Monday, April 07, 2008

The Devil Replies

"The Cambodian genocide ultimately killed 2 million people. Fourteen thousand of them had passed through the gates of hell at Tuol Sleng Prison."

Don’t look at me. Those fourteen thousand dead—
I probably laid claim to one or two
but most weren’t mine. Small consolation, true
for those who suffered, died, who screamed and bled.
“I’m innocent!” Who cares? It’s not about
supposed guilt, strategic information,
(pretended cause for fatal accusation)
it’s breeding shame within and fear without.
I was an angel. We’re not noted for
inventiveness. Humans surpass my measure
in finding further torments to explore.
The torturers teach me what to expect:
they drink of others’ pain, and call it pleasure
til it’s my turn to come round and collect.

Collection available! Knocking from Inside


Anonymous said...

Great sonnet on an ambitious subject.

Dan Gambiera said...

Been re-reading The Sandman?

Tumblewords: said...

drink of other's pain is a condition that seems prevalent...Nice poetry.

Anonymous said...

The ultimate bad guy. I wonder if the message here is for the human torturers to accept the blame for what they do instead of passing it on to some higher cause? The denial in lines 6 and 7 comes over very forcibly and 'breeding shame within and fear without' is thought provoking. What is it in the human psyche that drives so many 'to drink of other' pain'?