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2008

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Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo Bay
Sharon Doubiago

You can’t unring the bell, he admonished,
meaning 1948, Israel.
So all these bells are ringing, Nazi, Kamakazi
waves out into the universe forever
and I have seen you, as you were never meant
to be seen.

Anyone who peers into the face of God
dies, that was my girlhood religion.  Now
I’m made a war criminal.  You can’t
unring the bell.  I am complicit with this front page. 

So what do I do, O male,
having seen beautiful you?

Apologies, apologies
How dare I say such?  But beautiful yes, your faces beaten
but not beyond recognition.   

Am I to turn away and say I didn’t see you naked and bound together
your tortured, living flesh?
Am I to say tears didn’t well for seeing the beautiful boy, beautiful
son, beautiful father, beautiful brother, beautiful husband.  Beautiful
lover, am I to say I didn’t see
God?  I kiss

the torture my words cause, this humiliation
I swallow, this violation your God
will further punish you for, strike me dead on the spot, this
is why this is happening to you, my fault.
I kiss you anyway.  I love you.  I run my hands down all of you, veil
against our depravity, against our God doing this
to your God, a prayer
that you aren’t further pissed on
in the shower.  This is not sexual torture
no matter what is said.
I cannot leave you
on the water board, your
broken knees I go down to
sorry

sorry

the electrodes on your genitals, this is not
to arouse you against your manhood
but to drink our bleach and acid water forced down you
now toxic waves forever, my mother’s son, my sister’s
boy, my children’s grandfather, my
lost soulmate, my Ishmael, my Israel, your decapitated
head rolling away, our grandson
packed in ice, nameless
in a secret prison

O Holy   Holy  I step through
all our Gods
I know who you are
I know what my country is
I kiss you alive, I do not die
I make you again in my body
I give you my breast, warm sweet milk, I kiss the bruises, the burns, drilled holes, cable rapes, castrations, broken femurs, stretched spines, crucifixions.
I take the blindfold off

O Holy Face

I recognize

I do not die

O Holy Body

I pray this past our violation of All,
a bell ringing forever too