Doing something different today. A few months ago, I came across a blogger that was hosting a weekly poetry prompt. Inspiration hit me and I submitted a short poem. I did not save that poem, but it is out there in the blog-o-sphere somewhere. If you can find it, you are a better searcher than I. A few weeks later, I got a request asking if I wanted to join with some other poetry writers and submit poems on a separate blog. I had been reading about exploring other forms of writing as a challenge and a way to improve in the craft. I agreed and promptly forgot about it.
This morning, I received my invitation to submit poems to a new blog. http://kintsugiart.wordpress.com/ Right now, the blog is private. I do not know the plans for the blog, I do not know any of the poets on the blog, I don’t know the purpose of the blog, nor do I know the hostess. No one consulted me in the creation of this group, what I know is I got an e-mail inviting me to join the group.
I feel kind of guilty because it seems to be a gathering of some very experienced poets. I don’t think the hostess, Kim Koning knew what she was getting when she asked if I wanted to participate. I have reviewed some of the poems, and I am way out of my league. Big Joe always accuses me of sandbagging and playing down my writing. Trust me when I say that I have never considered this as a form that has held my interest before. But I am true to my word, and I will participate. I am fully invested and am perfectly willing to embarrass myself.
I am listed as a contributing member on the blog site. I fully expect that this will be my one and only submission to the blog. When these folks read my dribble, I am sure I will be asked to keep all future submissions to myself. The site is called kintsugiart. This is a Japanese word that describes a form of art. I think the word means a piece of pottery or fine china that has been broken and then repaired. The repairs are imperfect, held together with staples, chord or other imperfect means. These repairs were first done in the 15th century and quickly became a new art form in the Japanese society. Today they are highly collectable. I just learned the meaning of this word today by reading the blog.
The point of the poetry is to explore our human flaws, imperfection, and other dark sides of our personality. By giving these feelings a voice, they become a part of our collective psyche. In doing so they will take on a new status as an art form. Much like flawed pottery, they will hopefully be collectable. I am like everyone else, I have experienced every emotion in humanity. But I can’t write fake words about pain in my life because I am live the perfect life. I am blessed in every way imaginable. I see little productive use to attempting to draw on feelings that quite honestly I do not have.
I am no stranger to real hurt. I have several friends at this very second are experiencing some sort of emotional crisis. I correspond with them often and constantly tell them to call when they need something. I take a walk with them daily, either in person or in my thoughts and prayers. I thought about writing about their struggles, but that isn’t right. Their feelings are theirs and it isn’t my place to assume to be able to put their words into a public forum.
I realized that I have at least fifteen people that I can speak for. These fifteen people have been with me for the last three years. I feel that I know them as well as I know my wife and kids. These men and women are the characters in my book. They are dark, moody and have experienced the horrors of war, first hand. They struggle with life and they deal with the very worst of society. A reveling line earlier in the book is this. “Everyone wants to be on the tip of the spear. The tip gets the bloodiest.” Like most characters, most of their past lives will never make the novel. There just isn’t room and the reader doesn’t need to know everything. But the character still knows what happened.
For this first attempt, I am going to write about John. John is a former member of the US Army, serving as a Ranger, a sniper, and as an operator in the Delta Force. He has been in more wars that we have had wars. He is described by the people that knew him in the past as the Perfect Killing Machine. He has killed more people than the United States justice system has executed in its history. But he changed, the weight of the killing finally took its toll and he had to find redemption. He returned to the religion of his youth and is a fervent, believer.
In the scene that I am currently working on in the novel, John is meeting with a former friend. His friend has heard that John changed his ways, but his friend isn’t sure. His friend tests John to see if the rumors are true and if this John is the same person he knew years ago. This is something that we all have to deal with. We all change, but it is most noticeable to people we haven’t seen in years. Like going to a high school reunion or a funeral, change happens. How we deal with that change defines who we are.
I will provide a small sample of the conversation between John and his friend. Then I will describe John’s pivotal moment in poetry form. Please forgive me; I know nothing about iambic parameter, allegory, couplet, or rising meter. I just looked up these words by the way even though I have no idea what they mean. I am sure I will embarrass myself, please don’t allow me to embarrass you. I will be back to the regularly scheduled programing on the next post.
From The Unpublished Novel “Soldiers Of God.” John’s friend Vice Commander LT Jen Dato’ Abd Abdul Ariffin of the Malaysian Army speaks the first line.
“I never thought you would become a mercenary.”
“General, I believe the proper terminology is an employee of a Private Military Corporation.”
“My friend, you can call it what you want. But a whore is still a whore.”
“General, I have not sold out. We are not whores. We are servants. We serve humanity with a Bible and a sword.”
The General stared at John. “How long since you killed someone?”
“Over two years.”
“Why so long, did you run out of targets? Do you miss the thrill of taking a life that does not belong to you?”
“The weapon misfired. General, it made me into a new man. I have been washed in the blood, I stand perfect and blameless in the sight of my Living Savior…”
Middle of the night, stop for gas
Nowhere to go, all alone thinking about the past
The ones who should care, exercised the pain from the years of neglect
Like a laser, the girl gave her adolescent rage to a man she didn’t know
Like a sponge the father wallowed in it, saving the worst of the worst for his emotional backpack
In previous days he transferred the imperfections to others, making them his offering for redemption
In current days the guilt ate at his soul like a termite, burrowing deep into his new pillars of faith
Distraction, unexpected commotion from behind, a whiff of danger to revive
Like a moth to a flame, trained to move towards the sounds of anger
Walking into battle feeling immune to risk, armed only with his wrath and wits
The skinny man yelled, hurling disrespects at his woman
An abused spouse took it to heart, it angered the man who was once called Fart
Like a misguided superhero, he intervened not silent just deadly
Never a care about doing right, he provoked the kid into action because he wanted to fight
The wonderful reaction was not implied, subtle or intelligent, the boy raised the gun to fire in anger
Hands up in mock surrender, it gave the boy a false ease
The snake was coiled, striking when he pleased
The cobra hit hard, tossed the boy onto his back
In the blink of the eye, a heavy price to pay for his disrespect
Looking at the business end of the gun, the boy saw the grim reaper finishing the work he had done
With no emotion, remorse or regret, the superhero completed the task
Death by lead poisoning, swift, brutal, and final the judgment was not fiction, it was a fact
A single tug on the trigger, four point four pounds to be exact
The last time he did this, the end result of the meeting was a now dead ex-pat
This time an Angel intervened, the end result would forever change his path
The chamber sat empty, the boy didn’t load it right
The hero knew what was wrong, fixed with a jerk on the receiver and a simple re-rack
The half-second pause gave him time to think, he wasn’t murdering an enemy of the state
The child was an American, a citizen of a country he swore to protect
The hero staggered back, with the realization that he no longer wanted to be the perfect instrument of death
The pardoned boy watched with surprise because the man who once loved to kill, cried
Hope you all have a great Independence Day. For my friends overseas, I hope you have a great Thursday. Until next time, keep on rockin’.