources will run thin, and the dollar will be hit.
The Euro will become the only hedge against such loss,
And sentiment in OPEC may shift towards Europe
Where oil sales will increase greatly in the years to come."

"I know the theory," Chirac dabs his chin and sips some wine,
"But the only OPEC member to switch to Euros was Iraq,
Abandoning the dollar for the exchange of oil, and now that's lost!
The American and British strategy is clear: hold back the Euro,
Prevent the OPEC nations from using it for petrol trade and
Keep them stockpiling dollars to offset America's trade deficit!"

Monsieur LeBlanc, one-armed war hero of Algeria, clears his throat,
All turn to him, including Jacques Chirac, in deference.
"We must have patience," LeBlanc says softly, then looks up,
"Here's the way it goes. The U.S. spends two hundred billion in
The economy in America grinds to a halt, and quickly.
The Euro becomes a hedge every oil-trading nation needs.
"In the meantime," he continues, "the Arab world destabilizes,
Looks to France, not America, for weapons in trade for oil.
These sales will be made in Euros only; it's all we will permit.
Europe now has a larger economy than the United States.
If Britain sides with the U.S. they'll be left out. Ultimately
The Euro will be the major currency of commerce.

"So, time is on our side, you see, we must only wait.
Next to switch is Syria, Iran will switch to Euros too.
America cannot invade every country in the Middle East;
They cannot afford it. Despite the U.S. fear of economic loss,
The shift away from investment in the dollar's going to happen.
Uncle Sam will just have to take the hit."

The second course is served, grilled fois gras on toast,
A light mustard sauce on sautéed leeks.
All conversation stops while plates are cleaned.
Nods of satisfaction are exchanged, but nothing said,
As if words will somehow let the food escape the mouth
Like a brace of quail frantically erupting from the brush.

The retired Général du Corps, Paul Tessan, begins,
"My friends," he says, though frankly he dislikes most,
"I agree with LeBlanc, whose experience and insight are unquestioned.
But there is more I must remind you: HELEN.
Right now HELEN is deployed, though she's disguised,
Looking to the world like our latest weather satellite.

"We know that some in Washington suspect the truth,
If they confirm that she's in space it could mean trouble.
But, between the petro-Euro threat and HELEN's military value,
France will ascend to the throne again, a world power;
America's unipolar plan will be undone, asunder.
U.S. arrogance will help tip world sentiment towards Europe."

The fish course, quenelles in a truffle cream sauce is next.
Each luncheon guest resumes his silence, savoring each bite
Forks gently press, fish knives slice, gathering sauce.
Some close their eyes while eating,
Removing one distraction from the sensual experience
Giving flavor ample room to grow.

"Don't underestimate America's resolve," Chirac exclaims,
"Look at Venezuela. Just their threat to switch to Euros
Made the U.S. throw a fit and back a coup,
Over the objections of every South American democracy.
Embarrassed, they backed off; yes, Venezuela's a mess,
But it shows how far the States will go to protect the petrodollar.

"To eliminate the OPEC-Euro threat completely,
America will use Iraqi oil to flood the market,
As oil prices drop, the dollar will rise sharply
Supported by an improved balance of trade," so says Le President.
The others look impressed, unaware of Chirac's knowledge,
And surprised by his direct and authoritative manner.

"They call French Fries 'Freedom Fries' in D.C." he adds
"No telling how far they will go to make France look bad!"
The gentlemen guffaw, lift their glasses for a toast.
"To Freedom Fries," says Lehmann. "To Freedom Fries," they
And with that the main entrée arrives, entrecote, rare,
With Béarnaise sauce and white asparagus from Belgium.

The mood jovial over dessert and espresso,
Some discuss holiday plans, reflect on past vacations.
Curiosity is expressed concerning Mademoiselle
If she is happy in her apartment with its view of the Seine,
And the dear wife, and is she still out of town,
The quality of truffles, the taste of farm-raised pheasant.

At 3 p.m. the luncheon ends, all take their leave.
Monsieur Le President is escorted to his limo, whisked away.
The others say goodbye and drive off. Escorted by
Well-armed Gendarme, France's powerful elite relax,
Think about dinner, and gaze down the Champs Élysée.
It's April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom.

2006-04-10 17:58:47 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 14: Secret Agent

Sounds of exploding munitions in the distance,
Special operative Max Gordon looks up from his desk,
A lined yellow pad on its weathered and dusty surface,
Light shines bleakly from a small flickering lantern,
Cut burlap grain sacks serve as curtains,
Barely moving in Baghdad's hot and stagnant night.

On the pad, neat handwriting fills pages,
Names and locations coordinated to logistical maps,
All part of Max's post-Saddam action plan.
His network of secret agents has been busy;
The American incursion, swift and ruthless, making
It a challenge to implement his careful strategy.

Max reviews his list. He expected
Things would get out of control, but hoped
His agents, free of Baath Party spies
Would be able to begin to move quickly
Before a new administration takes firm hold
And institutes more order.

Armed with unlimited financial backing, Max
And his agents seek treasures of the fallen regime.
Unlike others intent on gold and precious stones,
Max has his sights on other acquisitions transcending
Pure monetary value - he seeks art. Max Gordon,
Secret operative of Christie's auction house, is ready.

He must move fast. It's rumored
Butterfield's and Sotheby's are on the move.
Already agents have purloined pieces from small museums -
Statue of Astarte, Assyrian goddess of Love and War,
Her firm breasts bare, nipples erect,
She's a hot 5,000-year-old beauty.

The head of Awil-Markuk, in the Bible called Evil Merodach,
(Murdered and replaced by his brother Nergal-shar-usur)
Life-size, solid bronze, weighing 22 pounds, has disappeared.
A sculptured stone head of Hammurabi, of the code of law,
Now fills a burlap sack stuffed into a Land's End backpack.
At this rate, nothing of value will be left to steal.
Communication from home office, received today
Indicates that images of Saddam will be of value.
Despite the shoddy workmanship,
Mediocre paintings of Mao Zedong bring big money
And ten percent commissions. Images
Of despots are highly popular with bidders.

Max takes inventory of his dusty room.
Stacked boxes and bags fill dark corners,
All awaiting transport across the border
To Jordan, where these captive icons
Of Iraq's past will gain freedom in
The marketplace of western auction houses.

A knock jars Max from his calculations.
Dimming his lantern he grabs his M-16,
"Who is it?" he asks, firmly and without fear.
From the other side, a voice says, "Taha Maruf."
Max opens the door and a robed Iraqi steps in.
"Wild out there!" he says, and puts a box on the table.

"What you got for me?" asks Max, putting down his rifle.
"Oh, just a few baubles, nothing big," says Maruf, grinning.
Max carefully opens the cardboard box,
Folding back the dusty and dilapidated flaps.
He looks inside, but sees only balled up newspaper,
Makes out some headlines about American Invaders.

"Keep looking," the robed man prompts, his voice buoyant.
Max moves his hand around and begins to remove paper.
As he reaches lower, he feels a stinging, searing pain.
Looks at Maruf and then to his gun, now out of reach.
Agony quickly moves up his arm, now stiff and heavy feeling;
Within seconds, his whole body's numb and he collapses.

Still conscious, Max sees Maruf open the door.
Three men come in and with flashlights scan the room.
The light hurts Max's eyes, his ears begin to ring.
The numbness has now reached his head,
It's hard to breathe. The men grab the varied contents
Carefully remove them, then return for more.

The room is finally empty, one hooded man remains,
He moves to Max who, barely breathing, is turning blue.
He bends down, shines his light in Max's eyes,
Then satisfied that Max will die, reveals his face.
It's Joseph Kurtz from Sotheby's; Max's gasp is his last.
"War is hell, Max," Joseph laughs, turns quickly and walks out.

2006-04-10 18:00:49 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 15: The Tyrant Flees

Armies closing in from East,
West, and South, vehicles bringing
Fresh-faced boys from Iowa, Homies
From Detroit, sons of Vietnamese refugees,
Chicanos out of Fresno, and New York City Jews
To the streets of Baghdad.

The city's residents, long suppressed by
Fear of torture, beatings, persecution, loss of jobs,
Once docile and well-behaved in public,
Stream into the streets like frantic wildlife
Escaping from a forest fire. Some
Look dazed, others wild-eyed, many crying.

Strange scenes grip the cobbled streets
Where chaos reigns, Saddam's iron hold
Displaced. Anarchy spreads, looters
Begin to strip the beleaguered old city; mansions
Schools, government buildings, hospitals,
None are safe from the frenzied marauding bands.

The U.S. Army watches, even makes a contribution,
Joins the mobs in a Baghdad city park, covers
Saddam's sculpted face with Stars and Stripes,
Then brings the monumental sculpture crashing down.
The gathered crowd batters the fallen giant with shoes
To show deep disrespect.

Three two-thousand-pound American bunker busters erase civilians
In the effort to "decapitate" the Iraqi regime,
Splatter Saddam and his evil sons to kingdom come,
Turn them to tiny bits and pieces so small
Not even dogs could sniff them out.
But the bombs fall in vain.

Nothing is seen of Saddam, he's disappeared like a genie,
Having granted its last wish, leaving only the lamp.
Saddam moves among his people, dinner
With the common folk, sharing hummus, sleeping
At a different house each night, and sleeping well
In large part because he travels with his pillow.

His mustache shaved, sporting soiled robes,
Saddam now looks more itinerant than tyrant.
Resembles his uncle Tamir, who in Saddam's youth
Worked little, brought shame upon his family by his sloth,
Often stole and never bathed or washed. Saddam
Had him killed and fed to Tikkrit dogs.
The disguise works. Unless introduced as who he is,
No one suspects this grubby, useless-looking fellow
Once held the reins of power so tightly in his grasp.
No one was safe from his tyranny, spies
On every block, within each clan -
Even children recruited as informers.

Saddam hides out by day and
Moves before dawn, avoiding capture.
A network of safe houses, set up by him long ago
Sit just miles apart outside the city's edge. They
Provide safe haven for a while, small farms or huts
Well below the radar of the clueless Americans.

His latest get-up is the most disarming yet.
A large man, barrel-chested, broad shouldered
Tailors have created quite a fine illusion, made
Easier by the culture's local native garb - flowing
Robes of black and tight-bound headdress make
Saddam, to all appearance, just an unattractive woman.

His hands demurely held beside his half-covered face,
Madam Saddam avoids eye contact with men, acts shy.
Not speaking, he rolls his eyes instead, nods or turns aside.
Strangers pay him deference appropriate to an older woman,
Don't speak to him; he seems dignified, composed.
Completely in the role, he relishes his performance.

His last stop on Baghdad's border brings him face to face
With members of his own army, deserting in droves
Seeking refuge in civilian clothes, discarding uniforms,
Dropping rifles and abandoning their equipment.
Confused and scared, they get lost in all the mayhem
Not knowing that The Tyrant walks among them.

His transport is scheduled for 4 a.m.,
A brand new Ford Explorer will whisk him away
West towards Syria, now his only ally.
Saddam has spent a fortune for a dozen years
Preparing for the possibility that he might travel
Under something less than optimum conditions.

Saddam's vehicle approaches a roadblock
Manned by U.S. troops, rifles locked and loaded.
The sign in Arabic ahead says 'Stop. Prepare to be searched'
The SUV slows down and waits for the sentry's signal.
Waved on, they reach the roadblock barrier,
Saddam looking like his late mother, Sabha.

"Kind of late to be traveling, don't you think?" they're asked,
The young blond soldier curious but friendly.
The driver, Saddam's bodyguard for many years
Smiles at the fighter named Castells on his vest,
Notes his outfit's clean, not dusty and worn.
Clearly a new replacement, not one who's battle tested.

"We go out of town, too dangerous," he stammers
His pidgin English syntax exaggerated with intent,
"Go stay with family in Qasar Hilim. More safe."
A flashlight shines on Saddam's face, right in his eyes,
He turns away and blinks, acts embarrassed.
"And you, Ma'am," Castells says, "What's your name?"

The moment of truth has arrived, no escape if identified,
Alone on a deserted road in dead of night,
Confronted by a new recruit afraid of suicide attacks,
Trying to do his job right and not get killed. Saddam gives
The performance of his life, real tears, sobs, sniffles,
And hears "OK, move on. Drive carefully folks, goodnight."

2006-04-10 18:02:56 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 16: Out of Order
From ironclad order to unruly chaos in three short weeks;
War over, Iraq descends into darkness. Electricity gone
Water in short supply, garbage quickly fills the streets.
Huddled inside their dark and quiet homes
The fearful residents of Baghdad cling to one another
Hoping the murderous mobs will not break in.

The Americans stand idly by while looters reign,
Any object not embedded in concrete is swiftly taken.
Copper pipes, office chairs, tables, desks and lamps,
Heating systems, air compressors, generators,
Cars, cranes, tractors, tires - all are stripped or burned,
Hospitals are trashed and medical supplies stolen.

All this while the U.S. Army, 150,000 soldiers strong
Skirmishes with isolated Iraqi fighters
Hidden in the smoldering ruins of burned buildings.
An occasional hand grenade is thrown, shots fired,
The last whimpers of Saddam's guard. Even leaderless,
Without orders or compensation, they remain loyal.

In other cities across Iraq, it's the same story:
No water, no electricity, ruthless raging mobs.
Iraqi soldiers, civilians now in dress and manner,
Return home to their neighborhoods, out of work.
No prospects for tomorrow, Saddam's dinar worthless
The only currency that matters is the dollar.

Long-repressed ethnic factions recover their pride.
The Shiites demonstrate their strength of numbers,
Marching in the streets in support of their Imam.
Sunni Moslems retreat to their established "triangle;"
Fearing the potential alliance of the Shiites with Iran
Where Shiite fundamentalists are in complete control.

Expatriates return from across the globe,
Wannabe leaders and greedy businessmen eager for booty.
CIA-connected, approved by the U.S. military.
Political opportunists gleefully gather round Iraq,
Vultures pushing and vying for best position,
Iraq carrion for their picking.

The munitions trade show is a great success,
Widespread destruction all the proof required
To show the market value of new weapons.
High-tech wed to high explosive, a winning combination.
Computer records kept of every bomb, every mission,
Are a sales tool second to none.
Arson guts neighborhoods and public buildings,
Cultural centers, industrial plants, even libraries,
Where thousand-year-old holy books go up in flames.
Though the media calls all this a cultural tragedy
It's good for business. Halliburton stands ready to rebuild,
Charging billions to clean up after war.

Multinationals are eager to tap the market;
Iraqi oil means unlimited credit.
Most Third World nations desperately poor,
Neither natural resources nor productive labor left,
Both exhausted by centuries of Western exploitation.
Not so Iraq, with billions left to plunder.

The Iraqi people, deprived by greedy Saddam
While he built gold and marble palace after palace,
Have the makings of a solid consumer base.
Pent-up demand for consumer goods will explode,
So eager American soft-drink companies, fast-food chains
Warehouse stores, and of course banks, prepare.

In April, The Irish Pub, first bar in Basra, opens,
Foreigners allowed inside for pints of ale and stout.
It's popular with the British troops, who
March through Basra's streets as though it's still 1920,
Anxious for the taste of home and comfort
That comes with playing darts and eating mushy peas.

2006-04-10 18:04:59 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 17: George Descends

In the White House, the President sits glumly
Tearing bits of paper into ever smaller squares,
Making small stacks of torn sheets, lining
Them up in tight formation at the table's edge.
Startled by a sudden knock at the door, he
Gathers the shreds and stuffs them in his pocket.

His secretary sticks her head inside,
George raises his eyebrows in question.
"Your lunch will be here in ten minutes."
The door closes, leaving George alone again.
The war declared over, daily battle briefings done,
America's commander-in-chief is bored.

Threatening Syria was fun, he thinks, and smirks.
It's nice to be the most powerful person in the world,
But something's missing, he ponders.
Plopping down in his leather desk chair, George
Tries vainly to recapture the clarity and resoluteness
That had driven him so strongly since the events of 9-11.

For George this last year's been a calling,
As close to epiphany as he has ever been.
He's become his own burning bush, conveyor
Of pure truth, intense and furious,
His adamantine resoluteness a beacon
To his holy crusade.

George has channeled anger into action,
America's military might at his disposal.
The exhibition of such power has been
Enough to keep him going, kept
The demons away until today when
Boredom and depression have returned.

At times like this Sweet Laura would say
"Get a hobby." And of late he'd found it, his crusade.
But in the last few days he's felt restless,
Low on energy and moody. Old yearnings
Old habits return; he chews the inside of his lip
Imagines the cool rush of beer across his tongue.

Of course, his drinking days are long gone.
He remembers waking at 2 a.m. on the floor
His face stuck in vomit of chips and stale beer,
Dry heaves over the toilet, on his knees.
No more of this, he promises to himself and Laura,
Yet, when this emptiness arrives, he's still tempted.
His sponsor called him a classic dry drunk,
Using ridicule of others and angry tirades
To jack up his adrenaline and lift his darkened mood.
George uses sarcasm and nicknames, always
Offered with a smile, an arm across the shoulders,
While his verbal knife is thrust and twisted.

Simple George, still angry at his father, acts out -
Extra-punitive and mean, but now with
The world's mightiest military at his disposal.
Surrounded by imagined enemies, beset by demons
George descends. Lacking the gift of Dionysus,
He gets bored, depressed and dangerous.

His phone rings, George picks it up.
It's Foul Rumsfeld on the line, excited.
"Mr. President, we may have found the WMD!"
The confused silence from Simple George is familiar,
"Oh goodness gracious, sir,
Weapons of Mass Destruction," Rummy explains.

George perks up, "Tell me more," he snaps,
"And cut the bullshit Rummy." George's mood begins to lift.
"And cut the 'goodness gracious' crap," he shouts,
"That 'goody-twoshoes' stuff may work with the media,
But not with me!" "Sorry," Rumsfeld obeys,
"We think it's biological."

Foul Rumsfeld's voice gets quiet,
"It was underneath Saddam's smaller palace in Tikrit,
The one with solid gold reflecting pools. Anyway,
Our inspection team found a passageway, well-used.
In a small lab just off the main corridor were vials
And bio-hazard gear hanging nearby."

His energy level rising, George's head clears
Thoughts of cold beer gone, he listens.
"Most of the vials are sealed, but one
Is half-filled with an opaque white liquid, half pint,
With markings that indicate it's hazardous.
The markings are Korean."

Ah-ha! thinks George, Iraq and North Korea!
Two evil empires plot to rule the world.
MacArthur was right of course, about the Reds.
We should have taken care of that business long ago,
Nuked the bastards once and for all
When we had the chance. George nods.

But Rumsfeld is not done, "One more thing, Mr. President.
And this one's so hot only you and I can know for now.
The vial's markings have been translated,
It seems that this biological agent is some
Man-made form of Corona virus. It may be
We have found the true source of SARS."

Resolute George's heart pounds, his thoughts race,
Never vanquished, Evil shows its ugly face again!
"Call a meeting of the NSA, and make it soon," he says.
"Put our top scientists on analyzing this stuff."
Like he's kicked back a six-pack, George is giddy
With the truth: He alone can save the world.

