This is what I hate.
I hate that the bullies & thugs of the world
who wound, damage, devastate others
are then by the dark magic of art
enshrined in the art of those others
who have survived, & whose survival is commemorated
in art; I hate that the suffering of victims
flowers into art, white Helichrysums bravely enduring
in frost, through bleached ribcages.
And hateful the pride in survival, the words victim,
survival. And hateful the pride of triumph—
You did not murder us utterly, we are still here.
Are you surprised, some of us are still here?
And we will multiply!
I hate that pride, so small it fits into a Grimm’s thimble.
I hate that Celan’s great poem of the Holocaust,
Deathfugue, flowers out of the dung-heap of the dead
& could not have come into being otherwise.
I hate the necessity of art that is compensatory
for such evil.
I hate the very triumph of such art that would suggest
the horror is not absolute, for such art
has flowered from it.
I hate the meager survivals,
the crushed straw through which the drowning man breathes,
and such gratitude in such breathing
through the crushed straw. I hate
the dirges, the dances on broken feet,
the sound of shattering glass
that is the voice of defiance in sorrow.
I hate the fact of it that is irremediable,
and I hate the history that enshrines the fact.
I hate this having to pay such rapt attention to the bullies & thugs.
I hate how they continue to command our attention,
I hate that the greatest revenge seems to be beyond us—
to erase, to forget. To obliterate the memory of such evil,
the swastika, the silly mustache commanding
the marching men, smokestacks and empty skies,
the swagger of the bully, the mean smile of murder,
the swill of evil,
I hate that the great art that has flowered from such carrion,
yet carries the whiff of carrion, the terror of the victims,
the suffering of the innocent that never ceases,
and the bearing witness that must never cease—
I hate that such knowing annuls all possibility
And most, I hate that the bullies & thugs are the prime movers,
whose polished boots set all into motion,
swinging pendulum that never ceases
This is what I hate.