Many people firmly believe that within the month
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto may be dead.

                            The Guardian (March 17th 1978)

Don’t die, Bhutto,
don’t shoot your last load at the end of a rope.
Crooked bastard that you are, I like you.
And besides, the world needs better men as martyrs.
Like all dirty old fools who run for power,
whatever you get you will deserve.
Still, your murder will touch a raw nerve
in my sense of reality.
Slicked-back wheeler-dealer, heretic hustler
decked out in tailored threads not a shade too cool:
pity you couldn’t have done your thing and been less cruel;
but on your sawn-off piece of the planet
soft shoe routines are just not on, are they?
I know Pakistan,
know, too, you are a bunch of crazy numbers,
frustrated fanatics like Mohammed Khan
(Peshawar’s international friend
and patron sinner of the National Hotel),
walking the tightrope of modern Islam,
swinging—at the extremities of long, angry arms—
a fierce smile in one hand and a knife in the other.
At least you, lady killer statesman of genteel birth,
have had rupees enough
to keep your hard-ons from hurting your balls,
making it with spiffy women
unsequestered behind traditional walls of purdah.
Yet now you are in danger
of staining your trousers with your final seed.
It’s obscene, Bhutto, that’s what it is,
that you—sleek as a Doberman and quite as deadly—
should be cut down by a hound dog with a shaggy mind,
much to the callous delight of many false mullahs.
True, I won’t exactly weep if you go,
though hidden memories of former lives
will certainly dry my own throat with fear
when I think of your proud neck tugging the noose,
while erotic fantasies of sex and death
send bent charges of mystical intrigue
coursing angrily through my tightened groin.
But should your well-groomed ass pull through,
I’ll keep a swivel eye on Mecca,
whispering hard-nosed prayers for your relative enlightenment.
Next time, Jack, Allah himself won’t give a damn.
Even the Koran will tell you that much.


Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (mid-1970s). Photo © by Sharma Picture Publications