The Rage of George
Rattling of Sabres
The Gods of War
In the Clouds
The Tyrant Flees
Out of Order
Doing the Patriot Act
The Little Prince
Ichor of the Gods
The Price of Peace
Dead or Alive
Across the Border
Summer in the City
Wolf and Jackal
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and The Idyossey?
Kim Jong Il, xenophobic ruler of North Korea,
Picks at his kim chee, grim and none too happy.
Round-faced, pallid and paunchy,
Hair unkempt, he wears a light-colored jacket,
Zippered so tightly as to disguise his ample girth;
He breathes in shallow gasps.
At his side sits his staff of close advisors.
They wait for the master’s signal,
A mouthful of food spit on his plate,
Sometimes, to the floor or rosewood table -
An indication that he’s had his fill, the
Dishes may be cleared, discussion can begin.
The wretched mouthful lands at the table’s edge.
Master Kim sits back in his carved chair, his father’s,
Looks down at his discarded food with pride,
And waits for staff to remove the masticated lump.
Lifting it with precision onto an antique porcelain plate
Staff covers it with a finely woven cloth of silk.
The formality concluded, the meeting now begins.
The topic is the same as last night, and the night before:
Master Kim is obsessed with nuclear weapons.
And the U.S. invasion of Iraq has convinced him
There is just one way to insure his survival:
North Korea must join the world’s nuclear club.
Despite North Korea’s poverty and affliction,
Master Kim uses every won available,
Starves his people, who eat roots and suck pebbles,
In favor of sustaining his military machine,
Feeding scientists and engineers above all others,
In a fevered attempt to build a nuclear bomb.
The missiles are developed, and well tested.
Before the first Gulf War, Saddam bought
North Korean Scuds, now obsolete equipment
Compared to their most recent high-tech rockets,
More reliable and capable of greater striking distance.
Not terribly accurate, they’re serviceable.
Iraq proves to Master Kim the rightness of his case;
That no small nation not possessing nuclear weapons
Can long resist U.S. military pressure.
Mutual assured destruction keeps the peace
Kim thinks. The only hope for North Korea:
Doomsday leverage against the power of the West.
Kim looks up, and joining fingertips as in
Asks the small man Kim Dung a simple question:
“When?” The small man sits upright,
Trembling, lips aquiver, he answers,
“I still can’t say,” and bows his head.
Those assembled at the table remain silent.
No one speaks, or even breathes too loudly.
Master Kim is known for his impulsive ways,
Might speak warmly to his old friend Kim Dung
Or could order his removal or have him killed.
If death is chosen, it may be painful and slow;
The master is creative when he metes out liquidation.
“Okay,” The Master of All Men finally speaks,
“Tell me where we are, we are running out of time!”
His balled hand slams upon the table. “Great Master,
Our facilities are old, mothballed for many years,
We must go slow or risk major accident or explosion.”
Kim Dung tries to stop the shaking in his voice.
“Have we engaged the fuel handlers?” asks Master Kim,
“You know, subversives, criminals, freethinkers,
Prisoners and those who resist our noble cause?”
“Indeed we have,” Kim Dung, replies, looks across
Where Kim Seoung sits, now nodding in concurrence,
The job’s been done, labor identified and used.
Kim Seoung jumps in, “They have been used,
And we will use more, but they are weak and slow,
Deprived of food and medicine, they die fast.
There’s increased risk of accident. A catastrophe’s at hand.
We must improve the work or the project’s doomed,
And so are all your plans to keep America at bay.”
“What do you need?” asks Master Kim, “We must succeed.”
“Food, and not just cats and dogs and wild birds,”
Replies Kim Seoung, “We need beef and chicken. Duck too.
Kim Chee is not enough to keep workers alive for long.”
All heads around the table bow in reverence
Awaiting Master Kim’s response.
“OK,” says Master Kim, “You’ll have your beef,
And chicken too. Duck? I’ll try. I have some news for you
Dramatic news, the answer to your prayers.
How does Two Billion Dollars sound?
Two Billion Dollars!” All eyes go wide
As every face rivets on the Master.
“We now have two billion U.S. dollars, it’s
In our Swiss accounts, transferable in minutes.
I’ve ordered a large portion of the funds to be wired,
And available by morning. Shipments of food
Can be allocated to the workers of your choice.”
Master Kim Jong Il cackles like a hen.
“How is this possible,” asks Kim Seoung,
“We have millions of counterfeit dollars, but it’s useless.
Where did we get two billion dollars? His voice cracks.
“My friends,” intones the Master, “Never doubt me.”
He beckons to his left, a door opens, tall man walks in,
“Gentlemen, I present Saddam Hussein.”
At that the meeting erupts, hand shakes
And short bows ensue, Hussein towering over all.
Stealthy Saddam looks good, relaxed
And tan, in pinstriped double-breasted suit.
He looks like a prosperous banker, which he now is.
His billions available to finance his old friends.
Addressing Master Kim, Saddam pays his respects,
“Your father was a proud leader,” says the tyrant,
“Unafraid to chart his own course. And he had fine teeth.”
At the mention of Kim Il Sung’s teeth, his son cries.
North Korea’s teeth had been his father’s obsession,
And fine teeth are still the pride of Pyongyang.
Kim Jong Il brings Saddam’s hand to his wet cheek
Wipes his tears and looks Saddam directly in the eyes,
“We will make George Bush the world’s laughing stock,”
Kim says, “On my father’s honor and your own,
This I pledge.” Saddam’s dark eyes well up,
His own tears flow.