ARMCHAIR GENERALS


the doves have been silenced, and the
hawks have taken wing; the war machine
is now in motion, its ominous shadow
spreading inexorably across the world.
the ghosts of Babylon rise from the dust,
stirred from the sleep of millennia by
rumble of tanks and roar of missiles.
their cries pierce the veil of ages,
joined by the wail of air raid sirens.

meanwhile, on the home front,
armchair generals shout slogans
and shake their fists in the air;
half-baked couch potatoes
and other common taters
rabidly rally around the flag.

each one monitors the news
from his own personal war room,
empty head poised above
an overstuffed chair or sofa,
fists slamming on armrests,
feet stamping on the floor,
impatient to send others
to their deaths, while watching
from a comfortable distance,
as the latest battle updates surge
across the pulsing screen before them.

having paid tribute to the god of war,
the would-be patriots will witness
fumes of burning oil and burnt flesh
assaulting the desert air, bones and
shrapnel littering parched sands,
spilled blood of soldier and civilian
flowing like Tigris and Euphrates.

soon, body bags will be flown home
to scores of grief-stricken families,
as the armchair generals roar.
sitting before their televisions,
they wash down popcorn, pretzels,
and chips with another six-pack,
from the safety of their living rooms.

now thatís homeland security!

© 2003 by Metta Jon Maslow (3-20-03)