Saturday, February 18, 2012

Poetics: IN the END

Pompeii

A touch---

Feel the BASS in your chest
             air thick with each breathe
             ash, & ash, & ash
Feel the BASS in yoUR CHEST
             ground liquefies beneath
             earth sky earth sky
             lines blur between
             falling into each other
FEel the BASS in yoUR CHEST
             the gods have returned
             the gods are here
             the gods are insane
             the gods
             oh my god
             bodies, mouths wide
             screaming loud but unheard
             100, 1000 lions roar apocalypse

fire, fiRE, oil & fIrE

where are the children? where
      am i? damp, sweat, piss, blood
      god,  i, ash & ash
fade to grey, then black,
      fingertips on a shoe
a sandal, a..a table leg,
i

orange-red, a light, bright, blink,
      black, heat, blink

black, breathe, can't,
    black, breathe,
black, can't
i

break
     release
          breathe
finger hovering over the stone that once was
--was a body, sitting now between stalls, fresh
fruit in the market, it's curled, seeking safety

---and at a touch
i cross time, there, the moment where
hearts stopped--her heart's stopped---
first thoughts in the face of---

of--but then, a woman, her child
on a day of celebration, they are smiling,
laughing, she sees
               her husband, smiles, crossing
the stones when---

the BASS begins, (this is the end) feel it
      in your CHEST (this is the end)
this is the end---

and you never
    never saw it coming, even through
you have felt the tremors for weeks, months
    years, and swore, it
                               would
                               never
                               happen

to you---

At dVerse Poets today, I am manning the pub and bringing friends, in particular, Reena from Missing Moments, who has graciously allowed us to use some of her wonderful pictures for our poetry prompt today. Trust me, there are some pretty amazing shots, but---you will have to tune in at 3 pm EST to see which ones...smiles.


And do stop over at Missing Moments and check out an artist behind the lens.

86 comments:

Claudia said...

love how you capture the terror, the confusion, emotion and pain in your eruption of verse, how you make me feel the lava on my own skin and in part two your words carry me away from pompeii to so many other places of endings..

Claudia said...

wooohooo...i was first!! smiles

Daniel said...

A couple of levels apparent in this one. Great way to start my day. Nice.

Mary said...

That truly must have been frightening to live through, and your poem captured that. Makes me think as well of how often even in today's world we don't heed the warnings nature (or humans?) give us of impending disasters (natural, national, or personal). Your poem was thought-provoking, Brian.

sully1901 said...

Leaves you Thinking - Our Complacency removed
Congrats

Manicddaily said...

Yes, it's wonderful that you are particular to Pompei but also bring in a more universal reaction to portents and disaster. K.

manicddaily said...

Brian-- you know my URL but on iPad typed it wrong.

Magpie said...

A moment caught in time.

Grace said...

I can feel the tremors and terror...the seconds before it call comes crashing down. Sometimes the gods are insane but nature hears only its own heartbeat ~

Charles Miller said...

I've been thru a small earthquake and some hurricanes, but a volcano consuming me and my family in ash and liquid stone - what horror! You have carved that day so well with words. It's so dificult to convey immediacy with language, but your poem does just that, putting us there in thought, act, behavior, and feeling. This language of gesture that you know so well and manage so artistically, wonderful.

Natasha Head said...

You bring your music to the piece with the sound of the bass...but my god..the table leg..the imagery is wicked..feel as though I'm watching a war flick with Run Thru the Jungle blasting, body parts flying...burning under the ash of fire that was centuries in the making..

Gloria said...

amazing Brian!!

KLo said...

Um ... wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do I have your permission to use this with my English 10 students? They are adamant that poetry is "boring" ... I suspect this might change their minds ...

Adam said...

nice

Anne said...

The repeat of the refrain "feel the BASS" is so effective. And the feeling of sorrow over those who were caught unawares in the middle of living by the flow of the lava. You took me back in time.

Brian Miller said...

i chose this pic for the ominous sky...on reena's post for that day though there is a pic of one of the stone bodies in the market and that one def stuck with me and carried over here...

Pat Hatt said...

Such a build up at your tree
That one would have to be blind not to see
Of course in real life even the blatant is ignored thinking it would come due
Then such a pight does ensue
One should gawk more
Which you do quite well at your shore..lol

Tabitha said...

Wow.

Raven said...

At first (this silly old lady) says hm, "does he know that his typing is off? then she says why is he putting caps in these words?"

Then she truly felt the FULL weight of your words, the HELL. You have truly caught and painted what you wished to put across to your reader. Excellent.

I am now feeling better daily and shall probably join my old blog in a few days.

hedgewitch said...

Great capture of that moment of panic, of truth, or ultimate ending and what it brings in visions and in legacy--and a great pic. Looking forward to the rest of the choices being revealed later at Poetics.

janaki nagaraj said...

Captured the fear beautifully...feel the BASS..this repetition upped my heartbeat. Well done.

Laurie Kolp said...

Intense and oh so real, Brian. I felt this from the inside out... riveting. I can't wait until this afternoon when the prompt is unveiled.

