Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Disappeared

(What with extraordinary rendition, and the US writing torture into the rule of law I thought it time to pull this piece from 1985 out of the trunk. It was written with Victor Jara in mind, but is really about all...)

The Disappeared

The soldiers took him from his home. He was a poet. It was mid-day, hot, and the barrio was quiet. The soldiers took him from his home, threw him into the back of their car, slammed the doors and screamed out of the barrio.

His fingers were graced with laughter
His tongue was blessed with music
His heart was filled with his country

The car screamed out of the barrio.

They took him to a room, four-square, concrete, with no daylight. They stripped him and tied him to a chair. They had no questions to ask and the poet was silent. The door slammed closed behind them.

His fingers were graced with laughter
His tongue was blessed with music
His heart was filled with his country

The soldiers sharpened their knives and screamed at the poet. The knives sliced through his fingers and cracked through his bones and his fingers dropped to the floor.

His fingers were graced with laughter and became chocolate cigarettes the soldiers pocketed.

The soldiers wiped their hands and screamed at the poet. They forced him to gag and grabbed his tongue with their bloody rag. They tore the flesh from his mouth.

His tongue was blessed with music and turned into smoke that disappeared in the soldiers' hands.

The soldiers screamed at the poet and finished their work like butchers enraged – slashed and hacked at his chest and pulled at his heart. His blood splashed their eyes and the poet died as one moment of sunlight burned the soldiers’ minds.

His heart was filled with his country and one moment of sunlight burned the soldiers’ minds.

The soldiers stopped their private massacre and stared at the battlefield tied to the chair.

No longer a man – now a mountain, and in one second strip-mined. No longer a mountain - now a forest, and in one second laid bare. No longer a forest – now a river, and in one second run dry. One moment of sunlight burned the soldiers’ minds.

They turned from the corpse. A soldier slipped in the blood, fell to his knees, and cursed. The door opened before them. They left the room.

In one hour they had showered and changed and walked as a group to the plaza across the street.

They had their boots polished by children.

They paid the children with chocolate cigarettes and stared while the children mimed invisible light and smoke. The chocolate melted into their bodies. The children stopped their play and looked up at the soldiers.

The soldiers screamed at the children.

The children laughed and ran away.

2 Comments:

Blogger Busker said...

Lest we forget. Not easy - painful - but necessary to read, remember and remind.
I'd say 'good one' but that's not the praise or phrase I'm after.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Corfucius said...

i remember this at the time. then i forgot from where and kept telling people that i wished i could remember the anthology, that it had seared and i wished i'd noted it for further reading of the author.
i was clearly in shock and awe to have left such a puny comment.

9:39 AM  

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