Moby Dork
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

He fell asleep on watch and as he dozed
Some clever men decided to exploit
The glaring lapses that his naps exposed

So with some real panache and plans adroit
Some Saudis and their friends secured four planes
And flew them not to L.A. or Detroit

But into three big buildings’ window panes
Which brought collapse and loss of life extreme
A fact that never somehow quite explains

The subsequent developmental theme
Of mass destructive weaponry and such
That no one had designed into their scheme

Because they didn’t need so very much
Except for Dubya -- clueless in the clutch

You see, the fifteen Saudis dead and burned
Had shown with only some assistance sought
That sharpened stationary tools once turned

To service with some airplane tickets bought
Could neutralize a vast corrupt machine
Spread all around the globe with little thought

To what it could accomplish on the scene
When really needed for the home’s defense:
An absence and a negligence obscene

Presided over by a head so dense
That no amount of education known
Could teach to it the rudiments of sense

Thus only propaganda overblown
Could hope to mask the crime he would disown

Revealed as one unsuited to his job
Young Dubya had to make a choice and fast
For in his lap the fates would never lob

Another chance like this which couldn’t last
And so he hit upon a tried technique:
Into the future he’d project the past

Which might assuage the voters and their pique
By scaring them with what they’d just been through
As if it waited up ahead a week

And not already what the people knew
As part of history where them he’d failed
And for which failure he deserved the screw

A prospect at which Dubya truly quailed:
The only cure for that from which he ailed

He looked up in the sky and saw some dots
In whose unsteady twinkling he perceived
Disloyalty in cosmic symbol plots

Against the sun and moon which he believed
Existed but to mark his day and night
And so he sought to have the stars relieved

As mutineers against his Captain Blight
Who sailed the vessel Pipsqueak to its loss
For no good reason; simply out of spite

To demonstrate himself at last a boss
And not some tax deduction for dad’s friends
Polaris posing as the Southern Cross

He changes with no season till it ends:
A policy that pays no dividends

Traversing over often-covered ground
He names the starting-line anew then claims
That he has seen a path to the profound

A way to realize ambition’s aims:
A war to have itself so he can strut
Upon a stage too small for any names

That fifteen minutes doesn’t make a glut
Exhausting his one act, he plays a role
That ends in nothing flat and nothing but

A petty misdemeanor on parole
Which for a jaded audience of peers
Who benefit from all the loot he stole

Receives what he expects: some scripted cheers
While worthless-ticket holders offer jeers

The prefix “mono-“ hardly summarized
The artless mania that he portrayed
The image of “commander” that he prized

The pious son who knelt at night and prayed
To “higher” father-figures overhead
Who to his raving scant attention paid;

In whom a bored indifference he bred
Since he by habit good advice ignored
Not even Santa readying his sled

Could find a reindeer who could be implored
To make its mark and join a voyage damned
Because no navigator served aboard;

Because the crew with landlubbers was crammed
Then shut, recruitment’s door abruptly slammed

And so a ship of fools put out to sea
Equipped with rigging fit to sail a tub
A bathroom Bounty doomed to travesty

As Mr. Christian chose his toes to stub
Parading on the poop deck with no boots
His mission he proceeded soon to flub

Despite the sycophants in hired cahoots
Who swore to varnish each and every gaffe;
Who overlooked the raspberries and hoots

From those who clearly saw and had to laugh
As such pretentious Keystone Cops as these
Proposed themselves the ship of state to staff

To cruise the fires of Hell till they should freeze;
To reach the Moon and bring back its green cheese

Bullwinkle Moose would say, “This time for sure!”
And then would pull no rabbit from his hat
Before which act the squirrel would demur

By saying: “That trick never works!” and that
Persisting in such vain attempts to trick
Would only throw into the fire more fat

Which hardly made the Moose look deftly slick
Just only more inclined to postulate
That with another hat good luck might pick

A bunny, not the awful ungulate
Whose sharp hooves stomp magicians blue and black
Who heed not their own words: “Now concentrate ...”

As one more “new” “way” “forward” in Iraq
“Advances” us just two more old steps back

So sailed around in circles this lost raft
Propelled by swirls and eddies too severe
To navigate in such a ruined craft

That once had seemed impervious to fear
Bravado substituting for a chart
Now rudderless, off course, he can’t see clear

To bravely act a poorly written part
Except to brazenly puff out his chest
And claim “It’s not a science, but an art”

He fails in fact but says he did his best
Which in some private schools means “never mind”
And somehow translates to: “I passed the test”

For crony kids ordained to always find
Reward for nothing offered up in kind.

This tale of Moby Dork has yet no end
For he who sought to wreak his righteous wrath
Upon a fleeing fish now cannot send

To know who placed the buoy into his path;
To tinkle, not to toll, him on his way.
For one who simply could not do the math

No course-correcting calculations lay
Around for easy pickings floating by.
Engulfed in fog, he saw no brighter day

But heard a chuckling ominously nigh
Not knowing he had reached his Brobdingnag
Where he, the tiny Lilliputian fly,

Would find the gods as wanton boys a drag
Who for their sport had cast him in their gag

For soon the erring boy would know the tune
Of Ahab’s lyrics written small and slim
For simple minds like his, a single rune

Compressed and summarized for such as him
Whose single concept, “war,” left only room
To entertain a prudish moral prim

Although he liked to say he felt no gloom
And slept without a nightlight, sound and well
Each day advanced him closer to his doom

As if bewitched by some enchanter’s spell
He bled his nation’s army thin and pale
While he devised more lies to try and sell.

He bleached the white itself out of the whale
Which left transparency to tell his tale.

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