A New Awareness Of Dust* Poem by gordon nosworthy

A New Awareness Of Dust*

i smell death in the dust
on the mountain in my heart

for years i hid behind excuses
i tended to our camels
and watched my family broken
as dust filled in their tracks

my new mindfulness didn't arrive over night
i didn't begin by wanting to open veins
and play musical heads
with a very sharp knife
the idea moved stealthily up on me
before finally asking permission to speak

in the dullness of day by day
with the arrival of this new awareness of silence
the world changed wordlessly
the chrysalis ripped end to end
indolently and almost without the chaos sound
the worse for them and theirs
the better for me and my wounds

i smell death in the dust
on the mountain in my heart

now i make my enemies endure
it upsets me what i am capable of
because there are so many of them
it keeps me busy and my mind occupied

my devotion into seeking retribution
has become so much a part of me
i see them as inhuman when they cry out
all the same i think i love them

i want them to know me
before i inflict my realization upon them
whatever their age
they are old enough to die**

i know blood by the copper smell
when it mixes with the dust
as a man of peace the instructions are clear
so i learned to bless myself
with muffled rifles and pistols
in a salvation of knives
assassinations without remorse

i smell death in the dust
on the mountain in my heart

i learned how to love in central prison
i was taught pain was passion
my most abusive guard came on mondays
he hung me hands behind my back from the ceiling
to ride the bisat al-reeh*** for days
until the balls in my shoulders popped their sockets
and the connections of my spine knotted and snapped
and the world compressed into screams

when released i could not stand
or talk or walk without convulsing
during my days of long convalescence
my back cramped so much i could not sleep
barely alive my thoughts congealed
around redemptionand god had saved me
and somehow i would find that guard
look him in the eyes as i remove his breath

i found my torturer on a monday
in the copper dust where he left me
he recognized me and smiled his last
i cut off both his cheeks and both his hands
when he begged for mercy i cut off his tongue
when i couldn't find enough of him to cut off
i found others to replace my new humanity

in time i ran out of fresh ways to kill
my mistakes will tell no tales
dead prisoners are easily replaced
i learned until i perfected my loathing

as a sniper or from the back of a motorbike
i knit cars and buses and cafes with blood and dust
i became an avenger to kill for freedom
to kill for the lust of god
and eventually as a man of peace
to kill for the sake of killing

i smell death in the dust

*based on a newsweek article
** idea attributed to Søren Kierkegaard -i think
***flying carpet - a torture technique devised by torturers to get off

Sunday, September 2, 2018
Topic(s) of this poem: story
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