03 November 2010

Voices and Soul

22 October 2010

by Justice Putnam
Black Kos Tuesday's Chile, Poetry Editor

I was thinking about Kurt Vonnegut the other day. I was thinking about the firebombing of Dresden and the burning of Beatles albums in the South. I was thinking about the destruction of the Library in Alexandria and dynamiting of the Buddhas of Bamyan. I was thinking of laws that prevented blacks from reading; and if there were no laws, the local Citizens Council made sure no reading occured.

Vonnegut was not the only one to call the bombing of Dresden an act of terror. Even British Air Commodore Colin McKay Grierson, a confidant of Churchill, admitted to AP war correspondent Howard Cowan, that the raid also helped destroy...

... what is left of German morale.

Cowan then filed a report that the allies had resorted to terror bombing.

The firebombing of Dresden, a center for Art and Literature, was a strategic act of terror. The burning of Beatles albums was a conscious act by white supremacists and one meant to intimidate. Laws to prevent the education of blacks and brown peoples are making a virulent resurgence. In fact, there are calls by the TeaBirchers to defund the Department of Education and to also limit funds for any education measure on the local level.

In the historic center of Baghdad, on a street named after the tenth century classical poet, Al-Mutannabi, a street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls, an area often referred to as the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community; a car bomb exploded and killed 26 people on 5 March 2007.

on the day Al-Mutanabbi street was bombed

did you notice
how quickly the open sky
folded in upon itself

the flaking burnt pages
like torn moth wings
flying up the fetid smoke
then drifting

the broken teacups
and coffee stained saucers
the splintered chairs
empty shoe
splattered blood

just before
that moment

did you hear the
euphony of the street
as men wrangled
and summoned
swore and cajoled
if not solved
if not created
the problems
and the promise
of their country's

did you even know
of the dreams imploded
inside the molten iron
across the narrow
book lined street
as debate turned
to barbed screeches
into choked smoke
and a thousand
years of history
was buried in the rubble

or was there

except an inexorable
deadly silence

-- devorah major

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