pinochet noir

“ i can’t find my passport.”
—adrienne rich, “usonian journals,”
the school among the ruins

i once saw general pinochet
in his dracula cape—aboard
the esmeralda when they
tortured us. they stripped
us naked—hosed us down
with saltwater on deck. the
sailors and marines were
young, faceless, grinning.
they were just following
orders—don’t they always?
then they drugged me—
dumped me off a helicopter.
as i fell down into the
pacific ocean—i thought
of hart crane. the white
upturned eyes—greedy
sharks waiting with baited
breath. american pirate
movie—except i didn’t
get to walk the plank. i
was just a baby-boomer
poet—way back then in
1973. i lived with my lover—
in downtown santiago. then
i found myself in al-gharib—
with awful electrodes again.
the same young soldiers
shamelessly leering at me—
getting off on my pain.
somebody told me i was
lucky—just to be alive.
even though i ended up
dumb & speechless—
in a wheelchair for life.
i can’t find my passport—
where am i anyway?
planet pinochet? night
of the living dead?
gulag archipelago?

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