Confusing the Tongues

“every man prays in his own tongue and there is no language that god doesn’t understand.”

Duke Ellington


“every man prays in his own tongue and there is no language that god doesn’t understand.”    Duke Ellington

I was angry. I thought
take pictures.
That’s just me. I always
take pictures.

There’s no such thing as a little torture.

I had just gotten out of Basic. I didn’t think
to question authority.
They were shouting
and crying Please mister, please.
When I saw them and
saw what they’d done
I just kinda snapped.

There’s no way I can sit here
and condone what was done.
I told my lieutenant. He told me
I was not even supposed to be there.
As odd and uncomfortable
as the situation may be
there’s your verification.

This tier held all of your valuable prisoners.

 All my worries were about my father.
There were bruises all over
his back. I told American soldier he’s sick.
I begged.
He aimed his rifle
at me. We listened
his soul cracked.

It was just a dead guy.
I always smile for the camera.
I didn’t know
he was murdered. It was war.

Just another dead guy.

They said we won’t charge the murderer
but we’ll charge you. For taking pictures
that exposed the murder. Sounds like
a cover up.

I wanted to take home some pictures.
We’d seen the Tower of Babel.

I’m on the news. Life’s gonna be different
from now on. Secretary Rumsfeld thanked me
on national tv. I was supposed to be anonymous.
Those soldiers let us down. What happened was not
authorized. It wasn’t in the conduct of interrogation.

There was sadism
on the night shift.

Implemented at Guantanamo and brought to Abu Ghirab,
it’s called The Vietnam. It combines stress position and electrocution and sensory deprivation.

How did the untrained know
a Brazilian-created strategy?
Beaurocratic virtuosity.
Embarrass the army.
The army got them back.
No photos it would’ve been ok.
U.S. principal advocate of human rights.

We embrace torture as something that’s expedient.

At that moment I was somebody
else. I’m trying to forget this.
Now maybe I have regrets.
I wasn’t necessarily comfortable
with what I had to do but I did it.
People do what they are told
so long as they believe
it’s coming from a legitimate authority.

What can a government command of its subjects?

All Abu Ghirab prisoners were released
without charge.

One thought on “Confusing the Tongues

  1. Love it! There’s no such thing as ‘all is fair in love & war..’ So now enters the lifelong shadow of PTSD….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s