(after La Farge and Queneau)

NEWSPOEM 9 April 2014


On the bus I tried to remember how many wars we were fighting, and our objectives in Afghanistan. It was raining.


Unknown Number of Wars Fought
Afghanistan Mission Unclear
Local Man Concerned
Showers Expected


Afghanistan mission unclear
As bus windows rainy grey smear
I thought I had voted
My vote wasn't noted
And now it's the war's thirteenth year


I was fucking all like fucking bus is late and there's no place to sit up in this bitch. Fucking-ass Afghanistan. Like, was our whole mufucking mission in Iraq and Afghanistan just to figure out how to get out? That's why I never fucked with my Rubik's Cube in the first damn place - leave that shit with all the squares like - colors - like - on the same... fucking... like... Just leave each plane of the cube mono-fucking-chromatic. DON'T FUCK WITH THAT SHIT. It cost three billion a day and you'll never get it put right. Raining and shit.


As an astute NPR reporter confirmed what I myself had long believed as I savored my morning cappuccino and enjoyed the peaceful rain outside my bay window (reminds me of spring in Cape Cod!) - Obama has wisely concluded our mission in the Middle East saving the taxpayers untold billions that can now be used on his mission of converting the US to an entirely green energy infrastructure, and, of course, shoring up our recently fixed health care system. Afghanistan was no Vietnam, but then Obama is no Nixon! I would have taken the bus, but I had a cold and had called in sick, so as to schedule an appointment with Dr. Heathcliff. Well, I worry about cancer, and, regardless, needed refills on my celexa, clonopin, and ambien.


War is, by definition, mass murder. There are no clean wars, just wars, winnable wars. If there is a just war, our country has clearly waived its moral authority to make that very important judgment. The somnambulist, insomniac, media-sated public has shown itself completely passive with regard to American foreign policy, although, as continued attacks on foreign aid workers by Afghan mercenaries show, the assassination of Osama bin Laden and whatever shaky pro-western toothpick flag has been planted in the thundering volcano of Afghan politics has not eased the original problem of 20 (mostly Saudi) terrorists committing a criminal attack on American soil thirteen years ago. Specifically, what the wars have not solved but only exacerbated is the problem of anti-American sentiment, which, of course, under Bush and Cheney, was never analyzed in the first place. If you, like me, remember that moment of shock on the morning of September 11 during which one could almost see the truth written in the sky, and there was a pause after which any response could have happened. The cost of this recent (no longer) revenge-branded, oil-driven military vomiting spasm to our country's economy, troops, esteem, credibility, and ability to work together across our absurd bipartisan democracy toward, as Robert Creeley put it to me, "a shared idea of a common good," (even if just for our country!), is incalculable and may be chronic. Sometimes it rains. And muscular men in tights or shorts play with their balls. Pay attention to the small, big part of the news.


The scale of fraud and violations in this election was much lower compared to previous elections,” said Nader Mohseni, the spokesman for the commission, citing both international and Afghan election observers.

Despite any ill will, American officials are still counting on President Hamid Karzai to help mediate what is expected to be a messy transition in Afghanistan.

In the 48-hour period for filing complaints, which ended Monday night, the commission recorded 1,573 formal complaints, Mr. Mohseni said. “Compared with 7.5 million people who voted, that number is very small,” he said. “That’s what the international observers believe as well.”

By contrast, the commission recorded 2,842 complaints after the 2009 election, according to the National Democratic Institute. The institute had international monitors in Afghanistan in 2009 and tried again this year, but withdrew the monitors shortly before the voting after one was killed in an attack by insurgents.

Under Afghan election law, the candidates are supposed to refrain from claiming victory until the official results are released, which may not happen until April 24, officials have said.

Nonetheless, of the three major candidates, two have let it be known that they believe they won outright by taking more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round.

One candidate — Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank official and longtime Karzai aide — went as far as posting a pie chart on his personal Facebook page showing 57 percent of the vote for him, with Abdullah Abdullah, the runner-up in 2009, supposedly receiving 26 percent and Zalmay Rassoul, Mr. Karzai’s former foreign minister, a distant third with 10 percent. The pie chart was apparently based on tabulations of 5.12 million votes compiled by Mr. Ghani’s campaign.

“Congratulations to him,” Mr. Abdullah said mockingly of Mr. Ghani’s claims, which were later withdrawn from his Facebook page. “And he’s been very gracious in according me, also, some votes in the country, so I’m grateful.”

Mostly sunny and increasingly windy.


Another rainy Monday and the bus is late? You need something to lift your spirits. And we have exactly that. What you need. An end to war in our lifetime. An end to terrorism. An end to the bad things. Sound good? Too good to be true? Well, it is. Let's be honest. Let's square up and face facts. There's too much money on the table. Not even the losers will put down their cards. It's your money and you're not at the table. Sorry about that. We really are.

So here's something else. Something better. The very last seat on a warm cozy bus. Now could you really ask for anything more?

Newspoetry by William Gillespie at Spineless Books