On the Liberation of Iraq

Passover 2003 for Albert Nieman

Ali, the boy with no hands,
collateral damage
in a barrage from hell,
wants to commit suicide
if Americans can't replace
the hands they burned into oblivion.

In the birthplace of Abraham
in the Garden of Eden
where writing began
where the first laws
were inscribed into stone
America has sacrificed
libraries and museums of antiquities
while protecting the oil ministry
for its records of oil fields
and the Ministry of the Interior
where the secret police dwelled
with their juicy information on every one.

The barbarians have invaded
and it is called liberation
killing mercilessly
but never counting the bodies.

History recalls the Romans slaughtering
500,000 Carthaginians to dominate
trade routes in the Mediterranean.
But the Pentagon won't count
the dead and wounded in the Iraq carnage.

It might frighten the free people
of America and upset Arabs and Europeans.
It might make some patriots
embarrassed, remorseful or shocked
by the horror of war - the burnt bodies
severed limbs, and decapitations,
the children wounded and orphaned,
the mothers bereft of their children and husbands
even the soldiers shoveled in heaps into mass graves.

Then there might be a call
beginning as a whisper and rising
to a shout and then a prayer
for the end of war
for the healing of wounds
for truces and treaties
for nuclear disarmament
for the beating of guns
into food and shelter and medicine.

Then we will awake
from the nightmare of history
and overthrow the yolk of oil and empire.

But there I go again
dreaming of a new paradigm,
an alternative universe
expecting miracles
like Moses and Aaron in Egypt
and Tom Paine in America
and Gandhi in India,
like the creation itself
and the consciousness
that imagines these visions.

Next Year - in a new transfigured world.

Allen Cohen April 18, 2003

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