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Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming to Iraq

MSNBC Reports: First Western tourists visit war-torn Iraq

coming to Iraq is to read
a dead madman's roman à clef,
some novel describing real life
behind a façade of fiction; America's
ineligible diction from afar
lost in translation
before it even hits these

                  here democracy is now
a type of Gonzo journalism,
of style favoured over accuracy;
democracy is gritty here,
not like its polished benefactor,
but similar in one respect, like America
anyone who visits here
will inevitably become part
of its story;

                  the region is a first person
narrative, where soldiers keep diaries
to notch up their bullet counts
and iPod playlists, or their guilt in feeling grief,
or them against the world retro-mentality,
brain-twisting short stories
where you feel terror after
thinking you've caught
a glimpse of the future

                  one soldier thinks he is a badass supertough enforcer
for the land of the free, while another
is one obsessed with World Series memorabilia,
sleeping with his baseball cards,
another speaks with a decaffeinated delivery,
his man-child schtick erased long ago,
but at least Christmas is back in Basra,
he says;

                  while another soldier
has converted to Islam, secretly praying, lost
within the architecture of his mind,
the call to prayer an echo
as the night slashes at the day
like a razor fingered psycho, you can go mad
in the dark
he says, as no one can tell the difference
between soldiers and jihadists from afar;
provocateurs following their dreams
of glory;

                  it's the same old story,
just terrorism has strapped an explosive to it,
and soldiers have added their own blood to mar
a historical-mythical epic
in this new reimagining of Iraq,
where young American boys wonder if night will ever
sleep again;

                  and where Iraqis have begun to remember
old dictators with nostalgia,
or wishing for a parallel world --
like in Hollywood movies --
where this never happened to them,

                  I wonder which legacy will remain
the most; who will remember what
of a certain age, who will take
on what duties as son or daughter
in this blasted region: its dignity
pulled screaming from humanity's
womb by a forced Caesarian section
that now cuts down the stomach of
something that once resembled
a country,

                  and now in coming to Iraq,
I wonder about genocide
and infanticide, and as the soldiers arm their packs
to brave the borders, I wonder when it
was the exact moment
we all committed suicide.

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