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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


by Hanoch Guy


Yesterday I shot a pine tree
A rolling rock on the road.
My hand on the trigger day and night
Since I flew off my humvee in Mansura.
My eyes arrow
Every veil and kaffiya.
I volunteered to go on night patrol
So I would find and kill.

I sleep with my M-16
Another gun under my pillow.
May tremble but I am fit.
Behind any corner shadows lurk insurgents
Even at Fourth and Indiana.
I drive alert for threats.
Kids of ten are a menace to our force.
Wailing women masked gunmen
Even beggars, cripples ambush us.
Miss my platoon.
We would hunt together with infrared scopes
Find them spray them with gunfire.

Here at Fourth and Indiana I fortify my house
With sand bags, guns and piles of ammo
Lest they would come behead me.

Yesterday I shot a pine tree
Today a rolling rock.


You are absent 13 and one-half times
Submitted only 50% exercises on time.
I know, Professor, and I can prove to you
That statistics are in my blood.
Some I left in Mansura.
70% of the trees scorched.
77% of the water contaminated.
For every one employed seven shot.
The graph of casualties climbs up steeply
With every passing day.
I can project the graph tearing the page and disappearing.
The maimed and damaged are ten fold the dead.

Professor, I know I missed half the sessions
And 40 % of the assignments.
Consider that I am incoherent, foggy and delirious 21 hours a day.

Huge rats in rotting alleys chasing me
Into indiscrete bars.

I am living apart from my town.
My ten thousand mates and me did not come back
Are still in Kabla, Mansura Jabaliya patrolling dusty roads
Blown up by IEDS 55% of the time.
Professor, can you understand?
It’s not the course I flunked.
I am the dark logic
That cannot fit me into
Correlations, probability, or causation.

Hanoch Guy, a bilingual poet in Hebrew and English, was borm in Israel. His poems have been published in Poetica, The International Journal of Genocide Studies, TM poetry, Visions International and other magazines,He is an Emeritus Professor of literature in Temple University. His Iraq poem is from his working collection: Poems of the Middle East.