The Idyossey
Chapter 4: Woeful Warrior


The Bushiad
Chapter 1- The Rage of George
Chapter 2- Rattling of Sabres
Chapter 3- Entreaties Rejected
Chapter 4- Osama Speaks
Chapter 5- The Underworld
Chapter 6- Fatherly Advice
Chapter 7- The Gods of War
Chapter 8- Juggernaut
Chapter 9- The Prisoners
Chapter 10- Interrogation
Chapter 11- George Dreams
Chapter 12- In the Clouds
Chapter 13- D
Chapter 14- Secret Agent
Chapter 15- The Tyrant Flees
Chapter 16- Out of Order
Chapter 17- George Descends
Chapter 18- Master Kim
Chapter 19- Uncurious George
Chapter 20- Asana
Chapter 21- Doing the Patriot Act
Chapter 22- Immaculate Reception
Chapter 23- The Little Prince
Chapter 24- Mission Accomplished

The Idyossey
Chapter 1- Ichor of the Gods
Chapter 2- The Price of Peace
Chapter 3- Empyre
Chapter 4- Woeful Warrior
Chapter 5- Mitzvah
Chapter 6- News Analysis
Chapter 7- Strategic Planner
Chapter 8- Aristea
Chapter 9- Last Supper
Chapter 10- Skullduggery
Chapter 11: Family Reunion
Chapter 12- Black Goddess
Chapter 13- Saboteur
Chapter 14- Glossolalia
Chapter 15- Visitation
Chapter 16- Dead or Alive
Chapter 17- Across the Border
Chapter 18- The Unraveling
Chapter 19- Summer in the City
Chapter 20- Wolf and Jackal
Chapter 21- George Gloats
Chapter 22- Surreality
Chapter 23- Kidnapped
Chapter 24- Denouement

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“Good evening Mr. Secretary." Bernice
Feingold gestures to a seat across the room,
Resumes making notes on a small pad of paper,
Looks up, smiling, “How are you?” she asks gently.
On the dark green couch, hands folded in his lap
Secretary of State Colin Powell shakes his head.

Bernice looks interested and concerned,
“Not too well I see, tell me what’s going on.”
Since December, Proud Powell has been her client,
Coming once a week, sometimes more,
Based upon how well he’s holding up.
He’s not making rapid progress.

“The bastards won’t stop,” says Colin.
“Go on,” says Bernice, voice steady.
“It’s just more of the same, everyday,
No matter what I do, they never stop!”
He leans into the couch, head back, eyes closed,
Bernice observes his thick carotid pulsing.

“Did you try what we discussed?” she asks.
Proud Powell is staring at the ceiling.
“I tried, but they just laughed.” He sighs.
Bernice sees that his chin trembles,
He’s withholding tears, she notes, decides to press.
“And that makes you feel what?” she asks.

He stares past her avoiding her eyes.
She adds, “I’m sure that makes you sad.”
His eyes begin to fill with tears,
He swallows, his chin wrinkles tightly.
He looks into her eyes; she sees
A tear roll down his cheek.

“It makes me sad. It also makes me mad!”
The session’s finally started. "I
Worked hard to get to where I am, a
Black general in a white man’s world, imagine!
Now Secretary of State, I feel lost, as though
My soul left with my uniform.”

Bernice thinks of “Soul Man” by Sam and Dave,
Recalls the tune. Focus, she says to herself.
“We’ve covered some of this before, when
These kind of feelings have emerged. You
Told me the struggle makes you stronger.
Has that changed?”

“No,” Powell responds, “but perhaps I have.”
“In what way? Tell me more,” she asks.
“Well, after years of effort, years of work,
Dutiful and loyal, devoted and true,
I shouldn’t have to work that hard,
I deserve more respect, if not admiration.”

Bernice knows that Proud Powell’s in trouble,
That the Bush gang are macho toughs.
Colin, son of Maud and Luther, succeeded
In the Army, rose in the ranks by
Pleasing white men. Now on equal footing,
He can’t hold his own against them.

How to help this man regain his stature
Without sacrificing his basic goodness?
Bernice asks herself. Fairness
And justice matter to him, more so
Than to the others in the gang. He's right,
It’s all about respect, she decides.

“Can you give me an example, something recent?”
Bernice probes for something she can work with.
“Sure. We were meeting at the White House,
Rumsfeld, Rove, Cheney and I. We
Ordered lunch, I was having a Cobb salad,
I try to watch my carbs.

“The conversation was casual, we’re eating,
And we each ate something different, me my salad,
Rumsfeld, he was eating a sandwich, liverwurst.
Cheney? I can’t remember, he eats weird stuff.
Anyway, the President walks in, nothing unusual,
Sits on the couch, and looks around.

"'What’s up guys?' It’s his happy voice,
You never know what you’ll get when he walks in.
And then Rove, I still can’t believe this, says,
‘We’re eating lunch, sir, me, roast beef,
Don’s having liverwurst on rye, and Colin
It’s Cobb salad. They ran out of watermelon!'"

“And what did the President do?” Bernice inquires.
“He laughed, of course…they all laughed.
And so did I.” Proud Powell stands up
Walks to the window, and back turned
Continues talking. “I’ve laughed along
At racist jokes like that my whole career.

“When I was a recruit, they called me Zulu Congo.
I laughed along. As General Powell, the
Joking stopped, perhaps it was the stars.
Now it’s back, and I just grin and shuffle.
I’ve been placating whites so long
My Uncle Tom is automatic.

“And then I get depressed,” he says.
“I’ve succeeded in the face of bigotry,
Overt discrimination, racist white men.
Despite it all I rose up to the top.
After the war in ‘91, I could have run
For President, myself.”

Bernice considers a suggestion; his honor
His sense of duty’s so ingrained, it’s killing him.
He needs to be respected but he
Also needs to please. “What do
You think would happen if you got mad,
Said ‘I don’t appreciate your stupid joke'?”

“How about ‘Fuck you, asshole?’” blurts Colin,
Smiling for the first time this session.
She says, “Why not, what could happen?
Seriously, Colin, you can’t go on like this,
Bottling things up, collapsing in depression.
They can’t take your success from you.”

“There’s more,” says Colin, back on the couch.
“This one’s hard for me…I’m embarrassed.”
“You know you can trust me,” Bernice leans forward.
“I know,” he says, “but this is difficult.” He sighs.
“My sex life sucks.” He looks sad.
“I can’t get it up. Nothing helps.”

A man emasculated, ridiculed, demeaned,
Often somaticizes his psychological condition;
The mental becomes the physical. Bernice
Is not surprised. Viagra cures
The symptoms not the cause. She's
Unwilling to stoop to easy solutions.

“The link is clear, I think you know that too,”
She looks straight into his eyes. They stare
At each other in silence. Finally, Bernice
Says that his time is up, it’s a good place to stop.
“Let’s talk about this more next time,” she stands,
“Meantime, keep taking your Paxil.”

The Secretary stands tall, almost at attention.
He nods his head, turns toward the door.
His hand upon the knob, he stops.
“One last thing,” he walks back to Bernice,
“I hate watermelon,” he says, smiling,
Turns and closes the door behind him.
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The Bushiad and The Idyossey - Copyright 2004 by Victor Littlebear - All rights reserved