On the Day I Became a Terrorist
by benjamin haas
On the day I became a terrorist there wasn’t a nuclear meltdown or pipe bomb
There was a radioactive and over-fished ocean, but that had nothing to do with
I am not sure what I was wearing, probably something denim.
I didn’t buy white powder, fertilizer, meat, birds, or bacteria.
I didn’t sneeze, scream, get sick, slink down an alley, or see the dentist.
There were cops, but there are always cops, and no shots fired.
On the day I became a terrorist the sun came up on Bagdad, Jerusalem, New
York, Coney Island, L.A., the Mississippi River, El Paso, San Diego, Bogotá,
Tokyo, Baton Rouge, Tripoli, Kingstown, and almost everywhere else too.
I probably checked my email, drank a cup of coffee, and read the news.
Someone made a paper airplane, and pretended it was a crop duster.
There wasn’t a hurricane, tornado, swarm of locust, lightning storm,earthquake,
blizzard, typhoon, wildfire, brown out, mudslide, or flood covered by the media.
I drove my car and regretted not being on my bike.
For me the clouds were still in the shapes of animals and cartoon faces.
There was distant smoke, but if you ignored it, you could convince yourself it
On the day I became a terrorist I wasn’t subject to denial of service online or at a
Someone drank a car bomb, smoked marijuana, and snorted cocaine in a
I wasn’t stockpiling a weapons cache or plotting with my radical friends.
I didn’t own a single vest.
And I have no idea what was going on in the PLO, Tamil Tigers, CIA, Hezbollah,
IRA, Department of Homeland Security, FARC, Tea Party, Al Qaeda, KKK, or
I talked with small number of people on the phone.
I doubt I said the word “jihad,” unless I was talking about music.
I ate a salad with home-grown tomatoes, and had a glass of port.
There were children dying from the self-interested decisions of old men, and I did
nothing about it.
I didn’t cover my face, throw a brink at a window, do any looting, or judge anyone
On the day I became a terrorist bridges spanned, buses and subways ran, and
still some people cried.
Someone lost their grandfather’s pocketknife in airport security.
There was drilling into the crust of the earth, and gas leaks in several apartments.
I thought that power lines must have seemed like the industrial revolution’s cat’s
And I counted the tiles on the bathroom floor, while someone else was held
A suicide bomber changed her mind, and nobody ever knew.
Something was so much fun, somebody said it was a riot.
There were lots of flags flying.
On the day I became a terrorist there was just the sound of rustling and pens
dragging across paper, signing bills into law
and silence. boom.