30 August 2011

Swallowing the Sun

Text for my part of a performance created by Tom Plsek, Joanne Rice, and Matt Samolis, realized on 8 August, 2011 at Church of the Advent, Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts USA, by around forty musicians and performers, who made 250,000 sound events in the course of one hour. These events correspond to the approximate number of deaths resulting from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, exactly sixty-six years earlier.

100 letter word

rohirohimashimashIhimahimashirashiramahimahishihishihiromaromaroshiroshihimahimashimashimashimashima

haiku

How many are dead?
250 000--
that many are dead

Hiroshima a---
a a a a a a a
Hiroshima a---

One thousand summers'
winds blow as one wind that smashes
all things before it

Red dawn, golden light
blue sky yellow sun, a sound...
white white white white white

Ring around the sun--
ashes ashes ashes ashes a---
now we all fall down

Nuclear fission,
radioactivity,
heat light blast nothing

Ghost radiations
penetrate silently, kill
microscopically

White shadow, black wall,
the light so bright made a print:
the only remains

Summer heat is on.
Great nuclear fission heat--
end of the world heat

Playground equipment
black and twisted in silence
games of nothingness

Summer sun eclipsed
by light so bright, brighter than
twenty thousand suns

How many shadows?
250 000
white shadows, black walls

Summer sky riven
by sound so loud, louder than
twenty million screams

Little white bone
charred around its edges:
whose finger were you?

August Rhapsody.
Kurosawa remembered
fearful destruction

I, young boy, reading
"The Effects of Atomic
Weapons". How could they?

We thought a million
men would die while invading
but we can't be sure

Some historians
say Japan was near collapse
so why not just wait

This evil commenced
(bombing civilian targets)
before the a-bombs

The killing affects
the victims but it also
affects the killers

Nagasaki i---
i i i i i i I
Nagasaki i---

Mountains of ashes
250 000
corpses in two heaps

I walk

I walk through ashes
crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch
ashes pass through me

I walk through vapors
whish whish whish whish whish whish whish
vapors pass through me

I walk through xrays
zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz
xrays slice through me

i walk through blast wave
hwoom! hwoom! hwoom! hwoom! hwoom! hwoom! hwoom!
blast wave shatters me

I walk through great heat
sssss sssss sssss sssss sssss sssss sssss
great heat consumes me

Driving to Maine three days ago

Friday Afternoon
hot car to Maine not thinking
of Hiroshima

Friday Afternoon
hot car to Maine not thinking
of Nagasaki

Friday Afternoon
hot car to Maine not thinking
of radiation

Friday Afternoon
hot car to Maine not thinking
of destructive blast

Friday Afternoon
hot car to Maine not thinking
of bone-stripping heat

Friday Afternoon
hot car to Maine not thinking
of eye-melting light

Friday Afternoon
hot car to Maine not thinking
of so many dead

Hear the sounds

Hear the sounds of birds
There is no sound just silence
Hear sounds of no birds

Hear the sounds of boys
There is no sound just silence
Hear sounds of no boys

Hear the sounds of girls
There is no sound just silence
Hear sounds of no girls

Hear the sounds of men
There is no sound just silence
Hear sounds of no men

Hear sounds of women
there is no sound just silence
sounds of no women

Hear the sounds of frogs
There is no sound just silence
Hear sounds of no frogs

Hear the sounds of cats
There is no sound just silence
Hear sounds of no cats

Hear sounds of cattle
There is no sound just silence
Sounds of no cattle

Hear sounds of crickets
There is no sound just silence
Sounds of no crickets

Hear sounds of foxes
There is no sound just silence
Sounds of no foxes

atoms

i i i i i
i i i i i i i
i i i i I (“ee” as in “beet”-- this and other examples not to be spoken)

I I I I I
I I I I I I I
I I I I I (“i” as in “bit”)

e e e e e
e e e e e e e
e e e e e (“e” as in “bet”)

æææææ
æææææææ
æææææ (“a” as in “bat”)

a a a a a
a a a a a a a
a a a a a (“a” as in “father”)

α α α α α
α α α α α α α
α α α α α (“a” as in “pause”)

Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø
Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø
Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø (“o” as in “bought”)

o o o o o
o o o o o o o
o o o o o (“o” as in “boat”)

U U U U U.
U U U U U U U
U U U U U (“u” as in “but”)

oo oo oo oo oo
oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
oo oo oo oo oo (“oo” as in “book”)

u u u u u
u u u u u u u
u u u u u (“u” as in “boot”)

ə ə ə ə ə
ə ə ə ə ə ə ə
ə ə ə ə ə (“a” as in “about”)

w w w w w
w w w w w w w
w w w w w

y y y y y
y y y y y y y
y y y y y

r r r r r
r r r r r r r
r r r r r

l l l l l
l l l l l l l
l l l l l

n n n n n
n n n n n n n
n n n n n

m m m m m
m m m m m m m
m m m m m

p p p p p
p p p p p p p
p p p p p

b b b b b
b b b b b b b
b b b b b

f f f f f
f f f f f f f
f f f f f

v v v v v
v v v v v v v
v v v v v

θ θ θ θ θ
θ θ θ θ θ θ θ
θ θ θ θ θ (“th” as in “thin”)

ð ð ð ð ð
ð ð ð ð ð ð ð
ð ð ð ð ð (“th” as in “those”)

s s s s s
s s s s s s s
s s s s s

z z z z z
z z z z z z z
z z z z z

§ § § § §
§ § § § § § §
§ § § § § (“sh” as in “shin”)

Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ
Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ
Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ Ʒ (“zh” as in “azure”)

t t t t t
t t t t t t t
t t t t t

d d d d d
d d d d d d d
d d d d d

k k k k k
k k k k k k k
k k k k k

g g g g g
g g g g g g g
g g g g g

h h h h h
h h h h h h h
h h h h h

ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ
ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ
ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ ŋ (“ng” as in “ring”)

100 letter word

naganagasagasagakisakisanakinakigakigakisanasanaganaganagasagasanasanasakigakigakinakinasakisakigan


a narrative

I was just 16 years old, but had worked for a year and a half in a clothing factory. They had taken us all out of school so we could make uniforms for the soldiers. It was hard work, and we were really happy when they let us return to school at the beginning of August. It was a beautiful day with a blue sky and yellow sun that was already beginning to be hot, even early in the morning when we walked to school We had just started our physics class, it was the second week, and I was a little bored, so I looked out the window. I saw two B-29 bombers, but I didn't worry much about it. "Only two bombers. Not much danger for us.." I looked back at my book. Suddenly there was a very bright flash of light and I felt very hot, as if I were inside an oven. All I could see was orange. A few seconds later there was a tremendous sound, as if every building in the world was falling down at once. I screwed my eyes closed, covered my ears, and jumped under my desk. Now everything was black and I couldn't see a thing; I think part of the roof had collapsed. Everyone in the classroom was very quiet. I began to crawl across the floor. In my mind I was praying to Lord Buddha. "Help me, Lord Buddha!" Never before had I prayed to him.

I finally got outside, and I saw that I had many little cuts from slivers of glass but I wasn't really hurt. I looked around and was amazed to see that every building, as far as I could see in every direction, was in ruins or badly damaged. I had thought the two bombers could have dropped just a few bombs, but this seemed to be the work of hundreds of aircraft dropping thousands of bombs over many hours. It didn't seem possible that so much destruction could come from so little. Many of the buildings were in flames.

My friend Takashi came out behind me, his face covered with blood, from a deep cut on his head, I tied a handkerchief around his head, and he leaned against me as we walked to the hospital. It wasn't very far, we just had to follow the tram tracks. We saw a lot of people walking away from the center of the city. Many of them were terribly burned, skin coming off their heads, clothes burned off, almost naked. Many had no hair. With some of them, I could see muscles appearing through the skin, very red. They walked with their arms raised in front of them, in a queue, like a ghostly parade, hundreds and hundreds. Others were crawling, trying to get to the river, to cool their burns with water. Some died before they got to the river, others died on the riverbank, and of those who entered the water,many drowned. Bodies floated everywhere on the surface of the river. It seemed as if everyone in Hiroshima was dying. We reached the hospital; only part of it was still standing. We got inside where we found hundreds of wounded people seeking help from the few doctors and nurses who, despite their own wounds, were able to help them. It looked like it was going to be a very long wait, so I led Takashi outside and we began to walk back in the direction of our dormitory. A rescue truck stopped and took Takashi to another hospital some distance away.

I continued by myself to the dormitory, but found only a mountain of rubble and ashes. I decided to go to the farm where my mother was staying. I walked some distance, and then found a train which stopped near her village.

The next day, I woke up with diarrhea and a high fever. I was very sick, delirious the first few days, but got over it in a week. It was caused by radiation, of course, but I was lucky that I didn't stay long in the city or I would have gotten much more exposure. People who stayed in the city to help with rescue work weren't so lucky; most of them died. A few times since then, I've gotten sick again, but I always get over it, and I'm still alive.

I don't feel angry at the Americans about the a-bomb, even though it caused a huge amount of suffering, destruction and death. Everyone who fights in a war goes crazy. They will do anything to kill their enemies. I suppose that if Japan had had one of these bombs, we would have used it, too. For me, it is better to look to the future rather than the past, but it should be a future where everyone in the world works together to abolish nuclear weapons.

100 letter word

nahigarosashikimanihagorasishikamasahogarisishakaminohagirisashakimanahigirasashikamonihigarasishako

2 comments:

  1. Help can come in many forms. I make art for many reasons, but one reason is take my suffering & negative emotions & transform them into something that seems more positive. This helps me, & I hope it can help some other people, at least some of the time.

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