Tuesday 14 October 2008

The Interrogation

The Interrogation.


Like the sound of a rifle bolt,
Dragging a round into the chamber,
A tape recorder I think.
I cannot see, a blindfold
Of black cloth binds my eyes.




The spools in the cassette tape turn slowly,
Grinding like a power drill into bone.

A door opens behind my back.

Three sets of footsteps enter the room.

A chair is drawn across the floor,
Squealing like a rat in a trap,
Its back broken by the mechanism.

The shuffling of papers.

The sudden rasp and flare of a match,
A splutter of light through the cloth,
Splinters. Nothing more.
Like white phosphorous sparks from a bomblet,
Burrowing into skin.

The usual routine.

My hands are handcuffed,
To the wooden arms of my chair,
As if under orders,
The metal chafes and cuts,
Deep into my flesh.

The wheels of justice are in motion,
Mocking justice.

The interrogation begins.

Name, address and date of birth she barks.
I cannot remember.
I must not say.

No Comment.

No comment.

No comment.

Then a punch breaks my nose,
The bone cracks and splinters,
Blood gushes down my face,
Warm and salty as the sea.

No comment.

No comment.

Each breath tastes of iron,
Drawn through a thin grill of gristle,
And blood clot crusts my lips,
Sticking like napalm
To my skin.

No comment.

A fist strikes again,
Rising and falling,
As a flag on a parade ground,
At dusk and dawn.

No comment.

I take the salute and its torture,
Until pliars pull my teeth from the gums,
Leaving them as empty as a trench after an advance,
Each tooth lined up like dead soldiers,
Who are casualties on a battlefield.

Sign the statement.

Sign the statement.

A leather cord is tied around my neck,
Tightening until I pass out.
Time and time again.
Until I am awoken wth buckets of cold water,
poured over my head.

Sign the statement.
Okay I whisper, from a distance
Far away from myself.


Like the sound of a rifle bolt,
Withdrawing a fired shell from the chamber,
That tumbles with a tendril of smoke,
To the earth,
With a whirr of rewind.

The handcuffs are unlocked.
The chair kicked away.

I fall to the ground and break my arm,
On the cold concrete floor.

I am pulled by a leash like a dog.
Hands drag me by my hair into daylight.
I can hear the roots being torn from my scalp,
As my people are torn from their land.
As humanity from a heart during war.

Shards of light enter my eyes,
Through the dark material,
As glass shards from a car window screen,
Shatter when hit with .50 calibre bullets.

I can smell flowers,
Roses in bloom,
Cigarette smoke,
An American brand of course.

I hear a voice, Iraqi from Basra,
he is complaining to another man,
He wants to go home to his wife and kids,
He is sick of this job but it pays the bills,
I hear the hate in his voice.

I hear his footsteps draw near,
Perhaps I have killed his family,
with one of the bombs I have made,
left his children dead or maimed,
in the name of Allah and Iraq.

I hear the sound of a safety catch retracted,
Nothing more.

The same process everywhere,
Every day,
In some prison cell,
We call freedom.

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Anonymous said...

The strange thing is not that the US has always used torture in interrogation ,it is that most people dont know it and very few care. You dont get to be the number one superpower without breaking a few bones! A US senate commission after ww2 found that in the famous Malmedy case US military investigators routinely put burning matches beneath interrogated suspect's fingernails and that 137 of 139 teenage soldier suspects had their testicles crushed beyond repair by the interrogators of the good old U S of A.
When did you last see a Hollywood film on this theme???

Anonymous said...

Superb - superb use of imagery and it hits home hard - like a blow on a tender nose.