Michael Broek

The Logic of Yoo 6

He had heard of this John C. Yoo, what he had written US Code
while soldiers packed black-hooded men into planes Section 2340A:
& wondered how far they could go, when it would be too “torture is an act
much & for how long it could be endured, but Yoo committed by a person
was a bartender, a mixologist, making intended to inflict
adjustments – too sweet, too bitter – so skilled (is this severe
what one knew after Harvard & Yale?) at jiggers & proofs, physical
siphoning cheap vodkas into designer blue bottles, or mental pain
switching labels on the Johnny Walker – Red to Black.1 and suffering
The hoods were not for the prisoners. The hoods were not (other than pain or
the opposite of maps or the soldiers’ names, which were suffering
already blank. The hoods were a permission. incidental to lawful
Lights dimmed, music cupping its sonorous white hands sanctions)”
around the prisoners’ ears, it was easy not
to meet the eyes, just to look at the lines in the grain
of the bar, serve up the shots. What was war, what evil,
what measurements could be brought to bear?

1 Matt Labash, “The Passion of Dick Cheney,” The Weekly Standard, 22 September 2008, sec. 14, 2. In an interview, the Vice President reveals that his Scotch of choice is Johnny Walker Red.
Michael Broek
“The Logic of Yoo 6” first appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Fall 2011.