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Who The Villain Is - Poem by JAE JAE

“We find many women here who have stopped living.” –60 Minutes, January 13,2008, a local doctor on the women of the Congo.


there is this cold heat creeping
up behind the stark contrasts of shadows
and deeper shadows
and the smoothest, charcoal lines that crease
your empty face—the camera or the chaos...i can’t tell
who the villain is.

sunshine, sunshine everywhere
but not a beam to lick your beady tears up-off
that nose, more
defined and yet dogged,
than any white woman’s i have seen in those
fancy magazine
ads. i think
you are too beautiful to cry like that
like so many boys at bars have offered...i think
my offer is only authentic; i am guilty for sharing
anything with you, no matter
who the villain is.

there is a cylindrical pain that moves up my otherwise healthy body,
spiraling up through the chakras,
but finding only darkness, caves of
something more than sorrow, more than any
pretty pain we’d
profess on Oprah here.

i see you’ve stopped smiling. so i do, too.
i see you’ve stopped living—
i would if i, too
were stranded in this burning heat
with no ray of my own,
my own children disgusted,
my country raped and my body pillaged,
i wouldn’t care
who the villain is.

the problem is
i do.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 14, 2008

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