This week’s submissions for Syntax Sundays feature the juxtaposition of violent and soft imagery and sound. The works of Karley Saagi and Quinn Flom capture the tension of raw human emotion in their own unique, bittersweet manner.
According to author Karley Saagi, her poem Birth Eater is about “the suicide of a pregnant prostitute and the ending scenes of her and her son’s life, as the strangling surroundings and judgement of the world have haunted her for too long.” This piece is both shocking and gentle, evident in the brutality of the content within a sonnet structure. The contrast of verbs and imagery has a jarring affect on the reader, especially the almost-angelic lull of the closing line.
Scarlet cascaded down her paling wrist;
Spread open like the legs of a harlot.
Juxtaposed red on chilling porcelain.
Eighteen years, and the bath is spilling.
Fragile last breaths thrust from her empty chest.
A name never called but two hearts beat inside
Mother, mother, this life put us to shame.
The son from her womb to be the sun of her sky,
Why now? Stubborn hatred drowns her frail mind.
One lonely night when two intertwined,
Two dull drugged minds that should never collide.
Money’s not worth the price of innocence.
He kicks twice, but the end is forever.
Arms on stomach interlace, as two deaths embrace.
In creases, Quinn Flom, a second year Arts and Contemporary Studies student at Ryerson U, is able to utilize the rhythm of alliteration and stark, honest visuals to engage the reader in both the smoothest and roughest moments of the narrator. The hardness of the ‘c’ is nicely contrasted by the lustful ‘l’ sounds, and the lack of punctuation and grammatical precision is both interlocking and diminishing.
my knuckles are raw, cracked red
from nights spent scouring
the memory of your fingertips
from my skin
when i think of my body
i think of your hands
mapping longitudes and latitudes
delving into delicate centers
tearing me open
a fleshy wound
a dimly lit room
fists clenched to reveal white knuckles
as you slip between the cracks
in the deepest places