MUSIC: IVAN SVETUNKOV ‘MY MOTHER’

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Dear friend of mine, Ivan, has written a song inspired by my recent poem. Its beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time but illustrated horrible divisions within our families on matters of war.

Ivan is also a writer and writes stories, poems and music in both English and Russian. Find more about Ivan here.

Essay: A symbol for being human?

essays

There should always be a symbol for something you own, right?
What about the thoughts, an idea?
What about when you feel warm/cold/hot?
To a child you would have a symbol/ a drawing for everything, would you? For an adult, symbol is politics, right?

What about some letters you choose?
To put on your car, clothes, police shoulders – scary?
It may mean something to them who put it, helps to decide who is the right/wrong one…

They will then mark your house too, with a symbol, over night, quick, so they know which one you are, too…

How would they check my house, you ask, how would they know for sure? They will walk in, rape your wife first, maybe your daughter, son…can you make any sound? Get angry? Hide? The latter perhaps will have spared you then, pray…

She said that I started to write too dark since the war, sharp.
Truth? – I asked.
Maybe…

Truth is ugly, always been, where this phrase even come from? Somewhere where we all been, or will, sooner or later…

While the ordinary worry about their miniature problems you can name yourself: money, promotions, cake choices – other ones choosing to leave to stay, to kill, to bury, to break. While privileged worry about the words they use the describe the horrors of war, the ‘weakest’ and ‘simple’ kneel and been rising again and again, to stand.

Our parents there watching too, not asking questions, justifying all actions as ‘right’, joining evils and tyrants who has no years in there left to face this/to see what they’ve done.

Overnight, simple as that, it was broken. Just after my birthday, the night before which I could not sleep, thinking about the war…

Unimaginable at the start, not believed to have happen by many, has started. How do you get to this, unprepared, how do you face it and then keep living the live as it was before. You can’t.

Your body will age quickly from stress, your sleep won’t be normal for years. You’ll watch every day from an outside, observe with an open heart, observe and imagine, the worst.

The largest gray cloud, like a massive black dog will follow you everywhere, sit next to you, quietly, not barking, no, almost never, so none can see her too. Others will have theirs too, watching quietly, when they too will be allowed to speak, maybe never.

Those who are ‘allowed’ to talk those are scary – or, stupid? Maybe, not really. Victims? Of propaganda, yes. Of poverty, of neglect too. Suddenly those always left behind get a voice, ‘power’ to shape, ‘power’ to mess everybody once and for all, just like they have been messed up – quickly.

What is with us, after all, we all want to be so important, so valuable, we need to break things to be noticed. We think we have/deserved rights for something. Right to speak for only our people but not the ‘others’ – how? They can say, they can speak, others should shut their mouth, labeled as traitors, betrayers, agents?

We all want to be special in this mediocre world. This endless fight to mean something to the outer of yours, work, family, partner, your country – to be loved, to be known…

It never just ends there, does it? Once you have a got a little bit you’ll want a bit more, we all have been there – how do you stop then? How do you moderate this little desire of yours to mean something?

Do you need loving partner from the start or maybe bullying-free school years? Lack of discrimination, being you perfect ‘average’ kind of thing? No broken hearts, money in your parents pocket, then yours too? Absence of things or, maybe opposite, piles of the stuff that you do not even need? What is it really? What doest really make you ‘human’?

Don’t answer me now I am scared to know what is it. As if we all know (don’t!). Perhaps, just forgotten as if we were told and then spoiled by peace, quietness, then just got used to the hell, horror, cannot differentiate anymore what is really does make one ‘human’…

They all will be dressed nice, for the movies, artistic ones too, about wars, there are plenty of them on TV already, what else is left to entertain modern man/woman when real life is so peaceful, so quiet, how can you live without getting bored to death. But don’t worry, they’ll soon romanticize further all that we see now, they’ll make a comedy, called ‘Death of P…’. They won’t understand it just they never did before what a tragedy is has been to a modern world to have a man who thinks that is to achieve the best of the world he want to see ‘right’, there is a need for lies, deaths, ‘cleaning’ and ‘clearing’. All that is seen as a threat to ideas, like that of ‘democracy’. The word, for which people die every day, for the word to mean something for those who have privilege not to care about lost lives – so their words can live longer, can win in a fight for ‘progress’, or die?

How cynical. Is it?

Poem: My mother

poems

Every time I see pictures of the dead bodies,
I think of my mother.
Every time I hear about another war crime,
I think of my mother.
Every time I see tears,
I think of my mother.
I think of my mother,
Who thinks that one day this will lead to good,
Who thinks that one day someone will come and say ‘thanks’,
Who thinks that seventy, seventy percent are with them,
Which means they are right.

My mother who was so afraid –
‘What if the west just had attacked us?’
‘They have been preparing it for years little you know’ -she’d say,
‘Those chemical factories, Nazis – we had to protect ourselves!’.

Every time my heart aches,
My mind breaks,
I think of my mother,
My mother, who cannot see that our future and that of millions of sons and daughters are ruined just now, here and then,
For what?

‘I cannot come home anymore, mother, they won’t let me be free’
‘Why? I don’t think it is true’
‘Our president said that we are betrayers’
‘Oh, no – that’s wasn’t about you!’

Another day of war,
Lost lives – tragedy known for many – obvious one.
I think of my mother ,
Who thinks we are saviors,
Tit for tat preachers,
‘People will thank us – one day, you will see’, she says

Poem: I thought I knew

poems

I thought I knew what the pain is,
I thought it is to be left brokenhearted by someone you love/trust,
I thought it is saying goodbye to a friend, to my mother, whom I see so rarely.
I thought the pain was to stand, to hug in the airport and make promise to be back soon again, when you both know it will be years…
I thought the pain was to be homesick, lonely, not noticed in a big world,
I thought that pain was to lose someone young, someone old, to death…
To stand surrounded by others and mourn another lost life while mourning ours.
Little I knew about pain…

The pain could be somehow the one for all of us, held in a tiny heart of one person, the pain can be heavy, how can you hold it then?
The pain for ALL broken hearts, broken lives, broken hopes, future, right to happiness – taken away in two weeks for millions of those who share same home, same place, same sounds/words of pain too.

Two weeks…

The pain for our humanity, for loss of kindness, wisdom and reason..
The pain of not knowing could I have done something to stop this,
The pain of not knowing when happiness will be here again, when we can we smile without heaviness in the heart/mind/whole body…
How could we?
Blinded by the idea the world always gets better, not notice and not prevent so much pain…
Maybe, because like many, I only thought that I knew what the pain was…

Poem: Knows it All

poems

Someone who knows it all

Can’t hold himself all together when someone speaks,

Trembling with an urge…

‘Let me add here’, ‘let me add there’

I know it all!

Someone who doesn’t know it all,

Often is quiet,

Often sits there waiting,

Patiently letting those, those who speak,

Spill their waters of ignorance, with respect,

Letting them bounce off and on, on and off,

Till they run out, run out of empty words,

Filling the space which was full just before their mouth has opened..

Poem: A Man Who Laughed at the Funeral

poems

I heard the sound behind my back, 

It sounded at first like the bird which tickles the ground

Is someone laughing? Why not?

After all, for once, we are all around.

Isn’t it the time to share?

The true faces, the true feelings of ours?

Left to survive on this tiny Earth

Till someone will come and join with a giggle

Behind our backs again,

Yet, only when we cannot hear,

Cannot share this spirit, 

This fragile fresh air from beating hearts.