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Give Terrorism A Chance

category international | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Sunday June 29, 2008 10:59author by Mark C - Poetry.ieauthor email mark at poetry dot ie Report this post to the editors

This is a summary of the so-called 'War on Terror'. It is a poem that I began writing in Bosnia in the summer of 2005 and still go back to to add the odd word, phrase, comma, etc, now and again.

I'm presenting it here (with a small number of notes at the end) to try to encourage more from the artistic community in Ireland in denouncing the war(s), but also because its contents are still relevant (I had hoped that it would have been out of date before I go to finish it).

Give Terrorism A Chance

I’m summarising, but…
Summertime, and…
It’s gonna get hot.

What is it good for?
Controlling oil and ideology?
Let he who has never sinned realise
That as they are throwing stones,
The do not realise:
They live in a glasshouse.

The tree is burning.
The Bushua tree is burning.
Still it’s burning, like a burning bush.
And still it’s burning, like a burning bush.
And as Rome burned,
But as Rome burned,
Nero fiddled with himself.

Show me your friends.
I’ll tell you who you are.
“Cyclops, hand him over.
Cyclops, hand him over.” [1]
The deal is done.
He will come,
Through the land of the pure. [2]
“Evidence,” says Cyclops.
“We do not condemn without evidence,
No matter how tenuous.
Yes, we like theatre too.” [3]
The deal’s undone.
He will be gone.
To the land of the poor.

“Cyclops, can you see him?
Cyclops, are you with him?
Cyclops, where are you?
Have you Kybher-Passed away?
It’s okay, it’s okay.
We’ve got a fight for Mr Hussein.”
(All in an effort to show who’s sane.)

Size, Control, and Profit Orientation.
Sources of News.
Fear and Consumption of Terrorism.
Let’s get this consent manufactured.
Big Busher, your son hastens to do thy pleasure. [4]
Let’s bring this mountain to Mohammad.

The big guns.
Look at his big guns.
He can’t have those big guns;
They’re not in our interests.

Show me my friends.
Tell the world who I am.
I don’t have any friends.
The world knows I’m Saddam.
Have pity on me.
Have pity on me.
What did I do to deserve such a tasteless Manhattan?
What about my people?
Oh, don’t sanctify,
Please don’t sanctify,
What about my people?
Haven’t they been sanctified enough already?

We have pity for you.
Now say: “Awe”.
You’re shocked.
Now say: “Awe”.
Open wide.
Now Say: “Awe”.
That’s better.
Extraction over and just beginning.
We have your,
Sorry, I mean we have given you your freedom.
Such a beautiful gift;
Such a pity to waste it on the free.
We have your … (better not say it).
What’s the time?
It’s April, 2003.
Time to go down in history.

You never found the World’s Mad Dogs.
You never showed me my friends.
You just cried havoc,
And unleashed the dogs of war.
But the world knows who you are.
And the world knows what you are.
And there you stand,
And there you are.

There he is.
A bounty on his head,
And a bounty in his hole.
Get him and his bounty.
(The world loves irony.)

Be careful.
You’re young.
Learn to walk,
Before you run.
You need stabilisers on that,
Or else you’ll fall over.
You need to be stabilised.
We vote to stabilise you.

Wonder and awe.
And a shock in store.
The children.
Here come the children.
Here come the children – with bombs.
Al-Qaradawi is throwing children bombs.
But al-Qaradawi is a Qatari.
Perhaps we should go for al-Zawahiri!
We are the warriors against terrorism.

Take a big gulp.
Swallow your pride.
Easy it goes down with sugar.
There is nobody celebrating in the streets now.
All the statues have come down.
What a comedown,
Especially now with the party over.
It’s time to go home.
We are the terrorists against war.
Ayatollah is our ally.
We just need to look west.

author by Mark C - Poetry.iepublication date Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

