Jordan Stempleman

People as Monuments

This is my poem for Sean Starowitz's People as Monuments series.

PEOPLE AS MONUMENTS

              for Sean Starowitz

FELIX, THIS IS YOUR FRIEND

I’m asking you to speak otherwise really otherwise

Beyond this history preoccupied living otherwise

Could the toppling of monuments be the commemorative

Russia has always been occupied

And preoccupied by its monuments

Has a history of destroying them

We fear we may vanish with them inconveniently obliterated

Think otherwise in a silent room

Think otherwise

Occupied and preoccupied by its monuments

And has a history of destroying them

There was once a statue blown up beside the weak river

Rather it’s as if it has overcome death

It is as if one pulls down an old building

And puts up a modern copy in its violence

Creators of the city this in a country toppling

To think otherwise in a silent room

Think otherwise

Occupied and preoccupied by its monuments

And has a history of destroying them

The space finally filled by a public sphere

Dramatic fictions within the social sphere

Inscribed around the base they read

"FELIX, THIS IS YOUR FREIND"

They climb onto the statue wrap a chain around its neck

Like a ghost stuck to the beginning of sky

And feel what it feels like when people overdo it

I wanted to break the cycle by not eliminating the monuments

But by handling their outside differently

Think otherwise in a silent room

Think otherwise

Occupied and preoccupied by its monuments

It has a history of destroying them

A kind of conservation that accepts successive changes

The statue of Felix renamed unremarkable for awhile

The statue wrapped a chain around its neck

Until it went beyond itself beyond the impulse to commemorate

An epoch event ideology figure

Until it coughed itself in half

What happens when our old loves cough themselves to pieces

So they then speak to us of who they really are

Felix I’m talking about memory

And apart from the monument

In memory of what to do with the future

What one world sounds like

Without its laudatory monologue

Felix this is a kind of recurring nightmare

Felix I’m tired of our memorial age

Think otherwise in a silent room

Think otherwise occupied and preoccupied

By our monuments and our world

And its history of destroying them

 

 

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear “Live by Water”

(Source: youtube.com)

Jordan Stempleman, 'Song 7583479 '