Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Readwritepoem #99 -a letter to Liraz*-

The river flows heavy, loaded with barges. An yellow fall river in its ochre mood that supercedes rain. Two men are eating their lunch on the other shore of the river. One sits on a tree trunk . The other sits on a waterproof winter coat laid on the grass. But their legs arch in the same way; the ankles touch and the knees face outwards. One eats a sandwich from a Ziploc bag. The other eats warm food from a Tupperware container. They talk. Or not.

Perhaps they face the river with the same bare look, stripped of any expression, finding nothing to say to each other.

Maybe they are observing me as I am noticing them :
a woman,
in a brown coat
eating her lunch
on a green wooden table
- the picnic area by the bike trail.

I wave. But they do not respond. And I wonder if we are looking at the same river. There are rivers in other places that are heavy with dead bodies .

I used to know men and women that came from those places. They are eating in silence, chewing their food slowly. Still. As you try to warm up the chat by describing the local food places and foodstuffs, they face you with blank eyes. And you know they are not watching you or the red leaves of what the locals call blood bushes. All they can see are their own memories frozen mid-air among dead leaves.
History is a stalker. **




*Liraz is a friend I never met (for she is O's friend and he is my friend too).
I was told that she starts any explanation with "There are too few things in this world meant to be forgotten". So this is for you Liraz.

** the russian stalker (Сталкер) is a guide.

More answers to the prompt here : Readwritepoem #99

18 comments:

Paul said...

That is a beautifully thought out and wonderfully made piece of writing. A simple scene but very evocative.

Ana said...

Paul,

many thanks for the e-mail with the edits too...
I am mostly proud by the word play around stalker :)

maekitso said...

I really enjoyed this piece. Yes the images this conjured in my mind are very crisp, and the shifting perspectives on stalking are cool.

Ana said...

Brad,
Thanks. mhhm,the images there before I wrote it ...

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I can feel the cold air as I read. So clear... this line whisper/shouted to me:

"All they can see are their own memories frozen mid-air among dead leaves."

Thank you.

gautami tripathy said...

A scene which has much to offer, much to conjure..

scrawled sheet of paper

Derrick said...

You have created a very clear picture and a sense of sadness pervading the crisp air.

Zouxzoux said...

A simple yet loaded scene which read very smoothly ~ a delight! Thanks for sharing.

Paul Oakley said...

All they can see are their own memories frozen mid-air among dead leaves.

It is the great problem of human consciousness that, even though HERE and NOW are all we can ever know or experience, most of us spend most of our time on THEN and THERE, past or future and usually elsewhere.

Your poem shows very well the alienation that pervades.

Ana said...

@julie
well, I can capture now better idioms such as "warm up the atmosphere" or "break the ice" as oposed to the chill
@gautami, derrick, zouxzoux
thanks
@Paul O.
Yes, but the alienation is here much needed and one needs to take the time to accept it if one cannot understand it

briarcat said...

I have dreams like this. Cinematic and weighted with meanings beyond the obvious.
I like this very much.

Cynthia Short said...

This odes seem like a dream, most of it very clear, but with a mist around the edges. The line about the river of the dead was perfect...

davidmoolten said...

I like the way the poem is easy and large with its lines, a prose poem, which is patient about gathering its fictional details. The effect is peaceful. Then it narrows as you introduce the "I" in the poem, and then widens again (like a river), with a whole new perspective. Great shifts in tone and point of view.

anthonynorth said...

A haunting scene in places. Intriguing.

Ana said...

@Barbara
Strangely, but most of my dreams are from a Freudian perspective a child's dreams: very explicit in their meaning. It is when I dream with my eyes open that I build a meaning into another meaning...
@Cynthia,
Thank you. rivers carrying dead bodies are quite common for war areas...and not only.
@David
I appreciate that you noticed the meanders: from the common images to something bigger, wider...history is like a river that holds the same water twice. Or maybe like a long and narrow lake: it just gives you the impression that it flows.
@Anthony
Haunting, yes, for it is also about ghosts

Linda said...

It is interesting to speculate on what other observable people are thinking or feeling. I loved the way your poem connected to the natural elements weaving in and out of the scene. The colours are rich and and the mood is sombre. Thank you Ana.

Julie said...

Beautiful. I love all of the details, and the observations of the narrator. And maybe the men are watching her as she is observing them. That is very interesting. I've always wondered if people can tell when I'm watching them, as writers tend to do. Lovely work.

Ana said...

@Linda.thanks
@Julie. I know...I am afraid they do (notice). And I am also worried they might think I am stalking them :)but I got no complains, yet...