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#2 2011
2 min read

To Dawit Isaak

Dawit Isaak was imprisoned in Eritrea on September 23, 2001. After 18 years, he’s still being held behind bars in one of the world's most uncompromising dictatorships, without being the subject of any legal proceedings or formal sentencing. We have asked the Swedish poet Ida Börjel to write a poem in his honour.

Credits Text: Ida Börjel September 23 2011

words, words, words–
do you hear them fall
like dark atomic snow
in bottomless space*

what animal are you

what body of water

what do you feel in a bare white room

without doors without windows

– the game is to reveal what kind of lover I am,

something about the flow of life, how I approach my death

in solitary confinement, three times three meters,

a person’s time perception is intact

for approximately five minutes, after that

there and you and here and it

there, and then and when and it

wishing to say something about enduring the silencing,

in silence, somehow enduring the

unendurable behind the prison walls,

that were, were the protective walls

while Man With No Name in Wang’s movie

rummages about the plastic bags in his hole in the ground

without a glance, unworded (nobody speaks

to him either)

unworded, unmentioned; the summary justice

and those imprisoned without a sentence; behind

the antifascist protective wall, that was, was

Schandmauer, the blue wall, the Jerusalem envelope,

the Wall of Shame in Western Sahara;

also there were professional mourners, Era Eiro,

sorting seam zone, buffer zone,

the camp’s kapos, Todesstreifen under what is human

Geta was murdered by his brother; the Roman emperor

who thereafter gave order of damnatio memoriae;

those who mention him will die

even the coin images, every name inscription was to be erased

in a pitch black room without door without windows,

in the hole in the ground; the freight container

with those arrested; in a windowless room

covered with gold, zinc and copper deposits;

by the silent diplomacy; damnatio memoriae,

a range of power or of fright, forced amnesia

inwards for the solitary, outwards for the masses

by way of the possible into the impossible; fracture – fractal;

snowflakes, neural pathway warning;

about anxiety, affliction and snow blindness,


* quote by Gunnar Ekelöf

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