Diptych of Drones
1. Convenience Killing
Over eight thousand miles away
from where the devastation was
a zap-happy, kapow-cowboy
yeehah'd from his computer screen.
A funeral party had died
in the same way as the deceased
they were assembled to honour –
zapped at the press of a button.
Pacman and Super Mario
and later Sonic, the Hedgehog
may have been the apprenticeships
for today’s Killer Drone cowboys
Who sit, as they have always sat
when playing games on their consoles,
enamoured by technology
and lost to life’s great mystery.
They sit somewhere in Nevada,
yeehahdists killing jihadists,
the new dialectic of rage
that fails to think of consequence.
2. New Medal
They award medals now for remote-controlled
killing. This has nothing to do with gaming
consoles and their stages or levels reached.
It is much cruder than that. Much cruder.
The Distinguished Warfare Medal for button-pressed
killing, thousands of miles away from the carnage
created by the pressed button, honours ‘the extraordinary
actions that make a true difference in combat operations.’
But there are no medals for the burnt funeral parties,
none for the burnt children – all are collateral damage.
Calgacus, referring to the Romans, said they created
a desert and called it peace. Now they seem to create
a high-tech hell and they call it freedom. Freedom!
Jim Aitken is a poet and dramatist living and working in Edinburgh. He is a tutor in Scottish Cultural Studies with Adult Education and he organises literary walks around the city.