The Long Duration of a Split Second
After Forensic Architecture work relating to Al-Qia’an’s killing.
Umm al-Hiran – 2017
Because all language lacks fluency in this pretence the sky itself was wilderness.
A camera with its crooked frame was the first eye searching for answers. In this
margin of the day, a helicopter unsure of how to get out of the world glided down
through cloud cover and became a second infrared eye. Its purpose to separate
people from trees and hills, still warm with the day’s heat, from the shadows. Men dressed
for war used torches like fireflies to follow the echoes. Inside a whisper – revenge,
inside revenge – a language – inside the language – an algorithm of how to turn a collage
of startling images into a village of some importance. A car horn shrieked like an unfed
child to introduce the theory of infinite endings. Within that horn an eruption and within
that eruption another. Then fourteen seconds of darkness – before the camera
reproduced men in the motion of battle.
He who conforms to loss of land must be the right enemy. It is easier to divide the world this way. A disobedient tribe explain their extinction in the desert. To begin the story again, what was once a village on a rock they will call it Jerusalem. But who discovered you? Outside the thermal frame, a woman’s voice cries after four gunshots made visible by a cloud of hot air invent a new kind of time. Paradise and violence are the same road, one cannot exist without the other, both gladly accept loss. A bullet has found its currency spiralling up towards a moving vehicle whose engine has died. Getting away is what a road is for. A car door opened to the wilderness and so this hill became a portrait of death. A fatal bullet turned the driver the shape of someone else as flowers are blamed themselves.
uncollected poem, © Nick Makoha 2021, used by permission of the author