Sunday, April 10, 2011

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Display

We’ve taken your weapons for
our shinies. They are Art,
looking so good there on the wall.
Not because we needed them
but because you did.

With them, you took
the fleshgift and gave thanks,
clothed by them in the speed of the hare,
the strength of the herd, only culled
lightly by these sticks and blades,

or held them strangled in
sweatslick palms; a silver sickle's flash
in the night meadow of a hidden moon,
harvesting suede-skinned  wives
with pomegranate eyes
half asleep and weeping
in the night.

Some flew, smokesung, charmed
with feathering colors, back to the thrower
magicking  the empty pot,
or were sharpened, adorned, polished,
given names and a will to seek the outsider,
to meet him breast to breast
and drink his life.

But all that’s past and gone now.
Oh pretty yes, but laughable,
adorably primitive, that hand to hand concept
of some sort of personal responsibility.
No match at all for a pinch of black powder,
and the myriad vermicules of filth swarming
from our poisoned pockets.

They look perfect on the wall, don’t they?
They match the lampshades
and paint our power
soulless but infinite
over everything that matters.

April 2011



Posted for One Shoot Sunday at the inimitable One Stop Poetry

Image: Photo by Lauren Randolph

21 comments:

  1. Funny, I had the same reaction to that photo. Couldn't have expressed it as well as that, though.

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  2. Ah, brings me back to a kinder, gentler brutality—before each combatant took ten paces to turn and fire one's face off. "adorably primitive" reminds me of "civil war".

    "harvesting suede-skinned wives
    with pomegranate eyes
    half asleep and weeping
    in the night."

    Smooth and imagistic. Never ceases to amazes me how our "culture" glorifies violence and never stops to consider the reality of the ramifications of such actions. Amazing work, JA

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  3. "and paint our power
    soulless but infinite
    over everything that matters."

    Ay caramba, dear, that's a gut punch of a finish. Very nicely turned. And I just KNEW you would pick this picture! it had Hedgy written all over it, much moreso than the balloon one.

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  4. This indeed tempted me today as well...so thankful I passed it by, for I could have never captured the essence of this shot such as you. Magically spun reflection on our world, through yesteryears to present day. At least we rely on push button battles to make our lives easier, and with this new civility, can hang these ancient tools of destruction as art. Not that I'm being sarcastic or anything ;)

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  5. they paint our power, you need to hang a tomahawk missile up there for pillaging villagers for oil profits...you really dont want to know the reaction i had to this photo...i scrapped it pretty quick...vivid imagery hedge...

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  6. i think the "wife" looks like she could be hung up on the wall, too, just one more decoration. great One Shoot.

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  7. Powerful piece... primitive indeed, yet

    'No match at all for a pinch of black powder,
    and the myriad vermicules of filth swarming
    from our poisoned pockets.'

    Well done!

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  8. Wow, Hedge. Fan-frickin-tastic writing!

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  9. your amazing way with words has said it all so well... some places we must keep for absurdity...

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  10. I wonder how many of your neighbors have bunkers like this ... The "your" in the first line refers to the endless supply of testosterone-challenged middle-aged men who have arrived enough to put up a trophy wall to their Pleistocene hobby, e.g, dominion over the "we're" in the same line -- And though the collection is "pretty," it is, as you say, pretty "laughable," only the fella to the left doesn't get that and the femme to the right isn't saying. if only all those symbols of old-school potency could really "paint our power" in any real enough way ... But the picture has to suffice. Itself a trophy for the trophy room ... Brendan

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  11. Thanks all--some amazing poetry crumbs to follow out of the wilderness home today. I appreciate everyone taking the time to stop by and leave their thoughts.

    @brian: wish I'd thought of a tomahawk--missile--even the names are stolen.

    @Brendan: my neighborhood bunkers are more likely full of automatic weapons, hand grenades and the like, I'm afraid. (I'm assuming you got your pronouns reversed in your opening remarks...at least that was how I wrote it.)

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  12. intense. I found this photo quite hemingwayish, wondering about the psyche of the woman, who is probably an addict. you wrote wonderfully: I especially love : or held them strangled in
    sweatslick palms; a silver sickle's flash
    in the night meadow of a hidden moon,
    harvesting suede-skinned wives
    with pomegranate eyes
    half asleep and weeping
    in the night.

    beauty, power, intensely imaginative imagery!

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  13. oh, bravo, HW...I dug this picture when I saw it...a cynical "american gothic" in my eyes, and you've fashioned it brilliantly. a beautiful war cry for those never aloud a voice...

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  14. I looked at this and thought: Oh it's the new American Gothic, they've laid down their pitchfork and now extol more tribal reliquaries. You took it far beyond that thought bringing forth their current bible belt thinking ..never doubting their devotion to a gun. Excellent crafting of words layered with meanings, tight with power. Excellent my friend.

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  15. the decor of weapon....reminds me when we look at the house we now have lived in for 10 years...the walls cover with dead ducks as art...what is expressed as beauty is at times laughable...those mamed and killed by them probably think different....nice selection and take on this anthro smorgasboard..bkm

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  16. Do you get the sense they are searching for something they will never find because the trophies they acquire aren't the ones that matter?

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  17. When I saw this photo, I thought of Grant Wood's American Gothic -- or a new take on it. I really like your poem -- and I love "weapons as art" -- or is it art as weapons?

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  18. This has a "My Last Duchess" feel to it. So creepy, and scary, and true, though. The third stanza is my favorite-- and those last lines, of course.

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  19. Solid piece - had a similar reaction to it.

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  20. Gah, forgot to mention how I love the first few stanzas. =)

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  21. I'm so taken with this poem, Hedge. The picture itself is made chilling by the numb expressions of the couple. And you've managed to enter the psyche of the warmonger here by the comparison of the "adorably primitive" and ancient ways of combat to those of contemporary warfare, to "the myriad vermicules of filth swarming
    from our poisoned pockets" (amazing image!) The whole thing makes a very powerful statement about "personal responsibility," combat and killing. A fantastic anti-war poem!

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg