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Three by Jack Wilson


The Afghan T.V. Dramas



The scriptwriters shoulder their duty—their channeled

Brains grown used to the labor of

Feeding the mushrooms, and the silage slides out.

The impoverished masses, looking for jobs and a reason,



Same plot as the Iraqi ones, the terrorists-at-large ones,

Before those, the Commie-Soviet ones.


The world hates our goodness, hates our soldiers

Who love to help others; vengeful insurgents

And dark-skinned fanatics pursue us.


See bad furtive men, stealthy Muslims,

Clandestine Afghanis, come to our homeland.

See them in frenzy attack good ex-soldiers.

The heathen ingrates saw only injury

As we murdered them in our virtue.


See the ex-beauty queen Marine as hostage.

See the brave American agent rescuing her,

Battering the door of the terrorist’s lair,

Catching him at prayer. But the Afghani slips away.


See innocent children hunted on playgrounds,

The terrorists’ black SUV cruising like a shark.

See computers blooming with magical answers.

See us killing them all over again on the screen.


The mushrooms in darkness sit, absorbing

Their portioned fare, rounding out in satisfaction.


The writers and producers dash to Goldman to invest,

Gearing up already for an Iranian season.


Madeline Clarifies



Secretary of State Madeline Albright, commenting on the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi

children occasioned by a US-led embargo on drugs to Iraq, 1990-2003:

            “We thought it was worth it.”


Five hundred thousand, you say? Yes, that’s probably right.


Eyes beads, tongue a dagger, the fer-de-lance coils in ambush.


We hoped it would produce results, but couldn’t be certain of the effect.


Red lips in a smile, the weasel scents the throbbing life in the den.


When you embargo medicines for so many years, there are imponderables,

such as, will the heat be severer in Iraq than normal,


The grinning hyena strips a shank, building a pile of bones.


causing a loss of potable water in the summers,


The crafty spider hurries to poison the fluttering moth.


or travelers might bring in a new virus or bacterium, which would amplify

the death rate.


The carnivorous plant snaps shut, mounding its heap of putrid meat.


Or, they could somehow find other sources for medicines and render our

embargo less effective.


Dropping from above, the heavy boa suffocates the gasping fawn.


Direct military action is the surest path, I always say,


Jaws slobbering, the monitor lizard chews off the leg of the weakened goat.


But with options limited, I advised as well as I could.


Lurching from slime, the scaly reptile drags the child under.


We knew we were dealing with a monster.


Lament in Kandar



I tell you, Honey, it almost isn’t worth it, putting up with this dust.

Get the contract, they said, just get it, and it’ll make you well.

Build those bases in Kandar, those roads and those barracks,

And if the goat-fuckers burn them, we’ll build them again

For yet bigger profits.


This war-zone pay’ll set me up if I escape the dust,

And I’d better, because there’s no disability for contractors.

Those enlisted fools are slurping the same dust and getting their

Balls blown off for peanuts. They’ll get disability once home, enough for them I

Guess, but some will go missing their peanuts. Ha! Ha!


Dust seeps and sifts, even in a closed cab or office.

Bare hills and desert, all dry, drier than a brick oven,

A dead stick. That’s all it’s ever bee here, like the moon.

God may have come here, but he took one look and

Went to America where it’s green. Some of that green’s over

Here now for me and for you, Bunny.


You’re smiling. I know you understand maybe two words out of ten.

But you don’t need a big vocabulary, my bang-bang Bangladeshi, my wet Bunny.

It’s a hellhole, but worth a fortune to me, and a burrow for you.

You and the beer, that’s how I keep my whistle wet and blowing.


Probably somewhere out there following a bulldozer’s dust are brothers or uncles,

Dry, dry and poor. They gotta be poor to come so far to do that work. I know

Why they came. Roadwork paid a dog’s turd back in Kentucky.

So I’m here on a roll, getting flush, and they’re sucking a dusty hell.

But you’re learning it pays to be part of the free world, Bunny, so

Long as you know how to make it swell.


Sure, Bunny, you can get dressed and go. I’m off to the contractor’s

Mess. It’s prime rib night.

Jack H. Wilson is the author of Sent Back (Rio Norte Press, 2010), a novel devoted to satirizing American fundamentalists and their theology. He can be reached at


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