[1] Cyclops here is Mullah Omar, the one-eyed leader of the Taliban.
[2] Pakistan translates into English as 'the land of the pure'. Bin Laden was to be handed over to the American's via Pakistan (with Bin Laden's acceptance of the deal). The plans were later scuppered by the Americans in favour of a war (which would allow greater access to Afghanistan (and eventually get a pipeline built to move Caspian Sea oil reserves to the Gulf). See John Pilger's essay ' The Great Game' in his book The New Rulers of the World.
[3] Some have claimed that the destruction of the World Trade Centre was almost like a work of art - certainly a spectacle - as was the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban. See, for example, David Hawkes's book Ideology.
[4] One of the Hadiths in Islam states from Aisha (Mohammad's wife): 'Verily, thy Lord hastens to do thy pleasures'. Aisha had asked Mohammad why Allah assumed all believers were male. After the question there was a gender balance in Allah's pronouncements, to which Aisha replied with the quote above. More details: Tariq Ali, The Clash of Fundamentalisms.

author by paul o toolepublication date Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:54author email pauljotoole at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I write poems and poetry amd songs to help me stay sane in this ever devolving inhumane place we call home...
Heres one of my ones...

A brave new world.

But who am I to question....
Is this fate, or is there room for my voice to be heard for the sake of my children at least, in what time is left this world, as we know it.
With every beat of my heart, the very earth on which my feet stand changing, every laboured breath a waste of time, when I could be doing something.

Those Greedy Capitalist Bastards tear asunder the very fabric this civilised world has come to know-
....ancient in it’s derision, it’s journey ..fraught with ill-temperament...
..yet it has to stand for something.

The clock ticks... ever louder as the hour approaches.. My heart is beating in another part of the world.
Should I pray, or should I scream to a world that doesn’t want to know until blood drips
down our own doorstep.

...As the sun sets on this Island, the beauty is shattered only by my thoughts..of the
insanity to befall us all, and if this be Armageddon’s approach I welcome the
proposition and of god I ask...”why did you not do something”...

So, if love exists outside this physical world, I will raise my voice with who ever else will, and walk with my brothers and sisters, down the road...
..... Towards a brave new world

author by Mark C - Poetry.iepublication date Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:14author email mark at poetry dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors


Thanks for your kind comment.

But more importantly, thanks for also publishing some creative work in response to my piece. It's not always easy to put yourself forward in that manner.

Also, can I say that I thought it was quite an accomplished piece? I especially liked your use of ellipses.

Keep it up!


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author by reasons to be cheerfulpublication date Mon Jun 30, 2008 18:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

let those who clamor to ridicule do so.
Shoot the message and the messenger together, lest they masticise into something beautiful that you may not have eyes within to envisage or understand.
Submit your ofrfering and hold it up to public scrutiny if you dare, blue violet, is that your sudonynumb

Personally, I encourage all poetry and dont judge it. Poetry , like all creative work and art, is seen by each observer through their own personality. Interestingly, Your commentry speaks more of you than it does of the object of your unconstructive criticism

author by blue violetpublication date Mon Jun 30, 2008 18:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with the message. I don't think it is delivered well. I can't read nor could I listen to this without thinking of how lamely it mimics the good free verse and anti-war poetry of Ginsberg or just want to hear Edwin Starr's "war what is good for?" song instead.

If we want people to write poetry and people want us to read their poetry in the context of "opinion and analysis" then it is only fair to analyse the poem and criticise how well it serves the function of its opinion.

There is not really so fine a line between self-indulgent nonsense and the writing of ones thoughts without the syntactical bounds of sentance structure or the communicative restrictions of a SMS text message as many people like to think. Maybe the writer of this poem thinks it works when spoken, that its sounds transcend immediate semantic meaning or usual associations. I'm not saying he should have written a haiku for the first triad or a sonnet for the fourteen lines. I don't think the poem is a bad poem because it is in free verse or respects no forms or traditions. The Aristotlean definition of poetry which includes mimicry is why I fault this poem.

I would have preferred to have read the excellent original anti-war poetry of Ginsberg instead of these 134 Conroy lines.

I don't think even that work would belong in "opinion and analysis" but I daresay reading it might encourage "more from the artistic community in Ireland in denouncing the war(s), but also because its contents" [to quote Mark Conroy who might have left out the pretentious "more"]. If we are all capable of writing bad poetry, and I doubt we are, many of us having at influenced a small bit by Irish secondary level education to know what good poetry is and so, I'd hope, be educated out of publically airing awful poetry - then I'd suggest we no longer have an "aristic community in Ireland and accordingly we should all publish bad poetry.

