Thursday, July 20, 2006

They Hanged Him...

—Dennis Brutus (born 1924 in South Africa)

There was a time when the only worth
was other men—
their saleable value;
one felt the steady venom
in the gaze of another shackled
and knew the relief of escaping,
and in another day bowed down
accepting this ignominious ultimate:

war did not make captors—
for captors one made war:
and captives were the purpose of the war:

so, for alien almost humans
we made hunted beasts of humans.
Till time brings its reverses.


—Dennis Brutus

They hanged him, I said dismissively
having no other way to say he died
or that he was a dear friend
or that work wove us most intimately
in common tasks, ambitions, desires.
Now he is dead: and I dare not think
of the anguish that drove him to where he was
or the pain at their hands he must have faced
or how much he was racked by my distress:
now, it is still easiest to say, they hanged him,


•••Tonight (Thursday, 7/20), 8 PM: Vibe Sessions Neo-Soul Lounge at Cobbler Inn Restaurant, 3520 Stockton Blvd., Sac. $5. Info: 916-457-6177.

•••Also tonight (7/20),
doors open at 7 PM, show starts at 8. Ms. La-Rue' writes: Get your SPOKEN WORD ON and your LAUGH ON and get your WEST INDIAN GRUB ON. You all know that laughter is good for the soul and poetry put something on your mind, and DJ BARNEY B got your favorite grooves to get the party jumping. You all know I can't wait to see YOU at the next AN EVENING OF POETRY!!!! Gwen's Caribbean Cuisine, 2355 Arden Way @ Bell, Sac., $5 cover, open mic. Info: 916-922-3468.

•••Also tonight (7/20), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged features Jim Nolt and Cameron. Open mic before/after. Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sac. Info: 441-3931 or Free.


—Dennis Brutus

At night
on the smooth grey concrete of my cell
I heard the enormous roar of the surf
and saw in my mind's eye
the great white wall of spray rising
like a sheet of shattering glass
where the surge broke
on the shore and rocks and barbed wire
and going to the shed
in hope of a visitor
I greeted the great cypresses
green and black
dreaming in their poised serenity
in the limpid stillness of the brilliant afternoon
gracious as an Umbrian Raphael landscape
but more brilliant and more sharp.



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry and announcements of Northern California poetry events to for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)