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April 16, 2004

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A Denial


On Schnittke's gravestone,
a fermata above a whole rest above fff -
a sustained silence played
loud as possible.

1. 8 April 1994

Nirvana had been over
three days. Kurt Cobain
chose a shotgun.
He didn't want more life than Hendrix
or the rest.

The Akegala River
flowed from a forest
of machetes, knives, and sticks.


2. The Opposite

What is as miraculous as mist?
A trillion droplets
floating in array.
The lightest touch
should cause it to collapse,
a trillion shattered bells.

Sudan is dry.
Slavery, then genocide.


3. General Dellaire

Most of his peacekeepers having been recalled,
he listened to the Tutsi's names,
addresses, and license plate numbers
on Radio Machete,
and asked his superiors
to jam the station.
But they couldn't, because it would cost
thousands of dollars an hour.

In memory of Fabrizio Quattrocchi, a man who refused to let his death play to his killers' script. Bad attempt at terza rima, probably worse sentimentality.


To lie in a room, a dark room
A room as quiet as the Death
That patiently awaits your doom

As you try to ration every breath
Avoiding thoughts that the next one
Might be the last gasp you have left -

For you know how these things are done.
They need to prove that they will kill
(and helpless foes are just more fun)

So you will only live until
They can convince their hands to stab,
Their consciences to become still.

So you lay there, on your cold slab.
Had your soul cracked from the strain
Made by despair both cold and drab

I would have done naught but refrain
From criticism of your choice;
I have not lain where you have lain.

Defiance, though, was in your voice,
Not despair, you were never lost;
It is not for us to rejoice

At your courage, at such a cost,
Your life beyond my hope to save -
But Death Himself I would accost

'Til good report I heard him gave
Of your valor against fear's gloom,
Your refusal to be its slave.

The Prison of my mind
Is a curious place;
It's located behind
The facade of my face.

It's a world that's so vast
And so colourful too,
Where my dreams always last;
Where I always win through.

But although I can't fail,
I am still in no doubt
That my mind is a jail
And I cannot get out.

Master Talent's the Bard
Mister Hope tries to free;
Monsieur Shyness the Guard,
Lady Luck is the key.

Today I remember a place
Frozen in space and time
Horrors of body and mind
Perpetrated upon one people

Pain and death do not bring relief
Time chases few memories away from the living
For all these things return unless worked out

Suffering breeds suffering
Hate breeds hate
Yet hate also breeds love

When man lives to his fullest
We will not need to remember so often
Instead we will glory in that which is ours:

Compassion
Love
Understanding

That day shall arrive and true freedom will at last be ours.


(A day early tribute to the holocaust survivors and victims)


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