Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Bones

This is a poem I came up with while pondering the dangers of modern flight.

Here is a (very boring) video of me reading it, as I like to include audio.

"My Bones"

My bones are not white.
My bones - not osseous honeycombs
That if I should die, while in the sky,
a sweating, nervous hand,
fingering trigger across the aisle,
an eternal rose of flame, for a moment in the sky,
breathless, and the people shocked
You will not honor my bones
With revenge.

You will not honor my bones
If I should die -
You will not honor my bones
with armies. You will not honor my bones,
more soldiers.
My bones are not flesh,
are not revenged with flesh,
They did not die with flesh,
They shall not perish.

Neither are my bones aluminum
My bones are not airplanes
nor science, stretched wings,
angelic and rippling with wind
stiff and thin, carrying American
and other across the seas.
My bones are not capital
My bones are not national
My bones - quote enquote - are ocean spray

You will not honor my bones
when I die
Will not honor my bones
with bombs. Nor space shuttles
nor skyscrapers
nor airplanes
nor anything you dream
or dreamed
in this state.
Nor are my bones a nation
My bones - not the grass
the moutains - purple, grey, or brown
white capped, overlooking the ocean
hidden in the heartlands
my bones are not a country
for old men or young
no Byzantium, Rome, England
empire, state, capital or law.

You will not honor my bones
If I should die - repeat! no honor with soldiers!
right, just, or effective,
Let them raise other men
If they can - Other dust make dust
raise Requiem in arms.
My bones, no flag, over coffin,
no nation died with me,
as with me no nation lived.

My bones - what held me up
My bones - what steadied the strain
of muscles and spirit?
My bones - what are they?
What can we honor, with me gone?
My bones, sediment in the deep
for glowing fishes to snap at
as I fall.

You may honor my bones with learning.
Honor my bones with thought
Not dry thought - Not profit thought -
Thought of other men, love even of a sweating hand
thought for him - afraid, yet resolute
Think - why does he hate -
And when you have found why you too would hate
Then you have found him,
My bones, no longer my own
They are not holy mixed with some things.

I do recommend that you not interpret this poem to mean that no one can be honored in death by soldiers, armies, war, etc. That is an entirely different discussion.

1 comment:

  1. I like it. Interesting style and subject/content. In fact, the rhetorical style reminded me of Zarathustra somewhat--that sort of skirting around the edges of the real issues and illuminating through insinuation before making a more direct statement.

    Anyway... so how is japan/life? Been doing any interesting reading/research lately?

    I'm almost finished with Golden Bough. Returning to something I mentioned briefly to you a few months ago now, after I'm done I want to write up a list of biblical passages juxtaposed to excerpts from GB and send it to you. As I've been reading GB I keep thinking of more and more items of scripture that bear an uncanny resemblance to sympathetic magic and its derivatives. Anyway... at the least it might make for interesting discussion and as always I would very much appreciate your insight into the matter.