Steve E said...

"Fire burn, and cauldron bubble..."
release me from this toil and trouble.

And yesss, I have often felt--behaved like--I would live forever! Now I realize: IT AIN'T SO, PEDRO!!!

PEACE!

CiCi said...

You portray emotions and visuals in this writing that grab us all and tie us into the disorder in emergencies. The words stun me and yet provoke images that quicken my emotions. Fascinating piece.

turtlememoir said...

pompeii... and so many other terrors and warnings and ignorings - when apocalypse hits (in whatever form) it will no doubt find us with our heads still in the sand...
brilliant writing, Brian!

ds said...

Brilliant. Pompeii and not-Pompeii. Outside and inside. So many levels (like excavation, ha). Love this.
And I love Reena's photographs. Will definitely visit the pub this afternoon.
Thank you, sir.

Myrna R. said...

Brian, this one was so real. It made me feel a primal fear of nature, destruction, death perhaps.

Lots of depth do this.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Def burned our poetic butts
with your brilliance, sir. Loved
every dramatic moment of it.
Fills me with alacrity since I
live in the Ring of Fire, just
a few miles from Mt. Rainier
and one day I could relive
your images.

FrankandMary said...

Warning: If you have a heart condition, don't read this poem.
;o~Mary

farmlady said...

OMG! This is a frightening poem. Pompei... Vesuvius... death.
They say that we, here in California, in the west U.S., have a lot more to be worried about with volcanos than earthquakes.
Death is death, not matter what, but hot ash, piroclastic flows... you nailed this one. I was there, in that poem, feeling all of it.
Amazing...

annell said...

It seems like a wonderful piece!

Mama Zen said...

This is suffocating in it's intensity. Fabulous job, Brian.

Caty said...

Wow, you captured the terrifying moment(s) great...the imagery is powerful. I think my heart rate increased. (I checked out Reena's page-she does awesome work) and now I've added the forgotten city of Pompeii to places I want to visit. Hope you have a great weekend, too!

Fred Rutherford said...

Really nice job here Brian, the way you used the volcano 's eruption as the centerpiece here really worked well, both as your depiction of that moment and as to the metaphor it creates for any ending. Nice write. Thanks

Sue said...

Boy, did you ever pick me up and take me with you on that one. Great stuff, Brian!

=)

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I am out of breath after having read that! Excellent, thrilling ride. This is my favorite part:

"orange-red, a light, bright, blink,
black, heat, blink

black, breathe, can't,
black, breathe,
black, can't
i

break
release
breathe"

~Shawna
rosemarymint.wordpress.com

rosaria said...

That rhythm, that beating that goes with the confusion. Brilliant.

^.^ said...

... am glad you feel that way, Brian ... I feel that way all the time ... trying to put it into words ... but too frightened to do so ... puzzle pieces of this crazy life are falling into place though ... thanks to you ... Thanks, Brian ... Always, cat.

glittertheair said...

This is so powerful and dramatic. It really captures what the whole disaster was really about. This is great!!

hiroshimem said...

Bass. I felt crushed into the ground yet lifted up at the end, on wings of heroes. To quote you, "oh my god".

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

This conjured up words like frenetic,panic, fearful. Cant imagine what it would be like to get aught up in this kind of event- total chaos...horrific. Love the way you captured the explosions of the volcano- the panic of the crowds...and the unpredictability of nature

S.E. Ingraham said...

feel the bass in your chest

yes - this is how I imagine it must have been - but especially at the start; just a rumbling deep awfulness in the chest ...

I was in this area last summer but didn't go - will be there again this year and am determined to make it ... am oddly reluctant to see this moment frozen in time but as I say, am determined ...

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
Don't know why but this one sounds like it could be lyrics to a Pink Floyd song. That's a compliment,BTW!

pandamoniumcat said...

Gosh... how tense, a great evocative write...so terrifying, you have really let us feel what it must have been like... great stuff!

Steve E said...

It's that BASS DRUM in my chest--hey the link to CES ADORIO" works for me, could you try it again? And let me know? Please...TIA.

Vicki Lane said...

Would love to hear that performed. Pictures of Pompeii have haunted me since I first saw them about 60 years ago in my grandparents' encyclopedia -- especially the dog...

Marbles in My Pocket said...

WOW! This is fantastic, Brian. Grabs the reader and won't let go. DANG! (That's like WOW, only different.) I really like this; different, but very very good!

http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/the-last-watch/

Joanna Jenkins said...

That was so real I was holding my breath as I read it.
Wow!
jj

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Your poem speaks volumes, on raw emotions and sometimes realities. great work.

Tracey from ⓽ said...

I can feel the tremors in my chest...

RD said...

could it be that a God set this in motion?...an insane God....and the innocence of destiny...and the knowing .....geez....

I recall when it happened to me and I thought...what took so long

Peace

Yousei Hime said...

Very good, with enough space in the imagery to feel the present tragedies that destroy families.

Life with Kaishon said...

I just read this to Gary. He is about to fall asleep. Thank you for your sweet dreams poem : )

KB said...

