Hotel Freedom

And it was on one piteous undrawn night
That three burning souls checked in to the
Hotel Freedom: the first was called Bush,
The second Cheney, the third Rumsfeld, and

A custodian arrived to be their guide. The
Wraith waved its hand and an Iraqi woman
Stood before them, lost on the streets of Mosul,
Her face wracked by bitterness; a car pulled

Up, and after a brief exchange, they disapp-
Eared into the half-light. “Once she dreamt
Of being a doctor,” said the ghost, “now she
Is forced to sell her body to feed her family;

This is called liberty.” Then a second vision
Emerged of a truck of Shiite paramilitaries
Arriving at a house in a Baghdad Sunni neigh-
Borhood, placing the head of their only son

On the doorstep, ringing the bell, and then
Vanishing in the swirling sands. “This,” said
The wraith, “this is called democracy.” Lastly,
The watchman waved its haggard hand and

A final vision appeared of a maternity ward in
Fallujah, where amidst the screams of wailing
Women, infant after infant were born with severe
Birth defects; some had no eyes, while others

Had no limbs, while yet others were stillbirths
With grotesquely deformed heads. Gesturing
Towards this den of unutterable horror, “And
This,” said the ghost, “this is called freedom.”

David Penner’s articles on politics and health care have appeared in Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Global Research, The Saker blog, OffGuardian and KevinMD; while his poetry can be found at Dissident Voice, Mad in America, and Also a photographer, he is the author of three books of portraiture: Faces of The New Economy, Faces of Manhattan Island, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at Read other articles by David.