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Address to the nation Arrow Vol 1 No 1 Contents
About borderlands Volume 1 Number 1, 2002


Address to the Nation 2001

Anthony Burke

Such déjà vu… the President’s son
eleven years on
speaking from the same chair—
to a new war/old war/new war
history flipping like javascript

A simian resolve
swims across his features
and his mouth moves…but the autocue
offers only certainty
as if freedom and liberty
were bones intact
in his lifted right hand…

I imagine him saying:
"Liberty died yesterday, live…died
in the planes’ anguished trajectory, died
when the anchors were fumbling
for words, the news editors for captions
when justice flew with a general’s orders
and the NSC met
to debate the options."

But when the words come out
it’s a child’s refrain:
America is good. America is good…

I think of the subsonic reverie of B52s
filling out their "boxes"
like dutiful clerks; the hospitals
filling with their paperwork
but where to file the blood? the bones

Where to file the hate? a few lines
in a strategic analysis, target-rich infra-red
intelligence estimates curling at the edges
of the daily press briefings, the SecDef
mouthing power in a phalanx of medals—

Is everything policy, reason’s burnt offering?
Numbers, control, escalation, C3I?
Forget law, we balance our accounts
with technology.

Here a fireman, there a burkha ripped
and grey in the dust—
Did he say policy? You’ve heard
of Pavlov’s dog and Home’s endless fear
and saw the President’s unscripted
Oval Office tears…so trust him
he offers security, a virtuous circle of pain
a loving coda to our Machine’s refrain.

© borderlands ejournal 2002


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ISSN 1447-0810