2006-04-10 18:07:21 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 18: Master Kim

Kim Jong Il, xenophobic ruler of North Korea,
Picks at his kim chee, grim and none too happy.
Round-faced, pallid and paunchy,
Hair unkempt, he wears a light-colored jacket,
Zippered so tightly as to disguise his ample girth;
He breathes in shallow gasps.

At his side sits his staff of close advisors.
They wait for the master's signal,
A mouthful of food spit on his plate,
Sometimes, to the floor or rosewood table -
An indication that he's had his fill, the
Dishes may be cleared, discussion can begin.

The wretched mouthful lands at the table's edge.
Master Kim sits back in his carved chair, his father's,
Looks down at his discarded food with pride,
And waits for staff to remove the masticated lump.
Lifting it with precision onto an antique porcelain plate
Staff covers it with a finely woven cloth of silk.

The formality concluded, the meeting now begins.
The topic is the same as last night, and the night before:
Master Kim is obsessed with nuclear weapons.
And the U.S. invasion of Iraq has convinced him
There is just one way to insure his survival:
North Korea must join the world's nuclear club.

Despite North Korea's poverty and affliction,
Master Kim uses every won available,
Starves his people, who eat roots and suck pebbles,
In favor of sustaining his military machine,
Feeding scientists and engineers above all others,
In a fevered attempt to build a nuclear bomb.

The missiles are developed, and well tested.
Before the first Gulf War, Saddam bought
North Korean Scuds, now obsolete equipment
Compared to their most recent high-tech rockets,
More reliable and capable of greater striking distance.
Not terribly accurate, they're serviceable.

Iraq proves to Master Kim the rightness of his case;
That no small nation not possessing nuclear weapons
Can long resist U.S. military pressure.
Mutual assured destruction keeps the peace
Kim thinks. The only hope for North Korea:
Doomsday leverage against the power of the West.
Kim looks up, and joining fingertips as in prayer,
Asks the small man Kim Dung a simple question:
"When?" The small man sits upright,
Trembling, lips aquiver, he answers,
"I still can't say," and bows his head.
Those assembled at the table remain silent.

No one speaks, or even breathes too loudly.
Master Kim is known for his impulsive ways,
Might speak warmly to his old friend Kim Dung
Or could order his removal or have him killed.
If death is chosen, it may be painful and slow;
The master is creative when he metes out liquidation.

"Okay," The Master of All Men finally speaks,
"Tell me where we are, we are running out of time!"
His balled hand slams upon the table. "Great Master,
Our facilities are old, mothballed for many years,
We must go slow or risk major accident or explosion."
Kim Dung tries to stop the shaking in his voice.

"Have we engaged the fuel handlers?" asks Master Kim,
"You know, subversives, criminals, freethinkers,
Prisoners and those who resist our noble cause?"
"Indeed we have," Kim Dung, replies, looks across
Where Kim Seoung sits, now nodding in concurrence,
The job's been done, labor identified and used.

Kim Seoung jumps in, "They have been used,
And we will use more, but they are weak and slow,
Deprived of food and medicine, they die fast.
There's increased risk of accident. A catastrophe's at hand.
We must improve the work or the project's doomed,
And so are all your plans to keep America at bay."

"What do you need?" asks Master Kim, "We must succeed."
"Food, and not just cats and dogs and wild birds,"
Replies Kim Seoung, "We need beef and chicken. Duck too.
Kim Chee is not enough to keep workers alive for long."
All heads around the table bow in reverence
Awaiting Master Kim's response.

"OK," says Master Kim, "You'll have your beef,
And chicken too. Duck? I'll try. I have some news for you
Dramatic news, the answer to your prayers.
How does Two Billion Dollars sound?
Two Billion Dollars!" All eyes go wide
As every face rivets on the Master.

"We now have two billion U.S. dollars, it's
In our Swiss accounts, transferable in minutes.
I've ordered a large portion of the funds to be wired,
And available by morning. Shipments of food
Can be allocated to the workers of your choice."
Master Kim Jong Il cackles like a hen.

"How is this possible," asks Kim Seoung, incredulous.
"We have millions of counterfeit dollars, but it's useless.
Where did we get two billion dollars? His voice cracks.
"My friends," intones the Master, "Never doubt me."
He beckons to his left, a door opens, tall man walks in,
"Gentlemen, I present Saddam Hussein."

At that the meeting erupts, hand shakes
And short bows ensue, Hussein towering over all.
Stealthy Saddam looks good, relaxed
And tan, in pinstriped double-breasted suit.
He looks like a prosperous banker, which he now is.
His billions available to finance his old friends.

Addressing Master Kim, Saddam pays his respects,
"Your father was a proud leader," says the tyrant,
"Unafraid to chart his own course. And he had fine teeth."
At the mention of Kim Il Sung's teeth, his son cries.
North Korea's teeth had been his father's obsession,
And fine teeth are still the pride of Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Il brings Saddam's hand to his wet cheek
Wipes his tears and looks Saddam directly in the eyes,
"We will make George Bush the world's laughing stock,"
Kim says, "On my father's honor and your own,
This I pledge." Saddam's dark eyes well up,
His own tears flow.

2006-04-10 18:09:15 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 19: Uncurious George

Late April in D.C. the cherry trees are thick with bud,
The first warm day of spring bursts with pink,
Clouds of blossoms hugging paths and busy streets,
Soft pink snow covering the ground, blowing
In the light breeze across the slow Potomac
A festival of color, heralding the season's change.

On the White House lawn, Simple George joins Spot,
Using a light-headed driver to hit orange tennis balls.
Spot bounds across the grounds in hot pursuit,
Eager to please and to retrieve the fuzzy prey.
He brings it back to George, holds it just out of reach
George lunges, then tugs the ball from Spot's tight jaws.

With easy strokes, George sends tennis balls flying.
Though dressed in his gray woolen suit, he's relaxed,
Barely working up a sweat, grinning at the game.
Spot, ears flapping, canine excitement flowing,
Responds to his master as though he's Alpha Dog,
Which, to Spot, he is.

A Newsweek reporter and photographer watch,
Delighted at the exclusive photo op.
Time Magazine pissed George off, criticized him,
So he grants Newsweek this presidential moment.
No cover shot, but the double-truck center spread
Shows Simple George's "Joe six-pack" side.

Shot muffed, a ball veers sharply to the left.
"Don't report that one," George sticks out his tongue.
They laugh as Spot dashes off to fetch. George
Raises his club, leans it against his shoulder
Walks back to the Oval Office, reporters in tow.
"You've got thirty minutes, talk fast," he taunts them.

Presidential access is a rare occurrence
And this month Newsweek is favored.
The Bush Administration is carefully managed
By Karl Rove, spokespersons scripted,
No slips of tongue, always on message.
No quarter is given to the enemies of the state.

Reason of State's not abstract to the Bushies.
Governance is all, its goals precise,
Public order and stability top the short list.
In the past some called it "Law and Order",
It simply is policing: discipline, surveillance,
Coercion, punishment, and control.
The media is but a tool in this panoptic plan,
Presidential sound bites tested and approved.
Simple George a mouthpiece, poor one at that,
He mangles English when he speaks, so he's
Learned to stick close to the script, use simple slogans,
Speak in short phrases and not think.

He sits with the reporters, but ignores their questions,
"We've done our job in Iraq, now it's up to the Iraqis,
It's time to stimulate more jobs! We need a tax cut."
They ask about Afghanistan: "Americans love Freedom."
To a question on Bin Laden he says, "Terrorists hate Freedom."
The economy is raised, and he replies, "Tax cuts make jobs."

The 30-minute interview flies by. He says
"Evil" seven times, "God" nine, "faith" six.
"Weapons of Mass Destruction" gets mentioned twice,
Its focus group rating has slipped, but "jobs" he uses 27 times,
And "tax cuts" 17. He makes no response to questions about
Cluster bombs, depleted uranium, or civilian deaths.

Reporters leave the Oval Office.
Simple George picks up the phone.
"Well, how'd I do?" he asks, "I think I did ok."
"We all agree," say Cheney, Rove and Ashcroft,
"You handled that quite well. Let's review the tape
Tomorrow, after breakfast."

"OK," says Simple George, "Thanks," and hangs up.
He drums his fingers not sure what's next,
Considers lunch, and strangely thinks of SARS.
He can't remember its full name,
If the first word is "Sudden" or "Severe."
He makes a note to ask someone, then yawns.

2006-04-10 18:11:37 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 20: Asana

At 6:15 a.m. Dick Cheney awakens,
Alarm clock set to sweet synthetic birdsong
To gently rouse him from his slumber.
His wife Lynn, snoring softly, does not stir;
Cheney swings his legs around and off the bed,
Rubs his eyes and prepares for yoga.

Medication keeps his wild heart in sync,
And though the medication is no cure,
It's given him the energy to exercise each day.
Yoga now begins his daily routine,
Its benefits increased strength, flexibility, and
Most important, relaxation.

Hard-heart has had lessons for three months;
This May 5th he's up, washed and ready by seven,
His teacher, Ilene Goldberg, arrives well before.
"Good morning, sir," Ilene says, as Cheney enters.
"Good morning to you," he says half-smiling,
Sits on his sticky mat, ready to begin.

"We'll start standing," Ilene says, "Tadasana."
At this, Dick Cheney stands up tall and straight.
"Firm legs, shoulders relaxed," she says,
He rocks back and forth, centering himself.
"On an inhale let your arms float up."
His eyes close as he breathes.

Dick Cheney's sensed a change of late,
Could be the yoga or the meds, but
Things feel different, less desperate, less tense.
He pays attention to his breath at meetings,
Feels cool air in and warm air out,
Listens more, speaks less.

Food tastes different too, and
Ordinary acts, like brushing teeth, seem now
To be more purposeful. He's scared and rather thrilled
By this new mindfulness. His energy is higher
And his stiff-necked wife, Lynne,
Looks more attractive.

"Please bend from the pelvis." says Ilene.
"Uttanasana," says Cheney, feeling pleased.
He's dropped twenty-six pounds -
Looks better than he has in years, told he's
Looking good by all his peers, spends time
Posing in the nude before his full-length mirror.
"Savasana," she says after an hour.
This last posture provides deep relaxation,
Breath and heart slow down, muscles recover.
The Hard-hearted one relaxes,
Finds a peaceful place inside. He's no longer
Man in charge, just Dick on the floor.

On his back, feet spread, hands by his side,
He feels himself unwind, leave the world behind,
Eyes closed, jaw soft, legs heavy.
Ilene begins to sing a birdlike tune
Warm round tones caress him, he dives deeper
To new places unexplored.

Suddenly he's crying warm tears,
Deep inside him is sadness he's avoided.
Giving in he lets emotion run its course,
While Ilene silently moves closer, lays
A folded towel across his eyes. Dick's heart
Receives a rush of rich red blood.

The dark space in Dick receives light,
It spreads across his chest, a warm glow.
In lessons Ilene spoke about opening the heart,
And Cheney, a rational man, misunderstood.
Now feeling the true meaning, Dick Cheney's
Heart begins to soften.

Of late, at meetings with the boys,
Cheney's felt a man apart, removed.
He now finds it difficult viewing photos of the dead,
Lump in his throat at such scenes. Turned off
By talk of kills and scenes of war's destruction,
He talks about medicine, food and clean water.

The others take notice but make no mention.
They know that he's coping with his medical condition,
Assume he's adjusting to a new prescription.
But Dick is now aware of the matters of the heart,
Healing his own brings with it other issues,
Compassion for himself is overflowing.

"Now bring yourself back to awareness," It's Ilene.
"Roll on your side, sit up, breathe for a while."
Sitting in half lotus, Dick breathes,
From the belly to the chest, then in reverse.
He feels wonderful: safe, relaxed, and
Glad to be alive.

2006-04-10 18:13:28 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 21: Doing the Patriot Act

A restive public preoccupies John Ashcroft.
He's read Foucault's book Dicipline and Punish,
On Tyranny by Leo Strauss, skimmed Machiavelli.
He's rehearsing a revival of his famous Patriot Act;
Makes plans to take it on the road,
And damn the critics, all.

The new Act needs no music, no
Costumes are required, no tickets sold,
Everyone's admitted, this is a public act
Meant for widespread entertainment.
There are villains, heroes, defenseless women,
The dramatic arc that makes for a good production.

His Patriot Act is based on building fear, the
Most effective way to control a population.
By keeping people scared, suspicious, fearful,
Society can be rebuilt as police state apparatus.
Buttressed by technology monitoring all actions
The public sphere constricts.

Act One followed the collapse of the Twin Towers.
Written in haste, it was nonetheless approved,
The Congress feeling pressure from the public.
Stopping madmen is not possible, unless
As Sly Ashcroft plans, society is wired,
Each person micro-chipped, investigated and filed.

Books borrowed from the library: reported to the feds,
Das Kapital, books by Marx are red-flagged routinely,
Contemporary tomes are added to the list,
Books like Michael Moore's Stupid White Men,
Caldicott's New Nuclear Danger, and anything by Chomsky.
Better than burning books; it's the people who get burned.

Bookstore customer records are subpoenaed,
And when the data is requested, the law
Forbids the shopkeeper from disclosing the request.
Customer transactions must be available as demanded,
No limits, no excuses, no appeals. What people read
Is now part of policing, just routine.

When it comes to real headliners, the Act's
Major star strips Bill of Rights protection.
By declaration of the Feds, (Ashcroft signs the form!)
Americans can be classified as "Enemy Combatants":
Arrested, held, names not released, no charges filed,
Residents of a legal netherworld in Guantanamo.
Enemy Combatant is not defined in law,
Which really means Sly Ashcroft can improvise the act.
The purchase of a suspect book, a charitable donation,
Defined as helping terrorists to attack our nation.
No troublesome attorneys interfere, argue points;
Hearing held at midnight, a secret sentence follows.

Act One was good, The Sly One thinks; Act Two better,
After all The Bill of Rights is not the entire Constitution.
There's nothing in the Constitution about privacy at all.
As for human rights, they're secondary to defense.
The need now is for policing by the state, protection!
Democracy, after all, is just the freedom to shop.

The phone on Ashcroft's desk blinks, incoming call,
George is on the private line. He moves
Across the room, "John Ashcroft here," he says,
Knowing George may have misdialed,
"I know it's you, God damn it. You think I'm stupid!"
Sly Ashcoft pulls the phone away, ears ringing.

George is in a black mood, John takes a breath.
"Yes sir, Mr. President, I'm sorry, please excuse me."
But George's tirade goes on, anger unspent,
"When that red phone rings it's me. You get it?
I know who I'm calling when I'm calling, asshole!
Would you rather I send someone down?"

John bides his time, he knows George.
"Yes sir," he says again, cool, calm, patient.
"Ok," say's George, I forgive you this time, don't forget it.
Now why I called, let's see, I know there was a reason,
Ummm, yeah, let's see I was thinking in my head...
I can't remember. Shit! It's all your fault!" Phone slammed.

John sighs, crosses back to his couch,
Shakes his head, mumbles something, then
Remembers that the White House is also in his Act,
All rooms bugged, machines recording all.
Loyalty's made easier when
Backed up with a threat.

I'm going to read Orwell again, 1984, he thinks.
I love that part about using the book to recruit subversives,
Those reading it are targeted for capture, not killed
Held in Ministries of Truth, for re-education.
What a great idea, the government seducing traitors,
And Random House pays royalties, to boot!

He makes note to get that type of project started.
First, hire a shill to write the book, sell to a publisher..
Get money put behind PR, book tour, Oprah!
Bestseller window displays flash across his mind.
Write it, sell it, track it, list buyers in a database. If
Hitler'd had computers, he'd never have burned the books.

2006-04-10 18:15:14 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 22: Immaculate Reception
From ground to satellite then back to ground
A phone call's intercepted by the CIA.
The voice on the line sounds familiar,
Soft spoken, slow-paced and precise.
The voice is matched to voice print files
The results confirmed in seconds: Bin Laden!

The conversation sounds one-sided,
Voice at the other end tough to hear.
Bin Laden speaks, then static,
Then more words from Osama.
His conversation sounds upbeat.
It's recorded for translation.

Osama's still well hidden
Moving from cave to cave in Pakistan.
But his connection is so clear it's hard to fathom
That he might be so isolated, so cut off. It's as though
He were next door or 'round the corner, though
No one thinks he's moved to Langley, Virginia.

Not that Observant Osama has bad connections,
His family ties to the U.S. are long-standing.
Construction business billionaires, with
With ties to major U.S. corporations like
Bechtel or Cheney's Halliburton
The Bin Ladens build the Arab nations.

Shocked by the events of 9-11, the Saudis
Evacuated the Bin Ladens from America
With help from the State Department.
While the Twin Towers were still burning
The Bin Laden family left, no questions
No detention, no delay, just gone.

Before Bin Laden's said fifty words
Translators are transcribing.
Though they missed the call's beginning,
They can eavesdrop in the middle.
Once translated Osama's comments
will move up to those in charge.

"He's acted like we knew he would," says Osama,
"So predictable, it's almost funny. I told you
After Kabul Baghdad would be next!
Allah works in many ways; now he uses Bush,
We've achieved one of our major goals:
Saddam will be replaced with Sharia!"
"Al haim d'Allah, God is Great! On to Saudi Arabia.
After 80 years of torment, the Islamic world
Will be rid of westernized vermin."
Silence, then Osama's voice comes in
Loud and clear. "Yes, the plan's in place,
Be patient, we'll notify you."

"New York, Chicago, yes...Miami," says Osama,
"Look to the moon, mark the stars my friend
No need of clocks or calendars,
The heavens give direction."
"In s'Allah, my good friend, In s'Allah."
The call's over.

Attempts to triangulate the call all fail,
The phone network used is too complex.
Photographic drone patrols deployed, no
Movement, men, equipment's seen. Despite billions
Spent on intelligence gathering, Osama
Is the planet's most invisible man.

On April 29th the NSA raises the level of alert.
The spectrum moves from Yellow to Orange.
Washington suspects Al Queda uses the moon
Precise, predictable, a perfect timepiece. The
More complex the system, the more it's prone to failure
Al Queda's strength comes from reliance on the simple.

For each dollar the Islamic terror network spends
The U.S spends a million, give or take.
Osama knows this well, and in his calls
Names cities, references time, intent
On making the U.S. spend fortunes
While his Swiss accounts earn interest.

In hiding, with much time to meditate,
Osama's invents an elegant plan:
Make threats to increase American spending,
Spread rumors of terrorist WMDs. In short
Use fear as Ashcroft does, stimulate over-reaction,
While Al Qaeda spends next to nothing.

America, of course, falls for it.
Ashcroft, simple-minded zealot,
Unwittingly triggers the economic trap.
Billions are spent on anti-terrorist programs,
Homeland Security feeds on fear,
The U.S. budget deficit skyrockets.

Public stress increases,
Testosterone levels rise.
Without firing one shot,
Or exploding one Islamic bomb,
Osama wages war within
The bodies, hearts and minds of men.

2006-04-10 18:17:45 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 23: The Little Prince

"I'm ready now, you coming?" George calls from the bed.
Sweet Laura, turning off lights, picks up a book.
"Yes Punkin, I'll be right there. Are you
Really ready?" she asks, "Teeth brushed, face washed?"
"Yep," says Simple George, tucked in,
"I'm ready for a story."

