Tuesday, January 30, 2007


for so often writing poems I co-opt into found autobiographies. Like, this one:

Self-Portrait in Hell

I will build a wall around my past.
I will build a wall around my country.
I will build a wall around my memory.

I will set broken bottles on top of the wall.
Just like they do in my country.
I will spread thorns and nails and crowns of barbed wire.
I will put up a sign saying, It is forbidden to lean against this wall.

In that walled-up space I will let everything grow in wild abandon.
Weeds, snakes, mushrooms, worms, bacteria, orchids, hornets,
dragonflies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, maggots, rats.
The good will be few and dwindling.
The evil will devour the good.
Just like they do in my country.

I will walk away from the safety of remembering
but I will keep an amulet against those
who still covet the last things I carry:
I will bear my anger in silence.
I will lay down my heart in flames.
I will burn the sign of the cross on my forehead.
I will wear my country's desolation
as though it were tailor-made for me.

Over the years their meaning will wear out.
Only I will recall what they once stood for,
my anger, my cross, my heart of embers.
No one will ever recognize me.


Re. Eric's poem being Moi's autobiography, here's a relevant exchange here with Jean.