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Tough Times

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Rachel Corrie was a white girl from Washington
run down by IDF bulldozer driver
who sealed his ears, put the gear in fourth
made mud and human flesh inseparable,
brick and rubble indistinguishable.
Rafah is like Baghdad today
only sirens bellow over Iraqi cityscape
and Americans cannot be seen.
They watch from satellite and high-altitude planes
ask bearded faces or olive skin for ID
and confuse subway goers with orange alert.

They skirmish at the borders, and talk foolishly
about saving the world. Altruism is selfish, soldier
and if dead white Germans had not thought of Progress

we might have been saved a few wars.
1 dead and 14 injured but will hospitals
have broken blood bottles and empty syringes?

No doctors or nurses to amputate, resuscitate
enliven the dead? No Baghdad miracles in medicine
because hospitals, like backyards in Rafah,
will lie in heaps of nothingness?

They say this is a concerted effort. When I saw that
first ball of fire emerge and then disappear
in the grayed, morning Baghdad sky I thought

Kabul is happening all over again
where children legless from mines ran
two years ago like teary faces today
into their mother's bosoms.
No storefront to open, no milk to buy from the corner store
because Saddam says that swords should be drawn and
Bush wants to make democracy of violence.

BBC shows the same images all night. Newscasters speak
from Qatar, Kuwait, Jordon set against muddy backgrounds
hair tousled, words repetitive and still

we have not seen the faces
or known the names that might not have burials.
Baghdad's funeral homes are closed and a hospital
cremation is the only option.

Allah is with us praise-willing.
Jesus Christ is looking down from the smoke-filled skies.
Are these comforting thoughts in dank, sweaty basements,
air raids in progress?

War has regressed to the impersonal
and as I ready myself to shout "No blood for oil"
in midtown streets, I will not wipe
a single drop of blood or see it splattered across
the dining table.

No palpable way to feel the pinch of war
and have skin redden under bullying hands.
No one to cry to but TV screens spewing nonsense.
I watch looming images of reeling smoke
Baghdad, Rafah, Kabul and scream
because I can do nothing.

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