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

As Thomas Friedman wrote “we had to hit
Somebody” in our rage and fear and shame
As if an angry atavistic fit

Excused illicit placing of the blame
On anyone unable to resist
A scorching by a misdirected flame;

A pounding by a mailed malicious fist
A satisfying salve for wounded pride
So round up all the suspects on our list

And proffer propaganda crude and snide
With no one conscious of the gaping holes
Through which ad hominem assassins slide

Our journalists took their supporting roles;
Our jingoists set out to slay some souls

Upon Iraq he sprayed a bloody splotch
Then transferred not the power but the blame
For all that had gone wrong upon his watch

Thus “sovereign,” like every other name
That passed his lips, ceased thereby to connote
But only served to slander and defame

The genuine: that sacrificial goat
For which he had no other use than bait
To close the case before the corpse could float

To stink upon the surface of the hate
That flowed through Babylon like sewage raw
Pandora’s pox escaped the open gate

And unimpressed by paltry Shock and Awe
Proceeded to stick fast in George’s craw

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