Friday, July 14, 2006

War Chic

Gimme pictures!

Gimme the gleaming bomb,
The rocket launch at night.
Gimme the trembling sky,
Disintegrating light.

Gimme the golden man,
His tan muffled against the sand,
Hair flowing in the slipstream
Of careering tanks, in command.

Gimme the wide eyed child
With parched lips, hand outstretched,
Wearing a chocolate smile,
Evidently poor, but not quite wretched.

Gimme the keening sirens.
Gimme a sanctified hospital ward.
Gimme the photogenic wounded.
Gimme the hero on guard.

Gimme delirious crowds.
Gimme stars and stripes,
Statues crashing down.
Gimme patriotic hype.

Gimme banner headlines,
Bold, uncomplicated, witty.
Gimme unbottled excitement.
Gimme buckets of pity.

I'm trying to remember which Gulf War inspired this poem. It's getting hard and one war seems to blur into another. It's not so fashionable for journalists to 'go into battle' with the troops now as both reporters and journalist find it a lot safer skulking in the barracks, rather than being blown apart by roadside bombs in liberated Iraq. The poem was first published in New Welsh Review Autumn 2003 as part of a section contributed by Welsh Writers Against War.

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