Alcalá de Henares

On March 11 2004, ten explosions tore apart four packed commuter trains, travelling between between Alcalá de Henares and Atocha station (Madrid). 191 people were killed, most of them Spanish. It was the worst such attack in Europe since the Lockerbie bombings in 1988. This haibun was written in one sitting, the evening after the bombings.

Memorial for the 2004 Madrid train bombings at the Atocha station, photograph by Daniel Smith

Alcalá de Henares

What kind of times are these, when to talk about trees is almost a crime because it implies silence about so many horrors? – Bertolt Brecht

The rules have changed. There are no rules. We are all soldiers, all of us. What choice do we have? To board the bus, the aeroplane. To go to the nightclub. To catch the train. We who love life so much that we kill for it. Who so love death we make it our life …

No. Speak of the trees. Plant gardens, make plans for next week, next year. To raise children is a revolutionary act. Play at soldiers with your nieces.


spring sunshine –
the soft white trails
of fighter-jets


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