I cough into my hand a palm-full

of maggots, blow my nose

and flying ants fill the room. My white

handkerchief is a nest of trouble.

I’m sweating. I know something

is wrong with me.


my army is putting bullets

into the backs of civilians’

heads—Chilean, Panamanian,

Nicaraguan citizens—their hands bound

behind them. My army is driving

over soupy Iraqi children

in my tanks. Our soldiers

are testing fire, cutting-edge

laser weaponry, on brown skin

because they can, and they need to

prove it will work on flesh (just because

it cuts cars in half doesn’t show

what it will do to a man). Can-do, my army

follows orders, entertains the detained

press corps uptown with Bloody

Marys at the Marriott Hotel.

The barrio makes a better testing ground.

My country ‘tis of thee and the rockets

red glare. Our land of the free,

this home of the brave, houses the greatest

terrorists in the world today.


That’s why we’re winning

the War on Terror. We call it collateral

damage: if you get your ducks in line,

there will be minimal collateral damage.

Don’t worry, my army will

root out all the evil-doers

with bunker busters and cruise

missiles. My army’s smart bombs

know their way. They will get every last

one of the buggers, the vermin;

every brown-skinned socialist, banana-republic-

pest; every rag-headed, twin-

towered, Koran-spoutin’ tempest;

and every reinvigorated Pinko-

Rooskie added to the script. Orwell

would be proud . . . and so ashamed.

Interventions and preemptive strikes

are a matter of national (and global)

security. My army will establish

and insure for generations (this

brand of corporate) democracy

and freedom for the world.


I sneeze and the flying ants

turn into flying monkeys.

I cough and the maggots hatch

into high school boys ready to serve,

ready to follow, ready to win one

for the team, and ready to prove

above all they’re men. Maybe

these maggots weren’t the kids

who staked cats to railroad tracks.

Maybe these maggots didn’t

throw a pig in the river

just to watch it die, watch it

try to swim and cut its own throat.

But before they’re through

taking orders from those fucking

monkeys, they’ll wire Toto’s

testicles to a car battery

and take a pair of dykes to the Tin Man’s

chest—determined to add

his ticking heart to their collection

of shriveled ears. What you don’t want

to hear, what you fear more than

death, is that by the time they finish

with Dorothy, none of us will

ever find our way . . . back home.

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