The Agony Of Colin Powell by William A. Cook

The Agony Of Colin Powell by William A. Cook


Apropos of My Catbird Seat today with its observations of Colin Powell, I thought I'd mention a play I wrote in 2004 as he was about to descend from the heights following his UN debacle and his escorting Aristide out of Haiti, our highest ranking Black kidnapping for his whitey masters, Bush and Cheney, an elected President out of a Black nation. The script is in verse and you can read it at my web site or at Counterpunchback in 2004. I mention this because I am working with Tyrone Wilson of Ashland Shakespeare Festival fame (18 years) and a director, an award winning female director,for a production of this play in November. The play is structured around the "dark night of the soul" that forces a person (like Faust) to confront himself inside, a journey into his loss of morality the better to climb the ladder of success to power.


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Dr. William A Cook

(Copyright 9/30/04)

Published on May 5, 2012

The Colin Powell in this play is a representative character, not unlike Everyman, who must face his inner self, having lived a life contrary to the values, principles, and morals that had governed his behavior before his ascent to the pinnacles of power. The Colin Powell in the Bush administration has appeared at times to openly confront the decisions that drive this administration, yet has always backed down, accepted the necessity of the acts, or remained silent in acquiescence of them. That behavior gave rise to the intent of the play as it seemed to eloquently represent an individual in crisis — duty versus self. The play is a fictitious portrayal of a person in spiritual and emotional agony confronting his dark night of the soul.

Read the full Script:

This one act play is a work of fiction. The Protagonist and the characters he presents on screen are fictional characters as well even though they are named after living persons currently holding positions in the government of the United States. No attempt has been made to accurately penetrate the inner thoughts or feelings of the living man, Colin Powell. Indeed, Colin Powell may not be able to do that although he is in a much better position than I to attempt such a feat. The Colin Powell in this play is a representative character, not unlike Everyman, who must face his inner self, having lived a life contrary to the values, principles, and morals that had governed his behavior before his ascent to the pinnacles of power. The Colin Powell in the Bush administration has appeared at times to openly confront the decisions that drive this administration, yet has always backed down, accepted the necessity of the acts, or remained silent in acquiescence of them. That behavior gave rise to the intent of the play as it seemed to eloquently represent an individual in crisis — duty versus self. The play is a fictitious portrayal of a person in spiritual and emotional agony confronting his dark night of the soul. Scene: A five star hotel suite close to the UN building in NYC. The room opens from the main double doors at the rear of the stage. The entrance offers a crescent table to the right of the entrance and a door to the bedroom on the left. A few steps from the door there is a step into the main room. It offers a large “L” shaped couch set, end tables with elegant lamps, a credenza with appropriate liquor bottle and glasses and a lounge chair. There is a desk of some size to the left with a desk chair, a computer, phone, etc. A huge TV screen is visible on the sidewall. A full length mirror hangs next to the entrance doors facing the audience.  Faint elevator music can be heard riding quietly over the set.

As the curtain parts, a shuffling of feet and muffled voices can be heard outside the door. The door opens with a flourish as Powell comes into view. He’s dressed in formal overcoat and scarf; he carries an attaché case. As he enters the room, he appears to dismiss someone with a rapid gesture of his free arm. He grabs the doorknob as he moves through the opening and slams the door fiercely, muttering as he enters, visibly upset. As he utters the words below, he has moved toward the desk on which he hurls his attaché case, throws his coat over the chair, and moves to the lounge chair pulling at his scarf as he goes. He’s dressed in full business suit, and stops abruptly before the mirror scanning his image from head to foot, tightens his tie, pulls on his coattails, smoothes the lapel as he utters the following lines.


[General Colin Powell (Ret.) Former Secretary of State]

GOD damn! God DAMN! Won’t this ever end?

What madness am I mired in? What slough (slow) is this?

What lures me to this swamp, this pit of despond?

Where I drown in hopeless depression?

Alone! Oh, so alone!

Would that I could

Slough (sluf) off this role that smothers me,

Hides me from me, for God’s sake,

And I become a buffoon, a comic player

Mouthing the words of idiots, fools,

That mock those they claim to serve.

