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SteveParker Profile
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Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


maybe it was at the tractor factory at Stalingrad
that humanity became enlightened
that the Buddha learned of the sniper art

my kids there in the rubble screamed along
with the Katyushas ran with the wild dogs
that came starving from the cellars

something broke there in the scream
some part of humanity looked out from the snow
and thought jigsaws might be an equally good way to go

into the night
sex was never an issue
it just flared like that like a dog had barked
or had failed to bark somewhere down by the stables

the presence of politicians is a corrupting taint within humanity
this is known

yesterday my heating went off
do you think I wept about it?
no I burnt what was available
starting with memory and working out

at the end of every forlorn meal in the underground
some new love begins

I mean you don't have to !@#$ your mother
just because she didn't like the chocolates
and you want to say you care

these are mistakes
like lying to children
telling them you are Batman
that you can fly more or less

you know sometime you will have to do it

better always to carry a few small sticks and find a bridge

this is what they were taught
in that old singsong tractor hymn
of Bing Crosby Stalingrad snowman walking
hey can you smell carrots?

nor women neither nor women
wolves from Ethiopia strangled in through tunnels
to a Palestine zoo

autosave failed
Christmas lifts over the rooftops like
Dec/25/2009, 5:07 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


Steve,

Just dropping in to say, "yes" to your poem.
Though I fear I could make a minor career of missing all your points-- this bit in particular, scores a direct hit to the solar plexus:

"sex was never an issue
it just flared like that like a dog had barked
or had failed to bark somewhere down by the stables..."

Chris

Last edited by ChrisD1, Dec/26/2009, 11:00 am
Dec/26/2009, 10:59 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
dmehl808 Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


yep, this is a good one--I enjoy following the jazzy twists and turns your mind takes. Fun to see tractors make an appearance here. Are there russian immigres in Yorkshire to spark off that bit, or was it just imaginary displacement? things like sniper art and starving dogs running from cellars--throwing in something about palestinian tunnels into the midst--it's not even political necessarily but we know you're referencing Gaza and it works because of the geographical location of "Christmas songs"

yesterday my heating went off
do you think I wept about it?
no I burnt what was available
starting with memory and working out

this reminded me of Bukowski, except I don't believe one ever has a problem with heat in Burbank or Hollywood--whereever he was from.

and then down by the stables places us close to the manger as well, as does the subversion of a Bing Frosty song?

I"m impressed as usual with your riffing around the edges of a melody making melancholy, subverting and commenting on your world.

As a believer in Christmas I wish I could write counterpoint but I am feeling unequal to the task. Maybe it's unnecessary to think I need to.
Dec/26/2009, 12:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to dmehl808   Send PM to dmehl808
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


Thanks, Chris and Dave. It's just a sort of assemblage I've stuff from the last few days. I saw on TV that they are bringing zoo animals into Gaza through tunnels to replace the critters that were burned when the Israelis last pounded the !@#$ out of them. I watch/read a lot of news stuff, so warfare is generally pretty up there in my head. For some reason Stalingrad has some special place of horror in my internal mythology too. I think perhaps I read about it when I was too young, and it has become a sort of fairy tale in the negative. Maybe the tractor factory really was the place where the world changed direction...

Anyway, I also saw some footage of British troops in Helmand this Christmas singing Silent Night, and it reminded me of WW1/2. Seemed a bit haunting and tragic really. The same songs, the same war, the same young guys ets.

Just a sort of quickfire fugue about whatever.

Thanks for taking a look.

Steve.
Dec/26/2009, 4:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


Not sure what to say about the poem, Steveman. Some lines got the kinetic energy to carry across to my screen. Some lines do not. Some portions work their way into me and some do not. For example this works for me:

~yesterday my heating went off
do you think I wept about it?
no I burnt what was available
starting with memory and working out~

And this does not:

~I mean you don't have to !@#$ your mother
just because she didn't like the chocolates
and you want to say you care~

I like the idea of the poem and I think I get Stalingrad as a kind of metaphor for the kind of all out onslought on innocents by history, or how every such onslought cries out for the silent night moment of peace.

