‘Beneath Collapse’ by Jeff Bagato

sc july 18

earthquake scenes 1999

1. Earthquaking

The rock judgment
subduction
liquifies soul of planet,
improvising
arrangement of landscape,
improving
visual field by introducing

SPACE

where once had been lives

Spring must follow a fall,
but without a rainbow
can we rebuild
in haste?

We are overtaken
by earth desire
for
evolution

2. Dead ends

Bones shattered—
corpse of a young woman
twisted beneath
ceiling &
bed,
body covered
by gray concrete dust;
scores of urban
dead ends
follow

3. No voices

No
computers no
running water no
electricity no
functioning phones no
blankets no
authorities no
nothing no
food no
morgue room no
homes no
electricity no
ground no

yesterday, many
people screamed from inside &
today we hear no

voices

4. Psychology of Urban Design

trapped under dead
end blocks,
urban
concrete, gray pulverized dust
piles electricity
under the rubble, bodies
amputated

between
the ceiling &
the bed

5. In haste

We’re digging into
the concrete with our hands
where the sirens:
ambulance
women
babies
bulldozers
televisions
helicopters
priests
automobiles
cops
refineries
presidents
newspapers

plummet-
ed to the ground
in less than a minute—
separated floors look like
slices of bread
slapped together in haste

6. From the void

the hole was larger now.

Thousands of people believed
buried from inside,
row upon row,

slabs of nothing
wide-eyed

from the void

7. A new ceiling

Bones slide
carrying them along;
neighborhoods
were downed,
amputated,
missing—
blocked
by power lines,
rubble,
naval officers,
electricity,
the dead,
television,
concrete

her bedroom collapsed
a very long time;
there was this deep & long shudder

the ceiling became the ground,
the ground,
the ceiling

8. Balconies are vision structures

the false move
surrounds the day;
corpses rage out of control;
the police
eating watermelon

bells of orange sound
billowed hundreds
of feet in a thick smoke;
sirens collapse
on themselves

the cries of babies dig
into the concrete;
the flattened,
desperate buildings
walking into the water,
arms &
legs
uplifting

FLAME

9. Among the debris

Judgment long;
the I dead—
neighborhoods missing

huge like foam, and over—
food, people, rubble
survived, remain trapped
with concrete closed;
aftershocks of surrounding
dead powerlines
debris

slow space mistake

10. Aftershocks

Can you dispose of corpses
with a prayer,
with a shovel, with a book,
a bucket of lime and
a fire?
Thousands

of bodies surface
daily, commanding
urgent
attention

the aroma of human
rises in a thick mist,
like the morning

A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. Some of his poetry and visuals have recently appeared in Empty Mirror, Otoliths, Brave New Word, Angry Old Man, and Midnight Lane Boutique. Some short fiction has appeared in Gobbet, Danse Macabre, and The Colored Lens. He has published nineteen books, all available through the usual online markets, including Savage Magic (poetry) and The Toothpick Fairy (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.com.

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