“AI! AI! AI! (A Tartarus for Youth)” by David Estringel

tartarus

“AI! AI! AI! (A Tartarus for Youth)”

I.
AI! AI! AI!
Sated with stolen life,
emerged from mother’s Night,
there is longing to be free
from the warmth of darkened humours–
to be crowned by The Light of Artificial Gods.
Our worlds quake and rip,
tossing us upon gory shores
beyond fertile crests,
illuminated by a cold Sun.
Messengers sweep down in clouds of winged oblivion
to wet lips with Lethe’s waters
upon cruel fingertips.
“Shhhh.”

II.
AI! AI! AI!
Blinded,
light brings pain
in rushes of movement and sound
that sting the flesh.
Icy
with invasions
of steel and sterile prodding,
souls rouse to profess philosophies
in cries and screams
that crack the air,
unheard
like the falling of leaves upon the ground
from distant trees

III.
AI! AI! AI!
Swaddled bodies,
searched in vain for the safety of familiarity,
tell much, tell little
like symbols in scrying mirrors.
Their fictions, written with sweat and tears,
anointing
foreheads, eyes, and lips
with benedictions of shameful regret.
As if it were better to have the heads of babes
dashed and bloodied
upon the Rock,
than to suffer Spartan destinies, impaired.
Left only to linger—a world apart—
in bloodless mediocrity.

IV.
AI! AI! AI!
What are these ragged paths
to be stumbled upon
under tender foot,
with stones that cut
and scratching thorns from the briar
that temper flesh,
supple and pink,
making hard what was once soft to the touch.
Fed by an earth
that feasts on cuts,
bodies devolve to walk upright—and alone
upon roads, paved with the hands and backs
of brethren.
Knuckles crunching beneath soles like so much gravel.

V.
AI! AI! AI!
O, the passion of attainment,
upon which the masses engorge,
aimless in its metal
and promises
of faceless adulations
and the settling of laurelled wreathes
upon heads of cartilage!
How empty, these violent strikes against the Self,
incessant and passionless,
carving out pounds of flesh,
victory for victory,
‘til nothing remains–
all for narratives
that are not their own.

VI.
AI! AI! AI!
How thirsty are these–
the razor-tongued buds of spring.
Driven
to the drinking of others’ tears
for satisfaction of sanguine thirsts.
To revel
in the tearing
of white petals
from tender stems
with poisoned fingertips,
delighting in themselves,
as if masters of ceremonies
at blood-lettings
and vivisections.

VII.
AI! AI! AI!
The sooth of touch’s fidelity
has melted away–
soured–
like cream in the sun.
Replaced,
the quality of distance
makes, explicit, one’s worth,
across arid plains
of air and silence.
Fallen away, the allures and charms
of communion,
only to make room
for the play of shadows
on Plato’s walls.

VIII.
AI! AI! AI!
There is a science,
oppressive
and cold,
behind the collisions of heavenly bodies of light (in love)—
clashing
explosions of atoms
over chasms—
the spaces in between—
that define and separate.
Souls, burning brightly,
cannot coexist
in their starry majesties
without a surrendering of fire.
My Ares takes your Aphrodite.

IX,
AI! AI! AI!
Upon paths paved with gold,
under the azure
of a fanning sky,
herds
are driven in blithe procession
to the precipice.
Cast into the maw
of their society.
Without the iron shielding of wings,
they perish,
masticated,
like everyman’s meat,
leaving them shades
that stain the wintry air.

X.
I, I, I,
will crawl to the grave,
worn
and weary,
upon the Earth I have salted
with tears,
violent and hot–
but harmonious–
in Time’s own poetry,
where I will find
the Peace and Solace of Rest,
drinking from a forgetful cup,
enshrouded
by the arms of my brother—
The Undergloom.

Originally published at Terror House Magazine and currently in David Estringel’s book Indelible Fingerprints (Alien Buddha Press). https://terrorhousemag.com/tartarus/

 

Some Background Information About This Poem

“Reflecting, I see how much simpler things were when I was young, which makes for a starkly contrasting backdrop against the chaotic world young people navigate today. I find the way things are truly saddening and mourn for the lost innocence of youth. One day, I thought too long about it and “AI! AI! AI!…” came about. Many think “AI” means “artificial intelligence” but that isn’t the context that it is used in here. “AI! AI!” is a classical lament from Ancient Greece, which seems to fit the bill quite nicely, I think.” ~ David Estringel

 

Author Bio:

David Estringel is an avid reader, poet, and writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, & essays. His work has been accepted and/or published by Specter Magazine, Literary Juice, Foliate Oak Magazine, Terror House Magazine, Expat Press, 50 Haikus, littledeathlit, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Route 7 Review, Setu Bilingual Journal, Paper Trains Literary Journal, The Elixir Magazine, Soft Cartel, Harbinger Asylum, Briars Lit, Open Arts Forum, Cajun Mutt Press, Former People Journal, The Ugly Writers, Writ in Dust, Cephalopress, Twist in Time, Merak Magazine, Salt Water Soul, Cherry House Press, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Printed Words, Sunflower Sutras, Tulip Tree Publishing, Salt Ink, PPP Ezine, Digging through the Fat, Haiku Journal, Foxhole Magazine, The Basil O’Flaherty, Three Line Poetry, Agony Opera, Siren’s Call Ezine, Alien Buddha Press, Synchronized Chaos, Channillo, and The Good Men Project. He is currently a Contributing Editor (fiction) at Red Fez, Lead Editor/columnist at The Good Men Project, an editor/writer at The Elixir Magazine, fiction reader at riverSedge, and columnist at Channillo. David’s first feature-length collection of verse and prose, Indelible Fingerprints, was published by Alien Buddha Press April 2019.

 

Find David at:

David’s Twitter is @The_Booky_Man

David’s Official Website

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

Published by

Nina Hall, aka Amarine Rose Ravenwood

Lorraine "Nina" Hall is a writer who composes under a variety of pen names, each one specific to a particular genre: Amarine Rose Ravenwood is for her preteen, teenage, and young adult fantasy stories and feminine poetry - Saoirse Fae is for her fairy tales and fairy-tale poetry - Mina Marial Nicoli is for her children's stories and poetry - and Phoebe Grant is for her light horror fairy tales and her darker, Halloween-type poetry. As The Literary Librarian, she is committed to supporting fellow authors in every way she can, from author interviews to poetry hosting, to providing space for book promos and book advertisements, to referring authors to services they are seeking. She is also a content editor, copy editor, and proofreader.

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