Tuesday, November 3, 2009

against forgetting

by paul harrison

i read their verse and weep
the ones who loved and fought
and struggled on
the ones who were disappeared
often, forever
who suffocated
in the cattle train corners
licking parchment tears
from splintered planks
who wrote poems
in their own blood and feces
on torture cell walls
or if they were lucky
tobacco leaves
smuggled out to dawn
who wrote completed works
in the libraries of their soul
to recite in camps and gulags
for blackest dread and ghosts
who even wrote for future's hope
on paper scraps
hidden in the pocket of a corpse
unearthed on judgement day
from massive graves of insane death
who wrote against forgetting
and the dying of the light
who wrote for life
as napalm and ordinance
scorched and shook the screaming earth
who declaimed behind the barricades
the check points and walls
who were arrested at gunpoint
in monstrous swoops
interned, beaten senseless
then dangled by their heels
from colonial roofs
words falling like pennies
from their silent screams
who still sang their poems
of home and freedom
in the desert camps
lips stitched and torn and mute
who witnessed then resisted
with all their words and soul
who were expelled and exiled
for expressing conscience
and critical faculty in the blinding light
who wrote by candlelight
in the ghettos and cellars
of Palestine and Poland, emaciated
the barrios, the townships and slums
who sang from the rooftops
the tunnels and trails
of death by Capital and fascist lies-
indomitable poets all
of life, revolt and love
uncensored and unrepentant
and not forgotten now.

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