Sunday, August 01, 2010

13 Ways of Looking at a Cruise Missile

i
The germ of an idea,
intelligent destruction,
blue print in some mind’s eye.

ii
Fruition, intricate,
delicate circuitry,
the act of creation.

iii
See how metals bends
to my will.
See how I shape the wind.

iv
Maps, contoured
cityscapes,
food for the insatiable.

v
A glint in the eye,
red button, cross hairs,
precise timing.

vi
Slipping out of the Stealth's belly,
erupting like a fountain
out of sea-shadow.

vii
Silenced sky,
blacked out city,
The lightshow begins.

viii
Video screen. Your target?
That impersonal concrete block.
Track the missile all the way to snow.

ix
The trembling air,
the collapsing walls,
the suffocating tomb.

x
Crater, black hole,
here it fused
with flesh and bone.

xi
Surgical strike
objective attained,
box ticked.

xii
BUNKER BUSTER'S
SMART STRIKE,
SHOCK AND AWE.

xiii
A hand growing
out of the rubble.
The last breath spiralling
out of reach.

The starting point for this poem was Wallace Stevens' '13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird', a great piece of work which has been parodied in many different contexts, but I suspect, none so harsh as this.

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