Pinochet and Foie Gras


The dinner was in my honour,
he said, for the visiting Englishman.
French exchange in eighty-eight.

Jean-Pierre’s friends included
another smallholder like him,
a land-owning communist lawyer,
a teacher, a builder,
and a young woman
who’d fled from Chile.

Whatever we talked about
has eroded with time;
if Proudhon and land-owning were aired,
wine would have kept things light –
our persiflage, a safer world,
worlds away from Pinochet.

The embodiment of grief sat still,
a tight-lipped aura we tried to include,
to ease the discomfiture
that she’d brought with her
what she’d left behind.

Next morning, a shrill dawn chorus
of shrieking, clanging pain woke me
like an arresting knock on the door,
manhandling me out of bed.

Over breakfast, Jean-Pierre smiled,
désolé, force-feeding, he said,
it’s cruel but necessary – 
as if an apology could ever suffice.


November 2013

© Nemo 2020
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critique and comments welcome.
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Nice poem. Conjured up a very real scene and neatly associated pinochet and foie gras. Good work. 🙂


I think they follow me around!


I agree with John, the whole poem is as tightly wrapped as the lady, echoing her situation. Great writing Gerald.


It’s my meds, just don’t sleep much anymore Gerald


Very much enjoyed, poignant ending. Sue.


This is your writing style at its best, Gerald. I think it was Luigi who so rightly said that good poetry will always stand the test of time, of which your excellent writing gives good evidence for, This one, a particular favourite of mine, so I’ll nominate it too.


Alright, it’s total crap then. Hahaha! Well, the WABD-Away followed the standard effect of UKA-Away with the disappearance of all the participants directly afterwards, at least in subbing work. Why this should be so, is strange, but I’ve always thought that anonymous mingling is best when the common interest is expressing emotions and personal impressions, allowing for a greater creative freedom? I don’t think personally that the poetry/writing standard, the quality of, or lack of, critique, the contributor’s subject matter (scaring off the Holy or prudish) are having a scarecrow effect, but simply the declining interest in adept, concisely messaged… Read more »

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