One interesting feature of wordpress blogs is the statistical feature which allows you to see how many people are reading and also what country readers are from. For reasons I do not entirely understand the book review I wrote last December about Marguerite Feitlowitz’s book “A Lexicon of Terror”, has been the most read piece on my website. I guess i would partly attribute it to interest in Pope Francis and the church’s actions around Argentina’s Dirty War but this piece had attracted interest before the pope’s selection. Since my blog has only a tiny readership, I decided to revise the piece and publish it as an op-ed so it could be more widely viewed. Thanks go to the Concord Monitor, my local paper, for publishing it.
I think it is interesting that there is also a trial going on now in Guatemala about crimes committed by the military regime of former General Jose Efrain Rios Montt in 1982-83. Rios Montt and his former chief of military intelligence, General Jose Mauricio Rodriquez Sanchez, stand accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. It does seem very positive for the evolution of the rule of law in Latin America that this trial can happen at all. Marcie Mersky, the Program Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice wrote about the Rios Montt case this way:
“Getting the case to court has been no easy feat in Guatemala, where decades of armed conflict and strict military control of the government left behind an enfeebled and politically compromised judicial system as well as a deeply entrenched expectation of impunity for even the most heinous of crimes. But the signficance of the trial stretches far beyond that small Latin American country: it is the first time that a former head of state is being tried for genocide in a credible national court, by the national authorities, in the country where the crimes took place.”
I will follow up on the Rios Montt case as that unfolds in court. For those of you who read an earlier version of this piece, sorry if it is all too familiar. I did not change too much. Anyway, here it is:
The selection of Pope Francis has focused attention on a period of Argentine history that is little known here in the United States. Argentina’s Dirty War, an episode from 1976 to 1983, shocked the conscience of the world. In the aftermath of a military coup, the military junta and their hired killers disappeared at least 10,000 people. Some estimates put the number at 30,000.
It is disturbing we in the United States are so unaware of the Dirty War. It was grossly under-reported here. It was also rationalized by apologists in the United States. Considering the depravity, that is hard to understand. The story is very well told in “A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture” , an important book written in 1998 by Marguerite Feitlowitz, who is now a Professor of Literature at Bennington College in Vermont. Feitlowitz describes an utterly surreal society where in the name of the fight against subversion, the Argentine military kidnapped, tortured, and executed thousands. As Feitlowitz says,
“The Dirty War regime eviscerated the best-educated generation in the history of Argentina…intellectual professions became categories of guilt.”
Students, artists, intellectuals, leftists, labor activists, Jews, and young people generally were singled out as enemies of the regime. Anyone considered suspicious could be put on a list and taken away. No proof of anything was required. This only happened a little over 30 years ago.
I was interested in how Argentine lawyers and judges responded to the Dirty War. I think the truth is that the society was so terrorized it made it impossible for a legal system to function. Fear overwhelmed daily life. Unmarked Ford Falcons cruised the streets and squads of goons would jump out and corner targeted people and take them away from their homes to be tortured, murdered and disappeared. Bystanders and observers would typically not make a peep. The Argentine military had a long list.
It was a rational and self-interested calculation for Argentine lawyers and judges to lie low during the Dirty War. The risk of going out on any limb was very great. Anyone thought critical of the process could be placed on a hit list. The rule of law was not strong enough to protect practically anyone from being disappeared.
Cases addressing crimes committed by the Argentine military are only now being prosecuted. There has been a long, torturous road just to get to the point where crimes could possibly be prosecuted. The history of the pursuit of justice for Dirty War victims is a worthy topic in itself.
The horror was extreme. Feitlowitz describes the many death flights where members of the Argentine military would drug captives, load them onto helicopters, strip them, and toss them out of the helicopters far out in the ocean. Argentine naval officers rotated death flight duty. We know this because of public confessions made in 1995 by Naval Captain Adolfo Scilingo. Following Scilingo, a half dozen other naval officers also confessed.
To give a sense of the mindset, Scilingo said that officers considered the flights “a form of communion”, “a supreme act we did for the country”. Scilingo himself shoved 30 individuals to their deaths on two flights. His victims included a 65 year old man, a 16 year old boy and 2 pregnant women in their early 20’s.
