When this picture was published in Time Magazine of a woman, mutilated by her boyfriend, the shock was so great that almost no words could describe it.
This poem is a modest attempt.


 For Her Without a Nose

You saw it, so did I, we all did,
We all saw it, not quite believing,
Who could believe it? No one could…
No one. Cause quite frankly it was
Unbelievable… That… That… That
Human beings could do such a thing…
Could carry out such an act…
Such a bestial, such a horrible
Thing… That human beings,
Only by name mind you, only by name.
Nothing human in them except… Remotely.
Since savage dogs do such things, only
Savage… wild… filthy, stinking,
Vicious hyenas… or… ok… human trained dogs
Could do such a thing, such an unbelievable,
Dastardly, such a noxious, such a bestial,
Such a monstrous thing!
What? You ask, what? What is it? This thing,
That is almost, almost impossible to say,
To write, to set down, to record,
To give voice to, to put into words,
To speak... no words should shape those
Abominations, no lips should give them sound,
You can’t, you really just can’t,
You saw it. In the papers… that’s where you saw it,
That’s where you saw it,
Your stomach turned over, your heart swelled
And skipped a beat, your soul writhed
And shrieked, acid trickled into your mouth, but
You couldn’t give words to it... could you?
You could only point, just point… Just say
To whoever is within your hearing,
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! My God!
Look… look at this… yuk!
Oh my fucking Christ, look at this!
What fucking, holy mother of Christ!
What disgusting, loathsome, subhuman beast…
But you couldn’t find words for it
Could you? Eh? Could you?

You know what I am talking about?
Of course you do, you know, you know really,
Cause you saw it, you saw it, and what you saw
You cannot name, cannot describe… ever…
Just point, just, if you can, point… say…
Look at this… this… this thing, this is,
This is… the words come hard, even the words
On the edge of the event… not the thing itself
Just the stain at the edge.

Of the puddle of blood, just
Clues to the vile act.. You see it’s so hard,
So hard to say, for what you say, you bring
It all to life, but you have to… for her,
For this her, this woman, you have to, for
That woman whose face, whose once beautiful face
A beautiful woman’s face, moulded, shaped, sculptured
Over time immemorial to arrive at such perfection
After such a time when centuries fell like leaves,
Until she, this woman arrived here,
With her intelligent beautiful face.
That she had, that she, this woman
This lovely young and perfect woman
Hand-made by the fingers of God with all
Those fine elements that define what
It is to be human, that perfect symmetry
And grace, that she had until… some low, fetid,
Stinking human rat, but no sound, even
Those sucked up from the bogs of hell
From the slimy drains and ducts of hell,
Could ever fit you, could ever
Describe the crawling abomination that is man. Man,
Is that not foul enough? Yes, that must do,

So this is what the picture says,
It shows what is inside the soul of
Man who lives in hell, it shows his mighty works
For amongst the whispering butterflies, amongst,
The dazzling creatures of the sea.
Amongst all that is wondrous, and divine,
Amongst the swift and dazzling cheetah, the
Heaven soaring eagle, the intrepid flying fox,
The gargantuan singing whale, lay the anomaly
Of man.
He grips his filthy knife and cuts off
The nose, that’s what he does, he
Chops, he slashed off her nose, her beautiful,
Her tender woman’s nose, as punishment for
Wishing to escape from this filthy man / beast
For wishing to escape his filthy stink,
His sour breath, his dull and stupid speech
His filthy fingers, his raw scabrous tongue,
His idiot’s eyes, his belchy devils stomach,
His idiots chatter, his nighttime stench,
So he cuts off her nose, to prove to himself
He can be as foul, as sinister and as loathsome
As she could ever dare to believe.
So now there us a hole in the centre of her face,
That’s what he did, that’s what we saw,
That’s what the picture shows, that’s what is
So hard to speak, but so very necessary to speak
What are these men who can hold a young woman
Down, are they from the sperm of Satan, what stinking effluvium
Runs through their veins, what sewage was their mother’s milk?
And who will stop them?

Yes, a man did this and doesn’t that shame us
To be called a man? Doesn’t it?

Your time will come mister, your time will come,
And when you least expect it your time will come
Or every foul act you will reap
A thousand fold,
For every cruel and most unnatural act
You perpetrate you will tighten
The cords of the worlds hate,
Around your throat until your breath
Is squeezed out drop by drop
And what is left is just some foul junk,
Too foul even for the earth which shuddering
Vomits it out, but then the vultures will
Come, for them you’ll be rancid snack!

Copyright © 2010 Steven Berkoff


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