( In memory of Carlo Giuliani, murdered by paramilitary police on speed) #CarloGiuliani #genoa2001 #acab
A hundred yards behind us
the Mediterranean heaves its waste
against a limestone barricade.
Condoms, nappies, bottle tops,
diesel cans and tampons
rising to mock our gas stung eyes
like the unlearned lessons of past mistakes.
Rumours sicken our panic,
spreading through the camp
as fast as microbes
through the lungs of sleeping babies.
/‘Three are dead- one a child’. /
/‘There’s police in the ambulances’. /
/‘If you’re hurt, don’t go to hospital- you’ll be arrested’. /
/‘They’ll gas us while we sleep’. /
/‘The camp security are FBI’’. /
Tonight no-one will leave this camp
of thirty thousand unarmed rebels
for hostel or hotel room,
for fear of rampaging Carabineri.
We are surrounded.
Every fifteen minutes
a helicopter circles the camp
thirty metres overhead
and stops dead.
Out of spite they deafen us,
blind us with a power lamp
to keep us awake, on edge.
To film us all and file us.
Anger whips across us like a desert wind.
En masse we raise two fingers,
bare our teeth and scream obscenities,
wish we were the Vietcong.
Dizzy with a sudden loss of innocence
A few are like drunken actors
directed by a lunatic.
They tumble round on set,
make up their lines,
mumble the first words
that come into they’re heads
till they’re out of their minds.
A Cailin cries for her brother-
missing in action.
We comfort her, try to construct
a normal weekend scene.
Someone cracks open a bottle of wine,
passes round a stack of paper cups
his mother gave him.
Another offers the last of his cigarettes.
But there’s no hope of small talk
when the dancing fires
reflected in our eyes are burning buildings.
I take a drink, and then another.
It tastes good, works like medicine.
The oldest have the blankets
and are already sleeping.
We huddle together
and make the best of our
Mattress of cold concrete
our makeshift cover
of jackets and Bandana’s.
Spray spits in off the sea.
I am shivering. I am exhausted.
My bladder aches with cold.
I know I’ll get no sleep tonight.
You take off your glasses
and tell me to mind them.
My heart wraps itself in this warning
and I am moved to tears by the pathos
of broken glasses.
Whatever happens tonight,
batons or bullets, tear gas or tanks,
I will mind your glasses.
I lie back and stare straight up
into the bottomless night.
I think about how Love
is what makes Death so awful
and Death is what makes
Love so urgent and so painful.
The black sky is a poisoned sea
where nothing lives,
The stars are burning islands
decorated with skulls