Feitlowitz performs a very valuable service by telling many untold stories of those tortured and disappeared. These lost stories need to be told. Witnessing and telling the stories is a first step toward accountability.
During the Dirty War, secret concentration camps dotted the country. Part of the surrealism described by Feitlowitz was the co-existence of torture very close to the domain of normal life. To give an example: the Argentine military ran torture cells in the basement of the renovated mall, Galerias Pacifico, which was located in the heart of Buenos Aires. Acoustics blotted out sound apparently. They had shopping next to torture.
A major focus of Feitlowtz’s book is the bizarre use of language by the junta (which explains the title). The junta twisted language to create a world of self-justification. Every torture, murder, and disappearance could be legitimated since it was part of the war on subversion. It was beyond Orwellian. Awful acts could be clothed in the regime’s language of honor and duty to the nation.
In their secret concentration camps, the torturers talked compulsively to their victims. Feitlowitz describes the torturers’ rap this way:
” “You don’t exist..You’re no one..We are God.” How can one torture a person who doesn’t exist? Be God in a realm of no ones? How can a human being not exist? Be no one in a realm of gods? Through language. Through the reality created by and reflected in words. In the clandestine camps there developed an extensive argot in which benign domestic nouns, medical terms, saints, and fairy-tale characters were appropriated as terms pertaining to physical torture. Comforting past associations were translated into pain, degradation and sometimes death.”
Language enabled behavior that was otherwise way out of bounds. Also, the junta’s language had only the remotest relationship to factual accuracy. They would report “subversives died in a firefight” when the truth was more like the capture of unarmed civilians by regime thugs who were armed to the teeth. The “subversives” were then “disappeared”.
The concept of people being disappeared goes back to the Nazis as part of their doctrine of Night and Fog. Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel , who had been Chief of the German High Command and who was hanged at Nuremberg for war crimes described Hitler’s doctrine this way: “The prisoners will disappear without a trace. It will be impossible to glean any information as to where they are or what will be their fate.”
The Nazi influence was very much a part of this story. Pictures of Hitler hung in torture chambers and the torturers sometimes played Hitler speeches while torturing. While Argentina had the largest concentration of Jews in Latin America, Argentine society , particularly the Church and the military, were bastions of anti-semitism. After World War II, Argentina accepted Nazi refugees including Martin Bormann, Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann. Former Nazis integrated into the Argentine security service.
In this connection, I do want to mention another important book, Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without A Number, by Jacobo Timerman. Timerman, who was Jewish and who had been the publisher of a leading Argentine newspaper, La Opinion, was disappeared, tortured, and as almost never happened, was released. The junta stripped Timerman of citizenship and expelled him from the country. Timerman wrote about the weird anti-semitism in Argentina and he analyzes it too. That book is also very much worth a read.
A sad aspect of this sordid story is the weak response of mainstream Jewish organizations to the Dirty War. With some notable exceptions (Rabbi Marshall Meyer and Rabbi Morton Rosenthal) the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA), the major Jewish community organization, was largely silent and acquiescent.
There are many tangential themes that deserve attention. The role of the U.S., the baby trafficking, the brave role of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, to name a few.
Not too many books deserve the word heroic. Feitlowtz’s book is a book that does.The Dirty War was a worst case scenario of what can happen when civil liberties are sacrificed in the name of security and combating subversion. Feitlowitz deserves credit for unearthing so many stories and for trying to get to the bottom of this atrocity. One is left wondering how a literate, relatively well-educated people could have gone down such a self-destructive, cruel road.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. On this anniversary I think it is critically important we recognize the utter pointlessness and human waste represented by this war. For many complicated reasons, Americans largely do not appear to appreciate the horror of the war or the moral debacle it represents. Among crimes, there cannot be many worse than starting and conducting a war based on lies. We are too cavalier about war and violence. I do recall demonstrating in the days before the war (along with millions of other people around the world) who knew this war was wrong before it started. It is hard to know what has been learned from the war in Iraq. If we had truly learned from Vietnam, Iraq never would have happened. The letter below was written by an Iraq war veteran named Tomas Young. It appeared today on Truthdig. For those who did not see it there, I wanted to share it.
