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First Person Shooter
Veteran marksmen speak of the ballet,
each victim’s unique fouetté,
the way the head jerks back, the shoulder
tilts and the sinews fondu,
into and through an invisible chair
like an abandoned marionette.
I get off when blood puffs into mist
from bodies dancing face-down in the dust.
Notice how my pointillistic rat-a-tat
evokes the delicate riverscapes of Seurat.
Not comfortable with that? Think me cold,
unhinged, highfalutin? Fine. You choose
the language that best describes my shootin’
if not the precious language of fine art.
Why not do something useful: tell me how
it feels to have my thermal spider inch
across your neckhairs in the dark. Ticklish?
Want me to stop? Then get on your knees
and do the caterpillar to my gunship hip-hop.
Thanks for your concern, but if you haven’t got
the stones you can piss off back to Europe.
I’ve been. It's not so different. I've seen
entire families slump with church fatigue
in Notre Dame, apostles strafe to safety
around the apse, like soldiers in Halo
or Doom. And let's not forget Rome,
where pilgrims sniping bulletproof pietàs
bump into one another, apologise
but gaze elsewhere, framing, framing.
Every tourist knows how to zoom
a scope and pull the trigger on a woman
even as she graphs the dismal calculus
of Christ upon his axis. Hypocrites.
In the event of an airstrike, they could
reconstruct their church from the photos taken
of it in the past hour. Ever thought it strange
how in English we say take? Once, outside
Tikrit a local kid asked me to make,
make a photo of her by the ruins of Seleucia.
Amid your whir of pixellated saints, clicking
into focus, you can dwell on her request,
wonder if the slippage suggests a diagnosis.
Riddle me this: I don't give a shit. You say
you've seen the footage on the web
but that can't tell you what it's like to be there.
You forget we like to call it theatre.
You need to harden up. Oh, go on then, grope in
the darkness of your purse for ibuprofen.