There's a remarkable video installation now on view at the Portland Art Museum - an "embedment" in the horror (ongoing) of civil conflict in the DRC. It's called The Enclave, and I've now been twice, drawn back by its surreal beauty and real power; I think it's rare in leaning into fascination without falling into prurience. If you're in Portland sometime between now and its closing in April and you have forty minutes (or even ten - just drift through) you want to spend in a troubled but dangerously enchanting waking dream - do go.
Way back in 1992, I visited my (now unfortunately but maybe inevitably far-drifted) friend Jamie Metzl in Cambodia, where he was working with the UN to prepare for the first democratic elections since the genocide and Vietnamese occupation. I got to visit Siem Reap and many of the extraordinary temples of Angkor. Riding on the back of a moto "taxi" at high speeds through the jungle was a thrill; walking up a narrow corridor between the mined flanks of the highest hill (with its views of everyone who could be an enemy) was more simply chilling. I had that in mind, too, when I wrote this.
Something There Is That Loves a Hill
For the safekeeping of
Their supple spirits and
The blades of their fresh-sprung bodies,
Let girls and boys grow
No higher than the grasses.