It is a weak and fleshy face,
A face with furtive eyes
That snake along the ground, refusing
To rise and face forward.

He chews his words well,
Mixing them with venom,
Words that dart like missiles
From the side of his malformed mouth.

It is a dangerous, deceitful face,
The face of a man with too many secrets.
It is the face of one who quietly orders
Torturers to torture and Assassins to kill.

It is the face not of a sniper,
But of one who orders snipers into action.
It is the face of a Klansman behind his mask,
The face of one who savors lynchings.

It is the face of one who hides in dark bunkers
And shuns the brightness of the sun.
It is a frightened face, dull and without color,
The face of one consumed by power.

It is a weak and fleshy face,
A face with furtive eyes,
A face that falls hard and fast
Like the blade of a guillotine.
Responses to a Dangerous Face

Thank you for your responses, which came from all over the world. The most popular responses to who the poem was describing were Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Other responses were more general: “an enemy,” “hate,” “people who are threatening the fragile world,” “people who are fighting the modern war,” “the epitome of American fears,” “an evil human being.”

Three people named Dick Cheney, who was the actual model for the poem. Although Cheney was the model, I believe the poem describes a certain kind of person who is lacking in compassion and committed to violence and militarism.

I particularly liked the response of Laurel from Pierce: “This poem is describing terrorist leaders. Terrorist leaders do not care who they kill, maim and frighten. These people hide behind their followers. They delight in power over the minds of their victims and the men and women they draw into their plans. They spread hatred through lies and acts of hate. These people do not commit the acts of terror themselves; instead they command their minions to perform them, sometimes at the cost of these poor followers own lives. This poem describes all of these characteristics.” Of course, this description of “terrorist leaders” could also include leaders of countries.

Surprisingly, no one named Henry Kissinger, who qualifies as one of the leading war criminals of the 20th century and who, despite his history of misleading Congress and the American people, was recently appointed by President Bush to head of the investigation of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
*David Krieger is a founder and president of The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.