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Winter 2006

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Fall 2005

Tanks Are Rolling
Ray McNiece

Tanks are rolling on Baghdad,
speeding over miles and miles of scorched sand,
devouring millions of gallon upon gallon of overprice gouged oil
chasing down Saddam's ragged American funded army.

Tanks are rolling right past invisible weapons of mass distraction,
tearing across the UN Charter, the US Constitution,
and leaving Tom Paine's Common Sense in the dust.
Tanks are flattening the watchdog press,
corporate media stars along for the ride
rushing to guard the oil ministry
while looters steal the Babylonian Tablets
and torch the archives of civilization.

Tanks are rolling down highway 49, the same road
that stretches all the way back
to Halliburton's loading dock
where stacks of shells encased in depleted uranium
wait to glow the sands like the plastic Jesus
riding shotgun on a trucker's dashboard.

They may as well be rolling down the same road
in Florida where lines of blacklisted voters
were turned away from the polls,
or rolling through midwestern drive-thrus
where consumers can buy the burger deal —
a quarter pound of steroid-laced, anti-biotic resistant meat
that only cost one hundred gallons of fresh water,
two quarts of gas, three pounds of grain and one pound of topsoil
that took five hundred years to form as prairie
no longer even there anymore,
covered now with miles of feedlots, and acres of corn
leaching the earth as far as the eye cannot see
buffalo herds once grazing sweet grass.

Tanks are rolling along ignorant
that the whole of human civilization depends
upon six inches of topsoil
and the simple fact that it rains on the plains.
Tanks are rolling down the same access road
that opened the national parks to timber and mineral plunder
via a legal loophole big enough
to drive a Hummer's six thousand pounds of gross weight,
tax write-off luxury you deserve
right on through.

The same Hummer the patriot drives down the freeway
to the strip mall before the dollar store closes so he can buy
new plastic flags pressed by sweat shop workers in China
(where no man stands in front of a Tank in Tienamen Square anymore)
so he can fly them from both sides of that Hummer
just to let the boys at the front know
they are dying for fourteen miles per gallon,
the boys at the front scavenging junk piles for armor
to Frankenstein their own Humvees lumbering down
the boulevard of Improvised Explosive Devices.

But there is no stopping this son of God
Bless the U.S.A in his hurry
to get back to his gated community condo complex
at Eagle Creek (no eagle, no creek)
where he'll lock all the doors and settle in
to watch the last episode of Survivor.
So don't get in his way or he'll blow you away
like they do in the Desert Storm
Video Game.

Tanks are rolling down the same road that leads
to the final battle of Autogeddon
fought in the sand over the black blood beneath
to decide once and for all
just whose God of which chosen people
is bigger and better and stronger —
Evangelical tanks, Jihad tanks, Zionist tanks
are all holy rolling down that same road
where a poets of Israel, the poets of Iraq, and the poets of America
stand and wave the white flags
of their poems.