With My Boys In Iraq – A Poem

By Sam Hamod

With My Boys in Iraq – There Are These Nights

And there are these nights, when
we question, when it is
already clear,
no need for questions,
not a paradox, just
that we already know
this war we came to,
this war in Iraq,
was planned, not
decided upon, not based
on any good reason,
planned years earlier, a
death instinct of a few
frustrated men, who wanted their
moment of glory, glamorous war,
who sat
in Washington, in their 3 button
suits, then sent out
3 star generals, and some
sargents and privates
who barely knew how to write,
sailors who only knew
what little they were told,
marines who thought they
were going in to
liberate
some ignorant, third world,
illiterate, tortured and un-
intelligent
Iraqis- some
camel jockeys, rag
heads, stupid, unGodly
Ayrabs, Muslims, cousins
to Bin Laden, people
who hated us,

But after they’d killed
a couple
thousand
of these camel jockeys, these
rag heads, these Mohammadan
sinners, as their major
called them,
saw the little girl
her tiny lifeless fingers
still holding that little cotton baby,
her mother, black
dress ripped, blooded
her body
covering her
son, and what must have been the father
his shattered head on the other side
of his body, his legs
gone–   it was then they
knew something,
they knew
something
was wrong, when
they saw that wrinkled old man
kiss his cross and ask
God to help him, they
realized he was
kneeling down, crying and praying,
kept asking
for God to help him, that
they were not
just rag-heads not, but who were they

then the doubt
began, began,
started creeping in,
when they saw
the walls of
books
sik woven tapestries
like they’d seen
in museums, in
house
after house, and
glasses,
dishes forks and knives still on the tables,
photos
spread, some burned
across the floors,
dolls on the floors,
cats mewing, frightened,
wild,

feelings began
creeping in,
into their
hearts, maybe
these weren’t
simply rag heads, maybe
they weren’t
camel jockeys, shit, they hadn’t even seen
a camel maybe
they weren’t just
ignorant haters, maybe
these were
Just
plain
people,
maybe
just like
their mothers,
their  kids,
sisters, and
fathers who’d give up
their lives for their
sons and daughters,
like this old man
had done,
suddenly,
they looked
at,   began looking at Bush in a
new way, some started
to look at their commanders,
men they’d believed in,
doubt made them look
in a new way
and then some of them, their hearts
began
to ache, wanted to get
outside, in the
open air, to get
Home, to get out
of here, not to
pick up any more
legs, arms, heads, cluster bomb debris,
"Forget it, collateral damage" sarge said

But they knew
the difference, these
were body, human
parts, these were
not simply damaged
goods, not simply
collateral
damage, these were their
mothers, their
Sisters, their
fathers in those
black, plastic, unemotional,  U.S. Military
issue, black
body bags, realizing, these were
humans, torn up,
throwing them into
those holes, throwing
humans into
those holes,

Suddenly
the heat and desert dust
the nights of
sleeping
out in the cold desert
on top the Hummer, on
top of their
Abrams,
none of it
made sense,
before they
came, it was
very clear, they
knew how to cleanly
kill, how to win,
how they were going
to go in,
fast. the commanders
kept saying, "Shock and Awe,"
"they’ll give up, they’ll run,
clean kill, nobody dies, over in 24 hours,
nobody dies,"

Suddenly,
when their sargent
said, "Forget about it, nobody dies"
they said,
"Yes, sir, nobody dies"
 and then
realized,
looking down, "Yes sir" like the movies,
when the scene is done
everyone gets up, walks away,
then they’d say, "Nobody dies," trying not
to remember, but they would
never,
never forget about it    no
forget it   no

not ever

-Sam Hamod is a poet who was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, has published 10 books of poems, the winner of the Ethnic Heritage Prize for Poetry, taught at The Writers Workshop of The U. of Iowa, Princeton, Michigan, Howard and edited THIRD WORLD NEWS in Washington, DC. He can be reached at samhamod@sbcglobal.net

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