Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday Poetry: Dahlia Ravikovitch

The Poetics of Applying “Moderate Physical Pressure”

dedicated to those who labor in the cause

Not to take any of it by force
one should never take anything by force.
One must always come carefully from behind
quickly cover the eyes of the man
and ask: Don’t you recognize my voice?
How can it be you don’t know my name?
Surely you must be jesting now,
what a subtle sense of humor you have
(the sweat begins to bead on his brow).
You’re the father of my daughter, isn’t that so?
She just turned seven years old this spring
(here I begin to tread on his toes).
Perhaps by now you’ve recalled my name
(with a blade to the nape, I part his skin).
The man cries and falls on all fours
but I don’t release my hold on his eyes.
With his eyes blinded, he’s got to guess
my name and learn about his daughter’s birth
that I made up just as I opened my mouth.
The man writhes in the dust and cries,
blood runs down his neck, his eyes are inflamed.
Genteel as I am, and oh so well-bred,
I do not injure his testicles.
His mouth contorts in the effort to guess
my name in a flash of illumination.
Sigalit, he tells me in a phony voice,
I have never forgotten you, Sigalit.
Now's when I bash his head to the ground;
there’s no doubt the man deliberately lies,
his only wish is to save his own skin.
With a builder’s spike I’ll chisel on his skin:
“Keep thee ever far from a lie.”
Then I’ll lay him down on the sand to bleed;
by now my rage exceeds every bound.
How debased and despised was that man in my eyes
when he kept trying to guess my name.
But I did not take anything by force
one should never take anything by force.

Dahlia Ravikovitch

(Reprinted at Poets Against the War.)


Blogger Hecate said...

Ouch. Justice.

5:28 PM  

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