we act like that won't happen to us like our lands haven't too been ravished because we gave that up for the safety of our family. we rejoice at nightmarkets festivals that dot the landscape like stars in the sky but we forget that fireworks quickly turned into fires thunders and when we deny the violence that happens abroad we inch our way further from home. we're american canadian something new but the people who make our clothes but the people who grow our food they look just like us.
inspired by audre lorde
why do we write things that we know we will forget why give our memories a place to die why these scars things i cannot change stripes on my skin (on the page pens scrape sharp as teeth) in a forest where i fiercely dwell the tiger's kill moans and swells always a sound sleep in a silent stalked grass atop a green blushing hill belly full and howling moon trees hold a solemn silence pieces of my ear tossed into the mouths of wolves scent lost in the wind under the shroud of night a naked body wrestles in the sheets a distant trail of ants converge over the hill a claw uncurls into the sky lamps flicker:eyes open
& patterns die slow... (because) you didn't know that when you grabbed him by the scruff of HIS neck 1, 2, 9, 25 years old you reached into the present day and left your red hand marks on mine you didn't know that your one-time abuse your temper thrown tone (scraping in my ears like heavy metal screams) would be the angry echoed yell banging on walls adorned with family photos, printed monet paintings, & good luck fortune scrolls (from nails your legacy dangles like vertical paper diaries folded into knuckles and teeth.. your work, a porcelain bowl's glaze dripping and crackling, reaching perfection long after the artist has died.. ..) you didn't know that your scolding, frustrated strikes would become the things on the dresser my dad pushed to the ground, burning holes in the carpet like a coal left on wax: grandfather-shaped depressions i fell into.. you didn't know that the bruise on my soul would become the pain in my girlfriend's smile the shaken ground upon which i walk long days of occasional parent fights going to sleep with a twisted stomach 4 generations ago, one carried abuse passed down from father to son to son to son a pattern that bleeds into my present the history that speaks and repeats and repeats and repeats and repeats until it is heard once and for all.
In Ancient China, potters adorned their ceramics with glazes that were meant to reach crackled “perfection” generations after they had died, achieving the desirable glassy blue-greens and “robin’s egg” hue. Lined with intentional cracks, this style of artwork entailed the use of a specific glaze that would gradually drip from the rims of clay bowls and settle at the bottom.
in a 1940s french theatre
there is no other sound
like the clutter
of hands clapping
This poem is about the feeling I got when watching Quentin Tarantino’s film, Inglourious Basterds and my fascination with the hand clap. I’ve seen my fair share of war films – and then not enough – but this fictional piece about a set of Jewish-American special forces skinning the heads of Nazis in German-occupied France really opened my eyes. I felt, as I think Tarantino intended, righteous and good as the Jews got their revenge in this virtual, plausible WWII while at the same time I didn’t think it was right – that the deaths of the guilty justified the deaths of the innocent. But that is what art is about in one sense: that we as human beings, as people, can feel some way and yet think another. That life isn’t an experience of one dimension, but of many.
And so I sat there watching the Nazi hierarchy burning to the beautiful face of a Jewish women in a French cinema, where an act of revenge, redemption, and extreme violence felt rewarding and disgusting at the same time, and yet I was fascinated with this idea of applause. That in our time, 350 high-ranking Nazis, including the Fuhrer himself, could celebrate a campaign of cruelty with a universal symbol of social approval, hands clapping – albeit in a work of fiction. If you’ve listened to the soundtrack of a live concert, you’ll know the sound of a crowd applause is always different, yet always the same. There’s a patter, like rain, that is filled with hands coming together at a rate irregular, yet natural. In this poem I tried to capture the normal, eerie, nostalgic, and ominous sound of the applause of the Nazi officers gave before watching their last film.