Thursday, May 05, 2011

May Day, 2011

This poem expresses my reaction to the assassination of Osama bin Laden by American military forces on May 1, 2011. I thank my friend Tom Ellis for poking me to post it after I read his blog on the subject at

It was like a block-buster action thriller!
Does life imitate art or what?
The superbly trained Navy Seals,
faceless warrior-assassins
whose names we’ll probably never know,
staged a daring raid
upon an unsuspecting target’s home
tucked cozily among the neighboring houses
in a foreign military installation,
and they got away with it.
Heroes, one and all!
Their deeds will live on in story and song—
how they burst upon bin Laden in his room
and shot him down in cold blood.
To execute an unarmed man
suspected of a crime
without arraignment, indictment, trial,
or witnesses for the defense,
then to escape with the suspect’s body
and dump it out to sea
before anyone but them could say for sure
if it was really he...!
This is brilliant!
Way to go, CIA!
Now the terrorists can see
what kind of stuff Americans are made of.
Democracy, transparency, the rule of law,
innocent until you’re proven guilty?
Nice words on parchment on display
under glass in moldy museums,
but frontier justice is the way
we handle real-life situations,
and however long it may take them,
our commandos always get their man.
I am ecstatically proud today
to join the mob in every town,
raise my fist, jump up and down,
take my turn before the cameras
to holler and yelp and crow and bray,


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