[He turns to face the mirror as he brushes the coat lapels and speaks the following.]

Then do I become but another fool!

Dressed in navy pin stripe,

The costume of this [pointing to self] civilian clown,

To cloak my transformation from dutiful general

To obedient servant of the people.

Ah, it was so easy then, “Yes, Sir!” “Done, Sir!”

[He salutes the mirror, turns with the stiffness of the trained soldier as these words are spoken.]

A salute, an about face, a march out of the place,

A decision made by another, my superior,

Orders obeyed without question, without doubt,

My mind but a soldier behind medals

And epaulets, and glistening clusters of rank!

But now, now I speak for the people,

I act in their name, I serve no other!

[He tears off his tie, rips at the buttons on his shirt, throws off his suit jacket as though it were the uniform of the slave.]

Oh, how I wish that were true!

God, what offal do I coddle here,

What cretin guides this ship of state,

Whose voice I hear and have come to hate!

[With his shirt now open to the waist, he prances in imitation of Bush’s strutting as he mocks

his Pretend Texas drawl exaggerating Bush’s sense of superiority as he plays the “common man.”]

“Now, you know what the man wants, Powell,

I mean, you know what he wants ta he’ar.

He wants you to tell him it’s OK to kidnap…

Well, maybe not kidnap, maybe, help Aristide

Get safely out a Haiti, to save his life,

You know, ‘cause we’re the good guys!

We need you there, Colin, cause youse

The black guy that knows what’s good for them.

And if you say it’s OK, then it’s OK!”

[He returns to his own voice, and in fury speaks the following lines.]

Mouthing the words of idiots; the fool

That plays his part, then departs to play

The fool again to the plaudits of the powers

That pull the strings that make me twitch!

[He suddenly grabs at his chest as a real pain hits. He stops talking and lets the moment pass. Then he speaks the following lines in a subdued meditative reflection.]

Where have I buried everything I longed to be?

What road led me to this barren place?

Why do I do what I do when I can see

That it has blackened my soul and whitened my face?

Have I succumbed to such hypocrisy

That I can no longer trace

The roots that hungered to be free,

That gave purpose to my being and to my race?

[He grabs the remote and turns on the TV to find the evening news. He watches in silence as the anchorman turns to the UN story of the flight of Aristide out of Haiti. No one seems to know where he has gone or why, just a desperate flight to safety done with American aid. The cameraman turns to his interview with Powell, the administration’s spokesman on the issue. He explains how Aristide’s life and those of his family were in danger and the US offered him a flight out of the country. He explains that Aristide had signed a letter of resignation and the US was acting in a true humanitarian spirit to help the beleaguered President. He shuts off the TV and tosses the remote on the couch]

Astrides last days…

[Mocking himself.]

That is the most influential “Oreo” in the Nation!

Colin, “Oreo,” Powell! Black

On the inside, white on the outside,

The inside-out cookie, baked in a white oven!

[He reverts to dialect as he responds to his own image on the screen.]

‘Who is dat man? How come he look like me?

He sound like me, but he not be me!’

Oh, how I wish that were so,

That I might rest in the black night

Knowing I had deserved the sleep

That crowns those who fought the good fight. 

But sleep eludes me, escapes my grasp

As though it were a convict on the loose,

And I the Pink Panther’s stumbling fool

That follows the rule to its inevitable end,

An ironic ridicule of reason and civility.

The face before the camera, quiet, assured,

The very cadence of civilized man

Explaining the unexplainable in measured

Tones that none would dare to question

Lest they appear the fool!

[He moves to the desk, opens the attaché case and rummages inside pulling papers and disks from its innards. He appears to be searching for a specific disk. He locates it, turns to the computer and inserts the disk. The images come on the big screen. He lands in the desk chair. It has wheels so he can move around on the upper floor and he enjoys this mobility.]

Ah! Got it!

Fools caught in the act!

[He gleefully points the remote at the screen.

Cheney’s face appears.]

