27 July 2009

Two poems by Alicia Partnoy


I carry my rage like a dead fish,
limp and stinking in my arms.
I press it against my breast,
whisper to it,
people on the streets flee from me …
I don't know: is it the smell of death
that makes them flee
or is it the fear
that my body's warmth
might bring rage back to life?


This microphone
with its cable coiling around it,
bows to me.
I walk up to it,
open my eyes
my book
my mouth.
That’s right, I open my mouth wide
and begin my story.
They say
I speak too softly,
that I am practically mumbling,
that they can’t hear
the screams piercing.
I open
my memory
like a rotten cantaloupe.

They say
I have not managed
to forcefully convey the pitiless rage
of the cattle prod.
They say that in matters such as this
nothing must be left
to the imagination or to doubt.
I take out
the Amnesty report
and begin speaking through that ink.
I urge: “Read.”
I, in my turn, coil around
my bowing accomplice,
this microphone.
I urge action as a prescription,
information as an infallible antidote
and, one every knot is untied,
I recite my verses.
I resist. I am whole.

This microphone
with its cable coiling around it,
bows to me.

Activist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alicia_Partnoy Alicia Partnoy spent over two years in detention during the Argentinian Dirty War, during which she was beaten, starved and sexually assaulted. Her novel The Little School is based on her experiences.


James Higham said...

Pisces might like this.

jams o donnell said...


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I hadn't heard of her so thank you. I will look out for the book.

jams o donnell said...

Glad to be of service Welshcakes

Liz Hinds said...

I like those! They're so powerful in their simplicity.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks Liz. I think they are superb too

Sean Jeating said...

[Weeks later]
Thanks for sharing, Jams.

jams o donnell said...

Ah better late than never Sean!

Unknown said...

alicia came to kolkata.sad that i couldnt go for the seminar.but happy to find that you have posted her poems out here.love it...