156 notes

"I’m thinking that whistling far off in the distance
                                                                           there
Is something to hum along with. It’s history’s
                                                                     little anthem,

And we hum its one note as long as we can breathe
It through, don’t we…
                                  And when the whistling stops,

There’s no city of fire, no blackened grass,
                                                                  no girders

Curved around and through the village’s last and useless horse.

There’s only a story, the truest one, that no one
                                                                          tells or can.

So, go on, drop
                        the landscape into tidily shattered lines that drop
                                                                                                themselves,

Then, look up
                      at clouds that neither gather nor hover,

But simply are, are scattering from smoke,
                                                                  are almost celebrating
                                                                                                  themselves,

Their invisible, inevitable dissolution,

As the planes go on bestriding each other,

And the glass, the girders, the horse, the village
                                                                          let go

Of themselves, and why not? I’m thinking…
                                                                   I’m thinking

Ecstasy, a loss
                       of breath, a hovering, some alley

In a corner of Baghdad where two teenagers

Feel each other up, and the whistles multiply and amplify,
                                                                                         why not,

As a little fire
                     spreads from home to home, and why

Not have the boy strike a match, which makes the girl
                                                                                   giggle,

To light his cigarette, for this is the custom of adults…

I’m thinking he calls her Oh Donna and Runaround Sue, and he
                                                                                                 drags

And hums and breathes the smoke into her,
                                                                    where every thought
Is permissible and rebellious, and hums along,
                                                                        inaudibly,

Goodbye goodbye goodbye…

    — Alexander Long, “Ode to Bombs”

October 26th
Tags: Alexander Long, Ode, Bombs, tone, anthem, unreal city, landscape, dissolution, ecstasy, breathless, permissible, war, goodbye, lit,
  1. hypocrite-lecteur posted this