Saddam Hussein -well it could be a double-
Goes for a toddle around
Tariq Azziz is answering questions.
He looks like he’s talking in his sleep.
These guys may be foul- but they’re all so old.
The future government of
Will be the same one, Azziz explains
And just as he says it the lights go out.
US marines in the warlord’s garden;
Plumes of water, banks of flowers .
The medievals with their new languages
Wrote the best poems about the spring.
Simplicities of crusader song:
Sun, leaves, birds, meadows.
Empire thrives on simplicity.
Christ in his nimbus. Brutus in hell.
Saddam may be dead and gone
Or still scurrying. What does it matter?
There’ll be no coming back from this-
The tanks are parked on his city’s bridges.
And one of them swivels with prideful ease
To fire a shell at the TV cameras.
Caesar is blowing his smoke in our eyes,
War is declared on the prattlers and scribblers.
That’s me- a typical liberal.
I see all sides. I hate the war
But maybe this new American empire’s
The best of the bad alternatives.
Better one Caesar, however abusive,
Than dozens of pumped up tribal kings
And here’s a theory that may not fly-
A reign of terror can only be local.
To run a clunky, big thing like an empire
You need consent.
You need your satraps
To see you as holy or if not that
As a piddler of gold.
The weather’s untimely-
April eighteenth and as hot as August-
A smell of dryness, of newness, of sunshine.
I’m going to take up my novel again.
My heroine will be lucky in love.
(I need her to be) and nothing has changed,
Except that now she lives under the Eagle.
First you’re up and then you’re down.
From the top of the London Eye
We could see all the way to
With its very ugly obelisk.
Buildings should be interesting
And that thing isn’t.
Of knocking down uninteresting buildings
And putting a shoe
Through uninteresting portraits. Who was the last
Dictator with taste?
Fortuna balances on a ball
Like one of Picasso’s Saltimbanques.
We have an odd little image of her
Turned up by a metal detectorist.
I think it was a knocker but
It’s lost its knob.
Knock, knock, who’s there?
A winged destroyer with her tits out.
Only unwelcome to the powerful.
Flowers- yes, flowers- drop from her hands.