New Iraq, New Orleans

By John Wilkinson, 15 August 2007


Once more, it strokes once more, taking away
designer clothes, the bright crop. Her swipe
was more effective than double entry columns,
humvees packed with news filters, shotgun

jolting across desert, lumbering through flood,
once more, the same strokes for different
folks naked in burkas, naked in wet hoods:
will this do, sure, this is accepted everywhere,

her swipe that charged to China, to Korea,
that takes care to the cleaners, that deferred
payments for forty years: On a burning lake,
Moloch smiles & flexes that platinum card

she authorised. Deep in the bubbling asphalt,
deep in the shit, card-switch addicts thrash
for gleams of hope foreshortened, for the here
to be now, while hungry kids gag on heritage

grits for food: corn repositions their futures,
marching in green files for Baghdad. Poised
in cute clothes that sour, that never can dry,
wheeling her idol forth from the White House,

Condoleezza chews her lip & the levees collapse,
the levees she levies, the levees she levels,
& the flares go out across the Gulf of Mexico
as the flares sink back into sand beyond Basra.


John Wilkinson <> left the NHS in London just before the last restructuring, and now teaches in the US at the University of Notre Dame. His most recent book of poems is Lake Shore Drive (Salt)