That's all I got, man.

Tere
Dec/27/2009, 9:11 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


Steve -

Nice to meet you. The poem has sections that speak to me and make me think. Always a good thing. What makes me scratch my head is that the piece doesn't strike me as cohesive; it seems scattered events that are not related to one another. Here are some specific thoughts:


maybe it was at the tractor factory at Stalingrad
that humanity became enlightened
that the Buddha learned of the sniper art
Not sure why these things would happen in a tractor factory, but maybe the poem will make me see how

my kids there in the rubble screamed along There, where? at the factory?
with the Katyushas ran with the wild dogs
that came starving from the cellars
This humble reader has no idea why wild dogs would come from the cellars...or wild dogs is meant to refer to the soldiers due to the Katyushas reference?

something broke there in the scream
some part of humanity looked out from the snow
and thought jigsaws might be an equally good way to go
Really like this part

into the night
sex was never an issue
For whom? humanity? and I do not get the connection to anything that came before
it just flared like that like a dog had barked
or had failed to bark somewhere down by the stables

the presence of politicians is a corrupting taint within humanity
this is known
Again, for me, this is a non-sequitor. this is the point where I start to feel like we are hopping from one spot to another

yesterday my heating went off
do you think I wept about it?
no I burnt what was available
starting with memory and working out
I like the concept of this stanza a lot, even though on the map of this poem I am lost

at the end of every forlorn meal in the underground
some new love begins

I mean you don't have to !@#$ your mother
just because she didn't like the chocolates
and you want to say you care
Not only do I not understand what the poet is saying here, but it makes me wonder whether the shock value of incest is being abused to manipulate the reader

these are mistakes I am not clear what the antecedent of "these" is
like lying to children
telling them you are Batman
that you can fly more or less

you know sometime you will have to do it

better always to carry a few small sticks and find a bridge
if I have to force myself to figure this out, I keep coming up with sticks of dynamite and wanting to blow up the bridge...I don't know why though, and maybe I have thought about war too much

this is what they were taught
in that old singsong tractor hymn
of Bing Crosby Stalingrad snowman walking
hey can you smell carrots?

nor women neither nor women
wolves from Ethiopia strangled in through tunnels
to a Palestine zoo

autosave failed
Christmas lifts over the rooftops like



I am sorry I cannot be more helpful or understand your poem better. Just my two cents, anyways. Thanks for posting.
-shab


Dec/29/2009, 1:09 pm Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


Hey, thanks for the replies, guys. I'm entirely okay with it not working for you. It doesn't entirely work for me either. I have this thing of just writing poetry very quickly and the reality of that is that often it just doesn't work because it's not thought out enough. So you can expect a sort of split level thing here from me of stuff I bothered to work at and stuff I didn't. My hope is that some of the stuff I didn't put much work into will be okay, but if it's not firing I hope I will be the first to admit it. I don't think this poem is a complete disaster, but I agree it's not a big hit. Thanks very much for the negativity. It is hugely appreciated.

I really mean that.

Steve.
Dec/29/2009, 2:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
JRPearson Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


Steve, I've never had an issue with a poem being uneven. This one is at times but has some flamingly memorable lines.....that's enough for me to come back....good read man...


Best,
JR
Dec/31/2009, 2:08 am Link to this post Send Email to JRPearson   Send PM to JRPearson
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Stalingrad Silent Night (Christmas Poem)


Crikey, now Joe is here! Is there a mass migration going on? Hey, Joe, thanks for your comments. This is what it is. It's a quick one. There are some good things in it, and some dodgy !@#$. That's typical for me. Glad you found some whatever stuff to hang with.

Thanks for having a look, bro, and nice to see you here.

Steve.
Dec/31/2009, 9:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 


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