El Shifa Suite

a Newspoem by William Gillespie


PHARMACEUTICAL PLANT HIT BY U.S. DID MAKE DRUGS [This is like saying that all those missiles that exploded did blow up. Or that all the people who were killed did die.]

KHARTOUM, SUDAN (Associated Poets) The mystery [The only mystery is the mystery they're writing.] surrounding the pharmaceutical plant attacked by the United States remains, perhaps hidden with the melted packets of pain relievers and bottles of antibiotics strewn among the rubble of red brick, splintered wood and white plaster. [All that obvious evidence is distracting us from the deeper mystery.]

Washington says the plant was making precursers for chemical weapons. Sudan says no such work occurred.

But [What is the word "but" doing here? This is like saying the people did die, but somebody might have been hurt.] interviews with Sudanese officials, doctors, lawyers and plant employees suggest [Suggest? The fact that all these highly trained people say something suggests it.] some of Sudan's claims are true: The plant produced antibiotics and drugs for diseases like malaria and tuberculosis that it planned to export to Iraq under U.N. approval. It was privately owned, and it was not a secret installation, they claim.[ The people who were in the factory every day are, apparently, not a reliable source.]

Four buildings no longer stand against disease.
Red and blue boxes of antibiotics no longer fill shelves or prescriptions.
There will be no more El Shifa medicine for Iraq or for Sudan.

There are 75 million-dollar bills
Passing through Pakistani airspace
Upgraded software allows them all to arrive at once
Using a global positioning satellite system

The money has steel-tipped titanium warheads to penetrate underground vaults
The money closes in on a factory at 500 MPH at altitudes of less than 100 feet
The workers smile and reach for the sky

Sudan asks: what will cure our malaria?
El Shifa says: amoxycilin
The Pentagon says: take 25 cruise missiles
Inhale the vapors given off by burning American flags
And call the UN in the morning
Sudan asks: what will cure our ulcers?
El Shifa says: paracetamol
The Pentagon says: incendiary submunitions
Or armor-piercing. here, swallow these.
306 workers ask: who will hire us and allow us to support our 3000 dependents?
El Shifa says: we will
The Pentagon says but don't work the night shift
Because we will kill you
And this is not terrorism, this is anti-terrorism

What do they call it when a tomahawk cruise missile blows up
a factory that manufactures antibiotics and pain relievers?
The war on drugs.
How do they fight a war against terror?
They start by instilling lots of terror.
What do you get when you cross U.S. foreign policy with
a mediocre sex scandal?
Sick to your stomach.
So President Clinton walks into a bar with 25
Block III tomahawk cruise missiles on his head.
Bartender says: what's with all the firepower?
Missiles say: to keep him from getting fired.
Who's there?
Osama bin Laden.
Osama bin Laden who?
Yeah, that's what we're wondering...
What do they call it when they bomb a factory that manufactures medicine?
Health care reform.
What do you get when you cross paths with
the U.S.?
Blown up.
So the American government walks into a bar with 1000 protestors on its head
Bartender's washing glasses. looks up and says:
Who's the subversives?
American government says: oh that's the American people.
Bartender says: I was talking to the American people.

when he returned to work in the morning it was gone
work was gone the morning was gone the shift was gone
his paycheck was gone his benefits were gone
his money was gone his time was gone he was gone

The average amount of semen ejaculated by an American president is one teaspoon. The average amount of blood in the body of a Sudanese pharmaceutical worker is five quarts. This means that ten Sudanese pharmaceutical workers killed in a bombing shed about 50 quarts of blood. How many quarts of blood does it take to wash a teaspoon of Presidential semen out of a dress?
The dress cost 30 dollars.
The president's salary is 200,000 dollars.
The factory will cost 40 million dollars to rebuild.
How many dresses will it take to pay for a year of the presidency?
How many four-year presidential terms will it take to pay for the factory?
The blood is red.
The president is white.
The dress is blue.

What they say is that we blew up a factory that may have manufactured chemical weapons.
What they don't say is that the factory definitely manufactured medicine.
What they say is that soil samples showed traces of empta.
What they say is that empta is used to manufacture VX gas.
What they don't say is that empta can be used to make fungicides,
anti-microbial agents, insecticides, and a germination inhibitor for wheat.
What they say is that the enemy might have chemical weapons.
What they don't say is that they definitely have chemical weapons .
What they say is that we fired missiles at a billionaire who sponsors terrorism.
What they don't say is that we missed.
What they don't say is that we have enraged terrorists worldwide.
What they don't say is that we are making terrorism worse, we are making the
world unsafe for Americans, we are teaching terrorists to be more careful,
we are legitimating terrorists, we are justifying their actions for them.
We are making terrorists into the good guys.
What they don't say will incite us to overthrow them
because revolution is our constitutional right.
And no matter how much they cut funding for education
we still aren't stupid.

Newspoetry at Spineless Books