Thursday, July 21, 2011

Susan Brennan's "Poets Against the War"/from SPLIT THIS ROCK

Poets Against the War

We stand at the Capitol
seized in snapshots
of curious tourists

our rumpled posters reflect
in an officer's shades as he speaks
so softly it surprises me

asking us to step off the sidewalk
his voice as a shepherd beckons
his flock, his accent sunned in Southern

syllables. Maybe "sheep" is not the most
desirable metaphor for human protestors
but clumped with the others I let go

of my small life to be a cluster
warmed by fellow shoulders
our faces a brief constellation of togetherness.

In the February chill as the Capitol
glows lunar behind us, our silence
mushrooms into a vortex

a great ear hinged to the cold skull of the sky.
Poets, watchers, news camera, officers,
residents hurrying by on their cells, callers

on the other end of those phones -- pinched
together in an irrevocable clay.
From the far end of Lafayette Park a drove

of starlings twists and wheels
silver flash under wings, black top feathers
sweep the space between us and the sun

as if to clean the sky
of blood and bone wind-born.
I'm not listening to the birds now clamped

to a single tree top, chattering whether
to stay or move on; I'm not listening to the listening,
the fruit of silence; I'm not listening to the deaf bell

stamping its hard thick notes to the downward wind --
I'm listening to the war. To its silence.
It sounds like peace, it sounds like rest;

but it is hollow, it is the whole endless groan
of mothers who have lost their motherhood.

- Susan Brennan
Used by permission.

Susan Brennan's poems appear in various publications. Her manuscript, Sweet Demons has been nominated as a finalist for several book awards. Vegas,a film she co-wrote, premiered in competition at the Venice and Tribeca Film Festivals.Her script for the web series Verse, a poetry murder mystery was awarded first place at the LA Webfest for dramatic script. She received her MFA in Poetry at NYU and is a yoga teacher. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Ed.

Brennan was on the panels The Yogic Path to Poetry and Off the Page and Into the Streets - Reports From the Field at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2008 and attended 2010.

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