Do not speak falsely. Brutal honesty: far better a crime than your silence denies. Your tongue presses the bottom of your mouth. Words wait. Tongues are cut out. Tongues rise high— lash the ground. Place your tongue atop the screaming mound.
About the poem:
“The Screaming Mound” contains some of the most jarring imagery I’ve ever employed in a lyrical context. The issue at the poem’s core — complicity in atrocity through silence — demanded a strident metaphor.
But sadly, I no longer remember what prompted the poem.
I think this is because the poem itself chooses a kind of silence and complicity. By operating exclusively through metaphor — however striking — without so much as an epigraph to clarify the poem’s real-world context and origin, the pain of the particular is silenced.
So, too, is memory.