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Pictures of torture victims?

Posted Sep 12 2008 11:34am
I wrote in the last post that maybe my bruised and wrinkled and rankled left chest looks familiar because of pictures I've seen of torture victims. As if I see them all the time. When have I seen these pictures? I remember getting them in the mail from human rights organizations. But not often. We've all seen pictures of war wounded and war dead, in films, in our heads when we read. I have become one of the wounded. Of the deeply wounded. Of the deeply wounded with a little burning coming from the end of the tubes stuck in the incisions. Of the deeply wounded who does know why she was deeply wounded, who consented to be cut and pasted so, signing her name several times, agreeing to undergo certain insults to the body while she slept the sleep of prescribed anesthesia. Of the deeply wounded who for years before had had no wounds that others could see, but had felt inside herself, in the seats of her emotions--her throat, her eyes, her forehead--that she had been deeply wounded for so so many years, and knows that the purple and yellow that paint her body now are outward manifestation of the wounds she carried inside, invisible as water. They would take no balm. She studied this inexplicable rawness with experts for years. She made up elaborate hypotheses to contain and explain. But they didn't help. Years and years of talking and looking at the raw injuries this way and that, refracted through this microsocope and that, twirled around in this giroscope or blender and spread thinly on that glass slide or paraffin block. Nothing helped. You can look at it the slice of her, the dissection of her pain, look at it all day and nothing will change it. Changing my thoughts did not change it. Creating chants, chanting awkward affirmations did nothing. Nothing. Only Prozac and its kin. And here, with her hospital-made wounds, only time and poison will help, will help kill what was in her, not metaphorically, but palpably. Real-ly. Something you can point to: See. That. It was inside you, with its crab-like arms and legs, reproducing beyond control. Wanting to take over.


****
Carolyn Forche, from "Return"--
"... And that people
who rescue physicists, lawyers and poets
lie in their beds at night with reports
of mice introduced into women, of men
whose testicles are crushed like eggs.
That they cup their own parts
with their bedsheets and move themselves
slowly, imagining bracelets affixing
their wrists to a way where the naked
are pinned, where the naked are tied open
and left to the hands of those who erase
what they touch."

That some people enjoy the descriptions of torture, though they opened the report as a good person, a person wanting to help, but became the subject torturing the object as they read, the desired object, as they read. Then they become the desired object themselves. The torture is no longer real, it is a story they gobble to kickstart their passion. It is just something on a page.
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