Displacement is an acrostic poem about how the varied and various symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can manifest themselves. It is also related to the repression of trauma, be it from torture, war, or otherwise.
Dreams, darting through a noisy mind,
Insensible, and in disguise, they are surely benign.
Shackled in a stream of warm air,
Pillowed from despair, means
Literal lies will remain in lieu
And there’ll be no wild field of all things taboo.
Can you imagine otherwise?
Eyelids fluttered as you’re ravished by his vacant smile.
Mangled limbs as he muscles in,
Now you’re tangled within, and it’s
Too late to dissociate in that bloody ring
Punishment is a short ‘poem’ written from an abused Iraqi prisoner of war’s point of view of the light sentences handed out to the American soldiers, including Lynndie England and Charles Graner Jr., who were convicted in 2005 by a US Army courts-martial in connection with the torture and prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.
But it could equally be from the perspective of those like the injured (now deceased) Afghan ‘insurgent’ who was murdered by the Royal Marine in Helmand Province, and numerous similar cases which have yet to come to light. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24870699 )
The poem is also a snapshot of how ‘cycles of any abuse, terror, and unsanctioned killings’, followed by retaliation, can and do occur – how the victims become killers, if you like.
Snug within your military prison
Its curtains of ivy camouflaging your past
Your thousand daily chants of nothing
Do nothing to turn around your marital arts
So I’ll flip flop in to ransack your ‘ammunition’,
Lay you out to photograph
Suck your soul onto a Polaroid.
Mirroring your tradition.