21 May 2011

Darrell Petska

Alan Garvey

Darrell Petska

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Reckonings: Choeung Ek

This poet's life at 26
assumed the luxuries of love
expansive hope
happiness unchecked--
And you?

That year at Choeung Ek
the killings began:
Vietnamese and Thais,
Chinese, Buddhists and Muslims,
thinkers, poets, all.

That orchard turned killing field
consumed the blood of thousands:
men, women, their sweet children all
clubbed, stabbed, poisoned,
tossed en masse into lowly pits.

Visit today and see
their many skulls, their bones
that surface with heavy rains,
their bits of clothing, their teeth,
their gaping graves

the grass does its best to cover,
the trees sighing overhead:
thus we blame Pol Pot
as we blamed Hitler
as we blamed Rwanda's Hutu.

Is this poet's life at 63
a wiser year?
Did the Dark Ages end?
Choeung Ek was yesterday.
Some were 26. And you?

Today we do our work,
love our families, write poetry,
seek the good in life.
But explain abiding love,
great poetry, such graves we dig

and toss each other in.
These killing fields pursue us
asking where we were
what we did and
have the guilty stepped forward.


Bio:
I am a retired editor-adult education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. We have much to answer for over our history. By exploring questions of responsibility and culpability, sometimes we find answers that help us to make sense of our actions, or to act so that we can move on.

(author retains copyright)

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Alan Garvey

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Justice

In the beginning was the Word
then came the uttered word
the written word
the printed word
the lying word
word of agreement
word of betrayal
word begging for mercy
word pointing fingers at friends
word howling innocence and corruption
word typed and numbered
word as evidence of duplicity
entered and logged in court records
as received truth which all know
in their hearts is a lie, lie, lie
word repudiating acts of good faith
word sweating under strain
in front of many cameras
word that made no difference
because it remained silent
word that might have been and offered solace
word we have seen and will never forget
word inciting to strike
refusing to be complicit
word illegal when uttered
or written and copied on paper
word of rejection rejecting all
but where the word comes from


Bio:
Alan Garvey’s third collection of poetry, ‘Terror H├íza’, was published by Lapwing (Belfast) in 2009. His work is represented in various magazines and anthologies. He graduated with a MA in Creative Writing; and has read in Toronto and Newfoundland, and worked in Budapest, courtesy of the Irish Arts Council. He has worked as an arts administrator, part-time lecturer and creative writing tutor, and is a contributing editor to ‘The Gloom Cupboard’.


(author retains copyright)

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