Will this stop a war?

It is arguable that good poetry can if not stop a war increase and mobilise opposition to it. That was the case with Ginsberg's free verse and Bob Dylan's rhymes. We should not devalue good poetry by tolerating bad poetry. We should not turn a blind eye to self-agrandisement and promotion of yet another "poetry website".

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Jun 30, 2008 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would suggest that 'blue violet' learns to spell before he or she starts out to criticise anyone's poetry. 'Sentence' is not spelt with an 'a'. Yes, it is often said that propagandising makes for bad poetry; but bad poetry is better than silence and infinitely more honest than band-waggoning. I applaud anyone who, in this conservative, mé-fhein atmosphere, writes something in protest against the brutalities being committed world-wide. So good on you, lads. You will always have the side-swipers. Every time they utter a statement it's as if a vacuum crept into the room. Keep rhyming, keep speaking out, keep talking.

author by paul o toolepublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:24author email pauljotoole at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sang this in Galway and almost got attacked by a bush-lover, next time in Dublin it was voted to be the new Anthem amongst the slightly tipsy lot....I appreciated the sentiment though....

New Society
audio New Society 11.93 Mb

author by wsbmachinepublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

moving forward enemy men friendly men.
moving backwards both enemy men.

You turn the cyclops;
complete rotation,
your move.
I have started on squares.
Forward run men and men.
Backwards runs enemy.
You can turn to cyclops;
Players still choose the the cyclops.
I had the pale Cyclops
They know cyclops.
It 's word image.
But who to question?

The ever louder hour approaches..
Is beating part of I pray?
Scream world that to know
shattered my thought...

Towards new world but…
What is it for?
Controlling oil he who sinned realises
Those that are throwing do not realise:
They are a glasshouse.

The burning.
The Bush burning.
Still it’s burning it’s burning, burning bush.
And it burned,
He has gone.
To the the poor.

Cyclops, see him?
Cyclops, with him?
Cyclops, you?
All in to show Control,
of News.
Fear of Terrorism.
Let consent be manufactured.
This mountain
Big guns.
Big guns.

We have you.
Now say: say: “Awe”.
Open “Awe”.
That’s better.
Extraction just beginning.

The world .
You’re young.
Learn to run.
Or fall over.
You will be stabilised.
We will stabilise you.

Wonder is a shock children.
Here come the men with bombs.
Al-Qaradawi children bombs.
But a Qatari?
Perhaps go for the warriors pride.
Easy with sugar.
They're celebrating now.
All the come down.
Now over.
It’s time to come home.
We are against war.

author by skeptomaniacpublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 16:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You made a literal artistic contribution, well done!
I think your pieces are absolutely fantastic.I could not fault either The song has the urgency and subtle anger one could only assume the author had some deep personal interest in the chosen topic of this tune. The other two are equally fitting and diverse simultaneiusly.......but theres one problem.....Ita not your contribution, its E Starr's.
C,mon, dont be afraid....something of your own..........

author by Mark C - Poetry.iepublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 17:32author email mark at poetry dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Blue Violet,

Your very first contribution to (unless, 1) the others were deleted, or 2) you use other names to publish under (Chris Murray, perhaps?) is very forceful: "This isn't a very good poem" - and your only comments on are related to my little effort. Wow, I must have really struck a chord, for better or worse. You really should go and read some of the other pieces on (you might even like some of them) Apologies it isn't "very good" but we all have to start somewhere. Your comments are not very good (too much passion, not enough substance, not much thought gone into the editing of them, blah, blah, blah (I won't bore the readers with the rest)) but then again, we all have to start somewhere. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your time at (presuming you continue to use your new "name").

Apologies also for not being as good as the Beats but to be honest I wasn't trying to imitate anyone, just trying to find my own style. As an aside, I don't find beat writing very interesting and am glad not to be associated with them. (Why you mention rap I have no idea...)

It's nice to see that you have figured out some of my references (The Simpsons, Julius Caesar (which I did do for Junior Cert. but have read since then)). That was part of the fun in writing the poem for me. Actually, I just looked back at my notes for it and the first one says: "poem of cliche homages about Bush's efforts in War on Terror". It's full of thoughts, phrases, idioms, sayings that I have picked up over the years: you can blame the postmodern project for that.