This is a bedtime tradition: Sweet Laura
Loves to read, Simple George hates to, but loves
Laura reading to him. Mother Barbara read him stories
And George, young at heart and simple, has
Found a wife that meets his childish needs,
Lulls him to sleep feeling cozy and warm.

At first Sweet Laura was surprised,
Bedtime stories normally being read to children
Not adults, but it calmed him so, Simple George
Relaxed and safe, all stress and tension leaving,
As Sweet Laura leafs through
Each new page.

Twenty years ago this became the night's routine:
After he has washed and put on his jammies,
George tucks himself into bed, Laura comes in later.
He prepares a spot for her to sit and she
Reads to Simple George, as she should would a child.
He listens till he falls to sleep.

In other ways their marriage is normal,
From time to time he wakes her at night,
Climbs atop her gently, a loving husband
As attentive to her needs as his own.
For her part, she likes affection, and afterwards
They fall asleep again, her head upon his shoulder.

In marriage simple habits bring comfort and relief,
A welcome routine in a tumultuous world.
The bedtime story is just a part of daily life,
Comfortable to both, a safe addiction,
That while persistent,
Hurts no one.

Tonight's reading begins where last night's left off,
The Prince by Machiavelli holds their attention.
A tale of intrigue, tactics, statecraft,
Betrayal, its signs, methods to avoid it,
Loyalty, its value, the many ways it's gained,
The use of power, and how to lose it.
"Chapter 3," she reads, "Governance in occupied lands."
Laura edits what she reads, modifies the language.
The book, penned in 1514 sounds stilted,
Like Shakespeare, obsequious, long-winded.
But the story resonates with George, especially
When it involves the failed diplomacy of France.

"'There is no more delicate matter to take in hand,
More dangerous to conduct, more doubtful in its success,
Than to be a leader who introduces changes.
He who innovates will have as enemies all those who are well off
Under the existing order, and only lukewarm supporters
In those who might be better off under the new,'" she paraphrases.

"Like now, in Iraq," says George, "I'm making changes in
"That's right, Punkin, you are, and some people don't like it.
As this book says that's why your army must be strong,
And that you must make sure your friends and allies get
Rewarded, so they will remain loyal and stick with you."
At this George nods and says, "OK, go on."

Laura continues, "This chapter is about bad guys
Like Saddam. You getting sleepy?" "No please go on."
"'Of those who by their crimes come to be Princes,
Who slaughter fellow-citizens, betray friends, are devoid of honor,
Piety and religion cannot be counted as merits, for these are means
Which may lead to power, but which confer no glory.'"

"That sounds like it comes right from the Bible!" says George
"Why yes it does, it does indeed," says Sweet Laura,
Places her hand on his forehead, brushes back his hair.
"Saddam's fate was written not by you, but by God,
For as this book says, "'the ascent to power is sometimes made
By paths of wickedness and crime.'" She kisses his forehead.

George's eyes are heavy now, his lids droop.
Laura knows it won't be long before he's snoring,
But she goes on, "The duty of a prince in Military Affairs,
'A prince therefore, should have no care or thought
But for war; for war is the sole art required in one who rules.'"
George has not heard this last thought, he's fast asleep.

Laura skims the rest of the Prince, highlighting sections.
"Is it better to be loved rather than feared,
or feared rather than loved? If
We must choose between them, it is far safer
To be feared than loved." Her marker moves across the page,
Coinciding with the snores of Simple George.

"A prince should therefore be very careful that nothing ever
Untoward escapes his lips; that to see and hear him
One would think him the embodiment of mercy, good faith
Integrity, humanity and religion." She stops and caps the marker,
Rises from the bed, walks to the phone, hits "3"...
"Karl, he's asleep. Thanks for book, it's perfect. Good night."

2006-04-10 18:20:37 UTC
The Bushiad
Chapter 24: Mission Accomplished

Iraq overrun, its armies scatter.
Organized warfare, tank columns,
Air Force strikes, grind to a halt.
In just weeks it seems the war is won,
Saddam vanquished, regime crushed.
America's military might prevails.

"Good job, boys!" Resolute George exalts,
"That was outstanding!" Huddled
In the war room with his coterie of
Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rove
His cherished chums. "I'd drink
A toast to victory, but as you know I can't."

"I'd say the mission is accomplished,"
Hard-Hearted Cheney offers, "Now
To get that Iraqi oil to the market."
"Hear, hear," adds Rummy, "Onward to
Halliburton!" and the gang all laughs,
Except for Karl Rove.

Deep in thought, Karl thinks media,
And already plans a photo-op event.
"Karl...you seem subdued," asks George,
"I don't like it when you get
That expression on your face." Karl
Smiles, "I have plans for you my boy!"

Weeks later on May 1st the carrier
Abe Lincoln idles near San Diego.
Kept offshore for hours to improve
The camera view, the deck canted
To port for the same reason,
The crew awaits a special landing.

Two miles distant, a Navy S-3B Viking
Lumbers along the Pacific coast
Carrying three pilots, two on active duty
And the other now retired: Simple George.
Certified briefly as a pilot in the Texas
National Guard, he's not flown since '69.

"Can I land it?" George asks the pilot,
Cmdr. John Custer of Orlando, Florida.
"Sorry, Sir, not in the plan,
But you can take the stick now
If you'd like." George grabs the joystick
His hands sweat and tremble.

Like a student driver, George
Never really has full control. John
Can override everything George does
But the illusion George is flying
Is quite real. "Try a turn, sir?"
John wants to please the boss.

"Any ammo in this baby?" George
Sounds excited as they bank left.
"Maybe I can strafe some driftwood,
Abandoned boat or something!"
"No live ammo sir...level off a bit more please,"
Says John.

The Secret Service agent sitting
In the back hears the interchange
And shakes his head. He thinks George
Is a dunce, but his job is to protect him
From bodily harm, not stupidity.
"What a putz," he thinks.

The straps wrapped round George's
Crotch are tight. Nervous and excited
He needs to take a piss, and soon.
"How much longer till we land?"
George asks, afraid he might not
Hold it long enough.

"Just ten minutes more, Mr. President,
They want us to make a pass or two."
"I really need to go sooner than that,"
Says George, "Can we make it in five?"
"Sorry sir, ten's the best that I can offer.
Mr. Rove has planned the landing."

His hands placed in his lap, George
Wishes he'd forgone that last
Cup of coffee on Air Force One.
"What's this button here?" George stabs
A blue button and the aircraft lurches.
"What's going on?" the backup pilot yells.
Crap, thinks John, this is not cool,
How to reprimand the Commander in Chief?
"Don't touch that sir, I'm sorry,
Stabilizer override for heavy weather."
He counteracts the cockpit command
And level flight resumes.

But it's too late for George,
He's wet his pants, feels the
Warmness spread around his crotch
And some relief as well. "Two minutes to landing,"
John announces. George thanks God and Karl Rove
For making him wear a Depends diaper.

Later, on deck, clothes changed,
Simple George exclaims, "Combat operations
Have ended; the United States and our allies
Have prevailed." No longer outcasts, Iraq's removed
From his rogue's gallery of evil,
At the cost of only 171 American lives.

He thanks the valiant troops,
"'Preciate it," he slaps their backs,
"Great job." Above, flapping in the breeze,
Positioned precisely by Karl for the camera,
A banner, red, white and blue declares
"Mission Accomplished."

2006-04-10 23:18:59 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 1: Ichor of the Gods

Deep within the dark bowels of the earth
Under relentless weight of solid rock,
The Ichor of the gods flows black and viscous
In vast underground pools. Blood of ages past,
Its movements are measured in geologic time,
Not decades, years, months or days.

The Ichor of the gods holds power,
Concentrated wealth of evolutionary eons,
Stored planetary capital, captured
Energy of the sun. Rich potential
But hidden for good reason, it sits
Unbidden until tapped by man.

Man probes all things deeply,
Including the warm rich earth. Driving
Tools far below ground and rock, man
Discovers the Black Ichor of the gods
Draws its promise and peril
Back upon the surface.

The Ichor of the gods
Becomes the world's premier fuel.
The ancient lakes far underground
Are drained, their contents shipped
Around the globe, pumped, burned,
Used to boil water and turn wheels.

Economies are turned as well,
No coincidence Iraq's become
A fuel-rich fertile crescent. The West,
Hooked on wealth, power, consumer goods
Craves Ichor to satisfy its
Overpowering energy addiction.

Black Ichor's the world's currency,
Fortunes built and empires founded
On its rich power. And with it comes
The Ichor Cult, bent on its own survival,
Forcing all to live like vampires
On the oily blood of ancestors.

2006-04-10 23:21:02 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 2: The Price of Peace

The Bushiad
Chapter 1- The Rage of George
Chapter 2- Rattling of Sabres
Chapter 3- Entreaties Rejected
Chapter 4- Osama Speaks
Chapter 5- The Underworld
Chapter 6- Fatherly Advice
Chapter 7- The Gods of War
Chapter 8- Juggernaut
Chapter 9- The Prisoners
Chapter 10- Interrogation
Chapter 11- George Dreams
Chapter 12- In the Clouds
Chapter 13- Déjeuner
Chapter 14- Secret Agent
Chapter 15- The Tyrant Flees
Chapter 16- Out of Order
Chapter 17- George Descends
Chapter 18- Master Kim
Chapter 19- Uncurious George
Chapter 20- Asana
Chapter 21- Doing the Patriot Act
Chapter 22- Immaculate Reception
Chapter 23- The Little Prince
Chapter 24- Mission Accomplished
The Idyossey
Chapter 1- Ichor of the Gods
Chapter 2- The Price of Peace
Chapter 3- Empyre
Chapter 4- Woeful Warrior
Chapter 5- Mitzvah
Chapter 6- News Analysis
Chapter 7- Strategic Planner
Chapter 8- Aristea
Chapter 9- Last Supper
Chapter 10- Skullduggery
Chapter 11: Family Reunion
Chapter 12- Black Goddess
Chapter 13- Saboteur
Chapter 14- Glossolalia
Chapter 15- Visitation
Chapter 16- Dead or Alive
Chapter 17- Across the Border
Chapter 18- The Unraveling
Chapter 19- Summer in the City
Chapter 20- Wolf and Jackal
Chapter 21- George Gloats
Chapter 22- Surreality
Chapter 23- Kidnapped
Chapter 24- Denouement

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The Bushiad
and The Idyossey?

It's 4 a.m., May 10th, the ancient city Al Basra.
Arana Hafiz is awakened by the cries of her child.
Katara Hafiz, now eight months old,
Only daughter of Arana, should be asleep;
Instead she is awake, and obviously not well.
Her mother turns to comfort her.

Arana's husband has vanished.
Captured by the British in the
Short bitter fight for Basra,
He was led away with others,
Hands bound with plastic handcuffs,
Blindfolded, driven into the dust.

Arana, alone to fend for herself and Katara
Depends on her in-laws for food; her
Own family is far away in the north.
Communication during war is hard; besides
Her relatives are poor, with
Many people to support.

Her hand on Katara's forehead,
Arana is alarmed at the heat of her child.
The fever has increased, and she worries;
Katara's skin is dry and hot, she's dehydrated,
Will not feed, rejecting food when last she tried.
Katara in her arms, Arana sings a melody.

It's a home-town lullaby about a spring lamb:
How the mother licks her newborn young,
Nuzzles her nose and cheeks,
Inhales deeply of her smell,
And how when the sweet baby nurses
She and the mother lamb find love.

Just as the song ends, a kiss planted,
Katara wails, watery stools soil the bedding.
Alarmed, Arana leans to the water bowl, dips rags,
And wipes her child clean. A dampened cloth
Becomes a cold compress. Arana
Decides to rush her daughter to the doctor.

As she leaves she prays to Allah for protection.
The hospital is fifteen dangerous blocks away,
Streets littered with garbage and debris, and
A woman alone is an easy target. Banditry
And violence have spread faster than disease.
Afraid, she grabs a knife.
Cautiously, Arana scurries door to door,
A lone car rumbles past, exhaust fills the street;
Its occupants peer from open windows, silent,
Not seeing Arana hugging her small bundle,
Crouched and hidden behind
The charred wreck of a Mercedes.

She trudges on, Katara quiet.
A stray cat leaps across her path; startled,
She pulls the knife from beneath her garments,
But relaxes as the feline grabs a mouse
And runs on. With only five blocks left,
Arana begins to feel safer.

Suddenly a figure jumps out and blocks her path,
"Stop woman!" a man's voice insists.
Her grip tightens on the kitchen knife.
The bundle that is Katara attracts his attention,
"What do you have there?" he demands,
He reaches forward to grab it from her arms.

Arana pulls out the sharp knife
And swipes down hard. The steel blade
Slices quickly into the extended hand,
Blood spurts from the wound, "Aii!" he screams.
Reeling back in pain, her assailant
Turns and runs.

Arana also turns and cuts across the street,
She drops the knife, frightened by her own ferocity
Afraid that she will be pursued. The
Last remaining blocks pass quickly,
Approaching the hospital, she sees lights
Fed by generators provided by the British.

The steps are crowded, people shove and yell.
Her daughter is still breathing, but her
Tiny face is pale, her lips are dry.
Arana races to the entrance desperate
And exhausted. A British soldier stops her,
"There's a line ahead of you," he says in English.

Arana does not understand. She pushes forward.
The soldier grabs her arm, and opening her blanket
She shows him her sick child. Tears
Stream down her face in frustration;
After all her effort and travail, she has arrived
Only to be stopped.

Seeing the small sick child the soldier relents,
Lets her pass through the doors. The
Space inside is filled, coughs, cries,
Moans and yells of confusion fill the room,
Bodies piled on seats, spilling across the floor. And
At the far end, one man in white surrounded.

Cholera has overtaken Basra,
Vibrio cholerae bacteria runs rampant;
Spread by contaminated water in a city
Desperate with thirst, the disease has become epidemic.
Stripped by looters following the allied advance,
Basra's purification plants stand idle.

Arana backs to the wall and slumps, sobbing.
The stress of her effort finally catches up.
She hugs her daughter and softly cries in despair.
To her left a man with his hand crushed
Faints hard to the floor, no one helps.
Arana buries her face in Katara's blanket.

At 10 a.m., bright sunshine streaming in,
A hand shakes Arana, she awakens, confused.
Lifted to her feet by two men in green, she's
Led to an open door, the crowd parting.
Dazed, she comes to rest in a chair.
Her dead child is removed from her arms.

In Washington, the press corps attends a briefing
On Iraq. Rumsfeld announces the situation's improved.
Reports of violence and anarchy are overstated,
Order and basic services are being systematically restored,
"These problems are just," he pauses for a sip of water,
"Temporary and unfortunate results of war."

2006-04-10 23:22:55 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 3: Empyre

The gods of war want more
And make their needs well known,
Elected officials courted and seduced.
If the lure of filthy lucre fails, threats follow.
Ambition's not in short supply, elections loom,
Few politicians will accept the loss of station.

Halliburton and Bechtel secure no-bid contracts,
Despite knowledge in D.C. that both
Overcharge for food, supplies and labor.
Iraqis yearn for clean water while
U.S. troops drink ice-cold Cokes
In air-conditioned comfort.

The President pimps for the corporate gods,
Proposes to eliminate the income tax
On dividends, chants "Tax reform" and
"It's the people's money" like Biblical verses.
It's people like Enron's "Kenny Boy" Lay
Prince George has in mind.

For those aligned well with the gods,
Or who through luck, good fortune,
Race or class enjoy advantage,
Times are good. Inheritance of wealth
Provides protection. If things get tough,
Or times are tight, they will be fine.

For others, born of color or lower class, the
Economic downturn's catastrophic. Increased
Tribute to the gods leaves less for others,
And government, resources insufficient, imposes
Taxes on those who can afford it least. For the rich,
Profits are privatized, the poor absorb the losses.

The corporate gods enforce their will,
Simple George does what he's told:
Comply or lose their support. Denied
Such favor, they will offer it to another.
George is simple, not stupid, he knows how
Political fortune changes to misfortune.

Having cowed the world with Shock and Awe
The gods are hard to refuse. Faced with
Technology that sees through walls, the
Computing power to monitor all conversations,
Unlimited resources of global capital,
Few of position speak out against them.
The U.S. economy stalls, jobs go overseas.
Laid off, pensions gone, people work more for less.
John Rodgers, 63, puts in 16-hour days. Two jobs
Earn him less than he used to make at one.
No vacations, no insurance, no overtime;
There's more than just low prices at WalMart.

Elroy Burton, 25 is unemployed. Has
Never worked, unless one counts street hustling.
Strung out on speed, living off tricks
He spreads AIDS to new clients every day.
The outreach program in Newark's under-funded,
For the cost of one Hellfire, 100 people could be treated.

Maria Reyes, 55, suffers from glaucoma.
Illegal, she crossed from Mexico at 28.
She scrubs floors, cleans toilets, washes walls
In the newly rebuilt Biltmore in Seattle.
Never missed a day of work. She's going blind,
At $6.25 an hour.

The hungry ghosts take no notice,
Eyes on the prize, the corporations
Pursue their profits, while millions
Starve for want of life's mere basics:
Shelter, clothing, clean air,
Pure water, enough to eat.

Empires, unlike gods, are not immortal,
History documents the signs of their decline.
The pattern is persistent, like the cycle of life itself;
First youth filled with vigor and energy,
Followed by productive middle years, and
An end that's dissolution and decay.

Sign one: Accelerating social and economic inequality -
As earning power drops and regressive taxes rise,
The middle class progressively disappears,
Becomes poor, while the lower class
Robbed of any opportunity at all
Hits rock bottom.

Sign two: Declining investment
To solve socioeconomic problems -
Hard work and self-reliance the capitalist mantra,
Work-to-welfare programs create minimum wage slaves,
Lack of health insurance wrecks families,
Social security is privatized for the wealthy.

Sign three: Dropping literacy, critical thinking and intellect -
School becomes a training ground to instill compliance,
Reading levels drop, tests replace understanding,
Computer games and violent entertainment surge,
Forebrain higher thinking centers atrophy,
While primitive hind-brain reflexes improve.

Sign four: Spiritual emptiness - morality and ethics
Are replaced with lesser values. Greed
For goods increases, addiction skyrockets.
The good life is a trip to to the mall,
To turn another cheek seems quaint,
Community is replaced by the TV.

Finally, exhausted, worn down
By ceaseless struggle against all odds, ordinary
People give up. And of gods, the hungry ghosts
Who aid and abet this tragic condition?
They clutch their fortunes ever tighter
In desperate hope to outlast Empyre.

2006-04-10 23:26:58 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 4: Woeful Warrior

"Good evening Mr. Secretary." Bernice
Feingold gestures to a seat across the room,
Resumes making notes on a small pad of paper,
Looks up, smiling, "How are you?" she asks gently.
On the dark green couch, hands folded in his lap
Secretary of State Colin Powell shakes his head.

Bernice looks interested and concerned,
"Not too well I see, tell me what's going on."
Since December, Proud Powell has been her client,
Coming once a week, sometimes more,
Based upon how well he's holding up.
He's not making rapid progress.