Here, here’s the Iago with infernal sneer,

Tilted head, and varnished voice;

The asp in the ear of the mannequin,

That slips its hateful venom

Into that vapid space, unknown

To a mind grown dull in time,

Doltish from drugs and drink.

What demonic demands does

He inject into that dummy?

What mind possesses such scorn

For the common man called to slaughter?

What evil ego glows so deep

In the cauldron of his soul

That he can send the innocent

To their death without remorse

Even as he slides guiltlessly

Beyond the killing fields he creates?

[He wheels up to the screen and faces Cheney, rises up from the chair and gives a mock salute, saying “Yes, Sir!” “Yes, Sir!”]

This! This face must I face

Each day, feign joy

In its presence, bestow my obsequiousness

Like some sheepish lapdog

On this grotesquerie that leers

At the world from behind its

Sadistic mind, sick with desire

To control, aye control – not

Just a man, but the Goddamn world!

[He falls back into the chair.]

To this I bow, the house nigger

That ties his fortune to white power

Cause he knows the whip’s sting

Awaits should he turn against

Those who gave him entrance

To the hollowed halls that control all!

How high do I rise!

Ah, so far, the cries of those in chains

So long ago are but whispers now,

No longer the lingering lamentations

Of kindred souls searching for one

To right the wrongs they endured.

That was me when I was young,

Full of vinegar pulsing through my veins,

Afraid of none, hero to all!

I lived the Goddamned dream!

Naive perhaps? No! No! Ignorant!

Stupidly believing it was there for me;

A dream for whitey only,

Dressed in lies, wearing a black face,

Mocking my every step as I crept

Up the ladder, rung by agonizing

Rung, and lost my soul!

[He lurches for the remote and desperately points to the screen for another picture. Cheney disappears and the screen goes blank.]

Enough of this gargoyle

Whose slimy thoughts drip

Over his protruding tongue

And fall like acid drops below.

Another, I’ll have another

To sooth my smoldering anger.

But first, I need an elixir

To drown this gnawing pain

That strains at my gut

Like some knife of shame,

A two edged blade bloodied

By deeds done in silence

And lies told to hide the truth.

It twists inside cutting honor

As deeply as it does my heart.

[He lifts himself from the rolling chair, and as he does so he instinctively grabs his gut as if in pain, and makes his way to the decanter where he pours a tall glass into which he tosses a couple of ice cubes. He takes a long drink letting the liquor slide smoothly down his throat. He moves silently and dejectedly to the “L” shaped couch and points the remote.]

Now! Now there’s a face!

[Wolfowitz’ face comes on the screen. He leans forward looking intensely at the face.]]

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, President of the World Bank

Conceited, conniving, coarse,

No! More! Warped, obsessed;

Ah, yes, obsessed and diabolical,

The Rasputin of our noble court!

Out of his pen pours prejudice

Garbed in learned jargon,

Absolute in its oblique assertions

That turns the simple mind

That rules this misguided nation.


That, too, must I bow before,

Lest I offend the ass to which

His nose is hooked, browned

By years of cowering subservience

To hold the pants of those in power!

If I grovel, how much more does he?

But I know it; he cares not

For he has no morals, nothing

But the void beneath that face.

What evil has he perpetrated

And forced on a beguiled nation!

What deceit lives behind those eyes,

A veritable nest of maggots

That lives on lies, Yet he greets

The world in fawning smiles,

The very image of the candy man

Who brings hope to all,

When in fact, he is the Iceman!

God, what a bloody crew

Of blind men leads this country

Down the path to the ditch of doom.

[He’s passing the mirror now and turns to salute himself in a mocking way muttering “Yes, Sir!” “Yes, Sir!” He slips back into the chair.]

I grow morose and cynical;

There must be laughter

To quell these doldrums

Or I go mad!

[He gets more and more animated as the following lines are spoken and rises from the chair moving around the room.]

What fool

Can I beckon to my cause?

Whose image presents itself?

I feel like Faust

In the fullness of his power

As he summoned Mephistopheles

To raise the radiant Helen

Before his eyes.

Here, here is my

Demon on call, a plastic remote

That summons the radiance of, Rumsfeld!

