Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Our Extraordinary Rendition
He wore women’s underwear on his head.
No. Perhaps I should qualify that statement.
He was made to wear
women’s underwear on his head.
No. Again,
I don’t think I’m giving you the full picture.
You see,
this isn’t a fraternity prank we are talking about here.
When you are performing a little college hazing,
you don’t have the
International Red Cross step in to critique your method.

Ah well. Boys will be boys.
Let them have their fun.
Hey, but girls wanna’ have fun too, right?
Nothing like having a girl dip her fingers
in something crimson and then
walk over and touch a guy.
Yes. Girls will be girls.

But again.
I don’t think you understand the situation just yet.
That man wearing the panties… ?
That man with the smear of red across his face… ?
He isn’t smiling.
And just when does erotic contact
equate to existential torture, hum?

This may not be America,
but it is us as Americans.
Ah yes.
And you’d like to utter that with a
swelling of pride in your chest.
We are what the rest of the world aspires to.
We are the epitome of justice.
Liberty. Freedom.
Freedom. Liberty.
Somebody’s mantra.

And what was it
the Commander of Quantanamo,
Major General
Geoffrey Miller said?
“You have to have full control.
No mistake about who’s in charge.
You have to treat these detainees
like dogs.”
Just before he made these remarks,
a man in Kabul was stripped naked,
chained in a cell,
and left to freeze to death.
Just after these remarks,
a man in Abu Ghraib is shackled
with his arms at such an
extreme angle behind his back
that his ribs fracture from the stress
and he drowns from the
flooding of his own inner bodily fluids.
Oh well. Boys will be boys.

Anybody know someone
who died on Nine Eleven?
If you or that person had a chance
to pull on those shackles,
distort those arms in their sockets,
fracture those ribs
and cause those lungs
to fill with fluid,
would you?

At what degree of separation
from the actual act of terrorism
does this man you hate have to be
before he no longer qualifies for pain?
And how much pain
can you inflict
before you
no longer qualify
to be American?
How about a show of hands.
Who here will raise their arm
for a chance to raise his?

©05 Jack Hubbell
Words of Prey
It is Sunday
and birds of prey are feeding.
That which is ripped asunder
beneath the talons of a raptor
has died a grisly death
and it somehow seems inappropriate
for such to have transpired
on a day which many deem
the Sabbath.

That the Sabbath be on Sunday
rather depends on your orientation of faith.
Yes, it’s Sunday if the name Jesus
has some special significance.
And yet it could be Saturday
should you favor the name
Abraham, or Friday if
Mohammed holds sway.

The feathered predator,
which at this moment is devouring
some other variant of God’s creation,
cares not as to whether this is
Sunday, Saturday or Friday.
Nor any other day for that matter.
Each and every day is the same
when it comes to survival.

And as you open the Good Book to
Jonah 1:17,
there outside your window,
the robin gets its proverbial worm.

Should I ask you to visualize this event,
a curtain lifts
and some Disneyesque animation
rolls before your eyes.

But no... Not so fast.
I’m not going to let this be
easy for you.
Bad things happen when you
as a creature
are ingested and pass
into the belly of another.
Though swallowed whole,
that worm has not been given
a respite where it kicks back
and talks to its creator.

Very bad things
are happening to that worm
and as you sit there,
cocooned in that insular world of
the Good Book,
I want you to ponder the existence of
enzymatic acid.
How every day of the week,
certain creatures swallow other creatures
and while doing so,
do not pause to contemplate the
sequence of the day.

No. They exist in a reality whereby
the Sabbath is just another passing
from dawn to dusk and beyond.
Indeed, nothing more than
a recurrent ordeal
where lesser and larger
step into the light
and pray to stay alive.

©06 Jack Hubbell

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Beyond this mere corporeal existence…
This passage of time encased in a
flimsy sheath of skin,
there comes a moment when you
hope to experience the sensation of
something other than
the surge of fluid through your veins.

You masticate.
You copulate.
You defecate.
These things are given.
These things you expect.

Wading out of the ocean’s surf
like the primordial beast of ancestry,
that to which you’ve evolved
gives in to every sensory perception.

You experience the sense of touch as
rivulets of ocean flow down your spine.
The smell of brine through your nostrils.
The taste of salt over your lips.
The vision of a conch shell
there exposed in the receding tide.
The sound of…
And oh yes,
this is special…
The sound of the surf as it crashes on sand
and slithers away.
And this is a sound that stays with you
long after you’ve crawled up the beach,
gone bipedal
and headed inland.

Time may pass and with it
a multitude of sounds will vie for your attention.
Yet there will always be that serenade of the ocean.
And what resonation is deeper than this?
What sound vaster?

Let me utter that again.
Let me define it for you.
A transcendental sense of sound
that is unheard aurally,
yet you intuit its existence.
The odor of the holy.
The fragrance of the divine.
A sense of that from
beyond your corporeal being—
and yet not.
That of something extrinsic to experience
which you perceive to exist and yet…
let’s face it.
You will never be able to grasp this sense
for this is not a sense you can
hold in your hand.
Or is it?

There from a musty shelf of memories,
you pull down that conch shell
and place it to your ear.
There you hear that long forgotten
surf of amphibian ancestry.
And there in your primitive mind,
you discern nothing less than
Behold Baraka!

And yet…
And yet there’s a chance that
all of this
is illusion.
That that which you attribute to
a mystical realm
might in fact be a misinterpretation of
that which exists in the here and now.
That what you are experiencing
as you hold that shell to your ear
is simply the reverb and
acoustic amplification of a sound
which emits from your inner ear.
Yes. An aural manifestation of
that inner you.
That coursing of blood through your veins.
As close to divinity as you’ll get.

if you’re looking for Baraka,
you’ve found it.

And yes,
precisely what you have found,

is you.

©06 Jack Hubbell