Friday, November 9, 2012

The Butcher of Lima

(or, ‘Lunch with Mario Poggi’)


It is true that I have asked Mario Poggi, the renowned psychologist of Peru, over to my house for lunch, that he had served a long term of person time for strangling one of his patients to death, the very one, infamous one they call the “The Butcher of Lima,” and it is true on several occasions I have purchased some of his art work, to help him live, his credentials as a professional have been taken away from him.  Matter of fact, he even had me talk to one of his patients once—better said, counsel him once.
       And yet I hope to show by this short narrative that perhaps he is not the murderer we all claim him to be; or the madman he is so often referred to by the media, and the many people I’ve talked to.
       Was he the murderer of the Butcher of Lima? Who killed half dozen victims? If so, who was madder, him or the Butcher? I do hope some of my readers will weigh this statement. Correlate it with the known facts, and ask: which horror is worse; his or the Butcher of Lima’s?
       Perhaps there is madness in both, even the courts were at their wits’ end to account for that last terrible killing—Poggi’s murder; yet all of Lima, all 7.5 million inhabitants of Lima, were frightened of the Butcher, until Mario Poggi the prison psychologist, was accused of stepping behind a chair, and pulling off his belt, and strangling him to death, as the Butcher of Lima had done so many times to his victims, without an ounce of remorse: monkey see monkey do, that perhaps was the Butcher’s poetic justice. 
       They tried weekly to concoct a theory: hauntingly reminiscent of the Butcher’s submerged evil and crazed human nature, bleak gallows humor: a ghastly jest to warn other behavior science helpers to do the right thing, and perhaps a little pressure from the good Samaritans called: the  Human Rights Groups, that feel, even if the truth is something infinitely more terrible and incredible, the servant of the people—in this case the lonely creature who struggles vainly to express the inexpressible—Mario Poggi, that knows the Butcher’s mind better than him, himself, who lives in a dreamlike vacuum, will kill again, again and again, will crawling on, on and on,  endlessly waiting for his victims—he too, must  be punished.
       So it is said, Poggi murdered the Butcher while in custody at a mental ward, while in prison, under his care, but had you asked Poggi, I do believe he would have told you, and he did say so on occasions, and inferred to me: he avenged the dead, the ones the Butcher killed, and the ones he was going to kill—the ones he was waiting for, clinging on hope that relief may be just around the corner, to kill more. But you see he didn’t give the Butcher that chance to name the new victims, whom he would have put onto his list—after he had gotten out of prison.  Perhaps a curious phenomenon, that seemed forced upon him—forced upon Poggi
       What Poggi was really saying is: he stopped the purge; he did not allow the Butcher’s lawyers, or legal assistance, to loosen untold terrors on all of Lima again.

       There are many color zones within shadows close to our daily paths, some are black, others grey, some white and only slightly visible, on a rainy day, less than visible. Sometimes evil, good evil, if there is such a thing, might come under a greyer zone in the color spectrum—perhaps, white, or an unseen color passes through; when that occurs the person who is aware, and knowledgeable, usable and available, must strike before reckoning befalls humanity—; you see he sees what you don’t see, the Government does this more often than not, more than anyone else they do not wait for tomorrow, or perhaps the day after tomorrow, they can’t, it is called: in the Interest of National Security. It must be done you see, before a city proper, the whole city, nation, perhaps the whole nation, suffers the consequences—again and again and again. This of course cannot be seen by the naked eye, or the naked mind—grotesquely attempting to face evil with evil, like Poggi did.

       I have known Poggi now for a number of years, perhaps ten in all, he is most phenomenal, a scholar; also, perhaps having a strange secretive inner life: as a younger person, with imagination that gave him freedom.  At any rate, his adult learning was with the intention of doing good I do believe, not bizarre things as he ended up doing; his odd genius developed a remarkable sensation, a sinister ill-regard for a greatly retarded killer. But society said: you are equal to the Butcher—figuratively speaking that is, but he never shaped any tragedy beyond killing the killer—if indeed that is a tragedy: that is the big difference, where the Butcher was in a world of forbidden necrophagous, or perhaps equal: necrophilia and necromancy (feeding on corpses, fascination with death, communicating with spirits).
       When Poggi talked to me his voice was soft, and light, and his somewhat now dull life, perhaps better said, unexercised life gave him stoutness, more so than a paunchiness, and now past middle age.  He was not in good health, yet still a handsome face, green hair, notable gallant, a shyness to him which brought him to a closer seclusion. Still fairly well-known, I was perhaps one of his better and less critical friends, and we talked an inexhaustible quarry of vital theoretical topics, ate a good lunch, coffee a little wine, and whatever matters he did not wish to refer to his innocence or guilt, he was injured by some odd psychological woe, perhaps affliction, for doing society good in a bad way. 
       As we talked and after he left and we met again several times—along with meeting his wife and daughter, he seemed to feel some sort of bizarre exhilaration as if he escaped from some unseen bondage, he began to mingle more despite his heavy blackmail from society and the courts, and from others for his crime.
       He was no longer beating against a midnight window, as if in the rain trying to save himself, he was forsaking reality, descending into the command of his inner voice, he was living among tramps and wanderers, he no longer had much talent for happiness; everything was out of habit and routine, the cancer of time, just waiting to die.
       The last time I saw him, he looked as if he was on drugs, he had gotten a divorce, and was no longer seeing his child—to my knowledge; his look and his mind told me: there were no more countless matters to be adjusted; philosophically speaking—he was one of the lost and confused souls of this planet.

#967 (9-26-2012)

Note: the author communicated with Mario Poggi between 2002 and 2010 perhaps
on a dozen occasions.  The sketch is by the author, D. L. Siluk, taken from a sculpture he purchased by Mario Poggi, in 2005.