Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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At a Press Conference Concerning the Invasion

After a brief exchange of position papers,
the generals have repositioned themselves
at a table, occupying seats above the ranks
of media people, ready to face what isn’t
a war but an action, a defensive reaction
to purely offensive acts by an enemy
and vice versa, though certain areas,
since personnel might be, we must understand,
endangered by any premature exposure,
are temporarily blacked out or off the map.

And now one general, being front and center,
basically wants to tell us right up front,
his mouth up front to the ear of the microphone
as frankly as time allows he wants to be loud
and clear to the man on the street so he won’t lose
what he might call a civil private perspective.

Behind him, another general lays his forearms
down in a tight chevron. One interlocks
his fingers as if to illustrate a stalemate
among opposable thumbs and national digits.
On the left flank, one avoids the mere appearance
of a uniform response, by giving a low
five, then ten to his right flank under the table.

The amplifier is now squaring the facts
and going so far as to say the finest men
it’s ever been its privilege to reassure
the mothers and fathers and little children of
would love to hear us bringing our hands together
again and again for our precious heritage.

The generals rise once more in unison,
tug down full metal jackets, stiffen to
attention, and half turn in alternate,
but equally opposite directions, and collide
slightly, recoil, reform, and file offstage
out from under the lights and out of step.  

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