Friday, January 21, 2011

Guantanamo Poem

I was reading, and remembering, the men of Guantanamo and their amazing poetry and was prompted to write this.

The Fear and the Poets

As poets we are dangerous people,
living in a land that views all truth as metaphor
and all our griefs as codes
for destruction from the inside,

so that when you say
"i miss my mother"
we assume the bombs will go off
any second.

and when you say
"the tyrants are corrupted with power"
we point our finger back at you
and your strange metaphorical tongue.

and when you say
"they have beaten, are beating, will beat me"
we look around, and scratch our heads,
and wonder at your strange choice of words.
we can't allow that it's true.
we aren't those kinds of people.

but we are.
and we are afraid of more than just metaphors.
we're afraid that our unshakeable faith
in life and in liberty
will come tumbling down
with the poetic quakes
sent from Guantanamo
from Bagram
from Chicago
from the font of our own imagination.

yesterday, a man laughed
in a courtroom
when confronted
by all that he had done.
his unshakeable faith in his own righteousness
is not metaphor.
nor was the question posed to him,
("why did you do this to me? you were supposed to be the law")
a metaphor. or a joke.
but he laughed, all the same.

in the end,
it is not words we should fear.
it is our unshakeable faith
in things that, in the end,
are just terrible metaphors
written by people afraid of poetry.