Lixte Se Leoma Ofer Landa Fela

A cold draft dropped down over me when I ate breakfast this morning.

Wind pushes leaves like dead literature
across hard november earth
watches the light fail
watches water on the table
evaporate like language. The radio
said they'd been tortured and then
hung by the feet until dead. Tiny
birds pick tersely at the bones of
winter trees. First fine flakes
pass through empty limbs.

Outside it was -28 cels. Inside, I was checking my overnight email, the front page of the Independent, and ZNet. It was on the last that I saw Dr. Zoltan Grossman's post "Remember the Eighties".

What I remember from the '80s is U.S. president Ronald Reagan on the television, saying, "I know in my heart I told the truth, but the facts say otherwise." That was during a moment of small victory - the IranContra story had broken - though I was reminded, as one political economist put it, "if it appears on televisions, it's probably not important." Other than that, the '80s were a bleak time. People lost their homes when interest rates soared and unemployment spiked (both deliberate government choices). The torture and killing continued in Latin America and the Middle East. Deregulation hastened the destruction of nature and a reversal of workplace health and safety laws....

Then I read a ZNet article by Tom Engelhardt on "The Bush Legacy". It had a deeply depressing list of citations and source links, most of them mainstream media, showing how much we know about the U.S. practice of torture, and how little we - the collective North American "we" - care.

primitive man crouching at the
mouth of his cave
cold and frightened
scratching in frozen dirt.
Only there are no words.
Into darkness without words.

I work in literacy and basic adult education. That means, usually, I help people who are trying to obtain keys to the dominant culture, to be like "normal people", the happy families we see on the Disney channel or the sit coms of prime time television. In my field, there's always lots of discussion about helping people find employment or navigate the health system or, god forbid, the justice system. It's entirely too easy to forget just how rotten and lie-strewn that dominant culture is inside.

In the ache of morning
the dull pain of coffee and knowing
he watches gravestones emerge
dark against the far hillside
silent and irregular
like bear come out
to kneel
in new snow.

poetry from the '80s

Lixte Se Leoma Ofer Landa Fela

the Glorious Revolution

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