Monday, 21 November 2016

Code Poetry: IMM LHO by George Ttoouli (3/6)

I am in that long drag
of democracy between
betrayal and the next election.

What should I do?

The city
        has fractures in its tarmac;
        is like earthquakes;
        turns me into a fault line;
        turns our stomachs;
        leaves our mouths
                        plugged with denials;
                        stitched shut with a pencil; // if no one speaks of terror then
                                                                   // perhaps we will not know it when
                                                                   // it comes so tell me lies if lies are
                                                                   // what you have inside your heart
                                                                   // don’t follow us and find yourself
                                                                   // in pieces where we fell apart
                        marked X;                          // with no men left to pick the fruit
                                                                   // or sow the fields or dig the
                                                                   // trenches and so we all turn into
                                                                   // farmers bury our hearts in the soil
                                                                   // and go to work
        is a non-neutral it;
        is an unexploded bomb.

What should I do?

I’ll shuttle from this city
        like cathodes emit heat;
        escape from this un-exploded bomb with
                a radar blip;
                a rocket;
                a grey cross on my flag;
my nation ruptured by that long drag
        through police files;
        electoral registers;
        of pencils in the boxes
                top left to bottom right;
                top right to bottom left;
        through the pieces of me they have gathered;
all ruptured;

and I will kill the Prime Minister I will slip in behind the wooden panels of democracy and kill him with the heavy gavel of democracy and I will kill him and I will cut WAR CRIMINAL into his chest and hang him in a gallery and I will call it WAR CRIMINAL and they will ask for my signature and I will deny everything.


Some brief context: this was written around the time of the illegal invasion of Iraq, when I was writing poems with titles designed to test whether one could be arrested in the West for writing poetry. This title was probably the most benign/coded (I've also removed the dedication), but I soon realised people were actually being arrested for this stuff and I was just being immature. And this comes with a big disclaimer, that it didn't and still doesn't condone violence toward any individuals. The poem filtered into a portion of ‘Static Exile’ and the ‘DVD Extras’ in Static Exile. (Yeah, I know, shameless plug, but it is back in print and I am completely broke.)

No comments: