Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

War Diary 4


Saddam Hussein -well it could be a double-

Goes for a toddle around Baghdad.

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 Iraq

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.



Ah Fortuna.


First you’re up and then you’re down.



From the top of the London Eye

We could see all the way to Canary Wharf

With its very ugly obelisk.


Buildings should be interesting

And that thing isn’t.


Twenty days

Of knocking down uninteresting buildings

In far Baghdad.


And putting a shoe

Through uninteresting portraits. Who was the last

Dictator with taste? 


De Richelieu?


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.

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