Friday, September 07, 2007

"Embedded Poet" Brian Turner: Vermont

Brian Turner earned his writing credentials -- an MFA -- then enlisted in the US armed forces. Touring in Bosnia-Herzegovina, then in Iraq, he vividly painted the grit and heartbeat of his experiences into the poems of his award-winning collection, HERE, BULLET.

He'll be in Vermont in October: Kingdom Books is hosting his events in the Northeast Kingdom on Thursday October 25. We'll provide a schedule later. Meanwhile, to see his PBS presentation (yes, he's been on public radio and public TV), click here.

And here's a pair of Brian Turner poems:


If a body is what you want,
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta's opened valves, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you've started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel's cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue's explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.


The ghosts of American soldiers
wander the streets of Balad by night,

unsure of their way home, exhausted,
the desert wind blowing trash
down the narrow alleys as a voice

sounds from the minaret, a soulful call
reminding them how alone they are,

how lost. And the Iraqi dead,
they watch in silence from rooftops
as date palms line the shore in silhouette,

leaning toward Mecca when the dawn wind blows.

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