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Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 05/09/2013

State official put on leave after Benghazi attack turned to poetry


The aftermath of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya. (Mohammad Hannon - AP)
Too bad there are few words that rhyme with “Benghazi.” Otherwise, there might be more poetry about the vagaries of the international diplomacy machine.

But there’s at least one poetic ode, courtesy of Raymond Maxwell, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department and one of the four officials placed on leave in December after the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost (“thrown under the bus,” as the Web site Diplopundit, which first flagged the poem, describes it).

In addition to being a diplomat, Maxwell is also an aspiring poet who participated in the annual National Poetry Writing Month, in which participants attempt to write one poem a day for a month straight. He chronicled his efforts on his blog, and Diplopundit selected one of his works, titled “Invitation,” as being particularly compelling.

We agree.

It begins: “The Queen’s Henchmen/request the pleasure of your company/at a Lynching – to be held/at 23rd and C Streets NW/on Tuesday, December 18, 2012/just past sunset.”

Interesting. Not that poems should be read literally, but that is the address of State Department headquarters, and Maxwell and three others were placed on leave December 18...

The poem is grim, with the lynching described as,“A blood sacrifice –/to divert the hounds -/to appease the gods -/to cleanse our filth and/satisfy our guilty consciences.”

But there’s a moment of levity, when the event is described as being “B.Y.O.B./Refreshments will not be served/because of the continuing resolution.”

Clearly, he’s well-versed.

By  |  11:44 AM ET, 05/09/2013

 
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