Poetry & Democracy

Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018

Daniel Borzutzky author photo

Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018

Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018

Walk past the massacre as if nothing has happened

Ignore the corpses in the plaza

Look away from the tanks when they run over the bodies

Here come the ambulances

Look away

Look away when they kill the ambulance drivers

The ritual dance has just begun

Look away

Look away from the swinging arms and legs

Look away from the eyes in a trance

Do not think about feet or arms or hips

The purification of the body cannot happen in private

When the dancers fall one by one       look away

Do not watch them crawl towards safety

They won't make it      so look away

They won't make it      now look away

When they are beaten with iron paws      look away

When the virus leaks out of their pores      look away

When the bodies crawl out of the quarantine      look away

Look away from the tornadoes in their mouths

Rats crawl over their faces      look away

And in the fast food parking lots   in the foreclosed alleyways    by the smoking gas pumps

There will be a city of slaughterers with hedge funds in their hands

And they will set fire to the mirrors

And they will set fire to the rivers

And there will be a city of cadavers with radioactive hands

Hands like Molotov cocktails

IPads shoved into their mouths

Cell phones shoved into their mouths

Plasma TVs shoved into their mouths

The collective cannot solve your problem    so look away

This is not a prayer for your salvation    now look the fuck away

When the mirror makes you want to kill    look away

When the market makes you kill    look away

There is the space between the body of the slaughterer and the body it slaughters

There is the space between the skin and the oil that fries it

The grandparents in the cages are exploding

The children in the kill-line are praying

Let our love be our love

Let our flesh be our flesh

Let us grow

Let us let us breathe

Let us stay

Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018

They dream of a massacre that can take place in public and in private at the same time

They like to watch us as we look into each other's empty faces

They like to hear us say    that was the one I loved

We forget our bondage

We are not yet dead

We are at the border of the before and the after

Soon we will cross through the door and become the subjects of an endless detective novel that began in the 15th century

We are parasites and we will always be silent because silence is the traditional tactic of our people

We are parasites and we are silent and even when we are dead the country will remain in our voracious parasite-hands

Why have they protected you for so long    the authoritative bodies ask us    right before they kill us

Why have they protected your parasitic bodies for so many centuries

They want us to answer this question even though we can only be silent

We dream that if we give the right answer then perhaps they will not kill us

But then they disappear us

And when they disappear us they tell us we are savages with the audacity to have forgotten our own bondage

You are a voracious colony of parasitic savages who poison the people with your fingers that reek of money

Your fingers are the ghosts of money      your mouths are the ghosts of money       your tongues are the tongues of memory

They shove money into our mouths because they know that even when we are dead we will have the power to control the media and the bank

They take us to the dump and load our bodies into a container with cars that have been obliterated in the toxic dumping ground

They disappear us in the toxic dumping ground

They drop us into the scrap metal heap

They ghost-wash us in the scrap metal heap and plaster our bodies against the compressed cars

We are with the metal now and soon they will take us to be recycled

This is the iron waste ground of the industrial dead zone where they stick the parasitic bodies who lived slobbering over money and scheming to control the state

They crush us into the stacked cars and we hear the disappeared cries of the bodies we wanted to become

We are the privatized parasites of death and we will miss ourselves so much when we are gone

They force us to survive      but the shithole won't let us be nothing

Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018

It is the end of the afternoon and the sky will soon be purple but right now the desert light is orange and pink and the painter is able to illustrate how one side of the cage is in shadow and the other is in sun

The toddler in the painting looks exactly like the living toddler in the cage only the one on the canvas is naked but for a disposable diaper that sits high on its waist     the one in the cage is

wrapped in a red wool blanket

On the canvas     in the background     there are pencil drawings of bodies scattered in the distant sand

They are the bodies of the disappeared     says the painter to the journalists who are already

speculating about the amount of money the painting will sell for when in the morning it is taken to auction

The bureaucrats have brought me to the border to identify bodies but I can’t understand why they don’t know that I am dead

They say     we need you to verify the identity of your comrades     and when we leave the toddler’s cage I am taken to the sand-dump to name the corpses of my friends

I begin to state their names (Daniel, José, Miriam, etc…)

But I am quickly silenced because the bureaucrats understand that if I identify too many missing bodies then there will be certain obligations that the law requires them to meet

Someone whispers

The names of your friends are not the names of your friends and these bodies do not belong to their bodies

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