a dream

I lay my head against the blast wall of the barracks

and the mattress rises up against me.

You get high off it, right? You're an intensity junkie?

I'm the squat pyramid of sandbags and that little green tank


domestic as the messkit left on the turret.

And the sand tinged orange by halogen spots

and tiger-striped by shadows of razor wire

whispers that I'm trash smouldering in bomb craters.


All the serious horseshit about justice and rape,

and Death to the Great Satan, screw you if you don't get off

on that young good-looking soldier's banana clip.


And the sentries in the sentry box, palm fronds stuck

in their helmets' webbing, turning them to tree-men in their leaf pattern camouflage,

make it all so picturesque.


Women start drifting in in tight shirts

and tiger pants as the disco ball circles and sparkles ...

and the city behind and the checkpoints

ahead light up and go dark in time to bodies


strobing until I'm as far out beyond my barbed-wire sector

as the Humvee will take me. And when I wake,

I see nature sleeping, or what looks like nature:

a nest anyway, out of twigs and plastic


and green and red wire so intricately interwoven

shaped perfectly to the bird's body nestling

down in the dark on the eggs unmoving--


and past the tree and rounding the corner

candles for the latest leader

line the street and no sign of anyone who'd lit them.