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NaPoWriMo Day 11 Prompt for Thursday, April 11, 2013 April 10, 2013

April 10, 2013

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
– George Eliot

“Screw the fear.”
– Jo Leigh

NaPoWriMo Day 11 is nearly here. Write a poem or two or three. Continue writing, start writing today, challenge yourself, others and share your writes.

Prompt 11–
Ekphrastic poem. Type art romanticism into a view images search engine. You should see hundreds of paintings. Find one that inspires a poem. Write the poem and Share the link of the painting/image.

Prompt #9 was to write a poem in the voice of someone who is unable to write

Survivor
By Christopher J. Jarmick

Every day it crosses my mind
to say something
write something
of what I can’t forget.

I don’t want to think about it,
I wake up sweating, teeth clenched
covering my mouth so I don’t scream
my heart racing too fast.
I pray for it to stop.

The things I’ve seen
burned through my eyes
into my brain.
I’ve scratched at them
but as I feel the stinging pain
I can’t continue
can’t tear my own flesh
let alone pluck out my eyes
And it’s too late
My eyes have already seen
and my mind replays it
like a slow motion torture breaking me down.
…except I want to tell

I know I live to remember
to tell others, but the time isn’t right,
I do not know the words,
how to speak them, how to write them
and I must learn to forget, to bury my
feelings, but no no… that I can not do, can not say,
that is the worst choice of words I have
ever thought…I must not think of covering
anything up…..

I will find the safe
place, the food, the warmth, the
beauty of a sunset without being
terrified of the night and sleep and
dreams that explode in my head
terrifying me awake.

I understand without knowing their exact
branding of pain those on the streets with me–
the ones who saw too much in wars they
fought. Their horror shows they witnessed,
they like me drink too much to keep
the movie inside our heads out of focus.
I understand too the terror of those who were
tortured, abused by family, parents,
siblings, bullies, who have run away for
survival and keep running
always afraid.

Afraid of the dark, afraid of strangers,
afraid especially of smiles and kindness
because these were the things that
once fooled them, left them exposed
so others destroyed them, turning trust
and faith and innocence into weaknesses
and they must keep the courage left to run and hide,
stay in the shadows, keep to themselves
Keep everyone away. And there’s little left
to let them stand tall, confident, believe in
anything but how dangerous every movement
can be. Fear swallowing hope.

I’ve stood at the edge of bridges
Cliffs, buildings
closed my eyes
praying I’ll fly
and for a few seconds
be lost in the sensation of falling.
I’ve lost consciousness
lost track of time
heard voices of strangers
I never heard before
Voices outside my head
Voices I could not remember
Angels
How beautiful I think
these new unfamiliar voices
not part of my nightmare
How beautiful these voices,..

Then I wake up in strange places
In hospitals,
In shelters
In trash bins
In doorways
Without a clue
How I got there.
It’s not my time,
I suffer for those who
can’t suffer
My madness
is alive
punishment for
survival.
Why me?
Why me?

I know there are words
That may someday manifest
That I might write down
And until I forget this
this speck of hope,
this splinter of purpose
keeps me going
keeps me suffering
day after day
night after night
trying to forget
trying to reach the emptiness
that eludes me
because I am cursed with
guilt, visions of men trapped
in cold and ice
dying because they waited,
did what they were told
and the trains stopped running,
the snow kept falling
then slid down steep inclines
burying most
sparing just a few.
Months of digging out the bodies
Closure for surviving family members
Friends.
Some had waited for
loved ones travelling to arrive
Wondering if they had by some
miracle, missed their train, got
off at Leavenworth, were not
among the dead.

I had no one waiting.
Friends died.
I survived.

Why me?
Why me?
Why?

A forgotten survivor, of the deadliest Avalanche in history, perhaps a railroad worker. The Wellington Avalanche of March 1, 1910, near Stevens Pass is still the deadliest in U.S. history, with 96 lives lost. A mail train, and a passenger train, got stuck in one of those terrible 100 year snow storms travelling between Leavenworth and Seattle through the Cascades. 100s of Railroad men worked for several days to try and clear the tracks of drifting snow ahead of the trains…and then tragedy struck.

Note: I happen to be working on a project involving performance, dance, music and poetry that will take place at the end of August or beginning of September to be performed on a Saturday and Sunday at the Snoqualmie Train depot and will incorporate trains and touch upon things like the Avalanche, Orphan Trains, and the culture and history and trains. The project is an idea by Joan Laage who included several others to help her develop it, write it, —bring it to life and I’m honored to be among several who are working on this unique challenging work. This prompt poem will not necessarily be part of the performance or be read at the event—but who knows, maybe it will be revised and worked into it if it feels right.

Copyright© Christopher J. Jarmick 2013

The root of the word Poetry is from the Greek ποιέω (poieō), “‘I
make’”). , poiesis, meaning a “making” or ‘creation’

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Poetry is Everything

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Christopher J. Jarmick is a Seattle based writer, very active in the Northwest Poetry Community. His latest book is called IGNITION; Poem Starters, Septolets, Statements & Double Dog Dares. Click on it to find out more about it.

Copyright© Christopher J. Jarmick 2013

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