Imperial Commodity

by Daniel Uebbing

How could I tell what was real from what was not?
When Raquel pawed her caveman I smiled,
When Clint said draw I shot.– Cambell McGrath


Mary-Kate and Ashley–
these were the names embossed on the hulls
of two of America’s Armored Infantry Fighting Bradleys,

At ease patrolling the streets with death and rock ‘n’ roll
Charlie 22, doted, “Ashley,” moved into her post
in the city of Karbala, by the canal.

Two young freedom-fighting Iraqis–ghosts
thought to be dogs in the thermals at first–
then came into view white-hot with a most

Ever discernible knapsack (of RPGs) indicating a hostile thirst;
the gunner Martin (a Georgia Tech drop-out) snapped to it, forgetting to select co-ax
and unleashing a 25-millimeter high-explosive burst.

Ribald and unwitting we impale our cultural commodity hacks
Imperial young girls dishing out death in war-torn countries; smitten;
forgotten today, as we talk by the cafeteria, relax.

Imposing hunks of steel, full pivoting technological apex–
Special Forces with eyes on the destroyed human apparition–
Said it was a paint mess.

As for me, my actions serve no merit for contrition
Hostile intent? Yes, there always is, lest
I move the vehicle into position.

Lastly, men, we are on the cusp of securing our AO, yes?
Smoking a pack of reds on guard you read the famous imperial lines
from the box: “Veni, Vedi, Veci”–Human consciousness conquered,
as the mortars rain and the radio blares wholesale death in lively advertisements and jives–
we came, we saw, we squandered.

Notes: An “RPG” is a Rocket-Propelled Grenade. The military abbreviation “AO” stands for “Area of Operations.”