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Cut Loose the Body Demands Your Attention

The recent release of Cut Loose the Body, edited by Rose Marie Berger and Joseph Ross, is quite timely given that we just hit the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, where there were never any weapons of mass destruction. That and the fact that our president, vice-president and political groupies misled us intentionally and not so surprisingly The White House has conveniently destroyed not only emails but also the hardware (per The Washington Post) about the after effect which is clearly a violation of our governmental policies and procedures.

Sadly the fight continues not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but in other parts of the world as well, from simple ballad musicians being killed in Mexico for their lyrics to ghastly actions against women and child in Darfur.

Nonetheless, here in this nice produced chapbook, put out by D.C. Poets Against the War and the American University Museum, in conjunction with artist Fernando Botero\’s Abu Gharib breathtaking and vivid work that speaks the truth of just some of the atrocities that have been committed (and perhaps are still being committed without our knowledge) under the auspices of the USA government–what? the USA doesn\’t torture–think again and face the reality of our times.

Naomi Shihab Nye\’s poem It Is Not a Game, It Was Never a Game speaks to the innocence that has been destroyed for countless children:–

It was not a game, it was unbelievable sorrow and fear.

A hand that a mother held. A pocket. A glass. It was not war, it was people.

We had gone nowhere in a million years.

–sadly, civilized nations are still committing atrocities.

But the anger many of us feel and the hypocrisy of our political leaders in power (regardless of how they attained their present and/or past positions) is thrust into our face with truth that stabs into the heart of our very real reality by Maxine Kumin in Please Pay Attention as the Ethics Have Changed (tag line, New Yorker cartoon, May 10, 2004):–

But where is that other Humane Society, the one with rules we used to read aloud in school

the one that takes away your license to collar and leash a naked prisoner

the one that forbids you to sodomize a detainee before the cold eyes

of your fellow MPs? When the pixie soldier says cheese

for the camera who says please pay attention? The ethics have changed.

Fuck the Geneva Convention.

–Kumin could not have spoken the truth more frankly. When our civilized nation defies standard humane practices, has it not lowered itself further than those it is trying to rein in? Humane treatment applies to everyone, period. To do less, causes one to lose the respect it expects from others as a civilized nation.

Cut Loose the Body is not just about Iraq, as Martin Espada\’s poem Not Here (for Raul Zurita, Santiago, Chile, July 2004) recalls the horrors done to people in Chile expressing their opinions yet contrasts the often attitude of many of us in the USA who are not personally affected by atrocities on other continents:–

The rest of us drank too much, drove too fast, as the radio told us what happened on the side of the world and the windshield wipers said not here, not here, not here.

Colombian poet Consuelo Hernandez, now a professor of Spanish at American University, decries the horrors of drug wars in My Country Is Bleeding—

While I walk on this tight rope I notice a horde of decomposing bodies mass graves missing people who haunt me in broad daylight. My southern country is bleeding and my heart is weary but it is not beaten yet because within me a star lights up on this cold ashy afternoon and wipes away the bloodstains.

–So here in this short chapbook, we have a variety of poets who have spoken out against the injustices committed by civilized humans within our lifetime, yet Myra Skylar\’s poem The Infinite Regress of War speaks to the history of influence:–

…Poet, if I put your words inside my poem, have we not crossed over

into one another?

–For the import of this collection is to make the reader–yet sadly the ones who need to read this more than others will probably not read this–reflect and perhaps be moved to action to stop injustices from happening in this world which we must all share, regardless of cultural or political background.

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