Glass Poetry Press

Volume Four Issue One

David Sullivan

George Bush Eats Shoe (In My Dreams)

On December 14, 2008, the Journalist Muntader al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference. "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," yelled al-Zaidi in Arabic as he threw the first. "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq," he shouted as he threw the second. Wan smile. My fellow Americans, citizens from around the world who my actions have offended … Eyes dart to the teleprompter scroll that guides him, his voice a frazzled youth's. The words done, he dons a napkin, bends to the boiled shoe, waves off the steam that quavers his face. With a fork he de-laces it, twists the strand into a ball he shoves in his mouth before he can gag. For a full minute he gnaws, swallows, eyes bulging, then pries the upper off the sole with knife and fork. Cuts and chews each bite. It takes a long time. No commercials interrupt. No distracting crawl. Eventually, all who watch TVs stop their jeers, cries, or sighed complaints. People grow silent. At vet's halls, Afghan shops, Iraqi cafés — everyone watches a man at work. As the last forkful disappears his tight mouth struggles to find a smile. Some protest he only ate one, but the other will soon be displayed behind glass at George Walker Bush's library, tongue out, as if a stretched mouth were caught mid-ululation.