- The War Reporter Paul Watson Remembers the Escape, and: The War Reporter Paul Watson in the Colonies, and: The War Reporter Paul Watson and the Mountain Gorillas, and: The War Reporter Paul Watson Gives the Poet Some Advice, and: The War Reporter Paul Watson Interviews the Negotiator
- The War Reporter Paul Watson Remembers the Escape
Riding shotgun in lotus positionlike Buddha on my suitcase. The driverdrowns his hands in moonshine. The keychain fobin the form of the first George Bush's headswinging like a plumb bob. Somebody's carvedDOWN in his forehead. Mr. Ramadanweaving the wreck-strewn autobahns beneathcriss-crossing contrails of Shiva's warplanesescorting Tomahawks, while the Beatlessing "Help!" on the tape deck. Christlike soldierswave us through the gates. Morning in Jordanat the barred Window of Shame, journalistsmingling in a scrum for visas. Black nightsin the jazz bar hounding Mr. Adnan,the visa-man pinching women's buttockswhile addicts beg him to help us returnto death. Shivering beside a mountainof sodden suitcases in a suddendownpour along the border, recordingthis war I'm missing. I was sleeping andI woke up to my blanket burning andwhen I reached out to find my son I foundflesh—and when this weeping father burieshis face in the mud at my feet, I swearto never let this happen again. [End Page 29]
Dan O'Brien's debut collection of poetry, War Reporter, is forthcoming in September from Hanging Loose Press in Brooklyn and CB Editions in London. O'Brien's play about Watson titled The Body of an American is the recipient of the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and premiered at Portland Center Stage in 2012. His opera Theotokia / The War Reporter premiered at Stanford University in April. Originally from New York, O'Brien lives in Los Angeles. O'Brien will serve on the playwriting faculty at the 2013 Sewanee Writers' Conference.
- The War Reporter Paul Watson in the Colonies
The dictator favored Savile Row suitsand homburg hats. Fondled his lion's-tailwhisk for flies. Bused in whores to welcome himwith ululations as he descendedAirstairs to the tarmac. Boys with long hair,girls in trousers and kissing in publicwere jailable offenses. ProvidenceSecondary School's Sister Mary JoyMagombo shelved her wimple. A heart-sickWest Yorkshire widow drunk at noon pursuedstudents with her bush knife. My manor stoodin the mahogany shade, tribes of vervetslaunching sorties on biblical fig treesinflecting my dreams. Mulanje Massiflike Atlantis rising from an oceanof susurrous green tea terraces. This thinwhite line. Past which my barefoot cook called me"Bwana." Mr. Banda the cadaver-faced commerce teacher with a bookworm wifeand an inveigling eye. Chakwanirataught biology with snuff suspendedin his young beard like Darwin. Named his childafter the first one died "We Who Are StillMourning." As soon as the bells tolled we'd sitlike those proverbial monkeys, sipping piss-warm Carlsberg Greens. There are witch doctors knownfor their love potions. Better than hashishbundled in banana leaves, tied tight withbutcher's twine and compacted over timeinto nubs like coal cobs that will explodeyour mind! Mr. Banda at Bwana's doorwith sisters in scandalous décolletage, thongssplitting burnished toes. Giggling observingtheir professors blaze up. Mr. Bandalocked my bedroom door, my girl took my handand babbled me down to the floor. Reeling [End Page 30] from the punch of the hash and her sweat. Gonow! Get out—everyone! Banda emergedwith brown penis flapping. Sisters weepingso sweetly. You should give them soap at leastfor their time. [End Page 31]
Dan O'Brien's debut collection of poetry, War Reporter, is forthcoming in September from Hanging Loose Press in Brooklyn and CB Editions in London. O'Brien's play about Watson titled The Body of an American is the recipient of the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy...