Beirut, 4 August 2020

First came the plume from hangar twelve
Cellphone cameras swung around
and pointed to preserve, for fear
that even worse might happen here
Next there came the second blast
Flattened buildings, shattered glass
raining pain on those not dead already
Then came the clear-up – volunteering
weeping, sweeping up rubble and body parts
Hospitals already struggling with the virus
striving to save the lives of survivors
All hands on Beirut’s deck
except those of its rulers
schooled in coolness, turned away
counting money, making hay
Then came the understanding how – and why
but everybody knew already
It’s elementary, twenty-twenty
You don’t need a chemistry degree
to understand the chain reaction
the fatal traction
of neighbours’ invasions
warring factions to warlord rule
the forward pull
to the most criminal and neglectful
of criminal neglect
Next came the rage
the fury of the bereaved
at their government of gangsters
and looters and thieves
And so came the protests
in the same square as ten months before
when they danced as they showed the government the door
Today they wonder what that was even for
Now aggrieved, incensed and sore
they burned one ministry, stormed two more
put up gallows and killed the cutout cards
of the Prime Minister and his holy guard
Then came the clampdown
the booted attempt to damp down
Cops and troops in Martyrs Square
shooting tear gas, bullets in the air
Creating more hospital patients
but not a dent in their determination
Then came the resignations
But we’ve been here before
Statesmen make statements
feign to grieve, take their leave
Their places taken by replacement statesmen
still corrupt and complacent
until their greed blows up in other people’s faces
Walking away is no solution
Next will come the revolution

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