"Rummy's memoir, 'Known and Unknown,'

Now, there is grace, comeliness, charm!

A smile to bedevil the gods,

Eyes squinting in the glare,

Of his own brilliance that shines

Forth from his eloquent mouth

In phrases picked from the Tree of Knowledge

Before the gates of heaven slammed shut.

Or so he believes in his gut.

So sad how an ego can pluck

Sense from the mind of men.

How he beguiles the press,

Who prance before his podium

Like homeless waifs in old England,

Awaiting the proffered pence

From the hands of the blessed chosen.

He regales them with known knowns,

Known unknowns, and unknown unknowns

And they scribble these pearls of wisdom

Onto their notepads like obedient children,

Ignorant of their sense while he

Loses the horror of war and terror

In jazzy riffs of obfuscation,

And they, befuddled by his merriment,

Forget the death and destruction

He came to announce to the nation.

Oh, how many talking fools bob

Before the multitudes on fluid screens,

Chortling with glee this clown’s

Distortions of truth,

Fed things

That haven’t happened, could not

Have happened had they sense.

They have mesmerized the people,

Who sit in silent acceptance

Of fallacies only an O’Reilly or Rush

Could conjure as certitude,

Minds made infallible by ignorance

And ego.

To think I knew them,

Knew them all before, yet yielded

To their feigned entreaties to join

The team to make “America great.”

And, “Yes!” “Yes,” I would have

Total control of State, free

To assert a direction and design;

The fulfillment of a dream deferred,

The mark of the oppressed visible

To all at last as I guided the ship of State.

What a joke! What ignorance propelled me?

What made me think power

Would be handed to a nigger?

Did I think the true thought

Evaporated when the word was expunged?

Have I joined the Hollow men:

Heartless, cruel, vengeful, cursed?

Shall I ride this frightful hearse

To its ineluctable end,

Or shall I pluck myself free,

And pray I can salvage eternity?    

If there is one face that epitomizes

This ship of fools, it is this!

[He points the remote and Rumsfeld disappears. In a moment, Karl Rove’s face covers the screen. He moves close to the screen drinking in the features of this man. Now subdued by some hidden force, grasping his temples as if in pain, he turns toward the audience and mutters the following.]

This, this is not a face of flesh.

There is no person here, no form

That grew in time from the mewling child;

Rather this is the face of heaven cursed

To wander the earth forever;

Lucifer incarnate in our shape,

Vengeance made palpable,

Searching the destruction of God’s creation;

The Mariner damned to repeat his crime

Day after day, to live its horror

Before all mankind, alone and barren,

Bereft of human kindness and love,

A pitiless wandering form without substance

Without conscience, without compassion, without remorse.

Power and control propel this monster;

Oblivious to pain and suffering

Since he cannot die again;

His life is everlasting death.

Damned to wander through the world’s

Byways witness to the weeping

Mothers and children who cling

To each other despite the devastation;

He sees the love that binds, a love

He cannot share though he knows

It alone is life’s fulfillment.

Such is the power that plays with this putty!

[He points the remote to the screen and blanks out Rove; in his place appears that of Bush. As he continues his litany of fools, he changes the picture of Bush to depict the points he’s making. Bush in uniform, Bush in a Ranger baseball jacket, Bush with a hard hat, Bush leering, Bush sneering, Bush walking the Texas walk, i.e. like someone walking through a field of corn stalks.]

Here is true comedia dell’arte,

The mask presented to the people,

And the voice that speaks through the mask,

Personified evil in the form of Rove.

America hears the self-mocking fool

And loves his bumbling manner;

But neither the fool nor the people

Know the source of his mindless banter.


This Lucifer ties two threads of fate

With magnificent dexterity:

The neo-cons’ sugar-coated hate

And God’s gift to humanity,

As sold by the righteous marketers

Who coat the hearts and minds

Of their idolaters with fear and prophecy.

Oh, I should raise the specters

Of all his evil horde this night,

To haunt my dreams and drive my despair

As I grope in blindness to confront

What comfort I have conferred on this crew,

That does the bidding of Beelzebub,

Casting the naive and innocent to their doom.

