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FOUR POEMS

by MAGGIE JAFFE

Maggie Jaffe's publications include How The West Was One, Continuous Performance, 7th Circle and 1492: What Is It Like To Be Discovered, a collaboration with artist Deborah Small.
For Sam Melville, #26124
Murdered at Attica, 9/13/71


After Attica's uprising
the photo shows
cops dressed to kill,
wielding "nigger sticks"
& loving it.

White boys, Young Lords,
caged Panthers. All are
skin searched, rain-soaked,
hands thrust over head.
Forced to run the gauntlet:
" 'Prison power' my ass,
you motherfuckers."


Attica! Gray walls on the green
Tonawanda Reservation, sacred
land stolen from the Senecas.
Attica! Bureaucrats with "impeccable Nazi
credentials" renamed you Correctional
Facility. Still, you're the killing floor:
warning shots in the back by
outlawed dum dum bullets.
Where's Rocky? He won't fly
American to Attica.
Instead, dials M for murder.
Sleeps that night beside
his secretary, groomed for power.
Runs for VP,
is endorsed by the Times.
He's a Corporate Conquistador!


Monday, bloody Monday,
September 13, 1971. After a sluggish
start on Wall Street today, the Dow
closed high with hefty trading. To "pacify"
one Vietcong the State pays $35,000,
depending on inflation.

Who gave the orders?
Who took the weight?
Absolved the guards?
Lied to the press?
Opened fire on Melville?
Named him "the mad bomber?"

Who napalmed Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia?


Magic Realism

She's a minor union functionary.
For weeks she and her co-unionists
have negotiated with the government
to set a minimum working wage for children.
Her file is directed to appropriate channels.
The White Hand (Las Manos Blancas),
funded by the government,
break into her house, decapitate
her five children, seat
them around the kitchen table.
One soldier drives a nail through
the youngest child's head
to keep it from slipping.
In the barracks that night
soldiers watch their favorite TV programs:
The Adventures of Bat Man and Robin,
followed by a local Televangelist,
trained in the USA,
who confirms what everyone knows:
there are murderous
Communistas everywhere.
In El Salvador
dollars magically
make things happen.
Shit happens.



Information Explosion

She is taken to the "operating theater" [American Standard].
Stripped, her cunt shaved [Gillette].
Injected with drugs to block
endorphins, the body's "natural"
pain suppresser [Sandox].
Given electric shocks to her gums,
her vagina [AT&T].
Her screams are recorded on a cassette [Toshiba].
Her screams will later be used during her
husband's and children's "sessions."
After their disappearance their names
will be filed under the category
Subversive, Code Red [IBM].
She called it Argentina's institutionalized terrorism,
We call it Magic of the Marketplace.



Bertolt Brecht

fled Hitler's Germany
for McCarthy's Amerika
where he'll bomb on Broadway,
go hungry in Hollywood.
Only HUAC understood his work.
They accused him
of "premature anti-facism."
He denied everything,
They believed him.
"Americans aren't as bad
as Nazis. At least they let you
smoke while they interrogate you,"
Brecht said smoking his cigar.
Besides cigars, he loved
brainy women with red
radical politics.
An irascible, rumpled-looking
foreigner in the Halls of Justice,
hating the Jew-
hater and the big
boss man, he wrote:
"What is the crime
of robbing a bank
compared with
the crime
of founding one?"

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