A Commander in Brief
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

He wished to have a war he could command
Where none would dare to question what he did
Against a hapless ruler of some sand

With soldiers sworn to do the things he bid
He had no doubts but that he would prevail
Unlike in Vietnam (from which he hid)

So in he rushed like “hunters” after quail
Where wiser ones had counseled thought and choice
And rashly shot his country in the tail

He vainly wished to vanquish and rejoice:
A half-hypnotic hymn to hopes gone wrong
Yet still the fool heard only his own voice

A self-seducing scream that sounded strong:
A sorry solipsistic siren song.

This hollow creature howling at the wind
In thrall to “crisp decisions” he has made
His thoughtless orders he will not rescind

Despite the needless price his troops have paid
To shield him from the costs of preening pride
He lurks within the symbol soldier’s shade

Neglecting only those who’ve really died
And those about to die who haven’t yet
He sees his crazy course as sanctified

Like gamblers who’ve already lost their bet
He bit at his own bait till he was hooked
Then twisted deeper into his own net

He played with fire until his goose was cooked:
A reckless rake who leaped before he looked

Some hirsute Hebrew hindquarters to smooch
And thus to poach some precious purloined votes
He launched Crusade but only screwed the pooch

Creating thus a bloody Bay of Goats
While Congress uttered not a single peep
He set some Muslims at each other’s throats

And mired his legions in a quagmire deep:
A sand-trap shooting gallery of sorts
Then once again on watch he fell asleep

While crony corporations built the forts
He rode his bike in circles on his ranch
Which left him out of air and last resorts

The flow of blood and tears he will not stanch
So at his monster he can only blanch

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