A flash. And then…
But what, I hear you ask, has happened?
Depends on who you are, whose eyes
unwrap ideas events are wrapped in.
For each a singular surprise.
Here’s what the President related:
By his account, he’d ‘duly waited’
and listened to the Pentagon
and heard the stark conclusions drawn
by aides. The bomb, they said, was ‘dirty’.
Or might have been. Who knows for sure?
And though, in retrospect, the cure
out-harmed the ailment, ‘War ain’t purdy!
When cities might be gassed, you know,
it’s better we think fast than slow.’
That’s true. For Time is indecisive!
Each line it writes is soon crossed out.
For every word it sacriﬁces,
another one is cast in doubt.
It starts with, ‘Terror Strike on Houston,’
then puts a tiny pinch of Proust in,
then rolling-pins and stretches it
into the clearer, ‘Missiles Hit
the Astrodome.’ And then expanding
still further, ‘Missiles Were Our Own,
Admits U.S.’ ‘A “Known Unknown”
Results in President Commanding
Preemptive Strike.’ ‘The Cessna May
Have Had a Nuke, Ofﬁcials Say.’
Above these searching, cooked-up phrases
parading cross the TV screen,
the experts speak in verbal mazes
explaining what the facts must mean.
A hurricane of thoughts and comment:
On what a certain type of bomb meant
(supposing it was used); or why
so many people had to die.
And yes, it may have been an error
to launch those missiles. Then again,
attacks are not an ‘if’, but ‘when’.
And we must win the war on terror!
At least by blowing up the hive,
no killer bees come out alive.
with world affairs and those who choose
– like Rush, or Chris, or even Noam –
to be the groupies of the news.
This world is a great performer!
And like her fans, these pundits swarm her,
request an autograph, then boast
that they’re the ones who know her most.
That they – so different from the masses –
were sitting in a privileged row.
That they not only saw her show
but afterward, with backstage passes,
engaged her in some repartee,
and pumped the hand of Destiny!
Stay back! Stay back, enticing diva.
I’ve seen what mischief you can cause!
Send B-grade actors to Geneva
so they can hear the world’s applause.
A diplomat you made of Bono!
An artist out of widowed Ono.
And though the world, no doubt, has gained
from these strange titles you ordained
and craves to know – much like a goalie
before a shot – which corner space,
of which unknown, impoverished place
will land the offspring of Ms. Jolie,
stay back! For I’m a weak believer
in anything I write with true
belief! (A perfect rhyme – ‘deceiver’.)
We see the lights, but shadows do.
In every righteous, preachy braggart
resides (an easy rhyme) a Swaggart,
who sings the proselytizer’s song,
then writes a book called, I Was Wrong.
(Or have I mixed my Jim with Jimmy?
They’re all the same. They make sweet noise
then falter with their altar boys.)
So, too, some sleeper spy within me,
it seems, emphatically condemns
the inverse of my stratagems.
And now it’s time to cool this thermal
digression, calm its upward draft.
Though poets feel no spine or dermal
adjustments, wings adorn their craft.
And stretching out one’s verbal feathers
in warm and philosophic weather
beside a canto’s cliff can shrink
one’s story down to insects’ ink
(while we drift up into the heavens).
But reader! How these lofty planes
provide their gifts to you! Some grains
of manna for Kamal to leaven,
like lessons Wendy gained from Pan,
or brainy Lane from Superman.
So let’s move on. A poet. That’s all.
I have a purpose. To write Kamal.
A billion pairs of eyes were sure
their TVs showed a massacre.
And many more would see the sordid
broadcasts of that day’s nightmare.
So many Camera Joes were there,
so many twitching limbs recorded,
and screams for help and plaintive groans,
and calm last words on telephones.
reports and so much evidence;
survivors, wounded, dead aplenty –
all members of the common sense –
that when I give my own rendition
of what occurred (the demolition,
or terror strike, or accident,
or metaphysical event
that turned the Astro into Ash-tro
and launched the world into war)
I’m sure to meet a seasoned corps
of criticasters and their cash-ﬂow.
And every fact I write will be
dismissed by those who disagree.
And some will say that Houston’s bombing
was good or evil, smart or dumb,
defensive, vital, terror-calming,
or just ‘performance art’; and some
will say the witnesses are liars
and some – the ‘Astrodome Deniers’ –
will have the solipsistic gall
to say it didn’t occur at all!
(Ignore their treachery, protestors!
They crave the frottage in your ﬁght;
Your ‘no’s and ‘stop’s will just excite
more lechery from truth-molesters).
And some self-righteous ones will nod
and give all credit to their God.
See the complete index of episodes from Kamal, Book One
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