"The bastards won't stop," says Colin.
"Go on," says Bernice, voice steady.
"It's just more of the same, everyday,
No matter what I do, they never stop!"
He leans into the couch, head back, eyes closed,
Bernice observes his thick carotid pulsing.

"Did you try what we discussed?" she asks.
Proud Powell is staring at the ceiling.
"I tried, but they just laughed." He sighs.
Bernice sees that his chin trembles,
He's withholding tears, she notes, decides to press.
"And that makes you feel what?" she asks.

He stares past her avoiding her eyes.
She adds, "I'm sure that makes you sad."
His eyes begin to fill with tears,
He swallows, his chin wrinkles tightly.
He looks into her eyes; she sees
A tear roll down his cheek.

"It makes me sad. It also makes me mad!"
The session's finally started. "I
Worked hard to get to where I am, a
Black general in a white man's world, imagine!
Now Secretary of State, I feel lost, as though
My soul left with my uniform."

Bernice thinks of "Soul Man" by Sam and Dave,
Recalls the tune. Focus, she says to herself.
"We've covered some of this before, when
These kind of feelings have emerged. You
Told me the struggle makes you stronger.
Has that changed?"
"No," Powell responds, "but perhaps I have."
"In what way? Tell me more," she asks.
"Well, after years of effort, years of work,
Dutiful and loyal, devoted and true,
I shouldn't have to work that hard,
I deserve more respect, if not admiration."

Bernice knows that Proud Powell's in trouble,
That the Bush gang are macho toughs.
Colin, son of Maud and Luther, succeeded
In the Army, rose in the ranks by
Pleasing white men. Now on equal footing,
He can't hold his own against them.

How to help this man regain his stature
Without sacrificing his basic goodness?
Bernice asks herself. Fairness
And justice matter to him, more so
Than to the others in the gang. He's right,
It's all about respect, she decides.

"Can you give me an example, something recent?"
Bernice probes for something she can work with.
"Sure. We were meeting at the White House,
Rumsfeld, Rove, Cheney and I. We
Ordered lunch, I was having a Cobb salad,
I try to watch my carbs.

"The conversation was casual, we're eating,
And we each ate something different, me my salad,
Rumsfeld, he was eating a sandwich, liverwurst.
Cheney? I can't remember, he eats weird stuff.
Anyway, the President walks in, nothing unusual,
Sits on the couch, and looks around.

"'What's up guys?' It's his happy voice,
You never know what you'll get when he walks in.
And then Rove, I still can't believe this, says,
'We're eating lunch, sir, me, roast beef,
Don's having liverwurst on rye, and Colin
It's Cobb salad. They ran out of watermelon!'"

"And what did the President do?" Bernice inquires.
"He laughed, of course...they all laughed.
And so did I." Proud Powell stands up
Walks to the window, and back turned
Continues talking. "I've laughed along
At racist jokes like that my whole career.

"When I was a recruit, they called me Zulu Congo.
I laughed along. As General Powell, the
Joking stopped, perhaps it was the stars.
Now it's back, and I just grin and shuffle.
I've been placating whites so long
My Uncle Tom is automatic.

"And then I get depressed," he says.
"I've succeeded in the face of bigotry,
Overt discrimination, racist white men.
Despite it all I rose up to the top.
After the war in '91, I could have run
For President, myself."

Bernice considers a suggestion; his honor
His sense of duty's so ingrained, it's killing him.
He needs to be respected but he
Also needs to please. "What do
You think would happen if you got mad,
Said 'I don't appreciate your stupid joke'?"

"How about 'Fuck you, asshole?'" blurts Colin,
Smiling for the first time this session.
She says, "Why not, what could happen?
Seriously, Colin, you can't go on like this,
Bottling things up, collapsing in depression.
They can't take your success from you."

"There's more," says Colin, back on the couch.
"This one's hard for me...I'm embarrassed."
"You know you can trust me," Bernice leans forward.
"I know," he says, "but this is difficult." He sighs.
"My sex life sucks." He looks sad.
"I can't get it up. Nothing helps."

A man emasculated, ridiculed, demeaned,
Often somaticizes his psychological condition;
The mental becomes the physical. Bernice
Is not surprised. Viagra cures
The symptoms not the cause. She's
Unwilling to stoop to easy solutions.

"The link is clear, I think you know that too,"
She looks straight into his eyes. They stare
At each other in silence. Finally, Bernice
Says that his time is up, it's a good place to stop.
"Let's talk about this more next time," she stands,
"Meantime, keep taking your Paxil."

The Secretary stands tall, almost at attention.
He nods his head, turns toward the door.
His hand upon the knob, he stops.
"One last thing," he walks back to Bernice,
"I hate watermelon," he says, smiling,
Turns and closes the door behind him.

2006-04-10 23:28:53 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 5: Mitzvah

Simple George, the President, looks sharp,
He's special guest at an elegant fund-raising dinner,
A new organization deeply tied to Wall Street
And a fine source of campaign funds.
Given the special nature of the group, he will
Discuss his Mideast plan at the Jews for Bacon Gala.

At the historic Willard, near the Jefferson Memorial,
The room is filled with the wealthy and connected,
Women wearing formal gowns, bejeweled,
Faces lifted, hair perfectly coiffed; tuxedoed men
With tanned faces and receding hairlines.
The money behind Mideast policy.

Up on the dais, Milton Cohen,
Longtime CEO of Salomon Brothers, begins:
"My friends, it is with pleasure that I introduce our guest;
He really needs no introduction, of course,
You know that, one of Israel's greatest supporters,
The President of the United States!"

The room erupts in cheers, all stand,
While Simple George shakes hands
Makes his way to the podium, scans the crowd.
He makes eye contact with old friends,
Points his finger, mouths hello to some,
To others waves lightly while he strolls ahead.

"Thank you," he says, motions the crowd to sit,
"Thank you, it's great to be here."
The audience takes its seats, quiets down,
Hum of air-conditioning, ice cubes clinking,
A few coughs, expectant silence.
"Milt Cohen, distinguished guests, Shalom!"

The room is filled with whoops and cheers,
To hear this Goyim speak Hebrew is a kick!
The big-shots and their wives applaud,
Joined by Simple George so proud.
He'd spent hours practicing
Just this funny opener.

"You know, this job can be awfully stressful.
When it's really bad, I get such a headache. Oy!
Last time I asked my doctor about it for advice,
He said 'When I get a headache, I go home,
Put my head on my wife's bosom, close my eyes,
And just like that,' his fingers snap, 'the headache's gone!'
"'Ok, I said, I'll try it.' Next visit he asked me
'How's that headache remedy work for you?'
'Great' I said, 'and by the way, you have a lovely house!'"
The audience goes wild. They can't believe it!
This is a classic Borscht Belt joke, immortalized
In '42 by Milton Berle.

They like me, thinks Prince George.
"Seriously though, this job does cause headaches,
And often there are no simple solutions."
The crowd gets quiet, The President is speaking.
"The Middle East is one such problem, as you all know,
But this administration is determined to succeed."

He stops and drinks a glass of water, pulls out notes.
A teleprompter would be great, he thinks.
He's not used 5 x 7 note cards in a while,
Makes an absent-minded wave, and drops them.
They fall to the floor, two aides stoop to retrieve them,
Gather them up, hand them to the President.

Holding the stack he begins again, but
The top card's not the right one, they're shuffled;
Now he has to get them into order. I'm gonna ream that aide
He thinks. "That chopped chicken liver made
My fingers greasy," he ad-libs. The audience,
Embarrassed, begins to stir.

He finds the the opening card, starts to speak,
Then realizes he is telling the headache story again
His aides exchange glances. George finds the next card.
"I was talking to Prime Minister Sharon yesterday,
And he agreed to follow my new Road Map to peace.
This is a good thing, real progress.

"The road to peace has been bumpy,
Filled with potholes, detours and wrong turns.
But now we have a map. We know where we're going,
A map is a good thing. Peace is a good thing."
The room applauds politely, but is restrained,
With a speech like this, who needs a map, thinks Milt.

"And the new Palestinian Prime Minister," he continues,
"Mr. Abbas, he's on the road Sharon's on and I'm on."
His syntax confuses the crowd, too many "ons".
They sit silently. George takes another card.
"They've got Weapons of Mass Destruction; I promise you,
We'll find them." Damn, wrong card! George reddens.

Now everyone is quite confused.
Was he talking about Israel's nuclear bombs?
Desperate, Simple George ad libs again,
"That Iraqi war was some Mitzvah, wasn't it?"
He grins, but his eyebrows display distress -
He turns to his aide and gives the curve ball sign.

Secret Service agent John Demaine gets the signal,
He's been given the "end the speech" sign.
John walks across the dais, hands George a note.
A simple blank note is the favored device:
Simple George, opens it, pretends to read,
Nods his head, and delivers his last lines.

"Looks like I have to leave, something's come up.
You know Israel has our full support,
We are working hard to keep the peace.
Thanks for inviting me, and like my mother used to say,
'Don't be a stranger!' Goodnight and God Bless America."
He waves, shakes few hands and walks out.

The hurried exit is accompanied by confused applause.
Milt Cohen, looking non-plussed, takes the mike,
"Thank you Mr. President, we love you," he says,
"And we won't forget all you've done for Israel either.
Next election you can count on us!
Now for a little song, here's Lettie Mishnow!"

2006-04-10 23:31:00 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 6: News Analysis

On May 23rd the Euro hits its all-time high,
Global fortunes are now shifting;
America's quick wartime success changes,
Becomes peacetime chaos, an embarrassment.
General Garner assigned to keep Iraqi peace,
Is replaced with L. Paul Bremer III.

Bremer, hard pressed to calm the chaos,
Begins to issue orders and hard-nosed directives.
First the Baathist Party is outlawed, dissolved,
Stripped of all but lower level bureaucrats.
Higher-ranking party members are rounded up,
Prime targets for war-crime prosecution.

These moves create a power vacuum at the top;
Without hierarchy, the underlings sit idle.
After years of working for Saddam's party,
The rank and file members lack initiative,
Never trusted with anything important,
Their only asset is their lack of knowledge.

Bremer's next directive: Dissolve Iraq's army.
All weapons must be turned in to authorities,
Except hand guns, which can be kept at home.
This approach plays well in the U.S., NRA supported;
Having guns at home is the best way
To protect loved ones from intruders.

Now that Saddam has disappeared,
Iraq's historic tribal clans rearm,
Old rivalries re-ignite as Western imposed
Boundaries dissolve, no longer buoyed
By Saddam's police state. Collecting firearms
Will be no easy task.

A biased decision makes things even harder:
Kurds alone will be permitted to keep arms,
In repayment for allegiance to the West
Their 12-year no-fly zone's preserved.
Shiites object to such favoritism,
Will refuse unless all factions are disarmed.

In the South, the Shiites gain control
Operate hospitals, orphanages and schools.
They separate girls from boys,
Force women to cover heads and hair,
Restrict their access to public spaces,
Relegate them to citizens second-class.
America gives lip service to self-rule
But declares it will take time, then
Strong-arms the U.N. into an agreement,
That lets America control Iraqi oil
Until an internationally recognized regime
Forms an "acceptable" government.

What's acceptable is not defined,
But all agree, including France,
To a mandate that controls Iraq forever.
To install a puppet government takes time;
The anarchy in Baghdad and other cities
Play right into Foul Rumsfeld's hands.

The coalition of the willing divvy up the spoils,
The British control Basra, as in 1917.
America plans to get the oil pumping.
Poland, which sent 200 soldiers
Gets a chunk of these fine Iraqi contracts,
Kickback from the Mob.

As for the coalition of the unwilling,
France, Russia and fine friend, Deutschland,
Conclude it's time to be included,
Not relishing writing off large debts
Incurred by Saddam over years of sanctions.
Principle is one thing, profits yet another.

Russia's Putin, Vlad the Impeller,
Fights Islamic separatists in Chechnya,
A protracted struggle waged without a partner.
Suicide bombings, murders and acts of terror
Happen daily. He'd like to get his hands
On those high-tech US weapons.

In Germany, the Chancellor, Herr Schroeder,
Still labors to consolidate both East and West.
Western Germany firmly in the 21st century,
The East is early 20th, gray and drab,
Dissipated by Communist corruption. He hopes
For increased BMW exports to the States.

In France, Le President has union problems,
Transport workers constantly strike.
The 35-hour working week, six weeks vacation
Guaranteed by law; his countrymen are accustomed
To a generous entitlement, and a long lunch.
He hopes the rising Euro covers budgetary strain.

U.S. tax cuts divert public attention
From record-breaking job losses.
Afraid of deflation or price collapse,
The Bush Administration
lets the dollar drop against the Euro.
Imports get expensive, U.S. goods get cheaper.

The god-blessed men in power
Ignore evidence of their economic failure.
By stimulating ever more consumption,
They destroy resources in record number.
Fish, precious metals, arable land, clean water.
The growth curve is unsustainable.

War on terror's good distraction
But economic truth cannot be hidden forever.
The foreign debt of nations exceeds ability to pay,
The economy of the world is virtually bankrupt.
Poor countries are unable to catch up,
While rich ones only look that way on paper.

2006-04-10 23:33:07 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 7: Strategic Planner

Paul Wolfowitz sets aside Thursday afternoon,
An informal gathering to discuss a looming problem.
Wolfowitz is convinced the U.S. is in danger,
That other countries with evil intentions
Will soon facilitate a nuclear attack on U.S. soil.
He invites Cheney and Foul Rumsfeld to his office.

At 2 p.m. May 29th, the meeting begins.
No one else is present, recorders turned off.
The topic highly sensitive, easily misunderstood,
Best there's no record kept, no notes taken.
Like the Nazi Wannsee conference, it's about
A final solution, in this case nuclear.

"Dick, Don...thanks for coming," Wolfowitz smiles.
"I ordered up some snacks, want a drink?"
"Sure," Foul Rumsfeld answers, "Diet Dr. Pepper."
"Herbal iced tea," adds Cheney, "With lemon."
"No problem," Wolfie replies, and on the intercom
Requests drinks to be brought in.

After all have settled in, pleasantries exchanged,
Wolfowitz introduces the topic: Countering
The threat posed by rogue nations
Engaged in developing nuclear weapons.
"The news about Iran, you know about it, right?"
Dick and Don both nod. Wolfie continues.

"They've made some real advances,
In two years could have the bomb.
The question now is what to do, engage
In media bluster, diplomatic dances,
Or take grander action to resolve the issue:
A pre-emptive strike, facilities destroyed."

"Destruction is ruled out," Foul Rumsfeld
Gruffly responds, "too much fallout.
We can't predict the effect of an attack.
The explosive force will spread radiation,
Make a large area of Iran uninhabitable,
Including, God forbid, oil fields."

He sips his Dr. Pepper right from the can.
It drips on his tie, where it soaks in.
Cheney notices and reaches out to wipe it,
But Rummy moves back out of reach,
"Take it easy Don," says Dick, "I'm trying to help."
"Jesus Dick, you're getting to be a real pain in the ass!"
"I hate to see a nice tie ruined," Dick offers,
"Here, take this napkin and do it yourself."
Don looks down and sees the spreading dark spot.
"Shit, God-damn it!" he exclaims, now wiping.
Wolfowitz sits patiently, watching them
Bicker like an old married couple.

"Hey, guys," he interjects, "Can we get back on topic?"
"Okay," they say in unison, but Rummy continues to wipe,
While Cheney looks at Don's tie, distracted.
"Please," Wolfie's voice goes up a bit, insistent,
"We don't have a lot of time...please?"
Dick and Don turn their attention to Paul.

"All right," Wolfowitz goes on, "Destruction's out.
What about regime change?" Both other men perk up.
They love regime change best of all! "And how
Do you propose that happen?" Cheney inquires.
Picking up a baby carrot, he pops it in his mouth,
Chews, then chokes and coughs.

A carrot chunk flies from his mouth to Wolfie's shoe.
Don notices, looks at Dick, and subtly points,
While Dick, done coughing, looks down and sees it.
Wolfie has not noticed, keeps right on talking.
The chunk is well-stuck, wet with saliva,
And Dick and Don begin to chortle.

"OK, where was I?" says Wolfie, getting testy.
Don and Dick are silent for a moment,
And then they both crack up laughing.
"No, go on, please," says Dick, gasping.
They look down at the shoe and laugh louder,
Finally they are both red-faced hysterical.

"You guys are children!" Wolfie removes his jacket.
"What is so fucking funny about nuclear war?"
Don and Dick point at his shoe. Wolfie
Looks down to the orange chunk, then sighs
Grabs a napkin and wipes it off, disgusted less
By the slimy chunk than such adolescent behavior.

"Look, this is serious, you guys need to pay attention,"
He whines, insistent, desperate. Dick and Don
Both well his senior, wink at one another.
"O.K. Paul, relax. We're sorry, please go on."
Don furrows his brow, looks serious. Dick
Goes for another carrot, but stops himself midway.

Wolfie continues, "Regime change is an option,
Especially with 200,000 troops at hand.
Let's learn a lesson from MacArthur,
We're on a roll, let's keep rolling north.
Why wait to invade later when
We can do it now for less?"

Dick gulps his iced tea, smacks his lips, says "Ahhhh."
Don grimaces, "Why must you make that noise?"
Dick, half-smile on his face, answers curtly,
"Because it tastes good, that's why."
"I think it's impolite," says Don, "Don't do it!"
"Who made you boss?" says Dick gulping, "Ahhhhhhhhh."

"You two make me nuts!" yells Paul.
"Please shut up and pay attention!"
The other two look up at Paul, then at their laps.
Foul Rumsfeld sticks out his lower lip, childlike,
Cheney sits quietly, and then looks up again,
"May I have another carrot?"

The two old men explode,
Drink sprays across the coffee table,
Cheney's feet come off the floor,
His shoe hits the snack plate; carrots roll
Like logs dumped from a train car, in orderly fashion
They go over the edge one after another.

Wolfowitz watches in disbelief,
The other two have lost it completely.
They pound the cushions and gasp for breath,
Cheney looks as if he's having a heart attack,
Rummy wipes his teary red eyes.
Paul sits and waits for order to return.

"Perhaps we should meet another time," he says softly.
He's depressed, confused and hurt.
"Perhaps that would be best, Paul," says Rummy,
He walks to the door, "Coming Dick?"
Cheney grabs the lone remaining carrot on the plate.
"Right behind you Don. Good meeting, Paul!"

2006-04-10 23:34:58 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 8: Aristea

May's end brings George's victory tour,
As Achilles, with dead Hector dragged behind,
Rode his battle chariot round the walls of Troy,
Triumph on display, thrusting his accomplishment
In King Priam's face, so Resolute George
Circles Europe and the Middle East.
Though Hector's not in tow, George is not alone,
Behind him lurks disappeared Saddam,
Vanquished from his throne, gone
But not forgotten. Resolute George
Means what he says, and spares no expense
To prove it to the world.

Though foreign travel's not his style -
He'd rather be hanging out at home -
His triumph must be placed on display.
As with flattop carrier landings in Top Gun gear,
Or Mt. Rushmore photo ops,
Karl Rove crafts the multi-country tour.

