The People vs. Laurent Kabila

Live via satellite feed from
the as-yet-quiet capital
of the country whose name
no one is sure of any more—
whose gargantuan bulk is host
to who knows how many
armed factions—talking about
the president who may or may not
be dead, the reporter says
every time Kabila’s motorcade
threaded its way through the streets
the people all would lift
their shirts & blouses
& point at their bellies.
His whole last year in power
he only ventured out
a handful of times. A puzzle
to think that great broad man
with a buddha’s beatific grin
could be so cowed by
those ranks of stomachs, silent
save for the occasional borborygmus,
offered up almost
as targets—feed this
with navels for bulls’ eyes
narrowing, dilating,
tracking his every move.


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