Brazzaville 1997, 2012

Reading of the latest killings in Africa I thought of this poem I composed in 1997 after a media-fest over something similar; young lads on the bloody rampage, Red Cross trying earnestly to rationalise the totally irrational, help those beyond help .... Too many with too little armed by too few with too much.



Brazzaville 1997

How happy does the soldier seem
Downtown in good old Brazzaville
In television’s nightmare dream
As searches he for more to kill
Black face split white in one wide beam
Whilst from the rubble bodies spill:

There is this frightful innocence
And you can smell the pestilence.

They must have told him that they’d won
Who gave themselves that Cobra name,
And flies that fatten in the bloody sun
Of Africa know more of shame
Than we for such as this destruction -
And each one knows he’s not to blame:

But cobras have their grace and know
Their place and in what space to grow.

Attend the screen’s sick images
See how this nice Swiss boy has made
The chance to make the moment his;
Red Cross or something who have paid
So much so uselessly - now show biz
Time, for prying cameras stayed:

Behind him there a kiddie stands
Wide crazy eyed, gun in his hands. 

The media’s the message, true?
This would not be this but for it?
There’s really nothing we can do
But watch them sport in their own shit?
As in my mind these questions queue
What thrills me when the fuse is lit?

Do answers lie in schaddenfreud?
Is this our true selves, unalloyed?



Bryan Islip
Dharan 20 October 97

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