First stop's Poland, poster child of New Europe,
Held in the yoke of tyranny for decades,
The oppression disappeared with the Soviet collapse.
Poland struggles to rebuild, restructure, yet
Bounces between cozy Socialist comfort,
And the lure of capitalist cash.

Poland's 200 troops are well invested,
And gain the favor of Prince George and his court.
As they taxi down the runway, George turns to Proud Powell.
"I guess this is not the place to tell a Polish joke,"
Mocks Simple George, his mood elevated, high.
Colin laughs, of course.

"I've always wondered something," George asks,
"Do your people tell Polish jokes?" "Which people Sir?
Army or State Department?" "I mean the Black people Colin.
You do know you're Black?" George laughs now,
Proud Powell keeps his cool. "Honestly, Mr. President,
I really don't know." But George won't let it go.

"I'll be they do, I'll bet you know some goods ones,"
George taunts Colin, "C'mon, tell me your best Polish joke."
Colin feels his face get hot, pulse increases.
Proud Powell gathers his senses, prepares
To speak his mind, finally tell George off.
His mouth opens.

"Never mind, Mr. Secretary of State."
George is a practiced master of timing,
He's pushed Powell right to the limit,
Sensed the perfect moment to back off.
Once again George feels in control, enjoys
Subjecting others to his will.

Prince George descending first as they deplane,
Proud Powell follows, with less pomp and ceremony.
Later, at a reception with dignitaries,
With his arm around the shoulders of a fat Pole,
George catches Proud Powell's eye and winks,
Colin nods and George, grinning, winks again.

The next stop brings a trip to Auschwitz,
Now ruins, but ruins preserved to bear witness.
Accompanied by Sweet Laura, bearing one rose,
Simple George is overcome with emotion,
His discomfort in the crematorium is painfully apparent.
He hurriedly departs, and Laura sets the rose on rusted tracks.

"Evil has a face and name and so does its victims."
Simple George speaks from the heart, no fumbles,
Here in this horrid place, with ghosts of murdered millions,
He has been touched for real, cocksure nature shaken.
But the media, manipulated too often, ignore the moment,
The authentic viewed as just another photo op.

On to Russia, Where Vlad awaits Prince George.
KGB graduate, expert at martial arts,
Vlad could snap George's neck like a twig.
The two men meet in private, communicate fine;
Vlad speaks English, of course,
Prince George some himself,

"Vlad," George grins, "It's good to see ya."
Grasps Putin's hand in his, strong from squeezing tennis balls,
But Vlad is stronger, he bears down hard.
George knows he can't win this war of grips,
Takes his other hand and puts it on Putin's shoulder,
Pulls him close and hugs him.

Ear to ear, George whispers, "You old faggot."
They pull apart, look each other in the eye, then laugh.
A joke they shared in Crawford
Now only needs the punch-line for effect.
Manhood reinforced, bonded by testosterone,
They walk side by side in the St. Petersburg spring.

In a simple ceremony, they sign a treaty,
Agree to reduce nuclear arsenals,
The number of warheads on each side;
But not destroy nuclear materials or weapons,
In case they need to rearm in the future.
Investments well protected, they shake.

"I need to talk to you about Chechnya," says Vlad.
"I think Al Qaeda is among the rebels there.
I want some help to root them out once and for all."
"Sounds good to me, what do you need?" asks George.
"Why don't I have my people make a meeting with your people,"
Replies Vlad. "Let's set it up," says George, smiling.

Next stop: France, and the G-8 Summit.
He boards the plane, plops down next to Powell.
Colin has plans for France, he's still angry.
That French fop Villepin, the Foreign Minister
Made the U.N. resolution a flop, he thinks,
France should pay a price for such behavior.

"Well, Colin, two down, four to go," exclaims George,
Keeping count of stops on his victory tour.
"Yes sir, but this one will be fun," he turns and smiles,
"Chirac will be the pompous aristocrat,
He'll try to play you like a Texas rube.
Let's make him look bad."

"Now that's my kind of Secretary of State!" says George,
"What do you have in mind?" Powell's his playmate now,
Co-conspirator, prankster, fraternity chum.
"He has false teeth?" says Colin.
"I did not know that, and...?" replies The Prince.
"He's vain and self-conscious about it. I have a plan."

In Évian-les-Bains, just across the Swiss border,
The G-8 nations meet and confer.
Like inhabitants of Swift's floating island, Laputa,
Who employed air-filled bladders and
Struck each other on the head before talking,
So the economic leaders of the world converse.

During a break, George and Jacques,
In their minds masters of the world,
Jointly meet the press to prove that
They are big boys, can behave in public,
And act like seasoned statesmen
According to the rules of diplomacy.

Politely, they take questions from the press.
Chirac says he feels no "discomfort" with Prince George,
Though in reality he's been constipated for two days,
Suffers gas pain while he sits, let's loose foul silent wind.
George agrees, says he is pleased to meet.
As they shake hands goodbye, the plan kicks in.

Standing close, nose to nose in height,
Hands clasp, sticky with sweat. Chirac, in English
Says to George, "The alliance is still strong."
"So it is Jacques," he responds, staring at Chirac's teeth.
Chirac, self-conscious, closes his mouth;
"Vous avez merde entre les dents," says George, quietly.

Jacques looks confused, but his translators have left.
"Pardon me, George, what did you say?" he asks.
"Excuse my French, Jacques, it's never been good."
"Is it something about my teeth?" Chirac asks.
"Not really about your false teeth, Jacques.
I said you have some shit stuck between your teeth."

"Some food? Spinach from lunch perhaps?"
Chirac's concerned, photographers are near.
He would be undignified with spinach between his teeth.
"Let me put it simply," whispers George. "I am saying:
You eat shit, you pompous asshole, see ya' round."
Waves to the press and swaggers away.

2006-04-10 23:36:45 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 9: Last Supper

Salid Haman Hataj joins his mother,
A simple meal, course bread, rice and lamb,
A cool slice of sweet melon for dessert.
They eat slowly and linger a bit more than usual.
It may be their last shared meal till paradise;
Today Salid becomes a martyr.

Eighteen, slim, dark and serious, Salid
Was not always so. As a youngster he
Was full of laughter, upbeat, good-humored.
A natural leader, charismatic.The
Other boys followed him around,
Basking in his generous style.

Things changed at 14, in the streets.
He and his friends find themselves at gunpoint,
Accused by Israeli soldiers of throwing stones.
They are roughed up, pushed to the ground.
His closest friend, Harun, speaks some Hebrew,
Mouths off to the soldiers, trying to look cool.

Harun's Hebrew is poor; he's misunderstood.
The soldiers take offense, he's taken aside,
Clubbed with a rifle butt and kicked in the ribs.
He returns to the group bloodied and groggy.
On their way home, Harun goes into shock.
He dies within an hour.

Where once Salid was light and fun,
Now he's dark and sober, no longer playful
He reads the Koran for hours, joins a study group.
Before long, he joins Hamas,
Becomes a religious soldier,
By 16 his destiny is written.

Salid's mother, Ateer, is 36, but looks older.
Her husband died young, felled by a weak heart.
Doing laundry is her main income,
Supplemented by small stipends from Hamas
Due to Salid's membership and loyalty
To the greater Palestinian cause.

"The lamb is good." Salid looks across the table,
"You have always fed me well. I am blessed."
Ateer smiles wanly back at him, weak and tired.
"Have some more, my son, eat your fill," she nods.
"It's not too late to change your mind," she softly says,
"What's so special about today, anyway?"
"It's in the hands of Allah," Salid responds,
"The time is right if Allah deems it so.
If it's not, tomorrow will do."
He helps himself to more,
Tears off a piece of bread.
"I will miss your lamb, Mother."

Ateer wipes her cheek. They have
Spoken for many hours about his plans,
He believes his death is only right,
A small price to pay help end the suffering of
His people forced to live amid Israeli occupation.
He will go to heaven, where he will be rewarded.

Ateer is not particularly religious,
But she respects Salid, her only son.
Saddened by the prospect of his death,
She feels pride too. His faith
Has made him strong, At 18 he is more man
Than most grown men she knows.

"I've washed and pressed your clothes,"
Her son must look clean and neat
On this, his special day.
Salid takes his plate to the sink, rinses it,
Places it along the others on the sideboard,
Gently dries his hands.

Ateer gives him his clothes, hugs him.
They share so many memories in
The home he's known since birth.
He kisses her cheeks, her forehead, eyes,
Cradles her like a child in his arms,
"You will be taken care of," he whispers.

She leaves and he changes his clothes.
His outfit is American, football jersey,
Numbered 11, Levi knock-offs, and
Some well-worn Nikes. A backpack
Finishes the ensemble, slung over his shoulder.
Like just another schoolboy's.

At Hamas he'll fill the backpack. A wire
Will run under his long-sleeve jersey,
Another down his pants into his pocket.
When touched together,
the two wires
Will ignite a fuse within C-4 high explosive,
Obliterate his target.

Hamas greets him warmly with respect.
Martyr in making, he's a hero. Though many
Have intentions to dedicate their lives,
Few are ready, and Hamas makes no demands.
Each member makes his own plan,
A covenant with Allah.

A green Hamas scarf is tied briefly
Around his head, then kissed.
A silent, solemn ceremony.
Mixed with pride and tears his comrades
Hug him closely one last time,
And offer prayers.

At 4 p.m., his backpacked stuffed and wired
He reviews his plan: a long walk, then board a bus.
At 6 p.m. it will be packed with people, Jews.
He will take seven breaths, say one last prayer,
Join the wires together and
Detonate the charge.

The long walk from Ramallah's uneventful,
The countryside is quiet, almost deserted.
He joins a family with small children,
The uniformed authorities pay little notice,
No inkling that inside Salid's backpack
Death waits to be summoned.

In the Israeli sector of Jerusalem,
The streets are crowded with commuters
Hurrying home or to market before sundown.
Few take notice of Salid, some nod or smile.
He's just another young man rushing home,
Or meeting friends for soccer.

Salid waits to board a bus. A young voice
Beside him asks, "Do you play ball?"
Salid turns to an Israeli about his age,
The boy is smiling, carrying a soccer ball.
For a moment Salid almost forgets his mission,
Amid fond memories of soccer.

Salid shakes his head. Another boy pipes up,
"C'mon, we need a center." He grabs
Salid's arm, stops him from moving.
As Salid turns to pull away, hands surround him,
Arms pinned, he can do nothing and is
Forced to the ground.

The other boys, youthful Israeli security agents
Expertly remove his backpack. Salid weeps,
He has badly failed his mission.
A vehicle separates the crowd, siren blaring.
Uniformed men, guns drawn, surround him,
He's bound and placed into a van.

The backpack is placed into a bomb container,
Within an armored van, which speeds away.
The block's now filled with armed security,
The crowded street is cordoned off,
Traffic diverted, all civilians are interviewed
And packages inspected.

Within an hour Salid is locked in a cell.
He is not afraid of death, but does fear torture.
Hamas has told him captured martyrs are
Deprived of food and water, kept awake for days,
Forced to eat pork, given shocks
To get confessions and give names.

Salid, still young, is broken in two days.
He gives his name, address, contacts.
By day three he knows he has failed twice,
His suicide attack, and worse, his confession.
On day four, hungry, tired and deeply depressed,
He hangs himself with the sleeve of his jersey.

In Ramallah, Ateer is praying for her only son,
Assuming his mission is completed.
As she mourns she hears a distant rumble.
Within minutes the rumble becomes a roar,
Israeli tanks move within yards of her stone home,
Screaming in fear she is removed and arrested.

Her house is demolished, along with two others,
In just two hours, the tanks depart, work done.
The neighbors, confused and alarmed,
Don't know what has prompted the destruction,
Assume that it's Israeli revenge,
But revenge for what they do not know.

As chance would have it, one house destroyed
Was home to the el Assan family of four. Sons
Haddim 13, Sassir 15, seethe with anger,
Their family is homeless, possessions gone.
As dawn breaks over the rubble, the world
Gains two new Palestinian martyrs.

2006-04-10 23:39:02 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 10: Skullduggery

The hangman equals death! The Devil
Equals death! Death equals death!
The Skull & Bones incantation. Deep
Within the cloistered chambers of the Tomb,
The society's gothic home, this mantra's
Been chanted by three Bush generations.

The members of this secret order: Yalies.
Their emblem: skull and bones. It's shared with
Pirates, outlaws of the sea, who fly the Jolly Roger.
The German Brotherhood of Death, the Thule Society
Also adopted Death's Head as their emblem.
Adolph Hitler joined that club in 1919.

William Huntington Russell, U.S. General,
Founded Yale's first secret society, in 1832.
His partner in the venture was Alphonso Taft,
Grandfather of the President of the same last name.
Members alive today include the powerful in
Mass media, banking, politics and oil.

On this warm and humid D.C. evening in June,
A small reunion of The Order's in progress.
"Bonesmen," alumni of the brotherhood,
Blueblood sons of wealth, preppies all, they're
Each one of fifteen joined by solemn rites each year;
Tonight the global power elite celebrate.

"Who was the fool, who the wise man,
Beggar or king? Whether poor or rich,
All's the same in death," quotes Prince George.
The slogan appears above the "vault" in the Tomb's
sanctum sanctorum, room 322. A painting of skulls
Surrounded by Masonic symbols hangs below.

Heads bow at his sharp recital,
They all know the chant by heart.
"Bushido," says Henry Luce of Time, "It's perfect.
It's so fitting you're Commander-in-Chief."
George smiles. In his heart he's had
The same thought many times.

"How goes the New World Order?"
Asks Harold Stanley of Morgan Stanley fame.
More rhetorical than serious, he knows the answer.
Bonesmen accept in full their dedication
To use armed force and creative chaos, tools
That insure their continued control of the planet.
"It's going pretty well," grins George.
"Afghanistan is in turmoil,
Dependent on U.S. aid, completely.
The Taliban is scattered, running to the hills,
Pakistan is nervous, keeping India on edge.
The region's in an uproar. Perfect chaos!"

"More, tell us more," the whole group chants,
"OK" says George, clear-headed and sharp,
"We've declared perpetual war. North Korea's
Building nukes, and the U.S. public is afraid.
We're planning Patriot Act II, virtual martial law,
And all in time for next November's victory!"

"Death equals Death!" they all intone. The Oval Office,
Sanctum sanctorum too, is silent. Eyes closed,
They form a circle, and each recalls
His own initiation: sexual confession, hours naked
In a closed coffin, oaths of silence; apprentices
To death and gods of war.

2006-04-10 23:41:30 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 11: Family Reunion

At six p.m. precisely, French doors open
And a confidently striding Saddam enters.
The Breaker of Men walks in the lead, his sons
Walk behind in silence, wives in arm.
Beaming broadly at the luxurious table
They take their seats, Saddam the first to sit.

At the head of the table, sons on either side,
Saddam waits while the others are seated.
He smiles warmly; it's been a while
Since the family sat together, it's not often
That Saddam has had the pleasure
Of sons, grandsons and granddaughters.

This get-together is no small feat.
They have billions, but are in hiding.
America has been hunting for them, though
Saddam believes that Bush would rather
Pretend he's dead and leave well enough alone
Rather than subject himself to world-wide opinion.

All seated, quiet, the group turns to Saddam,
"Let's all join hands," he orders lightly. The group
Does as he asks; they learned years ago
The high price of disobeying, their pets tortured,
Slaughtered before their eyes, amid intimations
Such fate might await them all.

Saddam begins his solemn invocation,
"Merciful Allah, I thank you for your blessing,
Surrounded by my sons, their wives, their children,
I am yet humble and thankful. To sit here,
Comfortable, safe and entirely secure
Fulfills my greatest dreams and hopes."

The room fills with chatter,
Servers surround the 16-foot mahogany table,
Pouring water and champagne as the room fills
With chatter. The first course is served:
Dungeness crab from Northern California,
Baked in puff pastry, light cream sauce on top.

"Our hosts have outdone themselves,"
Udai pipes up, looks to Saddam.
They've eaten well in North Korea,
No surprise what four billion dollars can buy. Using
Corporations set up years ago by Arthur Andersen,
Saddam can have anything he wants.
Removed from the table, the plates
Are licked clean in the kitchen,
Scraps of crab or pastry quickly gone.
Raging diarrhea soon follows, but
The dishwashers consider it small price to pay
For their only real job benefit.

"Yes," Saddam nods while sipping champagne,
"They are most cooperative and gracious.
Of course, without me they'd have no nukes.
A million here, a million there...voila! A Bomb!"
They all laugh at his use of French. Without
French technology his money wouldn't matter.

"That Kim is some thing else, though,"
He adds, tearing bread off a baguette.
"Yeah," says Udai, "Love his hair!"
They joke at their host's expense with
No fears of surveillance. Sweeps have been made
That guarantee their privacy.

The second course arrives,
Endive salad, with a lightly sweetened
Balsamic vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes
From Provence, and duck breast,
Smoked, sliced thin and seared; all tossed.
The smoked duck's succulent, like bacon.

"So Udai," Saddam sounds serious,
"I have a question." Still chewing,
He stops talking for a moment, swallows,
Takes a sip of water, and still silent,
Wipes his chin with his silk napkin. "How much money
Did you remove from the Bank of Iraq?"

Udai, mid-mouthful, thinks quick.
He is suspicious of his father.
It's likely Saddam has the answer,
Is testing him to see if he'll be truthful.
Udai has skimmed billions from the treasury,
But does not know for sure what Saddam knows.

Saddam looks in his son's eyes.
He knows Udai is a psychopath, can't be trusted,
He also is aware Udai has been skimming,
While in power in Iraq, treasuries built by oil
He let it go. Things have changed, Saddam
Needs his assets.

The Stealthy One picks up his fork,
Prepares to stab his next mouthful.
Udai mumbles an answer. "What's that Udai?"
Probes Saddam, "I can't hear you."
Udai clears his throat, turns towards Saddam,
"A billion dollars, give or take," he says.

"One billion," Saddam repeats, "One billion.
Are you sure?" Udai hopes the other billion
Is his secret. Swiss accounts are untraceable;
So he's told by Swiss officials. "Yes," he says,
"One billion is quite close," turns to his salad.
"One billion," repeats Saddam, "One billion."

"You lie!" Saddam screams, and swings his fork;
Gold tines plunge through Udai's right hand,
Into the mahogany table, where
Like a tuning fork it sings a note, B-flat.
Everyone's attention turns to Saddam,
Who leans back in his chair.

Udai, turned pale, makes no sound.
He turns to his father, redness spreading,
A round stain beneath his hand.
Saddam goes on, his manner quiet,
"I know about the Swiss accounts, the other billion,
I've always known...who do you think I am?"

He laughs, reaches across Udai's pinned hand,
Grabs a fork from Udai's place and stabs his endive.
Chewing, he turns to the others, and stares.
They sit silently in dread, wondering
What follows this act of violence, if
They will make it to dessert.

"My son does not appreciate his father's love.
Despite my tolerance and acceptance,
He acts as if I am a common man.
This family rose to power through intelligence,
And I will not let it fall stupidly from power.
But because you are my son, Udai, I forgive you!"

