The Second Second Coming*

Turning and turning in the disposition matrix
The non-combatant cannot hear the MQ-9 Reaper Drone;
Things fall apart; the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) cannot hold;
Mere MQ-1Bs are loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is airstrikes;
The best lack all conviction, while the enemy wounded in action (EWIA)
Is full of passionate intensity.

Surely some targeted killing is at hand;
Surely the double-tap strike is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast Watchkeeper Drone out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A civilian casualty (CIVCAS) with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while close air support sorties (CAS)
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of kill lists
Were vexed to nightmare by collateral damage,
And what imminent threat, its signature strike come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

* “The Second Coming,” by W. B. Yeats, with some words and phrases replaced with technical terms from drone warfare.

Roger Stoll is a Latin America/Caribbean solidarity activist with the Task Force on the Americas, a three-decades-old anti-imperialist human rights organization. He has published articles, book reviews and political poetry in Dissident Voice, Resumen Latinoamericano, MintPress News, Black Agenda Report, Popular Resistance, Orinoco Tribune, Marxism-Leninism Today, Counterpunch, San Francisco Examiner, ZNet, Jewschool, and New Verse News. Read other articles by Roger.