I can’t let them escape this catalogue of hate

That spreads their images before my mind,

As they spread their lies and deceit before

The people they vowed to protect,

Images of hypocrisy garbed in the gowns

Of God’s chosen;

Prophets as real

As the storied Patriarchs that predicted God’s

Reign of wrath threatening his creatures

With the sword of fire to destroy those

He came to save!

Their names

Must be emblazoned on the forehead of time,

A monument to their everlasting crime:

Falwell, Graham, Robertson, and Hagee,

The Dominionists, End-timers, and Lindsey,

All who presumed to know the word of God,

Using fear, not love, to drive their ambitions!

These deceivers drove the frightened

And afflicted to give aid and comfort

To terrorists who plagued the poor Palestinians,

Finding justice in the horror of God’s

Armageddon that gave right to might

As it blessed the lies of these dissemblers.

I saw them come and go,

And met them in their temples of gold,

But said not a word of dissent;

What stubborn will kept me silent?

Why could I not speak, why not cry

To the very heavens how they betray

The compassionate Christ they claim to love?

Where have I buried my sinful soul?

[He turns to point to Bush’s image on the screen, flicks to one that shows him humbly bowed in prayer, in church, eyes closed. He turns toward the audience as though to continue his meditation but shows in a grimace the pain inside. After a moment, he begins.]

There bows the born again Christian,

Self-righteous in his indignation of those

Who question his declaration of who is evil,

And who is blessed by God to lead his mission

Of salvation against the infidels that threaten

His dominion throughout the world!

In his humble hands lies the fate

Of humankind. Does he believe these myths?

Is he an imposter, a fraud, blind, or delusional?

Does the deception reside in Rove’s artifice

Or do I serve a man of infinite deceit?

Certainly I am to blame for this.

[He uses the remote to bring up a picture of Bush in his national guard uniform.]

I chose to serve the chicken hawks,

The very image of those I once decried,

Cowards who send the young and poor

To serve in their staid, whole bodies

Used as organs to salvage the rich!

What images come to mind

Of Cheney’s snarl, face to face

With the sergeants’ call to pushups!

Wolfowitz and Perle bedecked in ribbons

That flow over their protruding guts,

While Junior wades through fields of mud

On his way to the local pub!

What visions of security they portray!

Perhaps it’s better they not serve,

But rather salute real men in battle array. 

Yet to him and to them I pay homage,

To Hollow men come to life;

No longer the forgotten images

Of Eliot’s barren waste, but

Bones fleshed in cynicism and hate.

[He shuts off the remote, and in quiet dejection moves across the room to the full-length mirror. His face reflects the pain that flares up from time to time throughout the monologue. He turns to look at himself in the mirror, back now to the audience, though they can see his front in the reflection. He begins to speak in a quiet but deeply meditative manner.]

Eyes I would not dare to meet

In death’s dream kingdom,

I greet in full obeisance,

Like some Mars’s of old,

With shifting feet and eyes to the ground,

The invisible man shuffling around

Lest I be flung from these citadels

That I breached these many years ago.

Oh, God, what years I have devoted

To duty and dedication that it should

Come to this night of reparation,

Where I confront myself, defeated

And alone, like some aged penitent

That shambles toward the confessional,

Trembling and terrified that absolution

Will be denied and death will not come;

But morning will, and every store window

Will tell of deeds done in silence

Truths not told, defiance put on hold.

I stand here before the only face

That must confront the faces it has met,

That must judge itself, not them,

For they are but ghosts of my own decisions

Or indecisions that have wrought the chaos

That plagues me this night.

Now must I play priest and penitent,

Conjure up points in time that

Pricked my soul as I capitulated

To those who held my future

By a tether, like Edward’s spider over the flame,

Ready to drop me into the perdition

Of lost opportunity and advancement,

To breach the walls of whitey’s fortress,

After four hundred years of sweat,

Of humiliation and defeat, to subvert

From within the very system that controlled

The oppressed and determined their fate.

That was the dream that turned to nightmare.

