Stay the Curse
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

We’ve come back to the place we started from
Without a recognition of the scene.
To act and speak in ways supremely dumb,

We mouth the same moronic slogans mean.
We mouthed them thirty years ago and more.
No learning having taken place between.

We fight them “there” on some benighted shore
Because they fought us “here” the day we dozed
To expiate our rage with guts and gore.

Our government of fools and knaves composed
Egged on by yellow journalists in bed
Lashed out with open fist and both eyes closed.

The Lunatic Leviathan saw red.
A sloppy schizoid nation lost its head.

We fight them over there, the saying goes,
So that we do not have to fight them here
Attacking, we will keep them on their toes

Whomever they might be, we’ll make them fear
As soon as we can them identify
We’ll teach them not to box our deafened ear

Reminding us about the other guy
Who has a say in how the match turns out
Who knows when to approach and when to fly

Who knows that more than one round makes a bout
Who has no other place that he can go
And so he finds no terror in our clout

He sees his chances in the ebb and flow
And knows the tides turn daily, twice and slow

We lost the day we started this crusade
We’ll win the day we cease and start anew
Or else we’ll “win” the right to slowly fade:

To keep investing in returns so few
While paying out an escalating price
Accumulating bloody residue

For him who gambled on some tumbling dice
A busted Vegas tourist in the hole
Who lost the family mortgage in a trice

And mom and dad’s retirement on a roll
And payroll taxes of the kids unborn
Who never got the chance to take a poll

To vote and have a say before they’re shorn
To subsidize a war now long forlorn

But “standing tall” is easy if its free
As Fearful Leader with our credit card
Proves every time he shows up on TV

He says, “Just charge it” (off the books, no less)
“Just put it on the tab,” he glibly grins
The naked king has no need to undress

Since his court spokesman duly weaves and spins
A thin, transparent robe of lies to cloak
The infiltrating fascist Jacobins

Who use their endless “war” on “Bad” to choke
Alarmed complaints about their use of “long”
To add more future lives to those they broke

The free-lunch warfare welfare of the “strong”
Who never pay for all that they do wrong,

The prospect of a hanging clears the mind
And focuses the thoughts on what remains
Of life lived badly, boorishly, and blind

He hears the rattle of the dungeon chains
Crusader pilgrim now for ransom held
Indignities for past inflicted pains

The long days into one dark tunnel meld
As those he sent to fight have served and shone
Yet fierce resistance, too, has also jelled

He now sits dialing on his telephone
He thought the world would wait for him to call
Though now he often gets the “busy” tone

Napoleonic needs hold him in thrall
An overcompensation for the small

He swore to “Stay the Course” and so he sailed
Directly at the iceberg straight ahead
This strategy for boating clearly failed

With soldiers in the thousands maimed and dead
And people liberated of their lives
Free now to roam the afterlife instead

To cover up: he swaggers, shucks, and jives
Who’d never serve in Heaven, Hell would rule
He wildly swung and struck some hornet hives

Then, badly stung, he played the bumpkin fool
Unable to decide, he just delayed
And sought to sell paralysis as cool

In fact, he merely feared to look afraid
And so his feckless course he grimly stayed

His spokesmen and apologists turn red
Embarrassed by their leader’s flopping flips
Reporters even gag on what they’re fed

Instead of swallowing the banal quips
Which normally they wouldn’t think to quiz
Too frightened lest a question pass their lips

Which might reveal their ignorance of “is”
And what it does or doesn’t mean when used
Disowning acts most definitely his;

Unthinkingly by those who it abused;
Identifying abstract levels mixed
Adrift, humiliated, and confused

Semantic sailors – mooring lines unfixed –
Tried hard to lie, but found themselves deep-sixed.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2006-2010