A dictator, hiding behind a nihilist’s mask, has killed and killed and killed, pillaged and wasted, but is afraid, he claims, to kill a sparrow. His smiling picture is everywhere: in the coffeehouse, in the brothel, in the nightclub, and the marketplace. Satan used to be an original, now he is just the dictator’s shadow. […] The dictator hides his disgraced face in the mud. Now he is having a taste of his own medicine, and the pillars of deception have collapsed, his picture is now underfoot, trampled by history’s worn shoes. The deposed dictator is executed in exile, another monster is crowned in the hapless homeland. The hourglass restarts, counting the breaths of the new dictator, lurking everywhere, in the coffeehouse, the brothel, in the nightclub, and the marketplace. ABDUL WAHAB AL-BAYATI (December 19, 1926 – August 3, 1999) was an Iraqi modernist poet who was known for his use of free verse, as opposed to classical Arabic forms. His views against the Iraqi government forced him to spend most of his life in exile, though his works – more than 20 volumes of poetry – were never banned in his home country.