On Torture


(Fernando Velazquez; oil, 2012, painting, “Mago.”)

burn Acacia to
collect the echoes
of Mephistopheles’
broken souls.

So high they were,
speaking of nothing but

A rising power
unlike any
invisible fire
A snagged attempt to
self-actualize through
blunt thorn

Why such panicked eyes?

Let he who is within
a stone’s throw from
lacerating cold,
forced entry,
floods to drown,
unending fatigue,
both mindless and mindful
be the first to
transcribe the
primal scream of
true sin.

And why is it,
why must it be,
that when we
extract the information
we seek
by brutally and sadistically
deteriorating the
spirit and psyche
of another human being,
is it finally,
possible to reveal ourselves
and acknowlege,
as humanity,
just how far
we have come?

(This piece was inspired by the recent torture reports.  Some of the prompts implemented were from Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, The Sunday Whirl, and Poets United.)


13 thoughts on “On Torture

  1. Writing about torture is like thinking the unthinkable: a paradox that must make a meaning out of meaningless brutality — or worse, acts committed in the name of a higher political purpose. How to channel those voices in a poem, collecting their lament and horror like echoes of those souls taken by Mephisto (indelible image)? We can’t, or can only through a shattered mirror. Here the attempt to be poetic and make comment struggle with each other, make only a restive truth. I think you can sing those horrors alone; the witness tears even more fiercely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a powerful piece! From the title to the accompanying art and the words themselves, it packs a huge punch. I find your final question to be very telling indeed. Thanks for sharing at The Imaginary Garden.

    Liked by 1 person

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