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Friday, September 11, 2015


by Peleg Held

On September 11, 1973—Chile's socialist president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a coup. He committed suicide under mysterious circumstances as troops surrounded his palace, ushering in more than 15 years of military dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet. Since that time, the CIA has acknowledged knowledge of—but not involvement in—the plot. The agency "was aware of coup-plotting by the military, had ongoing intelligence collection relationships with some plotters, and—because CIA did not discourage the takeover and had sought to instigate a coup in 1970—probably appeared to condone it," the CIA writes in a history of its operations in the South American country. (Declassified documents reveal how the Nixon administration instructed the agency to undermine Allende's government and "make the economy scream.") —Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, September 11, 2014

The infamous rarely die
in caves. Instead they nobly precede
grey-scaled acknowledgements
by a few years, passing quietly
in rich linen and laurel.

In an office filled with smoke,
escorted by explosion and a crackling
fire spreading like arsenic
in an old poet's blood,

his final words were sent ahead
onto the airwaves:

Superarán otros hombres este momento
gris y amargo en el que la traición 

pretende imponerse.

In Chile, they speak of the foreign
pilots, of the murder of thousands,
of September 11, 1973, in Spanish.

Peleg Held lives in Portland, Maine with his partner and his dog Emitt. There is also the semi-feral cat, Smudge. And a kid or two. He writes poetry, does woodworking and lately, dreams of the summer. pelegheld(at)