The 10th Crusade: the Skeptic's Crusade
Nowadays, War is civil, declared over round tables,
a doughnut of crinkled paper icing. We have old dried-out walnuts
lined in a row, waiting for cracking. We have expensive ink pens. Ice water.
Plastic airplanes. Toy soldiers. Microphones and maybe feet and chairs tripping over one another.
Afterwards there will be a luncheon to wash down the words. Perhaps they think of this
as they wrestle with colored bits of silk called ties. Maybe they are hungry.
A whole library of them, their secret grumbling stomachs,
unturned by the idea of war.
Our teacher has been passing back and forth between
us little piles of human development, that one the future president
and that one the future carpet cleaner, and when she intercepts my path,
I, my head full of the technicalities of an obscure thing called justice,
think I can maybe see her face. "I have a lot of family in the military,"
she explains. But it doesn't explain her bored expression.
War is an antediluvian concept, lost with the eradication of the old-fashioned.
War is somnambulistic, Lady Macbeth washing her hands. But I,
I with my textbook on my desk and dreaming of Arabic troops
killed at the knife edge of a white-skinned guilty stranger, I--
It must be disgust.
War, I whisper at the TV screen, morose with newsprint dust.
Blood and vicious mentalities and helicopters kicking up dust.
Feet crushing the plants under their heavy rubber soles.
The smell of chlorophyll and bad chemicals.
Yellow fog and gas masks. Nuclear mushrooms that cause leukemia.
Corned beef politics. Police actions. Comrades carpet under your feet.
Metal. Iron. Brutality.
Instead, the flimsy chalkboard screen--flipflipflipflip--
Flat line. Someone yawns. PowerPoint changes.
The title is in bold triumphant letters. My ignorance,
or maybe a watercolor portrait of all my unpatriotic and sullenly unreligious sins,
knocks its head against the atlas pasted on the wall.
Black lines pretending to be roads lead my finger to a city
I have never heard of. My pencil tracing triangles over
textile lines of genetic terms,
eager to get back to mutated expressions of fractured hearts and broken lungs.
Sad to know that even a black and white reading guide
can compare to a silicon scramble of bloodshed and betrayals.
Nowadays, War is civil. There is nothing surprising about massacres
in the name of freedom or stealing someone else's perfume skies
because we cannot see through the opaqueness of their bodies,
a thing called flesh. There is nothing new in that anymore.
A/N: And no, it's not that I'm particularily against the war in Iraq. Just having fun with the idea of declaring war with Powerpoint presentations.