Occupy Poetry


BY Marc Jampole

Dreaming, soldiers lug me from the plane
despite my claims, American citizen,
blinded, neck between my knees,
ankles cuffed to wrists
motors whining, grumbling,
cars and planes and cars again.
Where am I? What did I do?
Why can’t I call my wife?

I wake to driving my taxi.
Rocks explode the windshield.
I’m probing for damage
when soldiers engulf me,
sic leashed dogs, at my buttocks nipping,
cell me, strip me, chain me to a bed.
Booming trumpets ram my eardrums,
scorching flood lights detonate
dissolving eyelids, aching pupils.

I wake, moved to another cell,
wake again and moved again,
wake again and moved again,
wake and moved, wake and moved.

I wake to sear of burning cigarette
milled in ear, pushed to ground,
log-rolled over steaming excrement,
try to focus, pleasant memories,
wife and children, figs and coffee.

I wake hooded, naked
above another naked man
whose penis touches my rectum
below another naked man
whose rectum touches my penis
whose body’s warmness teases me
to shameful reluctant erection.
Pulled from the pile, hood punched off,
I see a dozen hooded naked men
heaped to squalid pyramid of flesh
and a large gun pointed
by a soldier yelling, Jerk off, hajji
while a woman in soldier’s garb
tapes my performance,
other soldiers laughing.

I wake submerged,
head held firmly underwater
by muscular ropes to boards,
ever louder squall of heart,
gasping, heaving, frenzied gurgles,
ever hotter burning crush of chest,
maiming claws at guts and lungs,
tingles creeping, penetrating every limb,
growing weary, fading, watery, confused …

I wake to tranquil breathing: my wife,
gentle whir: the dryer downstairs,
muffled roar: an SUV rumbles past our window.
The heavy pounding in my chest
gradually calms to regular beat
as I tell myself it was only a dream.

Music From Words (Bellday Books, 2007)


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