Cross My Heart and Hope to Write
INCLUDING ORIGINAL POETRY, SHORT STORIES, ESSAYS, AND NOVELLAS, ALONGSIDE ARTWORK AND PHOTOGRAPHY
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Saturday, October 15, 2011
1.7 and Photos
Its time for a new poem entry and some new photos. I've started a new poetry series as well, barely in the making. It deals with schizophrenia. I'll have more to offer once I get writing. Anyhow, seeing as we are approaching Halloween season here in New York, I have a poem that deals with a theme that I have become particularly fond of: Death. As with my previous entry Dust, Death is a subject that I am fascinated by. I even for a time contemplated studying Thanatology - the scientific study of death. This particular poem, as such, I am very fond of. It came about as a combination of a desire to write an Iraq war poem and research I had been doing for my novel. The title "1.7", is an estimate of how often something in the world dies (taking into consideration every living creature, including plant matter, on the planet, though I'm sure this is an under-estimate). Also, I've created a Facebook Group in addition to the page. Its called, "Fans of The Sven-Bo!" (http://www.facebook.com/groups/258737270828915/). I designed it as a place where people can better connect with my work and hopefully give my feedback on how I might be able to better market my things. At any rate, please enjoy this entry and the photos that accompany it.
The sensation of being shot is not an easy thing to describe,
Nor the crisp realization that you are about to die.
No longer cause for concern, the latter things I had in mind.
Only this crisp realization: Here and now is how I die.
My back against a wall in some depleted Iraqi town,
The blood seeping from my body sprawled across the ground.
The slug is hot inside my gut, all the pieces shattered and screaming,
Lodged inside my spine, small intestine, lung, and kidney.
There is no need for moving, as it only causes tension,
Bullets and debris, still blasting off in all directions.
But they matter to me not
As I lie dying in this spot.
The cold concrete on my back; I feel my heartbeat in my boots;
I hear off beyond the wall a sergeant ordering to shoot;
And it all I seem to understand and covet with unfamiliar ease,
Yet that crisp realization covets all the curiosity in me.
And then I see across the absence, in a huddle under a tree,
Among the haze that lingered above the scars that were scored out of the street
And through the black serpentine smolder of a bombed out army Jeep,
The chard and rag-clad corpse of an Iraqi, nigh fourteen.
Then that crisp realization seems to transcend into bitter,
And it’s sweet flowing taste I am forced to reconsider.
For whom am I amid a world quite tamed by man or beast,
Who upon the slightest proclivity of a whim may conduct a thing to cease?
For in that moment I lay dying, so too were hundreds more:
Trees, insects, stones erode, cells, and distant stars;
Metaphorically, physically, mentally, emotionally;
The ultimate integer of greed, mistake, or infidelity.
Yet those who push their carts and tote their baskets past the case
That contains sectioned off and price tagged pieces on polystyrene trays,
Disregard the fact that they once belonged to beings of the same
Flesh and butchered bone that now lay wrapped in cellophane.
And tomorrow will be another day for hundreds more to die
At the hands of the ever more resourceful equations of demise.
Their numbers spill out into a symphonic cacophony,
And who stands there wielding the baton, but man, impeccably.
I feel the corner of the wall at my shoulder vibrate into detritus
As an RPG-7 disintegrates against the buildings partitions.
With concrete raining all around, an officer approaches cautiously
And huddles down with rifle drawn to cover me.
But seeing my present shade of blue and the blood soaked into my thighs,
He grasps the crisp realization that I am about to die.
Looking once more all around as the ground trembles under continuous tracks,
He props his gun against the wall and wraps his arm around my back.
Holding the back of my neck with his hand, he watches as my eyes grow dim
And drowsiness envelopes me, as the world begins to spin.
I reach up and draw him near to me to whisper my final breath,
Which I conjured using all my might and the last thought in my head:
“Do not ask for whom the bell tolls:
It tolls for thee
And crown thy good, with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”