[POETRY] Double by Harold Jaffe

The perils are vast, the receptors are slickly, seductively small.

The perils are not vast, the receptors are not slickly, seductively small.

 

I see the homeless huddled against the steel-glass wall of the stock exchange.

You do not see the homeless huddled against the steel-glass wall of the stock exchange.

 

I see for-profit prisons filled with colored poor.

You do not see for-profit prisons filled with colored poor.

 

The semi-invisible line defining (relative) civility is effaced.

There is no semi-invisible line defining (relative) civility.

The semi-invisible line that kept undisguised cruelty toward the needy partially in check is effaced.

There was no semi-invisible line that kept undisguised cruelty toward the needy partially in check.

 

That semi-invisible line effaced, it set loose an epidemic of police violence against black young men and women.

There is no epidemic of police violence against young black men and women

 

I see first-world jets bomb from above the cloud line.

You do not see first-world jets bomb from above the cloud line.

 

Collateral damage? The pilot consults his monitor / yawns.

There is no collateral damage. The pilot does not consult his monitor and yawn.

 

When is terror called righteous assault? When first-world ethnociders say it is.

Terror is not called righteous assault. There are no first-world ethnociders.

 

Ethnocide becomes entertainment. I see a non-stop circus engendered by lies and money.

Ethnocide does not become entertainment. You do not see a non-stop circus engendered by lies and money.

 

The world perishes / American humans take selfies.

The world does not perish, no one takes selfies.


Harold Jaffe, currently in India, has published 24 novels, fiction and docufiction collections, and essays, which have been widely translated. Recent volumes include Induced Coma, Othello Blues, and Death Cafe. Jaffe is editor-in-chief of Fiction International.