Scary stuff.

Tara Miller said...

I felt like I was there and could feel my heart thumping and see the panic in the faces of others with your amazingly descriptive words.My favorite was your end....many layers there my love.

emily wierenga said...

wow. this gave me chills... and i felt my soul applauding with the resurrection of the end...

Bodhirose said...

I was always horrified by the story of Pompeii and the way people were caught in their daily lives in molten rock... Wow...you made me feel it..the bass in the chest...with a breath of ash...whoo!

The Empress said...

So much more powerful and instant than a narrative.

Going to think about having my 16 yr old read this....it's a gut punch.

And like a transport to that time.


This one was different from the others....felt like written for a future audience.

Perhaps your boys, one day?

oceangirl said...

haunting, you never saw it coming and swore it would never happen to you. What you visualize is something else Brian.

Dave King said...

A masterclass in pacing this: breathless to measured and all at exactly the right moment. I stand back and applaud.

irene said...

This has an aural and visceral quality Brian, gets you in the guts.

MorningAJ said...

I once lived in a town that had casts of Pompeii bodies in one of the squares. (The heat at Pompeii was so intense that the bodies burned away, leaving spaces in the solidified lava. Archaeologists have reconstructed them by making moulds from the spaces.) You could see the terror in their postures, even though there was no remaining detail on the faces.

Your words brought the same kind of feeling. Well done.

Birdie said...

one would think that you lived through something similar for being able to write it so well ... have a wonderful Sunday Brian!

SueAnn said...

You captured their last moments wonderfully!! I felt myself grasping for breath and running...unable to find any escape. How terrifying!!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Lorraine said...

Something is coming my dear Brian, stay you

Zeba said...

This was intense. I felt a need to read real quick through it so I could reach the end and tell myself that it's going to be okay. Sigh.

the walking man said...

i don't know if we even recognize that we feel anything, but the collapse does seem immanent. every volcano has to blow its stack now and then. Good one Brian, especially where the wife and kids see the old man al smiles headed there way and the moment arrives. That my friend is an image to ponder.

Daydreamertoo said...

This is a fabulous write Brian. Read it in my email yesterday and thought WOW, he's done it again. I searched through the blog of the photographer and discovered those columns were from Pompeii before I read yours and as soon as I did I thought wow! You described what they must've been thinking at the moment it happened. They must have felt the tremors as it was readying itself to blow but, how could they know it would be so bad. And would preserve them into history.
Another absolutely amazing write Brian. Sometimes I am in awe of your raw talent.

Louise said...

Wow...such an intense capture of emotion...brilliant poem..

kaykuala said...

Brian,
I'm glad! I'm just back barely 2 hrs ago from my trip.

Great write! Disasters tend to take centre stage and you brought it out very well into the open!

Hank

myheartslovesongs said...

"FEel the BASS in yoUR CHEST
the gods have returned
the gods are here
the gods are insane
the gods
oh my god"

damn! you certainly capture the feel of a catastrophe, brian! brilliant writing! i need to catch my breath now!

Lou said...

The only thing that would scare me more in all this is if big dogs started chasing me too.

flaubert said...

Intense write, Brian. I love it, every single word.

Pamela

zongrik said...

ur totally right about the gods being insane.

thanks for the headsup on magpie, i put another link up. what i did, for the first time, was use a short link. won't do that again.

TALON said...

I loved your take on the amazing photo prompt, Brian. You captured the essence of terror perfectly.

Goofball said...

I don't understand this at all :(

Sharp Little Pencil said...

"The gods, oh my god," the bass thumping. You captured the scattered panic of the victims of a Pompeii-like disaster. Seemingly random moments, etched in amber under the ash... the mere idea of breathing in nothing but the ash scares the crap out of me. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/coming-back-to-life/

Syd said...

The earth is ill at ease still. Anything can happen. Got snow, dude?

Sophia said...

Just over from Heather Stillfusen's art blog....mowhawk and ballet tights. hmmm...lol :D

Anyway, what a SUPER great write. Wow. Your brilliance continues to grow. You suck....just saying. lol

Lisa Golden said...

You put us right there at the moment of terror and disbelief. The BASS. Exactly that. We feel that when the large power plant down the road does an emergency release of steam.

Come to think of it, that power plant is not unlike a manmade volcano.

Susie Clevenger said...

The fear you have been able to relate...it literally was the end of their world for them...the pounding fear in their chests...great job! It seems we went to the same place with this poem.

Raven said...

This is so well done. You have captured our eternal fears so well. By eternal I mean both ever present and unchanging in the human race. And oh - phooey I missed getting into your article by 12 hours. Ah well I did a haiku anyway. Her photos are so wonderful! Thanks for the introduction.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Ah, nice. The moment hearts stopped. Everywhere around us.

jen revved said...

This is a great experiment for you, I think, Brian. I love your reliance upon the senses in this poem-- the photos are beautiful as well. xj

~L said...

ummm... that was a dramatic intense poem that left me with chills...

your never cease to paint a picture in my mind...

great work brian!

william said...

an action packed piece, enjoyed it very much :)