Saddam beckons a server, gestures to his son
Whose trembling right hand is still pinned. "My son
Has not finished eating. Bring him another fork.
Enjoy your salad Udai. I believe you are left-handed?"
Saddam laughs, then the others laugh, including Udai,
Provided a new fork, he proceeds to eat his endive.

2006-04-10 23:43:41 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 12: Black Goddess

The White House gym, two stories underground,
Is a sheltered shrine to physical fitness.
Few use this temple of sweat;
Stiff and paunchy senior staff can't find it,
Junior members have far too little time.
The treadmills and equipment sit idle for hours.

One regular, however, can be found there:
Thirty minutes on the treadmill, free weights,
Twenty minutes climbing stairs to nowhere.
Then 100 crunches, a hot shower,
Quick change to crisp attire, formal but with style,
Begins each day for Condoleezza Rice.

On this mid-June day, she's works out alone.
Condoleezza needs no coach, no companion.
She's disciplined, directed, and determined,
Has always been about her interests.
From concert piano and figure skating to
Directing foreign policy, she excels.

Her father is a Presbyterian minister, mother
A music professor. But her idol is her Grandpa,
Southern Black sharecropper, who taught himself
To read, and always encouraged Condi
To set high goals and put her faith in God.
Her White House job bears witness to his wisdom.

Single, she's too strong-willed for any
Male companion. In addition, there's the rumored
Curse of Condoleezza. Like Cassandra,
Priam's daughter, Condi foretells the future.
The difference is that unlike Cassandra she's believed,
And her predictions are always wrong.

On the treadmill, skin shining with exertion,
Headphones blaring Bach, she
Does not notice someone enter, stand
Behind her staring at her tight round ass
As her strong legs stride at 4.8 miles per hour.
Don Rumsfeld wipes his sweaty upper lip.

Don and Condoleezza have an easy truce,
But Don is fascinated by the Black Goddess.
Her talents capture the attention of Simple George,
Other White House men are drawn to her as well.
Articulate, fervently religious and attractive,
Her gap-toothed smile is innocent, yet seductive.
Don, his pulse rising, penis swelling,
Becomes afraid that she will think he's
Spying on her, which he is. She'll take offense,
He thinks, and might try to undercut him;
Her power grows by the day, might surpass
His own. No need to antagonize her if avoidable.

Don loudly clears his throat and Condi
Hears the noise. She turns, removes the earphones,
And with that happy gap-toothed smile
She says, "Hi Don...here for a little workout?"
Then slows down the treadmill to
2.5 miles per hour.

"Do I look like I'm here for that? I don't think
This all-wool, tailored suit will do at all,"
He laughs, puts his hand into his pocket
And adjusts his dick. "I don't want to interrupt,
But I need some time to talk." "Let me clean up,"
Says Condi brightly, "then I'll call you."

"Great," says Don, I'm free this afternoon."
His eyes move to her glistening chest,
Where rivulets of sweat soak her sleeveless top;
Dark stains spread from her armpits.
She notices his gaze and smiles wider,
Grabs her towel, and wipes her shining arms.

Don stares a little longer, then turns away.
He can't bear to look, he's hard as a rock.
"I'll look for your call," he exits, not glancing back.
Condoleezza, named for musical notation in Italian,
'Con dolcezza'- to play with sweetness,
Looks at her watch and speeds the treadmill.

Foul Rumsfeld, in his office, calls Cheney.
Dick likes juicy gossip. "Hey Dick,
I was just down in the gym with Condi Rice,
God, she's hot! You should see her sweat!"
"The woman is an Amazon!" snorts Dick.
"Black Goddess is more like it," Don sighs.

"You think she wants to run for Governor, Dick?"
"If that Davis recall happens, who knows?
I'd hate to lose our only good-looking broad," says Cheney.
Most women in the Administration have quit;
Christine Todd Whitman, EPA director, left
Last week due to all the macho bullshit.

Don goes on, "Her upper arms are awesome.
If I were twenty years younger!" "And better looking!"
Adds Dick, laughing. "Later, Don. Gotta go."
The conversation triggers a memory in Don,
About a black Amazon queen, warrior goddess.
"Califia," he says aloud, "Who was Califia?"

Turning to his keyboard, using Google for a search,
He types "Califia." Milliseconds later,
The screen fills with links and references,
Each URL a source of information.
Don clicks, a website comes up: "Califia"
Says the top of the page, The State of California.

Oh yeah, Don remembers, California's
Named after black Queen Califia.
In 1510 the editor Ordonez de Montalvo of Seville,
Added to a tale, "Las Sergas de Esplandian,"
About a Spanish knight and his New World adventures
Including Queen Califia, powerful black warrior.

She commanded a tribe of fierce Amazons,
And an air force of five hundred Griffins, with
Wings and heads of eagles, bodies of a lion.
They dined on Christian males, and were
Trained to keep her queendom free of men - the most
Effective way of ensuring domestic tranquility.

The legend ends with her marriage to a knight,
Her country, wealth and power relinquished to a man.
The myth of Califia's so strong, though, that Cortez,
Conqueror of Mexico's Aztec civilization,
Names the territory to the North
For the black warrior queen.

Don scans the page, flushed and excited,
Finds reference to a painting, Califia depicted.
He clicks the link, and waits. Slowly,
Top to bottom, the image appears.
Don stares at the screen, mouth agape, penis throbbing.
Before him a black gap-toothed Amazon smiles

2006-04-10 23:45:40 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 13: Saboteur

Gold Tooth and his band of Fedayeen,
Fierce fighters faithful to Saddam,
Are in Fallujah, north of Baghdad,
Where Baath party members and Sunnis,
Enforcers of the fallen fascist regime,
Form the core of loyalists to Saddam.

Iraq's collapse means little to these men;
They need no guidance or control.
They fend for themselves, seize what they need.
Official orders are not required. Their targets
Have not changed: traitors to the cause,
The disloyal and the weak.

No need for uniforms nor rank, the Fedayeen
Move among the people in civilian clothes.
Americans, cannot distinguish them,
And the collapse of the state apparatus
Makes it near impossible to confirm identity,
Or a connection to acts of sabotage and murder.

The coalition dictate outlawing most weapons
Is an inconvenience to Gold Tooth, little more.
Grenade launchers, once widespread
Are available at good prices, and small arms,
Pistols, knives and land mines are
Easy to obtain.

As electricity has slowly been restored,
Gold Tooth and his men have been busy.
No sooner is it back on line and working, than
Gold Tooth and his men destroy the power station,
Strip it bare of copper, jam tools into turbines.
The work is hard, but it's a living.

Sometimes a satisfying operation comes along,
Torture and assassination, in which his men excel.
Those seen as collaborators are targeted,
Their families threatened, children kidnapped.
When released, they're missing an ear,
A pinky toe, tip of a finger, to remember.

The occupiers are treated to stronger measures.
A young recruit from Boston directs traffic,
He wears white gloves for visibility.
His movements are crisp, well-practiced,
The cars and drivers obedient.
A shot splatters his brains across the turn lane.
Another U.S. soldier in a Hummer,
Sits at the open door in conversation,
His mid-western grin shines white,
His hands gesture wildly, animated.
Laughing, helmet off and on his lap.
Gold Tooth's bullet rips out his throat.

A checkpoint guard checks paperwork.
His manner businesslike and polite.
He even tries to master the language,
Out of respect to Iraqi civilians. He
Wants to protect them from harm.
A grenade blows off his leg.

Gold Tooth gets no credit, wants none.
It's a mission to be done, God's work,
He suffers no regret. He has
But one complaint, his teeth are rotten.
The pain increases every day. Lacking
Proper tools, he cannot solve the problem.

Fever sets in, he needs medical attention.
The local hospital is under American guard, but
He does not think his face is known,
And desperate for relief, he approaches the entrance.
The Americans, uneasy due to recent killings,
Are tense and scrutinize all comers.

"What?" asks a guard, trigger finger ready.
Gold Tooth, cheek swollen, points to his mouth.
"Tooth," he says, "Infected, need see doctor."
"Search first," interjects another guard,
Gesturing that Gold Tooth raise his arms.
Gold Tooth forgets the knife tucked in his belt.

The first guard grabs the knife.
The blood of victims stains the leather grip.
"This looks like blood!" the guard exclaims.
"Keep you hands up," yells another guard.
"It's for my protection," Gold Tooth says in perfect English.
The guards eye him with suspicion, guns pointed.

Though his use of English is infrequent,
Gold Tooth can sound American
And speak with a flawless Chicago accent.
"Your English is pretty good. Where
Did you pick that up?" A senior guard asks
While another talks on the phone.

"I spent time in Chicago as a boy," His tooth throbs.
"I really am in pain, and I have a fever."
"Hold on, Chicago, we have a job to do."
The guard looks Gold Tooth in the eye,
"About this knife." His blade bears blood
Of many dead GI's.

"We'll keep this knife," the guard announces,
"Give your name and address, and it may be returned."
Gold Tooth knows about the test for DNA,
His connection to dead soldiers.
He tries to come up with an answer,
But the pain's so bad he cannot think.

"I've...no real address," Gold Tooth stammers
"My sister's house is rubble, the mobs
Took anything of value. How long
Will your DNA tests...I mean, research...," he stops.
"We said nothing about tests, sir." A gun
Sticks in his ribs.

"I've done nothing," Gold Tooth protests,
"I need a doctor." "Relax Chicago."
The senior guard smiles while
Plastic cuffs are placed on Gold Tooth's wrists,
He's escorted through the door, a doctor
Takes a look and shakes his head.

"I'm no dentist," says the doctor.
"This man needs some penicillin, and we've none.
Take him to one of your medical facilities instead."
The senior guard turns to Gold Tooth,
"Well Chicago," he says, "Looks like
You'll get a chance to practice your English."

They walk out, and a Hummer
Swings around the corner to the entrance.
"Get this guy to a med station," says the guard.
"He speaks English, maybe we can use him.
We found a big knife on him, stained with blood.
He seemed nervous when we talked about it."

Gold Tooth's mouth stabs with pain,
Knees weak he slumps to the pavement.
"Shit!" yells one of the guards,
Takes one of Gold Tooth's arms, and lifts.
He's placed in the Hummer, delirious
Mumbling about Sayyid Qtub.

"He's mumbling." says the driver.
"The infidels must die!" Good Tooth yells clearly.
He begins to lunge about, his feet kick wildly
In all directions. "Lets go, "this guy's delirious."
The hummer quickly speeds off
around the corner.

Gold Tooth awakens in a military hospital.
Swollen face, groggy, but no pain. He tries
To move his hands, but they're bound tight.
Cotton curtains shield his view. He
Falls back asleep, feeling good
But weak and tired.

He awakes again and sees three people.
A white-coated American doctor,
A U.S. military officer, and a thin young man
About 25 years old. "Well," says the officer
"What do you think? Take your time."
"I need no time," the thin man cries, "It's him!"

"We must be sure," The officer is firmly polite.
"It was long ago." "I'll never forget that face, but
Pull back his right cheek. Show me
His teeth." The young man
Is agitated, looks almost frantic.
"He should have gold teeth on that side."

Gold Tooth smiles, his capped teeth glisten.
The young man lunges at Gold Tooth,
Held back by the doctor, he can only yell, "He must die!"
"He's an assassin! I must avenge my father!"
The officer turns toward him. "He will
Be brought to justice, I promise."

"Hello little one," Gold Tooth still smiles,
"You've grown!" The young man is crying,
"I'll see you die!" "Perhaps, little one. Perhaps."
Gold Tooth remembers every killing.
Though it happened many years ago, he recognizes
The son of a victim.

"That's enough for now," intones the officer,
"Keep this man bound and under guard."
He and the young man walk away.
Gold Tooth's been caught, but he's resourceful.
He'll recover, then make a plan. "I've escaped
From tougher spots," he thinks, then falls asleep.
2006-04-10 23:48:01 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 14: Glossolalia

On June 25 the Supreme Court OK's sodomy.
Their six-to-three decision's not unexpected;
Antonin Scalia is appalled, announces that
The court has joined the culture war, disregards
The values of mainstream middle America,
And now promotes the Gay Agenda.

John Ashcroft asks audience with the President,
Sets a 4 p.m. appointment to make his appeal. He
Counts upon Resolute George to share his horror.
Till then, he plans to pray unto the Lord,
Ask for guidance and direction to
Help him overcome this tragedy.

Son of a Pentecostal minister,
He feels filled by the Holy Spirit, in body,
Heart and soul. A true believer,
He knows the stakes: Man's immortal soul.
You're on the right side with the Lord
Or you're with Satan.

On his knees, appointments canceled,
Eyes shut tight, John sways left and right.
His eyes dart up and down; lips moving,
John nods, engaged in conversation.
His hands dart out in supplication, then
He bows, and lowers his forehead to the floor.

At 3:30 his assistant buzzes. John sighs,
Bows his head, asks once more for strength.
Moving to his private bath he turns on the water.
Looking shell-shocked and wild-eyed,
His puts his head beneath the tap, anoints himself
Lets it run cold from crown to chin.

Still in the power of the spirit, Sly Ashcroft
Tightens his tie, tucks in his shirt and leaves.
By 3:55 he's in the Oval Office. At 4 p.m.,
Simple George enters. His mood
Seems light, his step lively, a good sign.
"Hi John, it's good to see you. What's up?"

Mr. President," John begins, "Heard the news?"
George is drinking, 7-up, his index finger
Stirs the ice. It's the way he used to stir his scotch
And rocks, and the act helps him relax. Not looking
Up answers, "What news is that?" "Why
Sodomy's now legal, says the court," John rasps.
"Yeah, I heard that from Dick Cheney."
George seems unconcerned; he licks
His index finger. "What will we do about it, sir?"
John asks tersely. "Not much we can do, a six
To three decision. We'll wait 'til the court is changed.
Relax, our appointees will reverse it."

John blurts out, "It's an abomination!
Souls are being lost to Satan. Losing them
To Islam's bad enough, but to lose the moral war
Right here, right now, I can't accept.
You need to get to Rehnquist and O'Connor,
They have to leave. You must insist upon it!"

Red-faced, he stands up and paces.
"Lord," he prays, "I ask you
for your guidance and advice. Give me the way,
Show me the way to overcome this madness.
Hammu laba gibba saddu michem givore,
Numma kinna garon plidal simpo haman!"

John's body begins to shake and quiver;
On his knees he mumbles strange words.
George stares, fascinated by this weird behavior,
Ashcroft, speaking in tongues, seems possessed.
"Can you hear me, John? It's you know who."
George teases John.

"Ubba himad saddu pilad, gubba salem,"
Entranced, John looks at George above him.
"John," George booms in his deepest voice.
"I have a job for you; do you know who I am?"
George grins, sure he has
The power of suggestion.

"Pilam gubbu pidar?" Ashcroft's hands are clasped.
"That's right John, that's good. Now listen,
I want you to investigate Howard Dean."
He's thrown his hat into the ring,
And seeks the Democratic nomination.
He wants to be the President.

"Bulub mindo socall pinone," John mumbles,
"He's a sodomite, John! An abomination!
His filthy deeds must be revealed.
I'm counting on you John." George kneels,
His face cheek to cheek with Ashcroft.
"I will reward your efforts."

George places his hand on Ashcroft's shoulder.
He's jolted by a current that hits his body.
His hand is glued, unmovable; meanwhile
Ashcroft's eyes lock onto those of George.
John's puts his hand on George's shoulder -
"Pulib samad hinna garib," says George.

"Hubba bubba gobad sinad," they say in unison.
George looks confused but smiles. They stare
Into each other's eyes in silence, then
Slump to the floor panting. As their breath
Returns to normal they stand up. George
Looks frightened. "What in God's name was that?"

"You were just struck by the Holy Spirit,"
Sly Ashcroft is beaming like a proud father.
"What were those words? George says meekly.
"The language of God, like the Apostles
Spoke at Pentecost." John takes George's hand,
"You have been blessed. Welcome, Mr. President."

George stunned, sits behind his desk.
"I had no idea. Forgive me John, for joking."
"Forgive you, Mr. President?" John now confused.
"For talking like God, Howard Dean, that stuff."
"Howard Dean? What about him?"
Sly Ashcroft raises his eyebrows.

"Oh...OK," George relaxes, and leans back.
"I want to quote you in a speech," he says.
"What quote is that?" Ashcroft inquires. "'Islam requires
That you send your sons to die for God; Christianity required
God to send his son to die for you.'" John grins,
"Call it your own, after all, we're brothers now."

2006-04-10 23:52:23 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 16: Dead or Alive

Twenty-five million dollars for Saddam
Dead or alive, Prince George declares on the Fourth of July.
The Breaker of Men haunts the White House, his
Silent presence makes mockery of America and Bush,
Americans soldiers killed and wounded day by day
Despite the end of war announced by George in May.

Between Hussein and bin Laden
The rewards add up to 50 million dollars, plus
Another 15 million each tossed in for Saddam's sons.
The Hussein trio is floridly described
By Bush's team, who claim they are
Among the most evil men in history.

In Hell, Hitler, Stalin, Attila, and Jeff Dahmer,
Now find themselves moved up or down a notch
Due to Saddam's recent reclassification.
When it comes to hierarchy of evildoers,
A place at or near the top is all they have,
They eye each other, jealously suspicious.

Among the living, such rewards
Are like the lottery: Amounts of money
So gigantic and so grand they make
Fine fuel for fantasy, but not much more.
The odds of winning are too high,
Most everyone ends up a loser.

For a small group of Iraqis more's at stake,
Their lives are on the line. While Saddam
Controlled Baghdad, the lives of these men
Were fairly safe; but with huge money on the line
That's changed. For the corps of Body Doubles,
Trouble lurks ahead.

More than twenty-five look just like Saddam,
Almost identical, near clones of the ex-ruler,
Surgically altered down to the cleft chin,
Facial warts, precisely aligned teeth,
Receding hairline, they've scattered
Among the population.

What used to be a cushy job
Is now a liability; they're hunted. Americans
Search everywhere, publicize the huge reward.
The Saddams shave their upper lips,
Cut off their hair, lose weight. Some
Limp or dress in rags.
Rumored sightings of Saddam begin,
People see him late at night, some swear
They've seen him during day. Physics wrong,
Saddam appears several places at one time.
Americans can't keep up as Hussein
Dopplegangers roam Iraq.

Udai and Qusai, the Hussein sons
Have fewer doubles than Saddam, fewer
Than one dozen each, nor as perfect.
Saddam insisted that some defects still remain,
Imperfections, so that he can recognize
His real sons at all times.

Udai, who had had accidents, avoided assassination,
Made life inconvenient for his doubles.
When shot, disabled, both legs broken,
He orders the same for his look-alikes.
They have his good looks but not
His dogged determination; many die.

In North Korea, Saddam sits safely;
He and his sons note the rewards and laugh.
"I'd think I was worth more than millions,"
Saddam sits by a heated pool amid
a faux-desert landscape. "Though the amount
For you two seems excessive," he grins.

Udai and Qusai, recline on their
Chaise-lounge chairs, sipping tea.
"Yes father," they intone in unison. Now united,
Happy family once again, Saddam in charge
The sons have lost their freedom. "I have
A good idea," Saddam sits up. "Listen to this!"

