Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Poetry Dies

Poetry dies at sea in sight
of Guantanamo's prison.
Poetry dies in taxes
that pay for the horror
in Guantanamo's prison,
in Bagram's prison.
Poetry dies in the waiting
for the waking nightmare
of an evil regime to end,
in the waiting for sawdust-
speeches to end and for
language, for law, to begin again.
Poetry dies as it looks up
to see tax-forms dropped
like leaflets on the grounds
of Guantanamo's prison,
of Bagram's prison.
Poetry dies a dry death
at sea, dies when morality
disintegrates more thoroughly
than depleted uranium
inhaled by Iraqi children.
Poetry dies while we're
watching the news. Poetry
dies when we know
Guantanamo's prison is ours/
Bagram's prison is ours/
/our responsibility/our money/
our Federal Bureau of
Investigation/whose agents
went to Guantanamo and saw
what they knew to be wrong/
and came back/and said
nothing/ and what's
wrong goes on, and on past the sea's
horizon, goes on all day, all
night at Guantanamo, at
Bagram. Poetry dies when
our president/our congress/
ourselves observe due process
replaced by indefinite
imprisonment and torture,
by rendering, by euphemism.
Poetry dies as it pleases, and
as it stands by. Guantanamo's
prison says please stand by
for these messages, which
will be right back to distract
you, pay no attention to the
president who stands behind
the podium and torture.
dies when we stand in wet sand
by the sea in sight of what is wrong
and cannot move, and can do nothing,
and cannot stop horror done.
Prisoners die in Guananamo's
and Bagram's prisons. Minds and
consciences die there as well.
Poetry dies in paralysis of complicity.

Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom
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