Also published on Groundviews.org
image by michal tokarczuk
do you feel it every day?
When you’re buying groceries,
taking a train to somewhere;
when you smoke, eat or dream?
Does it take a toll? Make your feet drag, perhaps,
or your head ache?
Does it get away from you sometimes?
Have people around you sensed something
not quite right,
caught that glint in your eye (there for just a second,
and gone the next)
and wondered what it was that made their skin
Or have they wished you good morning every day,
sat down to lunch with you, asked how your mother was,
without ever having a clue?
where does it hide? What shape does it take?
I imagine a boiling lava, burning in the pit of your stomach,
roaring with something other than hunger.
Or a demon that sits on both your shoulders,
having laid waste to the angel of good conscience,
whispering secrets and schemes into your ear.
Does it tell you who is ‘evil’ and who is ‘good’,
who should live; who deserves to die?
Did it convince you that you were fighting
a necessary war,
even though your so-called ‘enemies’
wished you no harm;
didn’t even know your name,
let alone that you wished them dead?
when did it first plant its seeds?
When did you first start to separate
‘us’ from ‘them’;
first start to see origin as a fault,
a punishable crime?
Was it the age old offender – the colour of their skin?
Or perhaps it was the lilt of the accent, the different dress or faith.
Then, as terrorism familiarised itself with the whole world,
you made the connection;
mistrusted them all the more,
finally turned to terror yourself.
does it still speak to you now?
Does it pull your mouth into a smile,
or, like a puppet-master, draw up your hand in salute
as you tell the world how and why you ended 77 lives?
Does it hide, malevolent, behind your eyes, watching weeping survivors?
Does it make your hands wish for weapons; your fingers for a trigger?
Does it croon over you at night,
sending you to sleep with its restless, congratulatory lullaby?
Tell me, has it made you mad?
I hope it has.
While thousands, probably millions hope for ‘guilty’,
I hope for ‘insane’.
Because if you are ‘guilty’, it means you did this
simply because you wanted to; because you could.
It means there are others out there, just like you —
‘normal’ but not.
Plotting to kill anyone
for any reason.
Who’s to say I’m not offending someone like you right now,
with my brown skin and my accent?
What if they too would plot to kill me because of a part of my identity
that I cannot choose for myself; that I was born with?
Tell me you are insane.
At least then your crimes would be senseless
in every sense.
And ironically, that would make
at least some sense
* Inspired by the Breivik trail