The Words Don't Do It
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

The cowboy mercenaries cut a path
Through plundered people subject to their guns
Engendering resentment, fear, and wrath

An anger that, exploding, shocks and stuns
Resulting in some charcoal corpses hung
From bridges under which a nightmare runs

While back home picture managers felt stung
By pictures worth a thousand words that gave
The lie to words in groups of thousands strung

That sought to picture dogs of war as brave
Instead of purchased guns who deals have struck
To treat the conquered Arab as a slave

Some carpet-bagging killers-for-a-buck
Who cashed their checks when they ran out of luck

So someone in the White House took it ill
That Arabs in Fallujah would fight back
And so Marines were ordered out to kill

A city in revenge for an attack
A retribution operation new
To soldiers who would die to seal a crack

Avenging cowboy contractors so few
Who, anyway, were well paid for their roles
How they had earned such hatred, no one knew

But after the election at the polls
It wouldn't matter how a city died
And so an army stooped to act like trolls

Commanded by some men who baldly lied
To have a needless fight for only pride

The Boot-in-mouth award goes to mad Max
Whose pious platitudes propose parole
For murders perpetrated by the lax

A panicked pathological patrol
Some vengeful killing of the innocent
Who cowered in a dark and baking hole

Who pleaded with implacable intent
A lust for blood that only death abates
Undisciplined grim reapers don’t relent

So now perhaps a little jail awaits
For lowly jaded grunts who tripped and fell
While higher up the chain no justice grates

How long before the tolling of the bell
Announces our descent to Dante’s hell?

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