Monday, November 15, 2010


I do not work for the CIA because I am too dumb
And I am not a Mormon
Besides my patriotism is lacking
I wouldn't have passed any of their tests
It's clear I do not work for the CIA

Do I maybe, after all, work for the CIA?
It's hard to believe I do
I begin my day later than them
And teach language at night
CIA people would be analyzing language
Arabic and Urdu and such
Documents of specs in Chinese
But me I teach language
The CIA wouldn't be teaching anything
They'd be writing up reports to answer
Yes or No Yes or No
But me I teach and joke with students
Trying always to play out the Maybe
For as long as possible

I keep to myself and drink scotch
This is very CIA
How long have I been CIA now?

I'm damn good at what I do in fact
My Chinese is better than many a fellow agent's
And my French was once good too
I still get the subjunctive wrong less often than many a Mormon
Who passes me sober in the halls at Langley

I've never been to Langley
There's no way I'm CIA
I'd have cracked under pressure sooner
And told everything I know

Though I've been under immense pressure at times
And have cracked twice or more
I've never quite told everything I know
But it wasn't because I was holding back
Out of patriotism or to protect some asset
But because I didn't quite know how to put it
How to frame it I mean
Everything I know
And sometimes I didn't even know really
That I knew it

This kind of thinking is definitely not CIA
Maybe that's why I'm such a precious asset to them
They wouldn't risk me on any small mission
Translating chatter from Urdu
Instead they coddle me
Keep an eye on my drinking
They've pared me down to one cigar a day
They're encouraging me now to find a new health club
Get back in the shape I was in
When we were winding down the Cold War

In fact I will not find a new health club
I'm tired of this far-flung Asian assignment
I want them to know it too
I'm tired of the metro ride back and forth
The students half of whom are ADHD
I'm waiting for my station chief to finally have enough of me
And drop word that I'd be better off
Somewhere with more action
Berlin or Rome
Nice would be nice
But I'd settle for Damascus or Tel Aviv
As long as it wasn't too dangerous
In short somewhere my skills can be used

Now that it's clear
I'm solid CIA
I must pay off those back taxes soon
Plan a visit to Langley
I must stop messing around with Maybe
And get back to basics
Yes or No
Me or You
One of us is in the wrong here

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