[He wanders before the mirror, weaving back and forth as he unfurls these lines, stopping to look at himself, sometimes with an expression of deep depression, sometimes pain, physical pain that finds visibility in his breast or temples. It is as though he is mirroring his emotional state in the deterioration of his body.]

I know the day and hour of my defeat!

It was a sin of omission, of known

Horror untold, of cold bodies

Buried beneath the clay of My Lai.

I knew and said nothing, and learned

That silence has its own rewards

For those in power, who control others

By controlling what they know.

That omission earned me stars,

And forged the first link in my chain

That grew like Morley’s day by day

Until I was fettered as solidly as any

Of my forebears who served as chattel

For that civil society that shackled the slave.

[He stands before the mirror and buttons up his shirt, straightens his collar. He stands at attention, shirt tucked in, belly pulled in, looking at himself and imagining his early years in uniform. He salutes once again, but grabs his hand as it goes to his forehead crying out…]

Stop it, you fool!

Orders are but masks of conscience

That delude the soul and hide

Their evil as duty due the state.

There was a time when I obeyed

And knew how I was used.

I cut a pretty picture then,

A useful tint to present to the public,

Carefully manicured in my ribbons and stars,

The perfect image for the Party of the people.

Used, used as only Patricians use the slave:

I dressed out their dining hall,

I stood, impassive and pressed, beside

Their elegantly dressed wives bedecked

With pearls and diamonds … and gleaming smiles.

I knew my place and kept it well,

Adding, day by day, a new link

To the chain that choked my conscience,

Shutting out the air of reason and right,

As I crawled home each night

To seek solace in darkness,

Ah, yes, to crawl out of the light!

[He slumps down on his knees, head bowed like the penitent.]

How corrupt have I become?

Dark history…

Do I act now without regard

For right or wrong?

Do I                             

Instill my desires on my own kin?

Do I link them to my chain, prisoners

Of my foibles, victims of “duty’s” excuse

That releases me from judgment to acquiesce

To those who pull my chain?

Oh, I am not Prince Hamlet, in deed,

A pun as corpulent as my dejected mood;

I’m not even Lord Procrastinator,

Who has at least the prospect of becoming;

I have forgone all, lost the chance to act.

I have become the victim of Cheney’s venom,

Just another mannequin to be placed

In his window, dressed to do his bidding,

[He rises from his knees and goes for another drink. As he stands at the credenza, his hand begins to shake and the liquor spills. He grabs at his breast. Puts the glass down hurriedly, and stumbles to the couch edge. A little time passes and then he begins the following gaining momentum as he speaks.]

My Lie…

Why, if I am content to be his lackey,

Do I suffer so?

I tried, I tried to stop

The first slaughter that ended

In the Highway of Death, that graveyard

Of bleached skulls and seared skin,

Our everlasting memorial

To that glorious little war,

That made me a household name.

But once started, I did nothing to stop it.

No, that’s not true, I did do something;

I supported it, lying to myself

That duty required I obey;

The pitiful lie all must use

Who follow the bloody trail

Their master takes.

That lie

They knew I would tell myself,

And so I became both Master and slave!

What irony rules a life

That turns the whip upon itself.

That blackness in evil seals my fate!

Shackled to duty I abhor,

Champion of slaughters demanded

By those I hate, the loathsome horde

That guides this benumbed state!

That time passed, and I pushed

My guilt deep inside that I might hide

It from myself.

But it festered there;

It haunts me now; it grows a cancer

In my breast and taunts my being.

It metastasizes, for God’s sake,

Because it multiplies each day I

Live in this den of vipers who

Entwine their lies like serpents in a nest,

Strangling my will, my desires, my soul.

[He is circling the stage at this point as though tracked by some unseen fury. He grasps his temples at times, desperate to flee the torment he is recalling.]

Iraq propaganda revisited

How I gagged when Rumsfeld shoved

Those sheets of deception before me;

Page upon page of distortion and invention,

Equivocation and evasion, presented as truth

To beguile the world by this Charlatan,

Who coquettishly delivered the Judas kiss

To those he admired, the very diplomats

That cried out against the Machiavellian

Antics of this Satanic crew!