A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran
To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young
I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.
I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.
I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.
Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.
I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.
I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.
My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.
I am reprinting this piece written by Dave Lindorff that appeared on the Counterpunch website on February 22, 2013. I liked Dave’s spirit.
Talkin’ ‘bout My Generation
In Defense of Baby Boomers
by DAVE LINDORFF
I’m fed up with the trashing of the Baby Boom generation.
Sure you can find plenty of scoundrels, freeloaders, charlatans and thugs who were born between 1946 and 1964, but you can find bad and lazy people in every generation. In fact, the so called “Greatest Generation” who preceded the Boomers abounds in them. That doesn’t prove anything.
What has me ticked, as someone who was born in 1949, is that the right wing has for decades been attacking my generation in particular, and has succeeded, pretty much, in portraying us Baby Boomers as self-centered, spoiled and entitled. The right has then cleverly used that deceptive image to go on and attack important programs like Social Security, Medicare, college loans, etc., by trying to divide the generations against each other, claiming that we Baby Boomers are intent on abusing, even bankrupting, those programs.
The truth is something else entirely.
The generation born after World War II in fact has been admirable and almost unique in its altruism. While our parents were either overt racists and sexists or turned a blind eye to those twin evils, and for the most part uncritically accepted the imperialist policies of the post-war US government, our generation challenged the idea of imperial war, supported the struggle of African-Americans to win voting rights and to end legal segregation and, after a struggle in our own ranks, fought for equal rights for women — with many of the men of our age cohort joining in that struggle.
My generation did more in our personal lives and lifestyles, beginning in the 1960s and continuing on through the decades, to break down walls of religious and racial bigotry, than any before us, and we have raised children who have continued that legacy.
As for Social Security, it was our generation that has had to pay more into the system to anticipate our greater longevity and our greater numbers, paying vastly higher Social Security payroll taxes than our parents ever did. We also strongly supported the creation of Medicare in 1965, at a time when we were still more than 40 years from being able to make use of it.
We did it for the generation before us, not for ourselves. Back in 1964, when the last Boomer was being born, our parents were only paying 3.625% of their pay in FICA taxes. When my father was 60, and only a few years from retirement, he began paying 5.4%. We Boomers, meanwhile, have been paying over 6% of our income into Social Security since 1988, which means that for those of us now nearing retirement age, the 30-35 years of our working lives when we were earning our greatest amount of annual income, we were paying over 6%. into the Trust Fund. Since employers match those amounts, we were actually paying over 5% per year more of income during our working lives than our parents paid in theirs.
And the right wing — and even some conservative Democrats — call us selfish and entitled!
We also, far from being selfish, raised families in the face of a prolonged and deliberate corporate assault on working people that saw our unions broken, our pensions terminated, our health insurance benefits slashed, college costs for our kids inflated, and job opportunities for both ourselves and our children lost. We saw our home values crashed by greedy bankers. We are new facing a crisis and a threat as we near retirement age, not because we were self-indulgent and lazy, but because we are the victims of a colossal corporate rip-off, one supported by a corrupt right-wing political movement. This campaign has gutted the programs that several generations of labor activists and workers, including we ourselves, fought to create.
If there is anything critical that can be said about the generation born after 1946, it would be that we got so caught up in our struggles of the moment, and then in raising our families in the face of these challenges, that we have not maintained our “fuck you!” attitude towards authority, and our sense of solidarity with one another and with those who are on the outside of the society and the economy.
My sense is that most of us in the Baby Boom generation still have our basic values. We want a better, fairer, more peaceful world–a world free of imperialism, racism and sexism — but we have lost the sense of militancy that is needed to get there.
That makes me hopeful that as our children move off onto their own, and as we get ever closer to the point that we are depending on programs like Social Security and Medicare for our survival, that we will recover that sense of urgent militancy and that “fuck you” attitude that carried us through the years of the Indochina War, of President Nixon’s Cointelpro repression, and of the Reagan-era assault on the New Deal legacy.
