Legacy of Ashes (A Training Manual)

Anna Montgomery

Create central intelligence:
Project/protect the fantasy
invert, convert, digest, repeat.
Cull/scourge the weak
inject, reject, regurgitate, unleash.
Fashion/impassion your guerilla army
recruit, reboot, oppress, regress, shoot.

Pile/revile trash from here to anywhere
electrify, deny, decry, undermine.
Cash/opiates paid for secrets, insert in slot
spot, capitulate, insinuate, cast aside.
Pulp/whore up those lying spies
gravitate, emulate, identify, underlie, interrogate.

Glorify, espouse, glamorize, bind, scrawl, shape, strip, demoralize, characterize
shift, shout, torture, mobilize, calculate, indoctrinate, analyze, and strategize.

Whatever you do don’t learn the language.

Begin again:
Pick a spot on the map, set traps, rehash,
espy, cartography won’t lie, transmogrify,
redefine, carve ideologies, proselytize,
intimidate, obfuscate, in an endless loop.

Disinformation can withstand the facts.

‘We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act,
but a habit.’

Blame Aristotle.

For a thorough history of the CIA read Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes http://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Ashes-History-Tim-Weiner/dp/038551445X


68 thoughts on “Legacy of Ashes (A Training Manual)

    1. Thank you Jesse! If you haven’t read the book it’s an extremely well researched volume by a Pulizer Prize winning NYT journalist. He won the National Book Award, I think his work would intrigue you, well worth reading!

        1. The last line made me smile. This felt like a protest poem but the piling on made it into something more. Through the spaces there was room to drive tanks, or march armies. Really interesting and well written.

  1. this has a wonderful flow to it anna…ugh on the disinformation over coming the truth..and the fact that we have whole organizations that deal in it…it is rather fascinating to walk through the spy museum in DC though…will checkout that book as well…

  2. This just had me. You’re precise placements of words combined with the sentiment and subject matter made me feel like I was being attacked (in a good way!). Maybe in the same way as our military forces use weapons to turn everything to ash. This highlighted not only a political condition, but it’s utter ridiculousness that often makes me disgusted to be part of the human race. Very clever and very very good.

  3. Love the finish Anna. We must never stop searching out our voices, nor can we let them be silenced by political agendas…Excellence for me….resisting the habit! 😉

  4. oh my..this is full to the brim with energy trying to jump at me from the screen..truly a training manual for awakening senses and creative spirit. loving this to pieces.

    1. That’s good to hear, I felt that energy when I wrote it. This is a very different style for me but I think that’s an important part of getting a subject across. Thank you, it’s nice to meet you!

  5. Poetics, politics, aesthetics of control: Somewhere between Aristotle and Plato the State figured out it’s easier laurel the poets than burn every oracle. Sappho. where art thou art? An interesting foray, Anna, in this new cell of the hive. – Brendan

  6. Lovely. And confusing x___x
    Had to read it like three times.
    Loved this part:
    “Glorify, espouse, glamorize, bind, scrawl, shape, strip, demoralize, characterize
    shift, shout, torture, mobilize, calculate, indoctrinate, analyze, and strategize.”

  7. only you can combine the CIA and Aristotle and make it sound the most natural thing in the world..love it anna..esp. loved…Project/protect the fantasy…something i think our whole system isn’t supporting very much..

  8. If we are what we repeatedly do, than I’ll be a happy an if I keep reading your poems. The endless loop of habit can be good or bad for individuals or a government, in most cases though, in my lil experience it ain’t too good. Great write Anna. Missed ya. Thanks for the comment last week.

  9. You just let loose and never let go, really came at the reader with tons of energy, great job. I think the last stanza sums it up perfectly too. Poor aristotle getting all the blame as well, I suppose it beats blaming a poor cat though..haha

    1. Condensing a 700 page book into a poem required a bit of Mary Poppins’ bag magic! Yes, sorry I got grumpy with the cat at your show. I promise to be better behaved on the next go :).

  10. You know i like words anna…

    you have the bestest and coolest ones available here and then you ;ve crafted them into
    a poem about the CIA and then some, and then the sardonic nod to the son of Plato;
    if i told you i like this… would you be surprised – lol

    awesomeness -( i’m doing the devil fingers:)

      1. Can’t figure out how to start a new reply box-lol Awesome write Anna. Love the feel here, each word illustrating paragraphs, again the tempo is perfect for this piece. Reminds me, in a way, to U2’s song Numb. mainly in the relation to the flow here. Anyhow, excellent piece. Thanks

  11. This is sort of a CIA Thesauras poem…although I imagine the CIA are not really literary types.Facts,disinformation and excellence (oxymorons in my opinion)You will have to excuse me Anna, I live on Cloud 9 and do not engage much with the modern world…everything is so perplexing and foreign to me:) Thank you for visiting and commenting on my poem.

  12. Anna… I had a ball reading this out loud.. don’t often see this amount of rhyme in your work and I love how you’ve used it. And then:

    Whatever you do don’t learn the language.

    Such interesting dynamics in sound and sense. 🙂

  13. Fantastic poem. Brilliant flow and word choice here – and an intriguing subject! LOVE this line: “Disinformation can withstand the facts.”

  14. Who would ever think to write a poem on this subject matter! Love the way you use the cataogue of words, like an enigmatic cipher that could be a metaphor for the agency itself.

    1. Uh, me :)? Haha, wait until you read some of the other subjects I’ve tackled: Hypnerotomachia, poststructuralism, transhumanism (for the record I think it’s vile), imaginative space in art, socialist realism (again, not for it), anyway you get the picture and I hope it won’t drive you away as a future reader. Love that you used enigmatic cipher (I have a whole science fiction poem on perfect secrecy)! Thank you so much.

    1. He was a rascal, personally (on a side note between you and I) I haven’t forgiven him yet for calling women ‘natural deformities’! The politics of power are always such a difficult subject to address in art and to understand within ourselves. Thank you Jannie, I always appreciate your feedback!

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