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Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Meditation On The Death Of Osama Bin Laden


It's the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's death. A year ago, I awoke early to see, in the NY Times online edition, that Bin Laden had been killed. It seemed as if he'd been off our public psychic radar for a while, but not very far off, considering the unseemly demonstrations that broke out. At the time, I wrote and published this piece. The New Yorker, that bastion of superb, if incomprehensible poetry, understandably declined to publish it. I'm recycling it for the occasion.

Gotcha,
Sheik,
It took a while,
But most government
Jobs do.
You had a good run,
And died a lion
In many eyes,
Though a caged lion,
In a cage
Of your very own,
Behind walls of your own.
Didn't know
There was a breed
Of Seals
That went over walls,
Eh?
I wonder where
Your buddy Ayman went.
Perhaps it's safe
For him
To go home now,
Egypt,
Right?
Inshallah.
I saw the wild celebrations,
Outside the White House,
At Ground Zero,
At the Air Force Academy.
Once we had:
VE day,
VJ day.
We cheered then,
For the dying
Would stop.
What of VO day?
I thought VO was,
A whiskey.
The dying won't stop
For VO day.
What's all the cheering for?
Celebrating the death
Of one enemy?
As if we'd won
A war?
We should feel
Just a little dirty.
Let us thank
Those who did this
Most necessary deed
For us,
Then let us
Go about our business,
And leave them with
Their thoughts.
I think I'll stop by
The old Ebbitt Grill.
Maybe I can find
A chicken hawk,
To have a celebratory
Beer with.
Rest in Peace,
If you can,
Sheik,
With the fishes.
There are no virgins
At full fathom five.


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