Saddam, with billions to command
Comes up with new ideas for practical jokes.
He likes to torment America, releases
Audio tapes. "We brought three
Of my doubles with us, did we not?"
His face displays a look of mischief.

"Let's draw straws and pick one out."
Cruel as their father but less creative
The two boys sit up, turn to Saddam, expectation
On their faces. "We'll use him to taunt Bush,
Engineer his capture, grab big headlines, then
Reveal his true identity and embarrass the U.S."

The Breaker of Men grins at the thought,
Removes his pork-pie hat, wipes his brow.
"Hey Kim," he shouts to the attendant,
"Turn down the heat and up the breeze a bit!"
"It's a good joke," Odai nods with vigor.
"Grand idea, father," Qusai adds.

The final plan departs from the original idea,
They all agree the first plan's too complex.
Iraq's too far away, too hard to manage, and
Life in North Korea's pretty sweet. In the end
The plan's made elegant and simple: A box
Sent to the White House holding "Saddam's" head.

The three lean back again, talk softly.
The plan's reviewed from all directions.
They draw straws, the double named Ali is chosen,
A pleasant fellow, dead-on in appearance.
"Now, for the timing, any ideas?" Saddam waits.
Udai and Qusai laugh, "September 11th!

2006-04-10 23:54:40 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 16: Dead or Alive

Twenty-five million dollars for Saddam
Dead or alive, Prince George declares on the Fourth of July.
The Breaker of Men haunts the White House, his
Silent presence makes mockery of America and Bush,
Americans soldiers killed and wounded day by day
Despite the end of war announced by George in May.

Between Hussein and bin Laden
The rewards add up to 50 million dollars, plus
Another 15 million each tossed in for Saddam's sons.
The Hussein trio is floridly described
By Bush's team, who claim they are
Among the most evil men in history.

In Hell, Hitler, Stalin, Attila, and Jeff Dahmer,
Now find themselves moved up or down a notch
Due to Saddam's recent reclassification.
When it comes to hierarchy of evildoers,
A place at or near the top is all they have,
They eye each other, jealously suspicious.

Among the living, such rewards
Are like the lottery: Amounts of money
So gigantic and so grand they make
Fine fuel for fantasy, but not much more.
The odds of winning are too high,
Most everyone ends up a loser.

For a small group of Iraqis more's at stake,
Their lives are on the line. While Saddam
Controlled Baghdad, the lives of these men
Were fairly safe; but with huge money on the line
That's changed. For the corps of Body Doubles,
Trouble lurks ahead.

More than twenty-five look just like Saddam,
Almost identical, near clones of the ex-ruler,
Surgically altered down to the cleft chin,
Facial warts, precisely aligned teeth,
Receding hairline, they've scattered
Among the population.

What used to be a cushy job
Is now a liability; they're hunted. Americans
Search everywhere, publicize the huge reward.
The Saddams shave their upper lips,
Cut off their hair, lose weight. Some
Limp or dress in rags.
Rumored sightings of Saddam begin,
People see him late at night, some swear
They've seen him during day. Physics wrong,
Saddam appears several places at one time.
Americans can't keep up as Hussein
Dopplegangers roam Iraq.

Udai and Qusai, the Hussein sons
Have fewer doubles than Saddam, fewer
Than one dozen each, nor as perfect.
Saddam insisted that some defects still remain,
Imperfections, so that he can recognize
His real sons at all times.

Udai, who had had accidents, avoided assassination,
Made life inconvenient for his doubles.
When shot, disabled, both legs broken,
He orders the same for his look-alikes.
They have his good looks but not
His dogged determination; many die.

In North Korea, Saddam sits safely;
He and his sons note the rewards and laugh.
"I'd think I was worth more than millions,"
Saddam sits by a heated pool amid
a faux-desert landscape. "Though the amount
For you two seems excessive," he grins.

Udai and Qusai, recline on their
Chaise-lounge chairs, sipping tea.
"Yes father," they intone in unison. Now united,
Happy family once again, Saddam in charge
The sons have lost their freedom. "I have
A good idea," Saddam sits up. "Listen to this!"

Saddam, with billions to command
Comes up with new ideas for practical jokes.
He likes to torment America, releases
Audio tapes. "We brought three
Of my doubles with us, did we not?"
His face displays a look of mischief.

"Let's draw straws and pick one out."
Cruel as their father but less creative
The two boys sit up, turn to Saddam, expectation
On their faces. "We'll use him to taunt Bush,
Engineer his capture, grab big headlines, then
Reveal his true identity and embarrass the U.S."

The Breaker of Men grins at the thought,
Removes his pork-pie hat, wipes his brow.
"Hey Kim," he shouts to the attendant,
"Turn down the heat and up the breeze a bit!"
"It's a good joke," Odai nods with vigor.
"Grand idea, father," Qusai adds.

The final plan departs from the original idea,
They all agree the first plan's too complex.
Iraq's too far away, too hard to manage, and
Life in North Korea's pretty sweet. In the end
The plan's made elegant and simple: A box
Sent to the White House holding "Saddam's" head.

The three lean back again, talk softly.
The plan's reviewed from all directions.
They draw straws, the double named Ali is chosen,
A pleasant fellow, dead-on in appearance.
"Now, for the timing, any ideas?" Saddam waits.
Udai and Qusai laugh, "September 11th!

2006-04-10 23:56:35 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 17: Across the Border

Regime change makes neighbors nervous
As new national policy forms. Changing
Trade and commerce rules force
Economies to adjust. Defense and
Social programs are re-evaluated,
Politics destabilized.

If a leader is bellicose and coarse,
Forces his will upon his neighbor,
Then conflict always follows, the region suffers.
In July, 2003, the country to the south,
Armed to the teeth, meddles
With the Commonwealth of Canada.

Prime Minister Chrétien's of French descent,
Independent, outspoken, prone
To chart his own course.
Chrétien opposes the invasion of Iraq,
And with France and Germany,
Sticks it to Prince George.

The President meets with the boys
To discuss regime change across the border.
While publicly displaying good will,
This testosterone-poisoned gang
Seethes with anger, anxious to control
Its weaker neighbor to the north.

"Next they'll convert to Euros," George snickers.
"Don't laugh," Rumsfeld adds, "It's possible."
"They're pissing off our pharmaceutical support,"
Tommy Thompson chimes in, "Undercutting U.S. prices."
"They're about to legalize homosexual marriage!"
Sly Ashcroft's spittle flies.

Hard-hearted Cheney adds his thoughts,
"Look, this shit-head Chrétien's got to go.
He's making us look foolish. The whole world
Watches as our pipsqueak neighbor
Gives us the finger! We can engineer regime change
Halfway across the globe, but not here?"

At these gatherings of the Mob,
It's Cheney who sets the agenda.
Though his cold heart beats irregularly,
It's just one beat from the President's,
A thought not lost on any, except
Simple George, who thinks of jogging.
"From marijuana policy, to health care,
Pharmaceutical prices to sodomy, our neighbors
To the north are going south, and fast.
I propose to chop them at the knees,
Get them back in line." Heads snap
Wide eyes turn to Spencer Abraham.

The group stares at Spencer in disbelief.
One does not speak out of turn, there
Are consequences. Abraham, his plump face
Turning red, realizes his mistake. In the circle
Of tough guys surrounding Bush
You do not usurp Dick Cheney.

"Remind me to straighten out that fat fuck,"
Cheney whispers to Don, who nods.
Having given up yoga, Cheney's become
His old self again: Ruthless and single-minded.
The docs have added hormones to his meds;
They make Dick Cheney cruelly aggressive.

"Back to business, Mr. President," Dick insists,
Simple George looks up, morning jog
On his mind. He's happy with his thighs,
They've slimmed, his calves are stronger too,
More defined. "OK, I'm with you Dick...
Please go on," says George.

"All right, first, blaming it on drugs,
We tighten up the border, make big delays.
Next we find counterfeit pharmaceuticals,
Canadian, with harmful side effects.
Then well-placed PR, their health care crisis,
Massive malpractice, bribery, a big scandal.

"Next, using the Patriot Act, arrest Canadian Islamists.
Announce a terrorist cell, based in Montreal.
We demand that Canada clamp down, claim
They're soft on terrorists. Finally, we plant evidence
That Chrétien's a homo, provide
Doctored photos to the tabloids."

"It's a start," says Rummy, grinning,
Slaps Cheney on the back. "Shit!"
Snaps Dick, "Not so damn hard, that hurts!"
"Can't take it Dick? Just being supportive,"
Cheney raises his fist at Don. "OK boys,"
Chimes in George, "Take it outside.

"Sounds good to me," George smiles,
"You guys put it together." Foreign
Policy determined, the conference ends.
This mob has its rules, there's no dissent.
The north is open territory; Jean Chrétien
Will soon sleep with the fishes.

2006-04-10 23:58:49 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 18: The Unraveling

The fabric of well-woven lies frays;
As arguments for Iraqi war wear thin.
Revealed as sleazy fabrications,
Weapons of mass destruction never found,
Tales of deceit emerge, like yellow-cake
Uranium bought from Niger.

In his State of the Union address,
George repeats it: "The British government
Has learned that Saddam Hussein recently
Sought significant quantities of uranium
In Africa." The CIA advised against such claims;
The charges are phony.

Cornered by the Press, like pack dogs
Drawn to wounded prey, bold ones nipping,
Tearing bits of fur and flesh, tormenting their victim,
Relentlessly, until the prey has fallen,
The Bush administration admits
It's been mistaken.

George Tenet of the CIA, falls on his sword,
This only after George claims his statement
Was OK'd by the security agency. Tenet
Gamely takes the blame, it's all his fault.
George is off the hook, at least for now.
Condi spins and shuffles for distraction.

Foul Rumsfeld, U.S. losses mounting,
Concedes that more troops may be needed.
Long-term plans are made to occupy Iraq,
Enlist the help of willing coalition partners,
If any can be found, since the occupation's
At double the original cost.

Paul Bremer III, appointed proconsul of Iraq,
Is bogged down and losing ground. He appoints
A council of 25 Iraqis who meet to plan the future.
Drawn from ethnic groups, expatriates, religious
Factions, and former diplomats, it is
Subject to the final word of Bremer.

Meanwhile Prince George tours Africa
Looking presidential, five countries in five days,
Some just for hours. He speaks out on AIDS
Talks about compassion, while
At home, unemployment hits new heights,
And the economy hits the skids.
"Look," says George, "I want results,
Not excuses! We said there's WMDs, God damn it
I want them found, and fast!"
In the Oval Office, Foul Rumsfeld, Cheney,
Wolfowitz and Rice look glum. Events of the last week
Are taking a stiff toll.

Foul Rumsfeld is the first to speak,
"The WMD will be found, I can promise.
We can't afford to screw this up. We can't
Find the stuff too soon, the press is suspicious.
The material's well hid; we've engineered
The discovery for late September, 2004."

"That's too late Don, with this yellow-cake flap,"
George feels his oats, not depressed.
"Remember," Condi interjects, "September is important.
The 11th is the anniversary of the attack,
All eyes on New York and ground zero;
No better time to find the WMD than that."

"That's too long from now!" George is red-faced,
"This Uranium story makes me look like
I don't know what I'm doing!" "Don't worry,
A week from now it will be old news,"
Wolfowitz offers, cheery and upbeat.
"Fuck you, Paul," says George, venomously.

"OK," says Cheney, "Settle down. Let's
Stir the pot in North Korea, a distraction.
A nuclear accident at a processing plant.
Nothing big, a small release
That forces evacuation of a village or two.
Take the heat off Iraq."

The group waits for George to react.
He plops into his chair, hands behind his head.
Leans back, his chair squeaks with the effort.
George concentrates, eyes closed. "OK,"
He says, his color back to normal, "I like it.
As Captain Picard would say...'Make it so!'"

They prepare to take their leave. George
Gestures, "Condi, hang on for a minute."
"My time is yours as always," she replies.
Condi sits down across from George.
"Is there something I can do Mr. President?"
She's perky and peppy.

"About the machinery of government..."
George smirks. "Whatever I can do sir,
What would you like to know?" She
Prepares herself for a complicated question.
"That Nautilus machine down in the gym," he says,
"Have you used it yet?"

2006-04-11 00:01:22 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 19: Summer in the City

The U.S. Army sits in occupation,
Controls Iraqi streets by day,
But summer really rules. July
A sizzling 130 degrees, tar melts
In the streets, trees lose their few leaves
And bodies wither from brutal heat.

The prisoners in stockade 4-B sit motionless,
Silent, too weak to speak;
The only sounds are labored breathing
Occasional coughs and muttered prayer.
The relative coolness of the concrete walls
Provide the only hope of minimal relief.

Dressed in numbered jumpsuits,
Each man is allocated four feet square,
Marked with chalk upon the walls.
No bars separate them, yet each stays
Carefully within his zone. Two
Americans stand armed guard.

Most of those detained come from Fallujah,
Hotbed of anti-American opinion. As
Is the case in much of western Iraq,
Fallujah sports a nascent guerrilla uprising;
Almost one U.S. soldier is killed each day,
Picked off by sniper fire or planted bombs.

The new U.S. regional commander,
General Abizaid, acknowledges that
Iraqis are newly engaged, fighting
Guerilla-style war against the occupying force.
Rather than gaining ever more control,
U.S. forces hunker down.

Within the confines of Stockade 4-B,
Gold Tooth lies against the wall.
Back on concrete, knees drawn up
He rests his head upon his gathered hands.
With measured breath he makes plans:
Kill the guards and make his swift escape.

Desert fighter, Fedayee, Baath loyalist,
Gold tooth adds his list of victims:
Enemies of Saddam, Breaker of Men,
U.S. soldiers lost on patrol, now occupying forces,
All will fall at his swift hands. Prison, he reasons,
Provides a chance to kill again.
Stockade 4-B is in fact, a warehouse.
Used before invasion to store textiles,
Its lack of windows makes it a perfect prison.
Built of concrete, ceiling 24 feet high,
It's clear-span, tilt-up construction is made to order.
Prisoners line both 80-foot side walls.

Steel roll-up doors are at each end, open
For ventilation. Barbed wire, cyclone fencing
And locked steel chains prevent escape.
One doorway leads to outdoor space,
Where fence and barbed wire enclose a dusty yard.
Each prisoner can use it one-half hour daily.

Today the yard is guarded by Bryant Stone, PFC.
A blue-eyed, towheaded kid from Tuscaloosa, Tennessee,
He joined the Army to escape his father's wrath,
An alcoholic rage that strikes at night,
Leaves his mother terrified with terror,
And scares his baby sister into tears.

His mother fears his death if he remains;
Bryant knows he won't see this home again,
And that he'll feel his mother's gentle
Kiss upon his cheek no more.
His father not yet home from work,
He leaves his boyhood home for good,

Now he sits outside Baghdad in sweltering heat.
It hits him like a tight hand around his throat;
Still, it's preferable to the sharp blows
At the hands of his drunken father.
Legs sweating in a wooden chair, he
Shifts weight from cheek to cheek.

Gold Tooth rises from the floor,
Beckoned by Bryant for outdoor exercise.
The heat begins to wane as the sun sets;
High clouds turn vivid pink in the rosy twilight,
A light breeze blows with sweet coolness.
Gold Tooth leads the way.

"Yo, Bryant, how's it goin' man?" asks Gold Tooth,
"It's hot, I'm wasted and wanna go home,"
Bryant sounds tired. "You and me both,"
Gold Tooth responds, "Hear from your Mom?"
Gold Tooth perceives the loneliness of Bryant,
And plays upon his sadness.

"No, no letter this week, maybe next."
Bryant's letters from home increase his worry,
With him gone his father has new targets.
He's afraid his mother will be beaten. Unknown
To him, it has already happened, his mother
Cowers while savage blows are struck.

For weeks Gold Tooth has played
With Bryant's heart; today, he'll execute
His plan. He's walked the cyclone fencing,
Knows all the gaps and high spots. There's
A section he can wriggle through, and
He's lost weight with that intention.

Darkness deepens as the sun dips lower,
Day's last rays strike the upper tips of palms,
Make dappled points like ripe golden dates.
Bryant seems distracted, and inattentive,
Security lights off, the perfect moment arrives.
Gold Tooth implements his plan of action.

"Can I sit down?' he asks Bryant, "Join me."
Bryant looks from side to side, sees no one.
He squats down, pleased at the attention.
Gold Tooth leans against the cyclone fence,
Hands behind him, he loosens the dirt,
The gap beneath the steel strand grows.

He brings his hands forward, "Let me
Read your palms," he says to Bryant.
"You read palms?" asks the boy from Tennessee.
"Indeed I do, quite well," Gold Tooth says smoothly.
"I can tell your future, when you are going home."
Bryant hesitates, then offers his upturned hands.

"OK...let's see," Gold Tooth sounds assured,
"Now this line, this is your heart line, very strong.
I see you can love deeply with great loyalty."
He holds Bryant's right hand in his left,
Points to the lines with his own right hand.
He pulls the soldier's arm closer.

"Now this line, this is your life line,
This line shows the length of life. It's dark,
Come closer so I can see it better."
Bryant is fascinated, curious and too comfortable,
He's all but forgotten he's a soldier,
The man before him is a killer.

"That's better, I see it, this diagonal line,
It cuts across your life line, right here, look."
Bryant bends forward, to see the lines.
"What's it mean?" he asks concerned.
"It means your life will be cut short," Gold Tooth whispers.
Even when your end will come."

Gold Tooth pulls him forward. "It's now."
He spins Bryant, holds him close,
Loops his left arm round the neck and
Squeezes hard, crushing Bryant's throat.
He holds him till his body quiets, then, still
Hugging him, gently plants a kiss upon his cheek.

2006-04-11 00:03:29 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 20: Wolf and Jackal

Secretly back in Iraq,
The brothers Hussein settle in Mosul.
Though a stronghold of the Kurds,
A cousin owns a mansion there, owes them favors.
His home is their selected safe house,
With tall walls and palace-like construction.

They make quite the pair, these
Brothers grim, bound by family ties.
Neither chose to return, they've been ordered
By Saddam. Udai, wheelchair bound
Finds life difficult and brings a bodyguard.
Qusai, physically fit, brings along his teenage son.

Their cousin Nawaf al-Zidan's a braggart,
Proud of his connection to Saddam.
He flaunts his wealth around town, until
Americans arrive and make new rules.
Zidan's future income may be threatened,
Thirty million for the brothers starts looking good.

The brothers' mission to Iraq is rather simple:
The retrieval and conveyance of currency.
U.S. dollars, many millions, have been
Buried deep in a dozen locations.
The brothers have been told where it is hidden,
Saddam trusts no one else to dig it up.

The family has completed
All the necessary arrangements:
Excavation equipment, trucks for hauling,
Border guards paid off, airplanes chartered.
With guidance from the brothers,
At most it's one week's work.

Zidan, reluctant host to smugglers,
Carefully considers all his options. He likes
His house, but 30 million will buy another,
He likes his town, but London is acceptable.
He likes his life, but what is life without risk?
Besides, Udai is a miserable whiner.

