Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Talking Heads

TV's hand puppets don't ooze out one word
These days about Iraq's oil. That can be taken
For granted. Anyone tuned-in will have heard
Strong-arm democracy brings home the bacon.
Once we've inflicted freedom and secured
Men's good will, we'll sleep sound, dream right, then wake

To heaped-up platters. Nobody's been forbidden
To mention things that nobody dares think--
That's honor among thieves. Loot, once hidden,
Can still be leached off quicker than a wink.
Where's your cut of the stash gone? Check your eyelids:
Sly thieves and robber barons never blink.

Slick puppet masters have to keep count who's
Made a killing and who's been double-crossed
To bury that on the dark side of the news,
The brain's recycle bin. True recall might cost
Friends, income, or a life too good to lose.
Analysts sometimes ask how decent Germans,
Facing a sudden scarcity of Jews,
Maintained their ignorance of the Holocaust:
None mentions just how many we let squirm
And twist at rope's end for their predetermined,
Preemptive wars. But then, of course, they lost.

--W.D. Snodgrass, Not For Specialists: New and Selected Poems

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