Shock and Awe

(Written during the bombing of Baghdad. In front of the TV in Brooklyn, NY, March 30, 2003)

the clever men have had their say
the martial trumpet fades away
and now the curtains rise upon
the opera of shock and awe

a willing slave of our TV
anaesthetized by what we see
the promised firestorm begins
catharsis through passivity

it’s a precise and painless kill
claim the surgeons on the hill
and what we cannot feel or smell
might safely rouse a little thrill

night vision glowing black and green
fireflies circling on the screen
cloud stalks engorge as they explode
orgasms of sparkling gasoline

let these distracting flowers bloom
a thousand schools of thoughtlessness
contend for our attention span
to soothe away all sense of doom

complacency is our police
satiety our masterpiece
our freedom playing with itself
in this wasteland we call peace

yes, we are now the gods of war
but splendid gods have died before
and will again, the Goths will come
and starving dogs will eat us raw


This song lyric first appeared in the monthly magazine Black Lamb, which can be seen at


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