“Moscow metro bombs kill dozens” (Christopher A. White)

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Moscow bombed–
my abdomen’s solidity
goes missing

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Headlines:

“Moscow metro bombs kill dozens” (The Guardian)

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Poem by Christopher A. White (see poet biographies). Read more by this poet.

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^ 6 Comments...

  1. Laurence Stacey

    This is a stunner Chris! I knew when I first saw this poem that it was definitely going into Haiku News. I like the parallel between the structure of buildings collapsing and your stomach becoming unsettled or losing its own shape. Very nice!

  2. Chris White

    Thank you Laurence, I’m glad you enjoyed this aspect of it :) As you note, the poem is an attempt to express the physical response of my body to reading this particular piece of news.

    It was an odd moment for me, not least because there have been countless times in the past where I’ve read about horrific events and not had such a notable response. I think this particular effect was partly brought about due to the fact that I was reading live news updates, and I knew that the events were literally taking place on another part of the globe as I read words that were printed about them. (I also find news like this has a stronger effect on my generally than it used to – my sensitivity to it has been developing.) Other versions of this poem tried to capture that particular aspect of the experience, but didn’t develop into much. I think something of that does still remain in this version though.

    What is also interesting is that the effect wasn’t just on my stomach, it extended into my body and into my surroundings. My body felt like it lost its “solidity”, and my surroundings also seemed to lose something of their physicality too. I hoped to capture something of that feeling.

    Thanks for your kind words :)

  3. Robyn E. Kenealy

    Reading this poem, I’m reminded of reading Art Spiegelman’s ‘in the shadow of no towers.’ For a little while, in that story, on 9/11, his daughter was missing, and he was looking for her. I felt that in my body too. And then I think about what you’ve written, Chris and I think… I think that “missing” was a good choice of word.

  4. Chris White

    Robyn, thank you for your thoughtful comments. It’s interesting to hear about your similar experience whilst reading Spielgman’s work. It must have had a real impact on you. I haven’t read anything by him, though I’ve heard about Maus. I’m sure I’ll get round to reading it at some point.

    I’m really glad you responded to “missing” – I think that, from my own point of view, that is probably the most important word in the poem. It’s nice to know that it came to prominence for someone else too.

    Thanks again :)

  5. Robyn E. Kenealy

    No worries :)

    ‘Shadow of No Towers’ is really great, and I would totally recommend that (as well as ‘Maus’) because it’s wonderful to read someone.. it’s not that he doesn’t take sides, because he has a very strong position on the Iraq war, he’s very against it, and he actively loathes all of the fear-mongering in the media. But it’s written through this lense of understanding, and knowing exactly what all this feeling terrified is all about, because he WAS -he IS – that afraid. It’s very compassionate, like Springsteen’s ‘Devils and Dust’ (and you know I’m showering you with heavy respect when I start referencing Springsteen. Laurence will tell you – there is no higher praise!)

  6. Chris White

    I’ll certainly have a look when I get the time. It sounds very interesting, and I enjoy ideas which have a hesitancy about them – if that’s the sort of thing you mean about him not being someone who doesn’t take sides exactly, but…

    So he’s up to Springsteen’s standards then? Laurence, what does this mean? haha.

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