Solidarity screamed out from posters and stamps
that carried snapshots of the dead poet’s face.

We still haven’t found his body.
He said we never would.

They tortured him first, taunted him for being homosexual;
trussed him up; laid him face down; then shot him,
for a joke, in the offending area.

He took a long time to die. When he did,
they dumped his body in some hillside ossuary
above his home town. But first they carved
the bullets out of his corpse,
three from the anal tract,
keeping them as souvenirs.

Next day his followers were put to death.
Waverers were soon convinced by bullets
lodged at the base of another’s skull.

Later that week, Fascists, drunk, laughed
uproarious in their favorite bars.
They dropped the bullets into white wine,
watching the blood trail as it drifted down,
then drank to the re-establishment
of what they now called law and order.


Another Golden Oldie, also from Broken Ghosts (Goose Lane, 1986).  The Spanish poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca (poetic Generation of 1927), predicted the mystery surrounding his own death and the unknown location of his body in a poem from his surrealist collection, Poet in New York. The recent decisions in Spain to open Civil War graves and seek the identity of victims via DNA testing and other more modern means has also led to the controversial reopening of many of the wounds of a Civil War that never really healed in many parts of the country. The Basque problems and the recent troubles in Catalonia bear witness to the continued memories of Civil War and post-Civil War repression.

4 thoughts on “Lorca

    • Man’s inhumanity to man: and for once I am happy to leave it a ‘man’ and not get the women involved. I witnessed a bar fight in Spain in 2008 where two men were quarreling about the naming of the streets in a local subdivision: they had all been given the names of Franco’s victorious battles in the Civil War. Screaming and pushing and shoving and no, it is not forgotten. How could it be when family members (on both sides) are so intimately involved. It is indeed a thorny issue. We can talk ‘truth and reconciliation’ but it is not an easy thing to bring about. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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