Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Stay Positive: Every Seed of the Pomegranate by David Allen Sullivan

I was introduced to the collection of poetry above via Sandy Longhorn's blog Myself the Only Kangaroo Among the Beauty. 

Every Seed of the Pomegranate by David Allen Sullivan is a book of poems I've revisited over the past couple of months because the verse is powerful stuff. 

Sullivan chose to write all of the poems with the haiku form functioning as the poems' stanzas. The book is about the Iraq War.

As noted in the final paragraph of the preface, Sullivan gives the impetus for the collection: "I wrote these poems to help myself see beyond the simplistic labels of PTSD and jihadism, xenophobia and patriotism, and to imagine looking through others' eyes. I hope they become part of the ongoing dialogue that is the only way to begin healing the wounds--physical, psychological, social, and cultural--we suffer from in both countries. Poetry can create opportunities for empathy and understanding; it is one way to re-see ourselves, and the ones we too often see as the other." 

Below are some snippets from selected poems to pique your interest. The ones with an omniscient narrator or from an American are left-justified. The ones from an Iraqi are right-justified.


The day the prisons

opened all over Iraq
the eyes of the dead

rolled back. The living

massed at the gates...

Kurdish House on Fire

No tears mark these days.

After Saddam's soldiers left
she burned the bedsheets.

Ahmed Abu All, Shopkeeper

The imam and I
clasped hands and advanced. He said
We must speak with these

misled Americans.
As we stepped close, the turrets
and guns turned on us.

Born on the Fourth of July, in Honduras

He remembered that boy

he'd been, as he dove into
the swimming pool where

Saddam's portrait grinned,

chipped mosaic rippling.
He was American

now, proud to join up...

Lieutenant Colby Buzzel, Sniper, Stryker Brigade

... I felt nothin' but glad

when I stood over

his body, crumpled

like he was hugging his rifle.
Take a picture, dick.

Omar Yousef Hussein, Historian

We unspooled the wire,

filled in the thin ditch, 
waited for the Americans.
It took half the day.

Afternoon was done
when someone spied the Humvee--
back then they didn't

travel in packs but
alone. When the wires touched...

Time Stands Still

For a Casio

that set the Marines jabbering;
it was the first thing

confiscated, first

reason suspicions were raised.
It remains, plastic wrapped,

labeled evidence,

in a Guantanamo desk,
while Kabir hunkers

in detention's night,

Baggage Claim

Today we can't stomach

what we made others do
to others we know less. 


Sandy Longhorn said...

Glad you enjoyed it!

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

Thanks for recommending it.