Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Monsters

I am recycling. Below is a blog entry that I first published in 2007. I was a new blogger then and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted my blog to be. It surprises me that it has turned into such a political place. Initially I planned to write about the foibles of life, share the things that made me laugh or cry.

I wrote this poem on 9/11, sometime that night. I had been on the telephone with my sister and she told me that her husband, Bob, had commented on the need to connect that was inspiring Americans across the nation to reach out and embrace one another. He also observed how sad it was that the sense of unity wouldn't last, that far too many of us would soon return to divisive mistrust, to an antipathy towards the suffering of others,  to a willingness to do violence against others, and to a selfish disregard of anyone's needs other than our own. I couldn't stop thinking about what Bob had said and the poem below was the result of my mulling over his astute insight into human nature.

There Be Monsters

The images on the screen kick you in the guts,
...smoke and ash…smoke and ash...

Smoke rises from the oil,
onions, peppers, a little garlic
a woman in her kitchen
stirring, preparing
her eyes on the clock
always on the clock.

On the flickering screen, horror and hate,
smoke and ash...

She grips the spoon,
absorbs herself in tomatoes and basil,
listens for the footsteps, the metal on metal of key and lock.

"Did you hear...have you seen...all those people..."
her voice falls into the silence of expectation.

"A shame," he tells her, "a damn shame."

His words match her horror,
together watching smoke and ash...smoke and ash

But there is too much salt or too little,
too much basil or not enough,
always too much or too little.

She surrenders to the horror of the fist in the face,
wraps herself in smoke and ash
knowing that the monsters are always under the bed.

Sheria Reid


Anonymous said...

That poem has an unnameable unease for me...but in a good way, if that makes any sense.

I'm often pretty far from you on the political fence, but your personal-auto-bio writing has always been a favorite of mine. When you did an excerpt on a book you were writing it overpowered me. ~Mary

Nance said...

I have managed to get through all of yesterday and almost this much of today without crying. Most of the posts I've read have been very direct and graphic or direct and sad or just direct. This poem did me in, dear. What a thing.