Robert Ronnow
                                      Long As You're Living

 Wolfowitz Before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee

Everyone but Wolfowitz lacked
strategic clarity. Frustrated,
emotional, the senators cracked
their whips and cackled doom,
all to no effect on Wolfowitz.
He looked down, or up, tired
and smiled almost kindly not
condescending. Sure of vision
for a Muslim world transformed.
Chafee was easily dispatched
claiming Wolfowitz embraced
regime change before 9/11.
Wolfowitz said yes, but not then
by force of American military
might. Biden wanted urgently
for Wolfowitz to quote the price
in blood and money for Iraq's
reconstitution. Boxer was damn mad
about defense department roulette
a betting game for freaks on future
assassinations and terror.
Wolfowitz almost laughed
at her absurd sense of horror.
Each senator wanted to know
when the fighting men would be coming
home. Wolfowitz wouldn't tell.
The war on terror runs on
indefinitely. But how go
the wars on misogyny and poverty,
those on famine and disease,
the one on slavery and illiteracy?
Is there no way to merge them into
One Just War? Can we not trade
intermittent high intensity violence
for daily low intensity war, i.e.
debate, argument, investigation,
elections, resignations, humiliations--
to lose but live to fight again?

Wolfowitz can't see how
in a world divided by so many
fractures America can do anything now
but exercise its will to survive.
Is there not one abyss
requiring rapturous descent and flight,
one algorithm, bang big enough
to clarify, one question with one
answer that would answer all
our needs? (The American people
elected an idiot. That's their prerogative.)
A religious divide between those
who govern themselves and a God
who some say told us not to know.
We must gather nations unafraid
to follow a human-derived
process, an order as magnificent
as nature's or the Lord's: To guess.
Where the killing frost and killing fire
meet the warm home and soft desire.
And a hand is not lopped off
for taking bread, nor a woman
stoned for taking a lover.

Wolfowitz had not considered
from his den on a hill
the end game of life.
Self-government for men,
sentient animals,
useful insects,
essential plants.
Wolfowitz was wrong when
to be free and to be safe
he canceled the right of the world
to be wrong. He had no faith
that the democracies could disagree
and debate, and still in time,
indict. He wanted to impose
with broad shoulders an early
end to our confusion and our fright.
So hurriedly did we fight
that perfect justice will come late,
or not come at all.

Copyright 2017 by Robert Ronnow.