DR (1949 / Los Angeles, California)

The Gods Of Hate Were Always Human (Anti-War Poem)

But it’s the gods of hate I’d like to figure out.
The battery cable on the rectum—on the nipple—
the cock head, the eye lid, the usual. They could
give it a little—but they give it a lot. I’d like to say,
“They don’t know chemicals in the ammunition cause
defective infant cartilage missing organs stumped limbs.”
I’d like to say, “The raping wasn’t an easy plan.”
I’d like to figure them out. I’d like to figure out
the pleasure of making money that way, the pleasure
of authorizing the procedures. I won’t.
You know the Gypsy saying, “May crows bite off their balls.”
May crows bite off their balls. They won’t.
Our satiric culture critic estimates when the cattle-prod
electro-shocking a demonstrator will be on
the voting pamphlet’s cover—but it already happened—
without some of us noticing it happened—without
actually needing to happen. Maybe permanently happened.
I’d like to figure out the hate. The Gods of obedience
were always stronger. Who wants to read about duct tape
used for bandages on detainees untreated wounds, who wants
to recount how the officer monotones through a megaphone
to a mostly unarmed village: “Surrender or commit suicide”? —
More than I thought. You won’t figure out the hate.
What is left undestroyed? —even the bee hives are torched
when they take out a village, the added measure
for killing crops, common pathological knee-jerk continuity.
The impulse, the plan not to torture, not to bomb, not to
suicide bomb, not to poison farmland water, not to napalm,
not to crucify, not to gang rape, not to shoot all the goats,
not to mass grave, not to pogrom or not to pogrom
—always had less power. More necrophiles
than biophiles, more Mengalas than shmengalas.
I’m not the only one who gets their victory.
I shut down the torture pictures, I turn off the poem
one of their scholars wrote to defend them.
May a catheter enter his poem.

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