I can’t get my head around it. How did we devise
a concept like just war: the slain of the Lord
are dung upon the ground. I know there are distinctions
it is important to make and I don’t expect perfection
but the chicanery of subtle thought . . . if I pick it all apart
will anything be left to sew back into sense?
Cleverer minds are reconciled. Cultured, poised,
the government official (Should I give him spectacles?
Should they reflect the light?) pauses and replies:
The President regrets . . . but consider the alternative …
would you offer succour… and I can almost understand.
I sleep with reason as my lover, wake beside a monster
in my bed. I fumble beneath the mask, shape my lips
to the prospect of a kill, feel your thigh
against my rump, your fingers at my throat.
Oh, Rakosi, I’m still strumming on my lyre. Is there really
so much wrong with that? I’m embarrassed
by the flimsiness of my resolve, the silliness of saints and monsters,
conversations with a being who can’t plausibly exist,
this mockery of flagellation: this is my defective heart,
this my amputated foot, this the bandage from around my head.
A monster dies in the middle of his trial, another
denies the power of the court, two more evade arrest:
in politic’s parlour game, each day annuls the last.
9/11, I say, and Afghanistan, Bali and Iraq,
but I can’t fix a year to each event, what is,
what well might be, are steam against a bathroom mirror:
I see bits, an eye but not its double, the other ear,
a chin that lacks a jawbone for support.