O Say Can You Hear?

The dripping Gorgon¹s head
over the sands of Iraq, spittle of snakes flame out

from a thousand gun barrels –

at last! the two worlds unite in the death struggle,
the two as one to make a third:
fantasy is reality is fantasy.

America has become its own horror cartoon,
each thought locked within its renegade cell,

Bugs Bunny holds forth in the senate on
the bankrupt dream-stocks buried at Fort Knox.

Donald Duck meantime jerks off in disgust
over the American flag – quacks
the country¹s been bushwacked,
‘ain¹t worth a hill of beans¹

in archaic colloquialisms of a nation near claim
jumping the Middle East.

The last capitalist gasp v the last medieval groan;
eventually, to make way for the eco-terrorists whose

motto: destroy what you cannot save: will sound
the retreat to a history vaporised – a memory erased.

So we come to inherit ‘Our Common Loss¹.

The Space Shuttle Columbia makes
its long wave ‘good-bye¹

bright finger nails tearing at the sky (like)

‘morning Lucifer, that star that beckons all
mankind to daily rounds¹

scratching down God¹s blackboard
as seven souls fly away
toward the Pleiades.

So we make our omens to live and die by.

Stephen Oliver is the author of six major collections of poetry. His recent collection, Night of Warehouses: Poems 1978-2000, covers five volumes of poems and spans two decades. A poetry chapbook, "Deadly Pollen", is to be published by Word Riot Press in 2003. Recent work taken for Alba, Catalyser Journal, Comet, Snow Monkey, Failbetter, San Francisco Salvo, Kitchen Sink, Pemmican, Get Underground, Comrades, Can We Have Our Ball Back? Illuminations, Omega, Orbis, Peshekee River Poetry, Prague TV, storySouth, etc. Forthcoming: a CD of poems titled, "King Hit" Selected Readings— written and read by Stephen Oliver to original music composed by Matt Ottley, for international release. Stephen is a transtasman poet and writer who lives in Sydney. http://people.smartchat.net.au/~sao/