And so it is that on Tuesday, July 22,
Zidan takes his family out to lunch. A
Small café's their choice. Zidan soon leaves
Alone, while his family stays behind and eats.
Meanwhile, the Hussein brothers remain
Inside Zidan's stately home.
Zidan makes the fateful phone call.
He contacts U.S. command, tells them
That two brothers, sons of Saddam,
Are holed up in a house, Zidan's, in Mosul.
For 30 million dollars he will show them.
They readily agree and drive across town.

U.S. troops pull up across the street
From Zidan's grand home. Stone walls
Line its perimeter, construction solid.
The soldiers ring the doorbell, ask
For surrender, unusually polite for an invader,
When shots ring out, they respond with force.

Two hundred soldiers lay siege,
Backed by attack helicopters, fully armed.
A three-hour shoot-out ensues, home destroyed,
Though how four men, one crippled,
Hold off a small army remains a mystery
As does the necessity of such violence.

Riddled by bullets, upper floors destroyed,
The home's walls collapse. The dust settles,
Sounds of battle fade, a contingent
Of U.S. soldiers enter. Within a bathroom
And bedroom across the hall, four
Bloodied bodies lie sprawled in the dark.

Identification's tough, there's too much blood.
One body is a teen, not Saddam's sons.
Another, a stocky man, fits no description.
The other two, unmoving save the pooling blood,
Are full bearded, their injuries severe,
Indications are it's Wolf and Jackal.

Udai's face is smashed and twisted,
A huge gash runs from below his left eye,
Travels down his nose to his right cheek,
Betraying Udai Hussein's human side.
Where once there was that ruthless smile,
Broken teeth and smashed lips grimace coldly.

Qusai, more handsome than his brother,
Taller, stately, by all reports quite charming,
Though spared the facial wounds, still suffers
Mortal injury. His body pierced by munitions,
Thrown against walls by rocket concussions,
He lies eyes open, staring at eternal darkness.

The deaths are speedily announced,
A fine distraction from stories of uranium.
The streets erupt in gunfire, displays of jubilation.
Despite the mixed feelings about U.S. occupation,
Most Iraqis fear Saddam's regime more,
And exclaim their joy with bullets.

Some don't believe it's true, suspect
The dead are body doubles. Iraqis won't
Be convinced unless the bodies are shown,
So the U.S. uses of photos of the dead,
Pictures of the boys in all their gory glory,
Displayed on CNN and NBC.

The mangled face and ragged beards
Make public recognition too hard. Two
Days later, new photographs are shown
Of the brothers' reconstructed shaven faces.
A line of stitches forms a "V" below their collars,
As though heads had been affixed to new torsos.

It's not revealed who squealed, though neighbors
Suspect Zidan, who watched it all, his
House bombarded, walls collapsed, sitting
In a Hummer sipping iced tea like a tourist,
Like a man without a care, completely unworried,
Windows up, cool in the air conditioning.

L. Paul Bremer makes a prediction: The demise
Of Saddam's sons will result in fewer U.S. deaths,
Or perhaps more. True to his amazingly
Astute evaluation, within days the U.S.
Suffers its week of highest casualties,
Four soldiers killed in ambush on just one day.

2006-04-11 00:05:31 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 21: George Gloats

"Now this feels good!"
Simple George exclaims. In one day
We knocked off two miserable pricks,
And got that damn uranium
Off the front page. We may have
Finally turned the corner!"

George gives a thumbs up to
The White House inner circle.
Foul Rumsfeld to George's left, attention
Focused on his Black Goddess, Condoleezza;
Hard-hearted Cheney chats with Sly Ashcroft,
Who nods sagely.

Cunning Wolfowitz stands alone,
Scans the room, takes in the scene.
Proud Powell is conspicuously absent.
Not invited to this small affair, he's isolated
Shut out, marginalized, not part
Of the in-crowd, the self-anointed.

"I want to talk to the commander,
The guy who stormed that house in Mosul."
George laughs, animated and upbeat.
"No way I wanted those Hussein sons left alive
To shoot their mouths off at some trial.
We killed them like the rotten dogs deserved!"

Revenge tastes sweet, George is buoyant.
Ever since Saddam planned to kill his father,
George has sought one goal, to hurt the man.
The killing of his only sons feels good,
But now one overriding task remains,
To find and kill Saddam Hussein.

Iraq has been no cakewalk,
Peace harder to sustain than war.
Day by day Americans are dying
And the costs keep rising higher. Then again,
The Black Ichor of the gods
Is under United States control.

"It's only a matter of time, Mr. President.
Saddam is on the run, we'll find him.
When we do he'll end up like his sons,
Bullet-ridden, lifeless, draining blood."
Foul Rumsfeld is dramatic, loves attention
To his macho showman's style.
"I want that scum bag dead!" Prince George snarls,
"He tried to kill my daddy!" He
Jams his finger into Don's chest,
The pain makes Rumsfeld wince.
An embarrassed silence fills the office,
As the others shift and squirm.

"So, what's up with the WMD?"
His question falls into the silence,
Speaks volumes about his simpleness.
Complex plans many hours in the making,
Suddenly become an uncomplicated question,
Puncturing the hubris in the room.

Dick Cheney clears his throat, "Well sir,
We've put that off. Remember we decided,
September '04 would be the best,
Reverberating well with 9-11. The plans
Are all in place, be patient." His tone
Stops George cold.

"OK, OK...that's right, I remember."
The mood broken, George looks chastened.
Hard-hearted Cheney rules the roost,
"I think it's time we all got back to work."
The others all know who's in charge,
Move towards the door to leave.

"Good job, boys and girls, keep it up!"
George sounds forced and artificial.
The others turn and smile, some wave.
George is left alone with Cheney.
"Shit, Dick, I'm just anxious to move on,"
George slumps down in his chair.

Cheney moves behind the chair,
Puts his hands on George's shoulders,
Leans down and whispers, "C'mon, Kid,
Hang in there. It's the seventh-inning stretch,
No time to panic. You'll have your revenge.
I promise."

George nods, but his mood blackens;
His jubilance now turned to doubt,
He stares off into space, descending.
"Hey!" Cheney slaps George on the back,
"Come with me, I've got some cool photos.
Naked body shots of Udai and Qusai."

George looks up, a small smile on his face.
Like a child beckoned by his father,
Anxious for approval and acceptance,
Seeking love, George nods his head,
Stands up, turns toward Dick, and asks,
"Are they in color?"

2006-04-11 00:07:24 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 22: Surreality

Reality bends as July yields to August.
The 9-11 story assumes a different shape.
The twisted policies and positions of the Saudis,
Supposed allies of the U.S. in its
Endless war on terror, unmask
The extent of their untold 9-11 role.

"Blacked out" in a congressional report,
27 pages are leaked to the national press.
Detailing tales of money trails in millions,
They also tell of Saudi officials who
Helped the 9-11 hijackers find apartments
And threw a party on their San Diego arrival.

These revelations do not directly point
To the Saudi royal family, close friends
Of Bush elder and junior. Nonetheless,
The Saudis demand the pages be released,
And opportunity to refute the charges, which
They cannot do if the documents remain secret.

Those who see the pages all agree,
The American people will be outraged. While
Evidence of help to the hijackers
May be inconclusive, the Saudi ability to look
The other way is stunning. The Saudis
And Al Qaeda are joined at the hip.

Amidst these mind-bending revelations,
The DOD announces a new website,
A "futures" market in international events.
In fact, it's an online betting parlor, odds
Set and money wagered by the minute
On assassinations: who, when, and where.

The terror futures market is based
On the theory that public sentiment
Provides valuable insight and predictions
More accurately when money is at stake;
Better than a poll, where mere opinion is at play,
The idea's morbid nature's not considered.

Brainchild of John Poindexter, Rear Admiral, retired,
Who made news in the Iran/Contra scandal;
His 15 minutes of fame is decades old.
Hired by the Bushies, he creates
The Total Awareness Program, a military
Operation designed to spy on civilians.
Before the first bet's placed, Poindexter's game
Incurs the wrath of Democrats in congress.
Up to now just lap dogs to Prince George,
They take notice of this immodest proposal.
Paul Wolfowitz, who testifies before the Senate,
Says never mind, it's canceled.

Weirdness continues with another Saddam tape.
He still evades capture and seems
To have no trouble contacting Al Jezeera.
A little out of touch, he announces that
Iraqis with stolen cars can keep them,
So long as they're not lent to the coalition.

Gloating from the deaths of Saddam's sons,
The U.S. says he'll soon be dead or captured.
Deputy Secretary of State Armitage
Says the Army is just hours behind Hussein.
Lt. General Sanchez, commander of ground forces,
Tells the press, "You've not heard me say that."

"I love you and I miss you," Saddam's daughter
Raghad says on CNN. from Amman, Jordan. "He was
A very good father, loving, had a big heart,
He had so many feelings, and he was
Very tender with us." Soberly, her sister Rana says,
"He was our friend."

He was no friend, however, to their husbands,
Who fled to Jordan, then were lured back
To Iraq with promises of safety. Their deaths
Were immediately ordered by Saddam
To serve as an example to those
Who might consider such betrayal.

The twists and turns leave most of
The public well behind, confused. Prince George,
Simply leaves D.C. for a long vacation.
At his ranch in Crawford, Texas, he plans
To do some jogging, prune a shrub or two, and
Eat popcorn at a carnival in western Texas.

2006-04-11 00:09:17 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 23: Kidnapped

Amir Assan is raised to be a baker,
Next in a dynasty of floured men.
At six years old, his internship begins
With trips to the deep well before dawn,
Hauling water one-half mile to the bakery
Then back again for more, till noon.

By 12 years old, his strong hands knead;
He's a natural, as if yeast flows in his veins,
Excels in forming clouds of dough
That bake up tender and moist, and burst
With flavor. Of the generations who have toiled,
Amir shows the most promise.

By 25 he's the man in charge, his loaves
Famous in the city of Tikrit. Tall,
Strong, and masculine, consumed
By his business, he does not marry.
Childhood friends have grown up too, like
The Hussein boy named Saddam.

At 35, Amir joins the Baathist party,
Routine for those connected to success.
His friend Saddam assumes more power,
Soon becomes the President. Most
Who see Amir Assan and Saddam together
Remark at how much they look like brothers.

Doing well, reputation secure, Amir
Is called upon to render service to Iraq.
A special force of men's to be assembled,
Mission secret, but, they're told, essential.
Hand-picked, they will live lives in opulent seclusion:
Amir becomes Saddam Hussein's chief body double.

The alterations to Amir are mostly minor,
His nose is broken, reset, made larger.
Silicone's injected in his ears. His
Chin receives a small cleft just off center,
The hairs between his eyebrows are removed.
His mirror reflects Saddam; Amir has disappeared.

Amir is always on call. He's trained
His voice to sound exactly like Saddam's.
He meets with foreign diplomats, signs
Treaties and contracts. To all the world
Amir Assan is the ruler of Iraq, and lives
In splendid palaces to prove it.
The other body doubles are good, but
None carries off the masquerade as well.
In time, Saddam almost never appears in person,
He lets Amir do all the heavy lifting.
Amir is smart, and lives life like a king,
Enjoying the perks of power.

The invasion of Iraq changes everything.
Amir has no choice but to run. He
Hides in Tikrit as best he can, and most
People think he's The Breaker of Men.
He moves from house to house at night,
And lets his beard grow long.

In August of 2002, squatting outside for a shit,
He encounters two U.S. G.I.'s. Wearing long,
Unwashed white robes, Amir is wildly unkempt.
The soldiers look down, Amir looks up.
The moment of truth has arrived.
"Salaam," says Amir.

"You see what I see?" says Pfc Bill Swain.
'I see it but I don't believe it," says John Weld, private.
"Sure looks like him, except the beard." Bill
Walks around Amir to see his back. "Shit,
He's dirty," Weld steps back, makes a face.
"Let's take him and let SecOps have him."

"This guy is good, real good," Lt. Ben Stone
Is impressed. He says he's not Saddam,
But Christ, he looks and sounds just like him."
Security Operations is not sure. "Let's
Transfer him to CentCom, they'll find out."
Amir, blindfolded in a van, goes in the green zone.

"I can't tell," Col. Dwight Karsten shakes his head.
"He knows too much to be a body double,
It might just be Saddam trying to weasel
His way out. I say send him to D.C.,
Drug him up, interrogate him. If anyone can
Find out who he is, the spook doctors can."

Amir by this time has confessed, but
He's not believed. He tells them he's a baker,
Asks for dough to prove it. He's been Saddam
For so long so well, most photos, interviews
Documents and records show Amir Assan,
Not Saddam Hussein.

"We may have him, Mr. President!" Rumsfeld
Is fairly foaming. "He's on a C5 right now
Over the Atlantic. No one knows,
No press, completely top secret. He'll
Be here in four hours. I'll keep you informed."
Saddam, George thinks, finally!

Held at the CIA behind one way glass,
Amir's conflicted. He can say he's Saddam,
He'll most likely be believed. But
Then he will be tried and sent to prison.
If he succeeds in proving he is Amir Assan
A humble baker, his fate becomes a question.

Injections reveal the truth: Amir Assan
The baker. Hypnosis and sodium pentothal
Force him to relive his childhood sojourns
To the well. Shoulders sore and cramped
From hauling water, he cries and asks
For his mother.

"Shit! I thought we had him! Shit!" George yells.
"I'm sorry sir, he's just a body double.
Damn good, fantastic really, and he's
Played Saddam for so long he might
As well be him." Rumsfeld sounds impressed.
"That gives me an idea," Cheney chimes in.

"I think Saddam is dead," says Dick,
"We'll never find the body. Perhaps
This guy Amir can be made to play the role."
Two hours later, Cheney and Rumsfeld
Have the plan in place. Prince George
Goes along, convinced that it can work.

In September, the San Francisco weather
Is the nicest of the year. The 580
Highway underpass provides shelter
From the sun, and the homeless make use of
The unused real estate. Amir Assan
Sits huddled with his few belongings.

A microchip beneath his skin keeps
Track of him till needed. Foul Rumsfeld
Will someday give orders and Amir Assan
Will be picked up, sedated and flown to Iraq,
Secured in a safe hiding place
And later "discovered" as "Saddam."

Amir's mind no longer sharp, brain
Scrambled with drugs from the CIA,
He tells others he's Saddam Hussein,
But they just laugh. He's big, strong,
Eats well enough, and really likes
San Francisco sour dough bread.

2006-04-11 00:11:43 UTC
The Idyossey
Chapter 24: Denouement

In Baghdad mornings are cool before the mid-day heat
As autumn slips into late September.
American troops are under constant attack,
More men killed after than during active war,
Iraq is in shambles, population demoralized,
While Saddam, Breaker of Men, remains at large.

Prince George admits to war's real cost,
Eighty-seven billion is requested from Congress.
The extent of his folly, his headstrong policy,
Hits home; like boots in thick mud,
Held in a sticky sludge that exhausts effort,
The U.S. is trapped in an Iraqi quagmire.

The chorus of dissent quickens, public
Opinion turns against the costly venture.
The Democratic candidates sing
Of his folly daily; George's popularity falls.
General Clark joins the field of contenders,
A decorated soldier vs. George's top gun fluff.

At the U.N., U.S. allies foment opposition,
France, Germany and Russia pull together,
Hold the U.S. hostage to an altered policy.
At the U.N., George behaves in cowboy fashion,
Asks for help, but on his own terms only.
Meanwhile, Al Qaeda retrenches and recruits.

A video production of Bin Laden is released.
Like a home movie of a family vacation
He calmly strolls among Afghan flowers
On a hillside, walking stick in hand,
At home among the jagged rocks and scrub.
The bearded Islamic avenger is alive.

Momentum lost by George et al.,
A juggernaut becomes a holding action.
Though many Baathists are arrested,
Weapons of mass destruction are never found.
It's rumored Saddam is still at large;
Citizens of Fallujah proudly parade his photo.

Saddam himself, much thinner,
His mustache gone, hair cropped,
Surgery having altered his appearance,
Returns home to Iraq disguised. He calls
Himself Abu Al Sabat, a merchant,
Travels north of Baghdad undisturbed.
Despite his safety in North Korea,
Saddam could not resist the journey home.
With both sons dead he's too much alone and
Hungry for the blistering heat,
To him the sweet caress of desert life.
He returns like a pigeon to his old roost.

Sipping tea late morning at a café,
He begins discussion with two other men.
They are intrigued by his air of authority and
As he rails against the west,
His companions get worked up and
The discussion becomes heated.

"Bush is a criminal," says Stealthy Saddam,
"The world court will say so, he'll be condemned."
"He's no worse than Saddam," says Ibn Hassan,
He raises up his glass to make a toast.
"I'm glad Saddam is gone, I hope he's dead!"
The other man holds up his glass. They drink.

Saddam, breaker of countless men
Like these, small men with big ideas,
Grins and begins to chuckle. In moments
He's hysterical, tears down his cheeks,
While the men, confused and wary, are
Unsure why this stranger laughs.

Saddam stands, pulls out a roll of dollar bills.
Still chortling, he throws one down,
Claps the back of Ibn Hassan and says,
"Saddam dead, I don't think so!"
At that he turns and walks away
Down an ancient alley.

The men, Ibn Hassan and Salim Barhabi,
Have noticed Saddam's fat roll of dollars.
Without a word, they rise together,
And follow Saddam to the south.
Saddam is distracted by chirping birds,
As men with sharp knives stick to his heels.

His pace unhurried, Saddam strolls.
Unrecognized, average-looking,
For the first time in many years he's free,
No attendants, no crowds, he
Has time and money, can relax and enjoy life.
He plans to take a restful nap.

As the alley forks he turns to the left.
Behind him, quickening, the two men split,
One turning right, the other left.
They know their home town well, its
Passages, short cuts and tunnels,
And that they will meet head on.

Lulled by the laughter of children,
Completely unaware he is in danger
Saddam walks straight into the ambush.
As he turns a corner, Salim Barhabi
Scarf pulled over his face confronts him,
Behind Saddam Ibn Hassan draws his blade.

"Out of my way," barks Saddam, as if
Backed by the fighters Fedayeen.
Used to power, he forgets his new persona.
Barhabi blocks his path. Ibn Hassan
Places the knife's point at Saddam's back,
While Barhabi searches him.

"I recognize you!" Saddam laughs,
"At the café, you hoped Saddam was dead...
You want money?" Saddam dips into his pocket,
And Ibn Hassan, fearing a weapon
Thrusts his knife in Saddam's kidney.
Arterial blood follows the withdrawn blade.

"What!" yells Saddam, "What are you doing?"
He falls against the wall. "Taking your money,
You Baathist pig," sneers Barhabi, "And
"Your life as well," adds Ibn Hassan.
Saddam slumps to the sandy sidewalk,
His cash is taken, the two men run off.

As his life drains out, he feels
Hot air upon his face like desert breeze,
Turns and sees a black dog staring. Hussein
Smiles and the dog licks his face. "I am
Loved after all," he sighs, as Death
Welcomes Saddam, Breaker of Men.



The Bushiad and The Idyossey - Copyright 2004 by Victor Littlebear -
All rights reserved