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poem Iraq war poem by Hugh Cook of

A Day in the Life of a War

2003 April 06 Sunday

         There is cherry blossom drifting on the wind, blossom which is pink-white and white-pink. It floats on the water, on the thin skin of water which floats above the bedrock of reality.

        The box in the corner of my room has gone mad. It is killing thousands of people, blandly.

        It is spring in Japan, and in the spring the cherry blossom is brief but present, a delicate transience which turns our thoughts toward that perennial epiphenomenon of the season: carousing. Beer, stir-fried noodles, barbecued squid.

        Let me tell you, on this day of flowers, how the Americans came to liberate us. They came with flowers. We were so happy. Intoxicated with perfume, my sister's head exploded. My mother clutched her headless daughter, laughed.

        The people have dogs, and the dogs have short legs, and are cute and irrelevant. There are plastic lanterns, pink and blue, blue and pink, pink and white. The coffee at the Bistro Pétillant is served with brown lump sugar.

        He had the misfortune to be born. He was told to join the army. He joined. The American exploded him.

        He exploded. His pieces -

        Sprayed about the room.

        The Americans exploded

        - ten, twenty, thirty, fifty -

        - a full three thousand in one

        intoxicating driveby shooting.

        They were very brave.

        Annihilating force.

        A victory.

        Jesus is a lamb, and there is green grass in heaven, and we pray, and the brave fireman goes up the stairs

        when all the other people are coming down.

        A journalist had a heart attack and died.

        It was very sad.

        Before the cherry tree, the plum tree blooms, and a child has written a poem about the blossom of plum trees, about petals falling like snow.

        Simple. And artless.

        I have nine and ninety arts by which to tell you how the Americans arrived, and why. I have no art to make

        the words breathe roasting flesh

        to make

        the smell of bodies nine days old -

        In the American future, the dead will be prosperous. The headless daughter will be suitably grateful. The man who exploded will vote.

Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook

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