"Every time I read the paper
Them ol' feelings come on.
We're waist deep in the Big Muddy;
The Big Fool says to push on." -- Pete Seeger (1967)

Neck Deep in the Big Sandy

We now sink in a quagmire like
The one not long ago
In which we went insane and fought
A non-existent foe:
A Monolithic Communist
In Southeast Asia so
Determined to resist us that
We had make him go.

He looked like a Vietnamese,
This awful threat to us,
Whose very foreign nature made
Him frightening and thus
A perfect proxy for a war
Against a concept, plus:
He even lived a world away,
Which made him less a fuss.

Still, he prevailed, this “enemy.”
In time, we packed and went.
And since we never met him it’s
A wonder why we sent
Our youth to squander so much blood
And all that money spent
To buy a house we didn’t want
And couldn’t even rent.

We’ve come around to sink once more
Where no one ever planned.
Instead of Delta mud, this time,
We sink in desert sand
Because an adolescent twerp
Could not wait to “command”
Some troops behind which he could hide
His thieving sleight-of-hand.

But things have not gone well, of course.
Wars based on lies and fraud
In no time go awry and leave
Our legions mauled and clawed,
Marooned for years and trapped by those
Who – neither shocked nor awed --
Reserve the right to rule themselves
And name their own one GAWD.

With chickens coming home to roost,
Our “hawks,” like capons clipped,
Cluck mighty yarns to obfuscate
The fact that they have slipped
And fallen face-down in some shit
In which them fate has dipped
To show what happens when the dumb
Some booby-traps have tripped.

So now they stall and drag their feet
And hope to pass the buck.
They cannot “win,” yet fear to “lose,”
Which means they’ve gotten stuck
For knowing not what makes a train
So much unlike a truck,
And what makes gamblers lose when they
Confuse blind faith with luck.

They offer up excuses now,
Some new ones every year.
To kick the can on down the road,
They’ll peddle any fear
As long as no one questions all
That loot that they hold dear.
Examples follow, now, of what
We’ve come to see so clear:

We stay because of violence
That we cannot prevent.
We stay, inflicting violence,
To mask our true intent.
We stay so that the perpetrators
Never must repent.
We stay for any rationale
A baboon could invent.

We will not leave because we can’t
Acknowledge what we’ve done:
Destroyed another nation just
To have a bit of fun,
Convincing no one but ourselves
That “We are Number One!”
While promising eternity
To never cut-and-run;

Which cavalier vainglory and
Contempt for other lands
Has proved that power ought to lie
In someone else’s hands
Since we’ve abandoned reason for
Stupidity’s demands,
Secreting noxious hormones from
Our self-indulgent glands.

We stay because we stay because
We stay because we stay,
And have not one intention to
Reflect in any way
Upon the dumb decisions we
Make each and every day
Allowing war’s lewd profiteers
To keep on making hay.

The senselessness might puzzle those
Who once thought that they think
But now must face the music and
The awful fact they stink
At any form of logic, needing
Visits to a shrink
To straighten out crude fallacies
Revealed in blots of ink.

The psychiatric tradesmen say
That once a lie is bought
It then makes perfect sense to claim
That no one ever taught
The method of distinguishing
The concepts “is” and “ought,”
Implying that what we have done
Does not mean that we’re caught

In vicious-circle riddles
That contain no terms defined
In such a way that one might solve
Conundrums of a kind
That only fools would formulate
To muddle up the mind
So that the answers to our woes
No one will ever find.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2009