Chris Brandt
  ("In the Locker Room the Male Gods Examine," "For Henry Kissinger")





  their penises with care. They are transfixed

  also by their mirrored pecs, lats, abs,

  but mostly they look down at their dicks.


  Is this the essence of divine behavior?

  Their bodies for the mirror, they watch them sculpt

  themselves, but their penises are personal—

  they probe out into the unknown—a single gulp


  and down some waiting gullet,

  seed claimed and gods discarded.

  This secret suspicion urges

  them to inspect, unguarded,


  hairs, follicles, veins, moles, mottledskin,

  wrinkled sacs—this is why, perhaps,

  the world's a mess? Instead of taking care

  of business, the gods are staring at their laps.



 (Originally posted June 18, 2008)






  Is it too late to curse you, Henry?

  Is it time to have the years obscure your crimes?


  Time to close that chapter,

  let bygones be gone, give it a rest, let it be?



  It is not too late, Henry.


  And thus begins our curse:

  Be it never too late,


  be the voices you hear in your dotage

  your victims' shouting Assassin! Thief!


  Because you sat well-tailored in handsome offices

  and sent others out to prove your power,


  because you wrote, "With proper tactics

  nuclear war need not be as destructive as it appears",


  because you found white phosphorous a useful tool

  and napalm a tolerable arm of diplomacy,


  and agent orange necessary

  to policy, and tiger cages,


  because you didn't understand why we should allow a country to go

  communist on account of its own people's ignorance,


  because you enjoyed the company of Pinochet

  Marcos, Duvalier, Stroessner Somoza, the Shah,


  because you regretted Laos and Cambodia-

  "We should have found some other way of doing it",


  because you killed Allende and shattered Neruda's heart

  as surely as if you had held the gun yourself,


  because you accepted the Nobel Peace Prize,

  because in the mirror you see a god—Hermes, Loki,


  because you have a mind for deciding life and death,

  and it's pure injustice of history that you're not still doing it—


  may the insects refuse to touch you, may the worms spit you back,

  may you never know decay's comfort and rest.


  Let the voices follow you always.

  Let the burning children run toward you forever


  clasping you in their flaming arms.

  Let your eternal waiting room be


  the stadium in Santiago, filled with silent prisoners filing

  past. Each one stops to look at you,


  and you, with all the time in the world

  cannot look away.


  None mentions bruises, burns,

  missing fingernails, teeth, faces,


  each only recites a name—

  Elena, Nguyen, Christofis, Bobby Jene, Laureano,


  and one of them hands you a snapshot of his daughters,

  another his unused high school registration card,


  a third the unfinished history of her family,

  a fourth holds out a stuffed penguin, won


  at a carnival moments before his arrest,

  the next carries nothing, having no hands,


  gives you only her look, and whispers

  a poem, a hymn to the wind.


  The line of the disappeared goes on and on

  and you will stand rooted,


  seeing them at last. And always,

  always will you hear the songs of love


  Victor Jara continues to sing,

  even without


  his tongue.



  (Originally posted July 7, 2009)



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