Saturday, March 31, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 50

Insurgents lie dead with a live hand grenade besides them in Ramadi during an operation to clear insurgents on Wednesday, March 28, 2007, in Ramadi, Iraq, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers shot the men, one of them holding a grenade, as the men tried to attack a house. They died during a US-Iraqi house-to-house sweep through what American commanders said was one of this city's last insurgent strongholds. The operation ended with rooftop gunfights, airstrikes and dead guerrillas on the streets.
(AP Photo/Todd Pitman)

from [American Journal]
by Robert Hayden

here among them the americans this baffling

multi people extremes and variegations their

noise restlessness their almost frightening

energy how best describe these aliens in my

reports to The Counselors

disguise myself in order to study them unobserved

adapting their varied pigmentations white black

red brown yellow the imprecise and strangering

distinctions by which they live by which they

justify their cruelties to one another

charming savages enlightened primitives brash

new comers lately sprung up in our galaxy how

describe them do they indeed know what or who

they are do not seem to yet no other beings

in the universe make more extravagant claims

for their importance and identity

. . .

confess i am curiously drawn unmentionable to

the americans doubt i could exist among them for

long however psychic demands far too severe

much violence much that repels i am attracted

none the less their variousness their ingenuity

their elan vital and that some thing essence

quiddity i cannot penetrate or name

- - -

the complete poem