A piece from 2003
Poetry by Richard Weekley
The Perfect Blind Spot
“WE DON’T DO BODY COUNTS.”
–General Tommy Franks
Hashim Kamel Radi we do not count you.
But you are gone forever. You were 22 and
on a bus, perhaps thinking of a book to read.
Jalal al Yussuf you were just 17
and perhaps were wondering
what to eat for lunch.
Ibrahim al Yussuf you were only 12.
Perhaps you watched your big brother die
before you eyes that day in Zambrania.
We don’t count you either.
Out of sight out of mind
just like the coffins arriving daily at Dover
no one sees.
There’s Invisibility all around us.
Can you FEEL it?
Can you sense Ahmed al Rahal’s last grimace?
or hear Sufian — the Jordanian student’s scream.
We can calculate every millimeter to Mars
and land a rover
but we can’t count you.
For you are an uncountable.
America sends in great teams and spares no expense
to rescue one lingering soul from an 8.1 temblor
but maybe you heard
we can’t count you.
–the mind’s made up
DON’T CONFUSE US WITH THE FACTS—
head in sand
the perfect blind spot
we can’t count you
because: seeing is BELIEVING
–we must keep citizens from seeing
to stop believing–
USA – land of liberty and justice for all
Fateha Ghazzi or Nada Abdallah, 8 and 16 on March 24th 2003
you’re not counted
and nearly nobody knows your name
You died by orders from the top
so it’s okay
and your death won’t upset a single U.S. household
or lose a single vote
and you know
we had to be preemptive:
it was us or them
Your leader was mad
and ready to wipe us out on moment’s notice.
Didn’t you hear?
so I hope you understand
we don’t mean to say one thing but do the other
and we’re sorry if liberation feels like occupation
after all we know we’re right or
it wouldn’t be called: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Please Faris and Saif, 11 year old twins,
please consider yourself
we’re not naming names or keeping real score
and please remember it’s best this way
with no b-o-d-y counting.
first posted: POETS AGAINST THE WAR . Com