Witness: Testimony

“Gina,” gouache on A3 paper. Artist’s imagining of a Rorschach ink blot featuring Gina Haspel, current Deputy Director of the CIA, former black site operator and reported author of a cable ordering destruction of evidence of the torture that she oversaw. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights recently called on German federal prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for Haspel. Part of my Nuremberg, 2027 series imagining future war crimes trials. 

“Portrait of Absentia,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

Ink:               blot
human:         error
true:              lies?

What was is not what is, not
the same order
the same breath
the same terror.
I can tell you,
but you won’t hear the same cries.
I can’t make you believe me.
I can’t make you look me in the eyes.

What:              if
confusion:      proved
verity?            Verified
facts—           authenticity?

Any account, video, email is a riff
on one side of the full facts grooved
into some holy carbon of who lied, who died.
Traumatic stress is not a synchronicity.

Go:              slow.
Know:         most
can’t be the ones
won’t be the ones
won’t even try
to bear witness in that way.
Not because they’d lie.
Nor because they saw no guns
heard no shots
found no casings in the sand.
But because the scales of justice weigh
against reliving death
against wasting your breath
against taking the stand.
You cannot take another strafe.
We’re going somewhere safe.
Take my hand.

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