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The Torture Machine - Connor

Part One: The Torture Machine

I. Insanity

"It's enough just to say what is before our eyes and not shrink from the conclusions."
 -- The Invisible Committee

  He walks around the dirt track that encircles the prison yard. The sun is low in the west, giving a soft, warm glow to the forests and faces on either side of the fence. Birds are offering a lovely melody off in the east. The air is fresh, comforting.
  He is not aware of any of this. In his mind, there is only a cacophony of commodities vying for his attention, and some delusional sense of self he feels compelled to assert. He speaks at length in a loud voice to his companions, about nothing in particular.
  A large, brilliant white butterfly sets down gently on the dirt path, raising and lowering its wings.
  He raises his boot and crushes the butterfly.

. . . .

  I open my hand, full of food, to my companion.
"Would you like to try some?"
"Hell no, what are you, crazy? Not out of your hand."

. . . .

  She hears the screams of her mother every night as she lies awake in her bed, pretending she's crazy.

. . . .

  He scans the magazines and newspapers for the answers. How many times a day should he brush his teeth? What's the best city to live in? How many close friends should he have? What's the best kind of soap to use?
  The answers change from week to week.
  He finds one he likes: a magazine tells him he should walk 10,000 steps a day.
  The hardest struggle is always the one of self.

. . . .

  I was watching the news on the cell block.
  Everyone knows, like the federal government, that Wolf Blitzer tells no lies.
  They cheer on the slaugher of innocents in Orlando. They watch the slaughter in Dallas in silence.

. . . .

  "When I was younger, I wanted to join the military."
  "Why is that," I ask.
  "So that I could kill people and get away with it."

. . . .

  The little girl cannot make sense of it, no matter how hard she tries or how much she cries.
  "But why would they put daddy in a cage? Don't they know he loves me!"
  She chokes from her own sobbing, the only thing she understands.

II. Absence

  I sit on a hill beside an electric fence topped with razorwire. The sun, kissing my face, brings a gentle smile to my lips. A subtle sense of comfort washes over me. I feel your voice rise up in my chest, acknowledging your absence.
  My face becomes drawn and weary as swift as a cloud drifting beneath the sun. I am encircled by the ghosts of those I'll never meet, and those I'll never see again.

How can lips possess so much? - Connor

"How can lips possess so much?"

Twenty-four years
  of lonely nights
Ten thousand
  gallons of alcohol
Countless moments
  of inexpressible joy
A hundred
  suicidal thoughts
A dozen
  street clashes
  and unrequited loves
Twenty-four years
  of waking to the unknown
  and drifting through
  the endless mysteries
To be bound and gagged,
  dragged in chains
  across the final empire,
  buried beneath sun and steel
Wandering across a desolate
  of shattered minds
  in so many brown eyes
And caresses
  drifting across the faces
  of a dozen strangers

And all of this
  so that I may arrive
  to recieve the light
  glistening from your lips.

a poem for the oppressed

"Despicable, calculated, vicious"

  they stood grinning
  over the corpses of black men
  with illusions of immunity
Speaking of patience, healing

  with voices subdued
  they stumble as though half asleep
  with illusions of unity
Speaking of patience, healing

They say how tragic it is
  that some police were killed
  in the line of duty
And mumble about patriotism
But this does nothing
  but amuse us,
  the oppressed,
  for we know
They are the killers
  enforcers of white supremacy
  enforcers of poverty
  enforcers of misery

They speak of a race war
  when white supremacy comes under fire
And speak of progress
  when black men are gunned down on camera

But we know
  All the SWAT teams and propaganda
  in the whole world
  cannot stop the onsetting storm.

We will grind this empire into dust
  with the names of the slain still on our tongues.

-Connor Stevens

Good Tidings - Connor

"All Creation bends"

What can i offer
  across this void
  that thirsts endlessly
What will be left
  as a gift
beneath your eyelids?
What is this Abyss
  that cannot be traversed
  even by ten thousand nights
    of weeping?
It would be easier
  to enter Paradise
than to give
you of my
across this hungry void
that swallows up my breath
  and evaporates all tears
That turns ink
into the absence
of light,
And even my blood,
however much i spill,
cannot give you warmth.

And yet, dear
it is to this void
that you give
countless precious hours
When all around you
children's eyes overflow
  with the light of God's Mercy
And how many of us yearn
  for your affection
As all of Creation bends
  in worship to the One,
Who even now Harkens.

It is not too late.

-- -- -- --

"Ten Thousand Suns Are Blooming and We Will Not Go Blind"

-- All Glory is to God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful --


The people of the Book
  die eating bark and shoeleather
in the blackened deserts,
  irrigated with their blood
for to grow phantom buds blooming confusion.

Man-eating, child-molesting adulterous
  locust rain down a buzzing cacaphony
of death
  upon smiling children
 sighing orphans
 praying mothers
 rejoicing believers . . .

The gutters are clogged
  with suicides
and the alleys are
  awash with dream-chasers

Insects devour men
  and water
is more precious
  than blood
And some seem to think
  the taller their buildings
the closer they are to God

And every time the sun
  sets it is as though
God is telling all who may
Hasten unto Me, for
  the Hour is Near.


Surely, the dogs of hell
  have been unleashed
They are pouring the foundations
  for the vile palaces
of the Antichrist.

Enemies of God
  on every side
  throw fuel on the fire
Burning the flesh of believers,
even as they are condemned as infidels.
Everywhere the blind have risen to power.
Witness the signs, dear friends.

There can be no sense
  in reasoning with a hellhound
And so, if God Wills it,
  my words are for those
  who have not yet cast their lot:
Harken to the Supreme Guidance of God
  and His Messenger, Muhammad.

You cannot control the Storm. Not even a little.
  Do not lose yourself in that maddening Abyss.


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