CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper writer, feature stories writer, poet, fiction writer, photographer, and painter. She maintains a blog at https://chrisricecooper.blogspot.com. She has a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice and completed all of her poetry and fiction workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing with a focus on poetry. She, her husband Wayne, sons Nicholas and Caleb, cats Nation and Alaska reside in the St. Louis area.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Genocidal Rape in Millicent Borges Accardi's ONLY MORE SO . . . .
Only More Sois
compact 75 pages of 46 poems focusing on genocide, family, patriotism, and
The most compelling poems are the poems that
expose genocidal rape - each poem so appalling it gives you that needed punch
in the gut.These poems sear the brain,
fiercely hot, that it is impossible to ignore, compelling our senses, and is impossible
to forget.These poems are living
testimony demanding to be read, offering comfort to those who need comfort,
conviction for those who need conviction, and change for all of us – in order
to make it a violent free world.
The poem “Ciscenje Prostora” centers on
the evil of genocidal rape, which has always been used as a method of war since
humanity first engaged in wars.
woman does not know he
the devil’s four poster bed
his palm, clutching it like promised
Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, home.
All she knows is the sound of his boots, and the
rebel tanks that shake the houses she and her neighbors live in. Unfortunately, her knowledge is expanded when
he finds her.
knows not to stare back
he finds her, hiding behind a clay
plot.When his soldier’s eyes become her
more understandable than her or me or any
she whispers out between no and help,
shuts her eyes, imagining cold weather.
The man proceeds to rape this woman,
first on the family’s rug, and then against the wall of the family’s house.We then learn this young woman is the third
generation of women in her family to be victims ofgenocidal rape.
In the seventh stanza this woman now
represents all the women who have endured this atrocity:
Bosnia, Croatia; the countries undulate
while he dances the dance of the basilisk
The next to the last stanza can refer to
two things – either the man is interpreting the sounds of birds to be the pleas
and cries from the woman to stop; or it could be his comrades cheering him on.
little sounds, like birds overhead
him to go on, to spit, to breathe
generations of her surrender into his lungs.
“Only More So”
The poem title of the book “Only More So”
centers on a gang rape of a wife by a gang of soldiers in front of her husband,
who, though rubbing a wooden riffle, is powerless to help her.The soldiers demand she open the door so they
can share the warmth of her yellow fire; they inquire about the valuables she
has on her person and in her home; and demand she go fetch them water.
was like this:the woman’s hips swayed
harmonicas when the men watched her fetch
and run it into the basin, cracking
with her fingernails.
Accardi then describes how the woman’s clothing
is being removed from her with ease and seduction.There is no question that this woman is being
raped.The clothes symbolize the men’s
depravity and how easily it is for them to exhibit evil.
counted the woman’s
as they easily slipped through the stitching
Serb Soldiers. Public Domain
each man takes his turn with the woman, her husband still in the corner, the woman
faces a reality of hopelessness and helplessness.
clasped a bowl to her chest knowing, knowing,
the snow outside pretended, knowing
nothing important ever belonged to her.
Her thinking changes from that of
powerlessness to basic survival:
now she must survive by owning air,
back the red, the full, the bare,
proud canvases of flat language paper
once told her everything she needed to know.
was like this, only more so.
How To Shake off the
Policiade Seguranca Publica Circa 1970”
“How To Shake off the Policiade Seguranca
Publica Circa 1970” tells of the state of unrest in Accardi’s home country
of Portugal during the Portuguese Colonial War between Portugal’s military and the nationalist movement
in Portugal’s African colonies. The war lasted between 1961 and 1974.
Portugal in 1970
This poem is applicable to America today particularly
on college campuses with the rapes that have occurred and the lack of justice
given to these women.