by Jim Aitken

One year on
after the wind subsided
and the floods disappeared
there was still a scene
reminiscent of some battle zone
with dilapidated houses
piles of debris lying there
upturned and rusting cars
broken boats moored in-land
amid the empty, eerie desolation

One year on
he said New Orleans will be rebuilt
acknowledging that it had not
but it would be a great city again
in some indeterminate world of time

One year on
from all of this I had read
how the empire abroad expanded
how Camp Anaconda, north of Baghdad
occupying fifteen square miles
with two swimming pools
a miniature golf course, mini-theatre
planned to accommodate 20,000 soldiers

One year on
from all of this I had read
of the 234 military golf courses
around the American world
and of the Air Mobility Command
that flies servicemen and their families
in fleets of long-range C-17 Globemasters,
C-5 Galaxies, C-141 Starlifters, C-19 Nightingales,
KC-135 Stratotankers and KG 10 Extenders
and for the more senior personnel there are
Learjets, Gulfstreams and Cessna Citation
luxury jets

One year on
desperate people in New Orleans
no longer look at the stars
or listen to the sounds of birds

One year on
after this neglect at home
I had heard about Camp Taji
once barracks to Saddam’s Republican Guards
how it has its own Burger King, Subway and Pizza Hut

One year on
after this neglect at home
I heard about the new Embassy Compound
in the heart of Baghdad
ten times bigger than other embassies
with its own sources of power and water

One year on
in New Orleans and several years on in Iraq
there’s still no water or power

One year on
as the poor scavenge in fear
in the rubble of New Orleans
new bases have been and are being
in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Kosovo,
Pakistan, India, Australia, Singapore,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam,
Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Senegal,
Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone, Georgia,
Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan
and only God knows where else

One year on
if you are poor or homeless in America
you should join the military
doing their great job of extending freedom
and get a posting abroad
for that way you will get yourself a house.

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