Bonfire, Atlantis, 15000 B.C.

This is one of two poems written for Read Write Poem #91: The Self As Memory, Or Vice Versa. This prompt was courtesy of guest celebrity poet Joseph O. Legaspi and invited us to, using two of his photographs and memories we want to either remember or forget, freewrite and compose two poems. This poem was the “what I want to remember” category. I stretched back to a previous lifetime for this one and took some poetic license, using some descriptive phrases from picture #2. Whatever you happen to believe about reincarnation does not matter — I hope you enjoy the poem.

And after you read this, I invite you to read poem #2.



Let’s crucify death tonight. Let’s pin
that motherfucker to the wall. This bonfire
now crackles before our faces, calls our feet
colored in brown, peach, pale yellow, burnt sienna, and sable
to spell out our names in letters of elation
as we encircle this exploding insane flower
of flame. We’ll pound our joy
into the solid back of Earth tonight. We’ll go pre-verbal,
speaking in some crazy, proto-human dialect
of shriek, moan, shout, bark, whoop, and cackle
in the hope that by sheer exuberance
we’ll keep this fire burning. Owls will perch
above in the dark canopies, staring at us
with confused eyes of polished moonstone,
and the wild, moon-moaning flute music of wolves
will guide our frantic explosion of
soul-scream song.

There is no Auschwitz here, no Salem,
no Montgomery, no Saigon, no Amritsar –
and Fallujah
cannot even cast her war-baited breath here. They
have not been born yet. Right now, this is us,
naked and glorified,
chasing away the desolation from
between the darkened trees, as if it had even dared
to collect in their ancient, brown-barked arms. These sentinels,
they will not be goblets of wanton longing –
but for us, chalices of life,
carrying our echo in their fingers –
those spindly, tan twigs bedecked with green leaf
and bejeweled with shiny, olive cabochons; and these fruits,
their skins are soaking with life and oil
and colored in black, wine, eggplant, and green.

And the fire – this mutating lion’s mane
of orange and gold with a rage all its own –
calls our noses
with the acrid, carbon-soaked, brown and savory smell
of wood expiring within its curls (how could you
not smell the burning?). Light bursts forth
from its center in every direction
like an orange, translucent trapezoid. This is the halo,

and we have become angels here,

messengers of life
with our strange song: our midnight saturnalia
sends up a collective barbaric yawp in the color of sonic fire,
that yawp emitting
from the light vibrating inside each of our ribcages – and this light
is only caged up inside bone
so it may power our suits of skins
and hard drive brains.

Written 9/8/09
© 2009 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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10 Responses to Bonfire, Atlantis, 15000 B.C.

  1. Pingback: Dream, Ohio, 2009 A.D. « Raven’s Wing Poetry

  2. I love the thought of crucifying death..

    misty, dusty

  3. barbara_y says:

    Even in the midst of the ecstasy, you remember the wrongs of the present by negating them. That’s how memory works. Nicely done.

  4. Annamari says:

    i love the passion, the force…the first stanza is a celebration.

  5. This has many wonderful echoes for me. What a great opening line too. Some great visuals, including:

    Owls will perch
    above in the dark canopies, staring at us
    with confused eyes of polished moonstone,

    It makes me want to seek out a nearby saturnalia 🙂

  6. davidmoolten says:

    I like the celebratory crudeness of this and the hint that there is a moral superiority (ala Rousseau) in the primitive and irrational (to Salem, Auschwitz etc.).

  7. Irene says:

    Full of explosive power, Nicole.

  8. nathan says:

    “The wild, moon-moaning flute music of wolves” is great. There’s a real sense of phantasmic here.

  9. “war baited-breath” a stinger nicole. much to enjoy about this entire scene and environment, a nice sci-fi look into humanity. also particularly enjoyed the naming of cities, an acute aspect of history that serves the progression of the piece well. pints up to the weekend, thanks for the read. -lawrence

  10. Erin says:

    You grabbed me from the first two lines. This is just great–joyous and mindful of the dark places in history.

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