Shadow War
A Poetic Chronicle of September 11 and Beyond, Volume Two
(Revised, second edition)

Paperback: 80 pp.
Published: 2004

Price: $14.95




Beginning less than two months after the attacks of 9/11, the forty-seven poems of Louis Daniel Brodsky's Shadow War, Volume Two depict the United States in crisis. There's a general suspicion that al-Qa'eda is behind the crash of an American Airlines flight in Queens and the attempt, by Richard Reed (a.k.a. the "Shoe Bomber"), to blow up another, from Paris to Miami, and the fact that Osama bin Laden still can't be found makes this paranoia all the more credible.
Despite the public's fear, coalition troops and the Northern Alliance have prevailed and virtually liberated Afghanistan from the clutches of the Taliban; Hamid Karzai has been appointed leader of the interim government. But these successes are marred by the increasing violence between Palestinians and Israelis, and America's alignment with Israel makes it a more provocative object of hatred in the Muslim world.
Poems range from the case of traitor John Walker Lindh, an American Taliban fighter, to President Bush's choking on a pretzel, underscoring the nationwide feeling of precariousness. The volume ends ominously, with the discovery of a computer in Kabul, containing names of previously unknown al-Qa'eda operatives, suggesting that bin Laden isn't to be feared as much as is "An international network of independent cells . . . With the capacity to ravage our body politic."






Not since the Middle Ages
Have we suffered such vicious conflicts —
Fractious factions scratching their talons
Down history's bloody blackboard,
Turning wrathful graffiti into propaganda,
Hate and evil into murderous actions
That annihilate Homo sapiens.

Aren't natural disasters enough —
Earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes,
Fires, floods, tsunamis, droughts?
Aren't visitations of bubonic plague,
Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, cancer sufficient?
No, we have to invent genocide —
Biological, chemical, nuclear weapons.

Why has it always been this way —
The fighting, intentional tormenting
Of brothers we see as mortal enemies,
The family of man struggling, hand to hand,
For patches of desolate land,
Hegemony over those of alien faiths,
Already war-torn or dead?

How can it be that we advance three steps,
Fall back five,
Each time new generations are aborted,
Delivered in chain mail, jackboots,
Brandishing maces, rifles, missiles?
Is this what Creation was all about?
Are we soldiers of Satan after all?




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