The Waziris call them ‘bangana’ (Pashto

for ‘buzzing wasps’) as they drone day and night –

like Doodlebugs in perpetual motion –

endlessly visible, unremittingly

audible, five thousand feet above

the clay-walled villages and towns, the markets

and the farms, the madrassas and the schools,

until some CIA operative,

in a Nevada mountain bunker,

or RAF personnel near Lincoln,

wakes and, after his/her double espresso

and cranberry muffin, identifies

the true enemy and left-clicks the mouse.



Note: the piece has subsequently been published at





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  1. #1 by John Huddart - November 12th, 2012 at 12:48

    Such on-form observation. Drama withheld – peaceful, domestic, ordinary. Then more domesticity from the brave new free-world. Then that mouse! Ouch! Even the title with its echo of “Sleepless in Seattle” lends it’s part. More! More!

  2. #2 by zem - November 12th, 2012 at 16:08

    Sleepless in Waziristan?…..we should all be sleepless about this. Our turn next? It is only a question of time I suppose.

  3. #3 by Ged Hayes - November 18th, 2012 at 20:09

    The simplicity of the poetic form beguiles the horror of the situation, all the more poignant at this time of renewed horror in the Middle East.

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