Post-war Sacrifice/The Nature of Self-De(con)structing Souls

by Therese Elaine

And so we stand on this deserted street;
where bloodless promises hang limply
against the sprawl of a tobacco sky...

the funeral march left us behind

(somewhere a bell tolls -
we are called to make an accounting)

You whisper indelicately,
'we do not speak of souls in this place'
and I fumble with the knots
that you sewed under my skin-
I don't want to be anchored
to this burning blackbird;

Nature makes of me a solitary creature.

This is wisdom,
this is wisdom,
amidst the folly
of close-combat casualties
in fevered carrion dreams;

This is grace,
this is grace,
among the the jangling
of twisted ankle waltzes
in a cemetary style.

(somewhere a bell tolls -
we are called to face a reckoning)

You whisper indecently
'take off your mask, I need to see with your eyes'
and you spill into my mouth
the secrets of ancestors-
I am as scorched earth
under a totem of flesh;

Nature makes of me a solitary sinner.

In this dark fecundity
I draw stories from stones
I maintain my vigil,
this cold industry-
so that you may have light...

And so we stand on this deserted street;
where bloody promises hang limply
against a tarred and feathered night...

the living have left us behind

this is wisdom
this is grace
this is wisdom
this is grace

We will swallow up the secrets
that you speak into the ground


Author's Note: A new breed of neutrality...

Posted on 06/03/2010
Copyright © 2021 Therese Elaine

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Johnny Crimson on 06/04/10 at 05:34 PM

For some reason this makes me want to say the following to the next ex-lover I see "You smell better than you feel." Love it.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 06/07/10 at 05:14 AM

What this poem touches in me is the profound sense of confusion I feel sometimes when, on one hand, I try to process my compassion for fallen or maimed soldiers in battles being conducted for ideals that are elusive not of their making, and on the other hand my sadness for all the personal stories of dead enemies and all the wisdom lost and bleeding into the ground. Thanks for a very thought and feeling-provoking poem, Therese.

Posted by Max Bouillet on 06/08/10 at 12:50 PM

There is a sense of acceptance to this part. A resigned condemnation that spirals forth from the protagonist and almost drowns out the tolling bell --almost. The tolling can still be felt resounding through each stanza as you take bets on the reckoning. Great addition to the series.

Posted by Tom Goss on 06/08/10 at 06:57 PM

Wonderfully engaging and creative, very delicious.

Posted by Morgan D Hafele on 06/26/10 at 01:03 AM

"the living have left us behind" - it's still processing.

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 06/30/10 at 02:55 AM

This piece is outstanding- I;ve rfead it 3 times and the more I read, the more I gedt out of it. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Laura Doom on 01/15/14 at 12:24 AM

Makes me want to die (though that would be self-defeating...)

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