In the Bonds of Qliphoth
"You want to know where they are?
They are not with us. If we can get what we want,
we know where they are, we will get them,"
(Boko Haram Commander, on the missing 200 girls, Vice 2/5/16)
Devolution, happening in real time,
on screen, the throaty chuckle
that precedes your boast,
the horrific grin the blur can't
quite mask. It was astute of you
to request anonymity. I can see
the journalist, caught between expose
and that other ancient instinct
to protect the heart’s treasure
has the good sense to sit - and be silent.
That the world contains creatures like you
continues to astonish me. I have no moral compass
by which to measure you. Though evolution
has given us the same accoutraments,
I take into account your possible
formative years - child of war and chaos,
pure hell imprinted on you
from the moment you drew that
first shaky breath and tasted death -
What could I know of you,
the forces and dogma that shaped
and reshaped you into a harbinger
who regards all those outside himself
with no exceptions - as the enemy?
No. This intellectual examination has not
made me feel better or dissolved
my disgust. No. I must be truthful;
there’s hatred in my heart,
a common thread between us.
The desire to see you blasted down
to a bit of bone, a bloody stain
absorbed into the earth -
Yes, this makes me smile,
and comforts me in a way
that leads to a good night’s sleep.
I see we are brothers,
beasts to the very end.
I hope you die first.
(previously published in A New Ulster, 3/2016)