Monday, May 02, 2011

Before We Rejoice

Bagram, Afghanistan, 2002
by Marvin Bell

The interrogation celebrated spikes and cuffs,
the inky blue that invades a blackened eye,
the eyeball that bulges like a radish,
that incarnadine only blood can create.
They asked the young taxi driver questions
he could not answer, and they beat his legs
until he could no longer kneel on their command.
They chained him by the wrists to the ceiling.
They may have admired the human form then,
stretched out, for the soldiers were also athletes
trained to shout in unison and be buddies.
By the time his legs had stiffened, a blood clot
was already tracing a vein into his heart.
They said he was dead when they cut him down,
but he was dead the day they arrested him.
Are they feeding the prisoners gravel now?
To make them skillful orators as they confess?
Here stands Demosthenes in the military court,
unable to form the words “my country.” What
shall we do, we who are at war but are asked
to pretend we are not? Do we need another
naive apologist to crown us with clich├ęs
that would turn the grass brown above a grave?
They called the carcass Mr. Dilawar. They
believed he was innocent. Their orders were
to step on the necks of the prisoners, to
break their will, to make them say something
in a sleep-deprived delirium of fractures,
rising to the occasion, or, like Mr. Dilawar,
leaving his few possessions and his body.

3 comments:

Patti Blaine said...

I've been profoundly sad since late last night. This thing we have done and are doing, and are and have been. People dancing in the streets, waving flags and happy faces. This time our side, last time and next theirs. It is not a way forward.

OfTroy said...

I so agree with what you just said Patty--Its shameful to have some much glee over dead human being.
He was no friend, and as he sowed, so he reaped, but its a bad crop --for both the sower and the reaper.

Jan Morrison said...

this is all of a sadness
this death without seeing
without pleaing
no blame to the shooters
no blame to the leaders
blame to this incarnation of
righteousness.