broken walls and narratives

A not so revolutionary blog about feminism, socialism, activism, travel, nature, life, etc.

Archive for the tag “poem”

Anna Akhmatova Was Here

Anna Akhmatova was Here

H. Bradford

7/27/17

(Anna Akhmatova was a celebrated Russian poet who was censored during Soviet times.  She was an aristocrat who did not flee the country after the Russian revolution.  While I am from a political tradition on the other side of history, I like her poetry and reflected upon her a little while visiting Tashkent, where she lived during WWII.  Some of the poem’s images come from Bishkek though…)

Anna Akhmatova was here.

She wrote of tractors while beating down tears the for friends and lovers

ploughed under the earth.

Sentimentality is subversive,

so it is best to forget the things that colored the gray cities.

By the time the snow falls, memories will become monuments

to hide in the overgrown wilds of city parks

or to tuck behind the shuttered museum.

These statues must be stored safely out of sight and out of mind,

lest they become unorthodox idols to a high class poetess or the feminine divine.

Anna Akhmotova was here.

Tashkent was a stop in a long migration of mourning

and a hermitage for the heart that would not leave.

As for me, I am just a traveler and only ghosts stay behind.

So, city is empty of tourists and souls in transit.

I am also a little emptier.

Image result for anna akhmatova

 

 

 

Gray July Days

Gray July Days

H. Bradford

7/27/17

These gray July days,

They feel more like October or November,

when even the birds have somewhere better to be.

These days are thick with quiet, sorrowed anticipation of the cold

and creeping anxiety for stomach flu and Christmas.

Why today must the clouds hang so heavy and gray?

If it as if they are made of tungsten or tin,

and leaden with snow and rain.

Here, winter is always coming.

Midsummer wind and wet is winter’s promise and portent.

 

 

An Attachment to Dark Spaces

An Attachment to Dark Spaces

H. Bradford

7/27/17

(A poem that is generically about how feelings, attachment, and rejection can feel a lot like the universe itself.  The poem can be applied to many situations where I have wanted to assert my existence through emotion.)

 

I won’t make you my surrogate for the universe,

a stand in for its vast, indifferent cold.

You aren’t a stunt double for its absence of God

or the black tide of time that gives and takes,

but mostly takes.

You feel like a universe that stretches outward into yawning space,

becoming so distant it tears itself apart.

But, you won’t be my force of falling apart.

I can do that just fine on my own.

Surely, I adored you…

if only as a metaphor for everything I hate about myself and living

as a gray speck locked in the cruelty of cognizance in time and space.

I wanted you,

if only as a passing addiction to my place in the abyss.

And I wished so much that my existence mattered to you or to the cosmos you came to represent.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.spacetelescope.org/archives/images/screen/potw1418a.jpg

The Lesson of the Landscape

The Lesson of the Landscape

H. Bradford

7-4-17

(This is a poem that I wrote on my last trip.  My poems aren’t that great, but sometimes I feel inspired to write them).

Enchantment evaporates with knowledge,

the cure-all for all sorts of infatuations.

It lifts like a fog, sending droplets of fantasy into the heat of the day.

When only a scorched landscape remains, it becomes clear what was a mirage

and that an oasis only presents itself to certain people at certain times…

with certain emotions and certain minds.

But, when the illusion is gone, one can appreciate the ways a desert shifts-

from dunes, scrub, cacti, and Karroo.

What is real, austere and severe.

That is the lesson of the landscape.

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

(A photo I took last year in Namibia)

Two Birds

Two Birds

H. Bradford

4/8/17

I remember that merciful boot that crushed the broken bird who struck the hospital window.

I remember those hunched shoulders overlooking the dead chicken, beheaded with a shovel.

A human life exists to bear witness to the death and life in the universe.

Our life is paid with the lives of countless lesser things.

We are stalactites, carefully formed from the suffering of each cow turned hamburger.

Each insect crushed underfoot.

Each mouse ground up with the grain.

Our monuments are graves.

Cities are cemeteries.

Windows are walls.

We eat with our eyes and brains as much as our stomachs and teeth.

Vegans clamber over carnivores like rats in a flood for the moral high ground.

All the same, both are doomed to drown.

When I see a boot and a shovel,

I see our place and our fate,

in the universe.

2014-09-22
Black-throated Blue Warbler

Sour Milk

Sour Milk

H. Bradford

4/8/17

There are many ways to be white.

Most get thick and fatty.

Some turn to sour milk,

curdled by too much sacrifice

and all the things that didn’t come easily enough.

For them, there is no land of milk and honey.

Even when the gods of privilege produce enough manna to fatten a family,

they’re still sour and full of flies.

The pail is always half-empty.

It always pales in comparison to the handouts given to those less pale.

They ingested the world’s venom until it turned them bitter.

They’re the ones always making a stink!

They can’t even smell their own crippling scent!

They are fit enough to survive,

but unfit to dissent.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a6/Latte_025.jpg/220px-Latte_025.jpg

(Image from wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soured_milk)

Someday a Woman Will be President: A Poem

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I haven’t written poetry since about the 5th grade.  I am not trained in poetry.  I don’t know poetic techniques or structures.  I really don’t even appreciate poetry.  But lately, poems have just been coming to mind.  They are mostly political poems.  The pop into my mind in a few lines at a time.  This is one of them.  And while I am embarrassed of this endeavor to write poetry, I suppose that there is no reason to feel ashamed.  It is an expression of  a feeling or thought.

When I was a senior in high school, I had a homemade poster in my locker that said “Someday a woman will be president.”  At the time, so many eons ago, I thought it was a radical sentiment.  This was in my pre-feminist days…in my pre-socialist days…when I was just starting to think about the world and politics.  Of course, my consciousness as a feminist has changed since then.  Hence…the poem.

Someday a woman will be president

Someday a woman will be president,

and we will see that girls can play with dolls and drones

and we can menstruate

while shedding foreign blood

or there can be menopause

without giving pause

for Iraqis, Haitians, and Hondurans.

 

Someday a woman will be president,

and we will trade our hope chests for war chests

of trillion dollar atomic trinkets.

We’ll sing Suffragette songs

as troops march on

in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

 

Someday a woman will be president,

but rest assured trade will fly on free trade wings,

and we will marvel

at all of the things

we can buy at Walmart prices.

Someday a woman will be president.

 

 

 

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