Extract from "Love, War, Fire, Wind: Looking Out from North America's Skull" by Eliot Katz (poems) and William T. Ayton (artwork)
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War Mask
"War Mask" by William T. Ayton, 2008

We Are Trying to Change

Twenty percent of Iraq is dead or fled
and the moon over the Pentagon is purple

with glee. The war mask is on
& Congress has decided not

to de-fang it. There are desert valleys
and polluted streams all across the planet,

but the flames in Iraq have grown hotter
than the sparks in an old Albanian kitchen--

and this is a fire that we have seen
people we once knew light. So we spend

five nights each week doing our best
to extinguish. On nights six and seven,

we get no rest, but must place our minds
onto a different set of bedpost spikes.

A new British study says 1.2 million
civilians have died, a figure so stunning

it barely gets reported. Bad knees
and all, we are walking in the streets

hoping to help arrest our president. The city’s
police think we are their private comedy club,

but at least we are rushing the stage
& trying to change the color of the moon.

Eliot Katz NYC 2007

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images & content copyright © William T. Ayton, 1991-2015