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Friday, December 21, 2007


by Autumn Newman

My country ’tis of thee
Preferably the suspect will be naked
Sweet land of Liberty of thee I sing
Feet, hands and neck are tied to a board or table
Land where my fathers died
A thin cloth
Land of the pilgrims’ pride
Is placed over the face.
From every mountainside let freedom ring!
A steady stream of water
My native country thee
Is poured over the cloth,
Land of the noble free, thy name I love
Producing a drowning sensation
I love thy rocks and rills
Followed by unconsciousness.
Thy woods and templed hills
When suspect loses consciousness
My heart with rapture thrills like that above.
Sit on, or hit, the stomach.
Let music swell the breeze
Move away, as suspect is likely to vomit
And ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song
At this point in the interrogation.
Let mortal tongues awake
Demand information
Let all that breathe partake
And repeat process
Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong
Until the desired information is obtained.
Our fathers’ God to thee
This is an ideal method
Author of liberty to thee we sing
Of information retrieval in that,
Long may our land be bright
“It causes great mental and physical suffering
With freedom’s holy light
Yet leaves no marks on the body.”*
Protect us by thy might, great God, our King!

*Historian Ed Peters as quoted in NPR’s online article "Waterboarding: A Tortured History" by Eric Weiner on 11/3/2007. The description of Waterboarding is taken from this same NPR article.

Autumn Newman attends the Stonecoast MFA creative writing program. She lives in Fresno and works as a teacher at Fresno City College. Her poetry has been published in Louis Liard Magazine, The Suisun Valley Review, AngelFace, and Calaveras Station.