It is time for the Baby Boom Generation to return to its roots. For the sake of ourselves and our friends and demographic compatriots, for the sake of our children and their children, we need to recover that distrust and rejection of authority that is embedded in our generation’s DNA. We need to recall and recreate that exciting sense of community that came with standing shoulder to shoulder against the uniformed enforcers of the Establishment.
It is time to gather up our canes, our walkers and our hearing aids, to ignore our aching joints, and to again start marching and shouting: “Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers!” and “Hell No! We Won’t Go!” (peacefully and quietly into old age, that is).
Dave Lindorff is a founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He lives in Philadelphia.
After the recent piece I wrote for the Concord Monitor about guns in the New Hampshire Legislature, I received an interesting opposing response. A former state representative from Georges Mills, Spec Bowers, wrote that mass shootings have occurred in a church, a shopping mall, a restaurant, a movie theater and a school. Bowers argued that victims who had guns sometimes stopped shootings by firing back.
He said would-be killers target and prefer gun-free zones as a place to shoot because they calculate they will run into less opposition there. Since evildoers could be anywhere, Bowers felt legislators who were armed were best equipped to protect themselves and others.
He went on to discuss the risk of a criminal opening fire against unarmed legislators and visitors at the State House and he described the risk as “improbable but all too possible”. I would ask: what does that convoluted formulation actually mean? Is such an event probable or improbable?
This is where it gets tricky because hard answers are difficult to come by. There is some very small percentage chance of such an event. Minimizing the possibility of a State House shooting could appear to be insensitive to legitimate security concerns.
I would argue that while almost any scenario is a theoretical possibility, 200 plus years of New Hampshire history have demonstrated the unlikelihood of a State House shooting. A rational response would not blow the possible risk out of perspective. As I suggested previously, metal detectors and security screening at any State House entrance would go a long way toward addressing the risk.
What has struck me since the shootings at Aurora and Newtown has been the irrationality, bordering on hysteria, of the pro-gun, no-regulation folks. For example, President Obama is routinely seen as an enemy of the Second Amendment. The NRA has called him the most anti-gun president in American history. It apparently matters little that Obama is on record supporting the Second Amendment. In his first term, he took zero action on gun control. He only acted after Newtown. If he had done nothing, I think he would have been widely condemned for inaction.
Nevertheless, he is seen as a modern day George III, intent not just on some modest gun control but on wanting to confiscate all guns. The gun store in Merrimack NH, Collectible Arms and Ammo, has had a picture of Obama on the storefront window along with pictures of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. The owner was quoted in the Union Leader saying that the picture montage was a nonpartisan statement.
Along with the irrational fear about President Obama is an obsessive concern about the threat posed by the federal government. Many gunowners are anxious to let you know that the Second Amendment is not about deer hunting. They say it is about protection from the federal government which wants to take your guns away.
From a critical perspective outside the pro-gun movement, that movement appears to be rife with conspiracy theories. There are a wide range of such theories and in fairness it is hard to know what percentage of pro-gun folks subscribe to the theories. Most feature President Obama who is cast as a James Bond-style super villain who is staying up nights, feverishly figuring out ways to get his hands on the estimated 280 million guns that are in the private possession of Americans. There is a racial fear component to many of these theories. Maybe part of this is simply fear of a Black president and the changing demographics of the country.
Since President Obama took his gun control initiatives, gun and ammunition sales have gone through the roof. Prices for guns and ammo have climbed dramatically. It is almost as if some gunowners think they must get certain weapons and ammo now because they might be off limits later. Why they feel so compelled to get these arsenals is a good question. The trumped-up fear mostly serves to profit gun manufacturers.
I do think there is more generalized anxiety now about the bad economy, global warming, and societal breakdown. I have met people in New Hampshire who have stockpiled weapons and food in preparation for some Armageddon-type events. They want to be prepared for the End Times. This perspective overlaps with those fundamentalists who see the end of the world approaching.
