To Dawit Isaak

Dawit Isaak and his colleagues were imprisoned in Eritrea on September 23, 2001. He’s still being held behind bars because of using his right to express himself. Ida Börjel is one of the most interesting poets in Sweden right now. In this poem to Dawit Isaak, she uses her right to express herself to open a door into the memory and ten years of silence.


September 23 2011 Ida Börjel



words, words, words–
do you hear them fall
like dark atomic snow
in bottomless space*





what animal are you


what body of water


what do you feel in a bare white room


without doors without windows





– the game is to reveal what kind of lover I am,


something about the flow of life, how I approach my death


in solitary confinement, three times three meters,


a person’s time perception is intact


for approximately five minutes, after that


there and you and here and it


there, and then and when and it


wishing to say something about enduring the silencing,


in silence, somehow enduring the


unendurable behind the prison walls,


that were, were the protective walls


while Man With No Name in Wang’s movie


rummages about the plastic bags in his hole in the ground


without a glance, unworded (nobody speaks


to him either)





unworded, unmentioned; the summary justice


and those imprisoned without a sentence; behind


the antifascist protective wall, that was, was


Schandmauer, the blue wall, the Jerusalem envelope,


the Wall of Shame in Western Sahara;


also there were professional mourners, Era Eiro,


sorting seam zone, buffer zone,


the camp’s kapos, Todesstreifen under what is human


Geta was murdered by his brother; the Roman emperor


who thereafter gave order of damnatio memoriae;


those who mention him will die


even the coin images, every name inscription was to be erased


in a pitch black room without door without windows,


in the hole in the ground; the freight container


with those arrested; in a windowless room


covered with gold, zinc and copper deposits;


by the silent diplomacy; damnatio memoriae,


a range of power or of fright, forced amnesia


inwards for the solitary, outwards for the masses


by way of the possible into the impossible; fracture – fractal;


snowflakes, neural pathway warning;


about anxiety, affliction and snow blindness,








* quote by Gunnar Ekelöf