FROM BAGHDAD TO US


I sprang for the handcuffs and Lynndie and he;
I stripped them, Charles stripped them,
                                         we stripped them all three;
"Dead right!" cried the guards, as the cell-bolts shot home;
"Dead!" echoed the walls through each hood's Klu-Klux dome;
Behind clashed the block-gates, the lights never doused,
And up to our golf game our shift went aroused.


Not a word said next morning; we kept up the stress -
Neck to wrists, wrists to bars, never making it less;
I turned on the first one and made his cuffs tight,
Then shortened his neck strap, to force him upright,
Spread wider his bare feet, exposing his balls,
Nor taunted less womanly Lynndie's cat-calls.


'Twas dawn when we started; but they couldn't know
Of the hours muezzins called, as we put them on show;
At first break we left them, as thirsty could be,
And strangled a beer instead, hooting with glee;
At chow, while we laid off, we let our fried pork
With urinals' stench blend, to sicken their block.


Past midday, impatient, we heaped them in piles,
And set the camcorder to capture our smiles
While they writhed in their shame, at our filming their pose
And I heard Lynndie's Arab beg for some clothes;
With shuddering shoulders, each heaving with grief
This mis'rable Muslim now whined for relief;


With his head bowed and bagged, and his elbows bent back
At her voice of command he wormed free of the pack;
And crawled to be collared and put on a lead
While his unhooded gaze for pity might plead!
With contempt and with mocking she dragged him along
Through the flashbulbs to sing us his softened-up song.


But next day, she'd left; yet cried Charlie, "Play fair!
My babe taunted bravely, the fault's not in her,
We all follow orders" - (even clerks try to please
Their lovers and leaders while they leer with dis-ease;
Yet sunk and dishonoured by others of rank,
It's down in the gutter your good name they sank.)


So, we were left 'softening', Charlie and I,
While, in heavens denied them, the moon kissed the sky
And howling below it, unheard by our prey,
Our wolf-hounds were straining and starting to bay;
Till, dragged from his dungeon, and shaking with fear,
One sense-deprived 'rag-head' felt hot jaws draw near.


"How he'll sing now!", we cried, as the dogs, in one bound,
Pinned him neck down, arse over, brought low on the ground
And there, just like Barney, our beasts sought to gain,
For the Chief, information, regardless of pain,
Where the 'geek' lay with nostrils, blood soaked to the brim
And with splashes of red round his dog-toothed wound's rim.


Then I cast loose all caution, my trousers let fall,
Shook off both patrol boots, let go belts and all,
Stood up in erect wrath, leaned, hauled on his ear,
Called my prisoner by foul names, full humbling to hear,
Ordered open his mouth, that to talk he might choose
Till, at length, he could feel that he'd no more to lose.


And all I recall, sir, is friends flocking round
As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground;
And no voice but praising this practice approved,
As I waved to the lenses which, circling us, moved;
Yet Bush and both Houses, now condemn just as, 'Bad'! -
Us - whose imaged obedience brought the truth from Baghdad.

                    (Apologies to Robert Browning)