Tuesday, April 23, 2013


This is a well researched and written piece, the most interesting I've read on the Tamberlan Tsarnaev: The Radicalization of Tamberlan Tsarnaev. The ending resonates deeply in me like a bell, sounding out the question I've asked my whole life, the question the Dishwasher asks: How do we reconcile the beauty with the horror? 

In my poem  The Last Time I Saw You, written about my father, I end with what is, for me, the confounding truth of not only my own father, but human beings. That we are capable of goodness and love and then- something else happens, something internal, external, something mysteriously powerful, profoundly personal and yet not unique, and there is a dark place without compassion, where rage, fear, and finally evil begin to grow on the walls, cover the floor, strangle the emptiness with thick veins. This dark place is where bombs explode, where fathers hurt their little daughters, where we walk past babies on the ground or cheer on suicide attempts. Eruptions of evil from a person who also acts with care are confounding. The small erosion that can take place inside a person, silently and invisibly, without even a great abuse or neglect, but simply with a constant wearing away at deep connection with other human beings- whatever the reason, the source, the fault- is the place where the faultline lets and the dam breaks and everything unseen is seen, everything unheard is screamed.

When a person is insane, or cruel throughout their life, never loving, never showing compassion or sweetness or kindness, it is easier to accept the worst. It is terrifying to think on a person who dotes on his mother, helps stranded passengers and cries when his cat dies and then blows up innocent human beings. 

in my poem,  the same ending as the news piece, just different words.

the last time i saw you,
i imagined you on your deathbed,
whispering your compassionate philosophies,
telling the story of the time you saved
a woman and her daughters from car jackers,

oh god! once you saved a woman
and her daughters.
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