Preliminary Notes on The Physics of Modern Torture
1. Time bends in an unpredictable manner
when twisted around a human body
using easily obtainable tools such as wires,
water, ducting tape, cigarettes, dogs, words,
silence, . . .
2. Varying sounds emanate from most orifices
depending on instruments applied.
Some sounds resemble broken words
that are often unverifiable.
Other sounds are highly similar
to those heard in abattoirs.
3. Each human body has its unique threshold.
The expected words may be extracted at different points
or not at all. Thus, another subject must always be at hand
in order for these tests to continue.
With the release of some official information on the extent of the use of torture by the CIA, I thought it might be a good time to share this old poem of mine.
Torture is actually nothing new in the American way of dealing with anyone they want to squeeze (mis)information from. As early as 1902, the American public has heard of torture done by its soldiers stationed on the other side of the world. This New Yorker article revisits such horrors from over a century ago.
My poem first appeared in Alien to Any Skin. The book contains many poems on human rights and international politics.