Thursday, August 1, 2013

"The Photojournalist" by Cyrus Cassells

"The Photojournalist" by Cyrus Cassells
(from the poetic sequence "Riders on the Back of Silence", published in The Crossed-Out Swastika)


In my search for your cloud-wrapped past,

the wounded earth became mine,
and each time I aligned myself

with the exiled, the dispossessed,
I aligned myself with you.

Apprenticed to, obsessed with,
light and justice,

always I've tried to bring into focus
a girl, with war as her spur,

with hunger as her horse
and shadow--

Mother, in El Salvador
I couldn't life my camera

to capture the unearthed
bodies of silenced nuns:

I'm almost, but never quite
inured to death:

a child in a jacket of flies;
the last typed lines of a friend,

a dissident poet whose body
was opened beyond belief--

In the Secret Annex, in the countless
precincts of strife, I've learned

an Esperanto of blood and hope
and forbearance,

as if someday I might receive my wish:
to read, on a night as serene as truce,

your long-awaited story:
the capo's unrelenting curses,

a castaway's pain:
I should know it by heart, Mother.

Cyrus Cassells, reading from the book.
Poet of Witness: Cyrus Cassells Reads from The Crossed-Out Swastika from Rothko Chapel on Vimeo.
A very thoughtful review of Cyrus Cassells' The Crossed-Out Swastika, by Tyrone Williams.

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