Then, too, I objected when I threw

Those sheets against the wall,

Demanding they give me evidence,

Not concoctions hatched by sick minds,

That, once delivered, makes me their Pharisee.

Yet Pharisee I became,

Presenting their law before

The world’s court, mouthing their lies

As truth, while my innards burned!

Had I then stood against their will,

The very heavens would have given thanks!

And the chains, the chains that bind

Even now would have fallen

From my heart and sunk like lead

Into the swollen sea.

And, blessed God,

I would be free!          

But now I walk the world a clown,

Bush’s buffoon, believed by none!

Pushed around the globe to justify

Neo-con hypocrisy, a roving dummy

Doomed to drive an agenda of destruction.

Ah, what self-hate sits like ice in my breast,

Freezing my heart against the pain

I witnessed in Jenin, as Sharon’s siege

Laid waste the destitute and helpless;

People oppressed, damned by indifference

And deceit to suffer in the sun’s glare

The cruel savagery of these fiends.

I, I live their pain, captive of these same

Demons, and I suffer with my brother.

Yet I did a dastardly thing

When I circled their plight,

Taking unnecessary flight to Egypt,

That Sharon have time to ravage their homes,

And massacre the mothers and children

Who could not flee the terror of his wrath.

The whole world cried in despair

As I crawled slowly to the carnage

That I let happen for their sake,

Adding still more dead to the links

That I drag weeping into eternity.

Why can I not act?

What makes me cow to those I loath?

What force drives this shame?

For force it is that compels me to live

In a cauldron of self-hate, yet go forth

Each day to build another crime

More hideous than the last,

To approve the wall that stands

A monument to racist hate, encircling

Those held captive by murderers and thieves;

To cry foul when the world court

Condemns the ethnic imprisonment of people

Unable to defend themselves against oppression;

To proclaim as justified the stealing

Of Palestinian land negating by my act

The declared will of nations united in voice

Against this insidious betrayal.

Good God, what reparations must I make?

To whom do I make them now?

Have I a soul to save?

I have lived this dark night

In fear and dread having cast

My lot this day with tragic irony

As I stood alone, the bumbling Patsy

For this pathetic crew, escorting

Democracy out of Haiti!

Kidnapping it

In the dead of night, a tragicomic Knight,

People oppressed, damned by indifference

And deceit to suffer in the sun’s glare

The cruel savagery of these fiends.

I, I live their pain, captive of these same

Demons, and I suffer with my brother.

Destined to be mocked and derided,

A figure of infinite ridicule and scorn!      

How fitting this end to this ignoble career.

What message does it send?

Am I at least an example that can teach

The folly of impregnable duty,

Of deeds done in silence that corrupt,

Of deceit made truth that corrodes

The decency we’ve been taught,

Of dreams deferred and lost?

When pride rides its phantasm steed,

Seeking the golden apple of greed

And gain, and power, believing it

The elixir of life, time intrudes

To erase the mirage, leaving only

A residue of lost hope and desire.

Oh, God, I would I were dead!

[He collapses on the lounge chair, arms spread, head on chest as the curtain closes.]

Editing: Debbie Menon

Prof. William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He serves as senior editor at MWCNEWS. His commentary and analysis have been featured in several online publications. He is author of The Rape Of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied, Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy and The Chronicles Of Nefaria. The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction by Dr. William A. Cook is out now, available to order from Palgrave Macmillan! His work that has spanned the Bush era up to now resulted in 100s of articles and three books.

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Prof. William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He serves as senior editor at MWCNEWS. His commentary and analysis have been featured in several online publications. He is author of The Rape Of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied, Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy and The Chronicles Of Nefaria. The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction by Dr. William A. Cook is out now, available to order from Palgrave Macmillan! His work that has spanned the Bush era up to now resulted in 100s of articles and three books.


  1. Excellent!  Yep, when you sleep with the devil because he says he'll clean your sins in an instant.  You better understand that he will call for you to give a part of yourself in equal measure for that little gift of cleanliness!  Powell was ordered to fall on his sword for the Bush admin. to get the war they wanted and he did.  Must have owed them bigtime!