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Sunday 18 November 2012

Exit means Yes.

Today we shall consider...
(reveals it with a flourish)this:
our current scene of crime.

Look well --
with fresh eyes if you will.
But whose eyes? Choice
determines focus. 

Are you to be:
Investigating Officer?
forensic scientist?
Lover? Mother? Medic...? Yes,
this is a rape scene that we view.

World war artists were forbidden
to depict
the dead or devastated bodies that they saw.
They chose instead
the shattered buildings and torn trees
to be their representatives.

All rape is violent.
Here, torn plastic sheeting round the door
is nothing less -- indicative of more --
than the torn underclothes
of a once-decent space --
the MORE might be
the ruptured hymen. 

For sure, someone has penetrated, forced his way
beyond the limits set -- that EXIT sign,
blood red... I wonder... did he take that for a YES?

And through into forbidden space... what there?
The famished tree of Good and Evil in the yard,
still with a few leaves attached,
leans to the field and scatters
blossoms and dewdrops... finds
no answer to the way
our sense of homelessness
plays globally today.
What images would Browning find
if he came back this way?
An Embarrassment of riches! Sincere thanks to Claudia in Poetics at dVerse Poets for the stimulation of some wonderful images from the photographs of Terry S. Amstutz. Please visit his site. I guarantee you will not be disappointed


Anonymous said...

wow. i am rendered speechless by this piece.
disturbing and yet told in a 'light fashion' - great work.

Anonymous said...

A gripping and ripping piece of poetry. Disturbing and and well written. Thanks David.

Brian Miller said...

damn man...hard hitting for sure....a violation surely that turns my stomach....knew that as well about the artists in the war...and this would fit as one of their representations....ugh....great write dave...stings

Claudia said...

oh my dave...this is a disturbing and frightening write...reminded me of a film scene i saw a while ago that haunted me in my sleep for weeks..very well written

Daydreamertoo said...

So true. If the artist's did depict the truth of it all, I doubt anything would change though. We see it all daily on TV or online and we are getting worse instead of better.
This is so surreal in that the scene could be anything, crime, war, of decimation and violence, of rape for sure. Chilling and very vivid capture Dave. I'm sure Terry will be pleased to see what his image invoked.

Anonymous said...

Oh- this one makes me want to weep. I had never thought of that re the World War artists/photographers - of course, it makes sense partly because the time was a bit more private, but for other reasons too, I guess.

Your lines of choice determining focus, etc.

The violence the poem bears witness to is quite stunning.

I've also been thinking about this idea of what the photo frames - I haven't written my poem up yet which would not be anything so powerful as this - just different - but you might enjoy, in this context, this Stevens poem "Anecdote of the Jar." I mentioned it in another comment (kind of idly and getting it wrong), and Hedgewitch has posted it in her "Off the Shelf." It also deals with this idea of what "art" frames in a way. Very differently, but you might enjoy it.


My only question here relates to the Browning - at first, I thought you meant Robert Browning - but I am not as familiar with his poems as you - then I thought about Brownie cameras! Then, there is a firearms manufacturer in the U.S. named Browning -

I wonder if you wouldn't want some additional reference at the end - perhaps even some piece of a line if it's Robert Browning - not only to identify but to add a kind of irony, maybe? A snippet? I don't know.


Scarlet said...

Hard hitting and this stings Dave ~

The devastation of death and violence in the case of rape are far reaching and more than I can say. So it is fitting that symbols of famished trees and exit doors are used ~

One of your best Dave ~

Mary said...

A very depthful write, Dave! One I will think about for a long time to come.

Helen said...

... this is chilling! ... and beautifully written.

haricot said...

You don't depict it directly but terrify readers as the truth that could happen even during we are reading your phrases.

Susan said...

Whew. Makes you get it if you didn't already know. Love how you folded in the facts like whipped egg white into batter and adore what you did with the red stop sign. Who would have thought I would get a laugh out of this poem? Quite an angel cake you've baked here, complex, hard-hitting, in good taste and gorgeous in form.

Dave King said...

Thank you, a really satisfying response to receive.

Thank you so much. Greatly appreciated.

Thanks Brian. Glad you thought the analogy with the war artists appropriate.

Hope this one doesn't haunt you - well, not for TOO long! Much thanks.

Thanks for this. I agree that the image is almost a blank canvas, the possible crimes are legion. That's what made it such a great image in my book. Thanks for your comprehensive comments.

Thanks for this, a really wonderful response. To start at the end, my reference was to Robert Browning. I had just quoted from Home thoughts from abroad:
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops
(though I chose to omit on the clover.

I am familiar with Stevens's poem Anecdote of the Jar. I have always thought it a little unStevenslike,
but it was from Harmonium, his first collection. I must refresh my familiarity with it!

Thanks again for the trouble taken to respond. Really appreciated.

Thank you. I agree absolutely with your thoughts on this.

Thank you. I felt I could convey it better through symbol than reality.

Thank you so much, a eal wow of a comment. Delightful. Glad you liked it.

D.Bell said...