Bohdan Piasecki is a performance poet from Poland who currently lives in England. In 2003, he started the first poetry slam series in his country, introducing Poles to spoken word and creating a new platform for a whole generation of performers. Since then, Bohdan has travelled around the world with his poetry; he represented Poland at the 2007 Poetry Slam World Cup in Paris (and was the only European poet to reach the finals), proudly wore the title of the 2008 Hammer & Tongue Oxford Season Slam Champion, and was an artist in residence at the European Poetry Slam Days in Berlin in 2009. He is currently touring Europe with “Smoke and Mirrors”, a multilingual circus show of poetry and music. He also has a keen interest in literary translation, and actively pursues collaborations with artists from fields as varied as photography, video, music, and dance. Bohdan derives a perverse pleasure from inflicting poems in Polish on unsuspecting international audiences. He has a tendency to speak too much, enjoys walking, but loathes chewing gum, and hopes against all odds to learn to play bass one day. He also finds writing about himself in the third person has lost a lot of its lustre and novelty since the advent of social networking sites.
Almost Certainly It’s almost certainly impossible, To appreciate the sheer abstract beauty of an explosion, but I like to picture it As an intricate game of pinball: a single atom suddenly propelled forward Bounces back and forth, shedding electrons on the way, And hurtles through the massive gaps in what we think is a solid thing, a unit, an unalterable whole, a grain of gunpowder, say. Until suddenly – MULTIBALL! With a flash of multicoloured light, the others come alive, and then Things become much too fast to follow Everything turns restless, and frantic, and twitchy, and as they start moving faster and faster they leave behind them trails of light, pthey weave and turn together and draw an orchid, a fiery flower that you only see bloom once. It’s almost certainly intolerable, To try and hear the music in the noise of an explosion, but I like to imagine it As that moment in a song when the bass line finally kicks in, after the introductory Clicks and clacks of the drumsticks smack the edge of the snare and the closed hi-hat. And you’ve heard too many songs not to know what’s coming But when the obligatory muffled power-chord finally bursts out with overwhelming power Triggered by the detonating kick drum, The sound still reaches down through your throat and grips your stomach tightly. You cannot be ready, you can never be ready for this. It’s almost certainly immaterial, What the weather was like at the time of an explosion, but in my mind, I see an old sepia snapshot of a perfect summer’s afternoon, with the weather all the better Because you have to supply your own blue for the sky, conjure up your own white for the clouds, your own faded red for the crumbling bricks, your own brown For the strange stains on the pavement. There are no people in the picture, the exposure was too long, Well, Maybe here and there a blur, the slightest hint of a presence: a hand that lingered on a doorknob, a hesitating foot. But no more. It’s almost certainly irrelevant, One life lost in an explosion; but I like to believe that somewhere, someone refuses to acknowledge numbers like two hundred thousand or eighty-five percent, and instead They chronicle meticulously The misplaced cobblestones, the frantic flight of startled birds, the words still legible on the singed letters spilled from a leather bag, the balletic grace of a body flying through the air, trailing blood like an afterthought, in a perfect summer afternoon. They will know she was twenty-nine; that the day before, she had written a soppy love letter to her husband; that she hadn’t seen her two sons for a week; that she woke up light-headed that day, believing against all evidence that things might just work out this time. And I like to imagine that just before the shrapnel hit she stopped with her hand on a doorknob, balancing on one foot, thinking she had just heard The beginning of a song. Bohdan Piasecki, February 2010
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
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