Being in "Opinion and Analysis" is a bit of an awkward one for me too, but there is no section for, for example, "Activism Through Art" which would have been more suited. I don't think this is a reason why it should not be published here though: Paula Geraghty and Michael Gallagher publish photo essays, Noise Hacker does so too with his graffiti images, and, so, now I am doing something similar using poetry. I guess it's also part of a response to Fred Johnston's call a few months ago wondering where were the artists' voices of protest. At that time, too, I published a short poem, as an Irish artist, in response. Here's the link: so you can get ridiculing on that one too.

BTW, how long did it take you to write that piece about the Cyclops. Sorry to have shattered the metaphor for you, but did you really think I was talking about a real Cyclops? C'mon do yourself some justice?

One thing you must be glad about though: it got you to open up your Ginsberg again and that's a positive. I'm glad to have been of service.

Paul O'Toole,

I really enjoyed that song. If it's yours, well done; if not, great performance. Again, keep it up.


Good effort. Seriously. I really enjoyed reading it. You should have a look into Spam Poetry.


You'll have to give up. Blue Violet will not publish one of his/her poems.

Fred Johnston

Thanks for the encouragement. I remember a lecturer in college saying to us (in Psychology of Education): "Let the crows sing". This is something I've tried to do in my teaching career. I encourage all my students to do what they want. Who knows, they might even write something good some day (as I might myself).


Related Link:
author by paul o toole - Me Feinpublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 22:40author email pauljotoole at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear.....
Oh, How honoured.
In my view, any criticism levelled should be tempered with humility. When it lacks a certain humility it comes over as patronising, condescending and insulting, as is blue violets criticisms of Mark Conroy's work.
The over intellectualising is completely un necessary. An exercise in unwarranted flamboyancy which exopses a weakness in the critic. Using middle class English parlour vocabulary is nothing more than a hiding place for insult masquerading as criticism.

I would suggest that you be very slow to critcise next time ...given the poetic contribution youve made.
It is not an anti-war poem, but another attempt to belittle Mr. Conroys work. Do you harbour a grudge?

Describing us all as schoolchildren shows how overvalued your own opinion is of itself. Your reference to a 'dodgy dossier' does not make your work an 'anti-war' poem as you described it.
It is lacking in everything you have detailed so far in everyone elses work only in more generous proportions - it is pointless without the context in which it was written, and even then it lacks point, it is soulless and context free. Writen to insult and condescend.

Once again , fair play to Mark Conroy to get a bit of oul' poetry going. As a previous poster pointed out almost deafining.

If you 'blue violet' (annonymous-why?) think that anti war poetry is so poor, are so moved by the massacre of innocent life then why dont you- teacher- who knows so much, show us the way....please!

author by Mark C - Poetry.iepublication date Wed Jul 02, 2008 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Blue Violet,

You are just rambling now and, as such, I am amazed that you still retain the gall the call me "shameless".

At least though, you made me smile.


author by paul o toolepublication date Wed Jul 02, 2008 17:01author email pauljotoole at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Annonomyus,afraid, distilled, forgotten
A washed up hazbeen whos place in hollywood has eroded in time.
To gain the limelight applause in a world caring less for its misuse.
To reverse sentences to feign intellect is a sorry, intellectual decree...But a pretence at copying a knoweledge whose use was actually necessary and no longer true is pityable.
A sad end for one so entertaining
To bask at the bottom when once so aloof
This is indeed a cruel place when Violets parade as forgotten fools.
And publish on indymedia to an audience of two
A hot bath and a razorblade on Monday night will make me famous again...And on the journey I shall rise....again!!

This took me 3.4 minutes...chop it up

author by wsbmachinepublication date Wed Jul 02, 2008 23:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great little film about cutup originator attached. He tells ya how to do it with the Irish Crimes.

Cut Up Machine Link
paste in whatever and then with a little selection and correction you get to be postmodern with little effort!

david bowie used write some tunes that way

heard your tunes before - some are most excellent

fun thread - thanks to all 4 the entertainment and elucidation and even the footnotes!

speed poetry on indy - who'da thought it!

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