caravan of fools

we needed to be
to say
was done

in we piled
upon each other
cheap curtains
veiled the sun

they could not
the aimless
of patriotic eyes

fixed far
beyond the veil
into the desert sky

what we sought
could not be found

upon a lie

Author: Andrew Ferrante

Andrew Ferrante, an Iraq War veteran (2003), is a therapist in Boston.  His main professional interest is dream analysis.

6 thoughts on “caravan of fools”

  1. From the actual event of shuttling ourselves in large white commercial vans before the arrival of our Humvees and trucks (Kuwait, April 2003).

    The Army’s “hurry up and wait” mentality was in full effect as we packed ourselves “nuts to butts” in any available vehicle just to get from one arbitrary staging area to the next.

    And there was a lot of symbolism in that space–in particular, those cheap curtains in verse two.

  2. There’s so much to unpack in this poem. The image of the curtains is timeless, the idea that the curtains of the palanquins atop camels that hid beauty from view now hides the ugliness of war, the ideas of veils of tears separating humans from the divine echoing. And of course the whole pretext for being there in the first place one of political manoeuvring after 9/11. Just incredible.

  3. Yeah, those curtains. Like anything meant to protect us (armor, helmets, sunglasses) they limit our own ability to see, a cool irony.”nuts to butts” is a new expression for me.

  4. Thanks Liusaidh. Yes, veils are a timeless metaphor signifying truth and its hidden-ness. No accident the ancient Greeks used [ἀλήθεια] (i.e., un-coveredness) to approximate its meaning.

    Thanks Nick: the Army has developed many amusing expressions. Happy to share, lol.

    Interesting question CDP. I don’t know if I can lay claim on “should” (I generally avoid “should”-ing on people). Perhaps what Cuba Gooding says about lovers may also be true of warriors: “Everybody plays the fool. There’s no exception to the rule.”

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