Crumbling truths

Afterwards the lies are crumbling. The sea is poisoned and through the smog the moon is a sickle in my blood. Sometimes I hear your voice:

“They told us it would just get better”, you said, “they said that our sufferings would be rewarded ten-folds”

“I still believe”, I said and felt your hand slipping, leaving me for dreams. For short-wave promises and for consistent beat of jazz.

And when we meet again I see, that we’ve been living on opposing sides of the same Potemkin town.

I see its mortar crumbling, but still I look in vain for truth.

This intriguing picture made me think of the cold war with its Potemkin lies, and the shortwave propaganda. With the emergence of digital warfare I’m afraid we are coming back to the this again.

Friday Fictioneers is ministered by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and attracts all kind of bloggers every week, trying to condense a story into 100 words.

August 19, 2015

100 responses to “Crumbling truths

  1. It would not surprise me.

    I was just explaining to my students what the Cold War was, as it was over before most were born. Instead of an ICBM in everyones backyard, we now have laptops in every home.

  2. The Cold War was interesting. It is supposedly over, but I think not. Certainly, we still have our spies in place. Maybe the enemy has shifted to another power, but the Cold War is still hot. A friend who recently spent several months in China as part of a travel group had some interesting observations and stories.

  3. Terrific piece of writing again, Bjorn.
    You keep getting better, deeper.

    In the 3rd line do you mean ‘she’, and not ‘you’?

  4. I love these:
    “the moon is a sickle in my blood”
    “and felt your hand slipping, leaving me for dreams”

    “And when we meet again I see, that we’ve been living on opposing sides of the same Potemkin town.
    I see its mortar crumbling, but still I look in vain for truth.”

    To me, the ending makes it sound like a marriage crumbling.

  5. Powerful, and so many gripping turns of phrase! Since everyone else is pointing out their favorites, let me “vote” for ” living on opposing sides of the same Potemkin town” — wow, I just loved that.

  6. Wonderful. I’m so envious of your skill with words. 🙂 And you’re right, cold war comes back in another form… it’s convenient. It was convenient. Power where power belongs, or so some still think.

  7. Dear Bjorn,
    I’m with Rochelle on this one–so much packed into such a short piece. I read twice to pull more meaning from it. You’ve used some great language here.

    All my best,

  8. So much depth in this piece, although I feel certain that I am missing parts of it having not lived through that period / world. Except, as you say, we may be heading there again. Gorgeous phrases, as others have already said, and well worth a second reading.

  9. This was brilliant writing Bjorn! Gorgeous phrases – oh, I just saw that Elmo wrote the same thing! Must be true then… I read it three times. Got me in the gut.

  10. It seems the old way of doing things in the cold war has just gone underground and found new outlets. There will always be those who find ways to get power. There are also always those who will dream of a better way of life. Well done, Bjorn. 🙂

  11. Your whole story reads like a beautiful, poignant poem, Björn! Exquisite and sorrowful story. This line got me: “I see its mortar crumbling, but still I look in vain for truth.”

  12. Oh, the Potemkin village…a wonderful, and sad, interpretation on the prompt!

    I hadn’t thought much about the Potemkin village in recent years till I saw “The Interview,” the film with James Franco about a TV show host’s interview with Kim Jong-il. James Franco’s character is driven through a North Korean “town” which looks prosperous, has a grocery store with luscious produce in the window, etc. Later, of course, he sees it up close, realizes it’s all a facade, and the luscious produce is just painted wood. Kim Jong-il objected to the movie so much that he threatened “9/11-like retaliation” if Sony released it to theaters. So…it’s only available via streaming services. It’s a pretty funny satire–if somewhat violent and laden with toilet humor😁 I still recommend it, though, if you haven’t already seen it.

    • The seascape was such an obvious stage-set so to me the parallel to Potemkin village became one Parallel… the short wave of course alludes to Voice of America… just like it could point to the South Korean loudspeakers.. either way you end up on dividing lines. If you get the chance to see Tannenbach about Germany after world war II it’s a very good TV-series…

  13. Björn, your words are so lyrical and strong… admittedly, I feel like it flies over my head; but, I want to follow it just the same, it’s so wonderful! “Short wave promises” really packs a punch!

  14. Wonderful, Bjorn. It’s so rich. I especially like the line, “felt your hand slipping, leaving me for dreams. For short-wave promises and for consistent beat of jazz.” Brilliant.

  15. A wonderfully engaging story, Bjorn – dense, lyrical, layered. I love it. The desire for and elusiveness of truth is a powerful thought on which to end.

  16. So much in so few words…we could discuss this for pages and pages. Besides reading like poetic prose, the depth of this makes one wonder…you are not pessimistic to me but aware and intuitive.. it is the duty of writers and poets to help people learn…from our mistakes. Our writers and poets in Québec are part of our history. I think we are losing many with such depth. Beautiful write!!

  17. Quite portentous language from sickle in my blood, Potemkin town, mortar crumbling, and short wave promises. You managed to portray an entire era with its hopes fulfilled and dashed in a very few words. Memorable piece.

  18. When one of the front runners for presidential nominations is wanting to get a wall built, well, it is just a matter of to whom are we turning our cold shoulder this time : ( Splendid word crafting.

  19. Lies – and mortar – crumbling. That seems to be the way of it, when truth goes missing. A tight, well structured and timely piece of flash fiction.

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