Newspoem 16 December 2003

In the Streets, a Shadow Lifts

the real saddam hussein leans over my shoulder as i type this
his breath smells like bourbon, sand flies, and mass graves
he points at this poem and corrects it, speaking a french i can't understand

we woke up in bed together astonished when the classical music announcer
in between blocks of trendy 19th century european art music
on my clock radio announced that saddam hussein had been captured

hussein chuckled as he read the account of his capture on the front of the times
"humiliating...fallen....disheveled old...hapless disoriented...cringing....mythic...pitiable mumbling....obediently...passively...straggly"
at the word "impotence" he bellowed and for an awkward second i thought he might disprove it

that photo looks like shit, he says, they airbrushed bags under my eyes to make me look less magisterial
hey but at least i look smarter than bush, when is he going to be old enough to grow a beard
dude you look like santa, i say, i love to piss him off

heh, they're going to give me a fair trial, he says, and i mouth the tired punchline with him:
but the us doesn't recognize the international criminal court
better not ask too many questions about my atrocities in the eighties, he chuckles

he claps me on the shoulder, what do you say, should i call off the resistance
yeah right, i say, why don't you call off that toothpaste fast, tom cruise
why don't you call off that breath of mass destruction, sad, damn!

this is going to make bush popular again, he warns
i don't care if it does, i hope he's more popular than ketchup
as long as he isn't reelected and nobody he knows holds public office until tikrit freezes over

admittedly it's shocking to me when something in this war unexpectedly goes right
i wish they had kept the museum from being sacked, now there's barely room to move in here
but i can't help but wonder whether it's true, in which case i am sleeping with an imposter who snores

i know from the works of franken and savage
that if bill o'reilly read this poem he would go on tv and angrily say i'm sleeping with saddam hussein
but it's not like that bill, this is newspoetry, we don't have impeccable journalistic ethics like fox news, anyway it's a big bed

i didn't say we were spooning

yes but where's osama, "saddam" chuckles, lighting another cigar
he's the one you really want them to catch, he coughs
osama is downstairs in 302, hiding in the closet, we both know that .

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Newspoetry at Spineless Books