In his essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”, historian Richard Hofstadter described an angry style of mind which accurately captures the pro-gun movement of our day.
“I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.”
Hofstadter wrote that a feeling of persecution is central and is systematized in grandiose theories of conspiracy. I think the pro-gun movement is the latest incarnation of a paranoid trend that has been repeated many times in American history. In his essay, Hofstadter, who died in 1970, gave quite a few examples including Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist witchhunt and the John Birch Society.
There is one other thing that bothers me that I wanted to mention. We lack public health research about gun safety because a decade ago the NRA managed to quash all federal money directed at gun injury research prevention. The NRA had been concerned about public health research done by a Tennessee ER doctor named Art Kellerman. Dr. Kellerman had looked at questions like “If a gun kept in a house is used, who did it shoot and what were the consequences?” Dr. Kellerman found it was 43 times more likely that a gun kept in the home would be involved in the death of a household member than it would be used in self-defense, NPR reported this story.
I think assuming public health research about gun safety is equivalent to gun control is irrational. In considering public policy, we should not fear evidence-based research. I suppose I may be part of a minority in New Hampshire but I question whether everybody having guns makes us safer.
It is approaching mid-March and I am already dying for spring. The past winter started off slow. Into January, we were having another winter in New Hampshire like the last one – almost no snow and relatively warm. Then February hit. We got our fair share of snow.
The snow banks remain high in my yard although the temperatures climbed into the high 40’s this weekend. It now has the look of the start of mud season. For those unfamiliar with New Hampshire, mud season is a distinct time of year : roads turn into mush, then soup.
There are quite a few dirt roads in my neighborhood. You really do not want to drive down them. Your car can sink into deep ruts and practically be swallowed. Sometimes you do not know if you will get through. School buses get stuck and have to be pulled out. Making it more interesting is the fact that roads will freeze at night in utterly rutted condition. Going over those roads is not for the faint-heated. Then during the day, they will unfreeze and it is a driver beware situation.
Even though a dirt road near my home provides a very convenient shortcut on my drive to work, I have no plans to drive on it until April sometime. It is not worth the risk. If you are fortunate and you manage not to damage your car, you will not escape the mud which is guaranteed to decorate your car extensively. At the very least, you will need a car wash.
Part of mud season is the frost heaves. Roads break up. There are holes where there were not holes before. You really need to go slow and protect your car going over these babies. You are looking for trouble if you go too fast.
Rain is in the forecast this week. It may be bye-bye to the snow. Black fly season cannot be too far off!
In honor of spring, here are 2 poems that I have loved for a long time (one is really a song). Gracias a la Vida was written by Violeta Parra, a Chilean songwriter and composer. This poem/song has been most famously sung by Mercedes Sosa and also by Joan Baez. The second poem is from e.e. cummings.
Gracias a la Vida (Thanks to Life) by Violeta Parra
Thanks to life, for giving me so much.
It gave me two bright stars, that when opened,
can perfectly distinguish black from white
and high in the sky, the starry background,
and within the crowd the one that I love.
Thanks to life, for giving me so much.
It gave me hearing that, in all its reach
records – night and day – crickets and canaries
hammers, turbines, bricks and storms.
And the tender voice of my beloved.
Thanks to life, for giving me so much.
It gave me sound and the alphabet.
With them the words that I think and declare:
“Mother”, “Friend”, “Brother” and light shining down on
the road of the soul of the one I’m loving.
Thanks to life, for giving me so much.
It gave me the ability to walk with my tired feet.
With them I’ve walked cities and puddles
valleys and deserts, mountains and plains.
And your house, your street and your garden.
Thanks to life, for giving me so much.
It gave me a heart that causes my frame to shudder,
when I see the fruit of the human brain,
when I see good so far from evil,
when I look inside your bright eyes…
Thanks to life, for giving me so much.
It gave me laughter as well as mourning,
with both I distinguish happiness from pain –
the two elements that make up my song,
and your song, as well, which is the same song
and everyone’s song, which is my very song.
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves
and kisses are a better fate
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says
we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph
And death i think is no parenthesis