Posted tagged ‘torture poem’

If the Statue of Liberty Could Speak, Maybe

December 29, 2014



If the Statue of Liberty Could Speak, Maybe

We won’t torch her,
they said, and I admit
I felt relieved, for there was just
this smell–
even after the months of rubble smoking
at my feet
which, despite all the steel
and people, smoldered
of plastic mainly–
an ingredient in so much
these days–

Still, I picked it up, even
though my nose was, as it were,
Some hum

that made me insecure
in what they said and so I held on tightly
to my own, which, is
affixed to my hand anyway and copper—

probably not
the copper they use–you know, sliced
into electrodes–

(Collar it what you will–
re-name rape as rectal
hydration–both begin with r
and smell as sweet)–

But did nothing more–
just stood there–

So, sick now
to my stomach, sick
at heart, sick even unto
my grey-green soles, to the depths
of my scrolled harbor.

There’s a certain foulness doesn’t go away
closed up–a fetid
mess that will in darkness
feed on–its seep poisoning
even as we pretend
like children playing peekaboo,
that we can make the real flee
that we can make a lie fly
that we can make all better just
by covering
our eyes.


A poem I wrote a few weeks ago I am posting as a second poem for With Real Toads open link night.  The image belongs to New York City and is from the New York City Coat Drives campaign.  It is an image that I saw being photographed in Washington Square Park about twenty-eight years ago–so beautiful I think–on a very very hot afternoon, the woman–a Statue of Liberty impersonator in green make-up, sweating.


Somewhere a fly

October 29, 2014


Somewhere a fly

Somewhere, a fly walks face,
proboscis probing
like a dowser’s forked stick,
as it will,
the plain of cheek,
the ridge of nose,
edging tarsal lace
about the pit of mouth,
cutting a slant
through stubble.

Somewhere, there is a great buzz
over a bulged belly
and a foot that was pounded board
rots to punk,

and a person–somewhere, a person,
becomes less human–
and now, I don’t speak of the dead–
by pinching others apart
as if these others were
flies on the face
of this planet, plucking

would-be wings, hanging limbs
as things, targeting with slews
of water, currents
of all sorts; somewhere,
someone is
stomping, starving,
caging, stomped,

and maybe acts of cruelty
are all too human,
even children trained
in their commission, wires
strapped to small waists,

and that feels the absolute worst,
though, in the area of treating people
like flies, turning people
into fly fodder, it’s kind of hard to say missiles are better,

just because they don’t have waists.


Here’s a very drafty poem, for Gabriella’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write about war.  I had some further lines about waste, but well, didn’t put them in, as the point seemed clear.  I find it very difficult to write about this type of topic.  

And since I am in rant mode:  in terms of  war (and other things of that nature),  I urge everyone to get out and vote. I also urge everyone to support voting, and to call out voter ID laws for what they are–acts of suppression.  I have worked at polling sites, and can tell you that it is not only hard for some (especially the poor, the old and the young) to get original IDs, but also hard to maintain a current ID, especially if you don’t own a car, have some instability in your residence or don’t maintain an independent home (because you live, for example, with family members.)

Also, I don’t buy this business about there not being a difference in politicians.  I agree that there is a lot of venality in politics, but that is not an excuse not to vote. (And not to take efforts to stay informed.)  There are differences in politicians; your vote does make a difference.   Ask any woman who has ever taken birth control or needed it, or any woman who has been habitually paid less than a man doing the same job (i.e. ask any woman.)  Ask any one, like me, who has been able to have major cost savings relating to children’s health care because of the expansions allowed by the Affordable Care Act. 

Finally, please in the midst of this, consider checking out my new book, Nice, which takes place in the time of the Vietnam War.PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover