War of ants

I’m from the weighted coldness of a
   key-chain round my neck, when
   all my friends had mothers
   waiting with a snack.
I’m from dinner-tables where my father
   spoke alone, and questions
   rarely drifted from his work or news
   upsetting him.

I’m from dust of bookshelves
   from weight of Luther in
      a non-religious home.
   from homework done in
      warmth from table-lamp,
   from tea at nine (if homework done)
      in front of flicker of the TV-screen
      a sense of quiet talk before
      we went to bed.

I’m from recording music borrowed
   (10 CC or City Boy)
   on TDK and Maxell tapes.
I’m from reading late
   (a book from dusty shelves)
   from TV-screens
   resembling war of ants.

I’m from country weekend forest work.
   from backseat travels to the north
   a vinyl pattern branded on my thighs
I’m from from skis and skates.
   and the brief relapse in
   sunny sea-side summers
   (like a dream).
I come from bullied loneliness.


Today we write poetry “from where I am…” at toads inspired by Susie. I have written a poem on this before, and I basically reworked that one to a new poem. The expression war of ants is one we used in Swedish to describe the TV-screen flicker we had to live with. Cannot say I had a real bad child-hood, but it was not terribly bright either. I have already written 30 poems in April, but I will continue until the month has ended.

April 25, 2016

30 responses to “War of ants

  1. I sense a feeling of “seen but not heard” as seemed the rule for parenting at one time. Made it difficult to find ourselves. I enjoy your writing very much.

  2. A lot of this very familiar, but I smiled at my own recollection of “vinyl pattern branded on my thighs”. So true – and you’d stick to the vinyl in the summer heat.

  3. This one gave me chills – it rings so true and so poignantly of an up-bringing that is so latter half of the 20th century that I feel quite at home.

  4. Yikes==this very poignant, Bjorn–really–the last line is a clincher though you hint at this in the earlier portions–really well done. Very sad. Glad all seems well now! k.

  5. I felt, and resonated with, the loneliness of that childhood………thank God for books, and tapes (in my day, it was vinyl records and singing my heart out about dreaming for a happier life). Thankfully, we lonely kids grew up and made our own lives.

  6. The first stanza gave the chills and the last line was like a slap. This format really moves me. We can share and learn so much in such a short space of time.

  7. Your “war of ants” visual is stunning, Sir. And that last line carries its own weight right back up through the whole piece. So well done.

  8. Your last line is very haunting Bjorn. I do not know or difference in age, but I felt like you were writing about me in your poem, and many I know of my generation. That last line really packs a punch, especially, when like me and others I mentioned, you are a dreaming slave to the fading mirages of the 90s.

  9. Seems to be quite common for the early generation to be faced with serious and stern relationships. Happens to be Hank’s generation too! The youngsters nowadays never knew they had it so good!


  10. The weighted coldness of that keychain around your neck….whoa…especially when contrasted with the snacks your friends had waiting at home with their moms….the emotional heaviness of that is so palpable.

  11. Excellent piece bjorn (im too lazy to find the umlat).
    This was highly relatable and captured each segment so perfectly, great details too like vinyl print and TDK tapes.

  12. Oh, that last line is a punch in the gut! Not that it should be surprising after the preceding descriptions; it’s the sudden, uncompromising baldness of it. Very well written.

    • watching you grow up. I remember most all of this watching from a generation or two before you, trying to relate. We’re those dog-tag like? Similar to what we had, always with us, in the Army?
      We had no TV when I was at home, on Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons we would gather by my grandfather’s set. He was a wrestling fan.
      Loved the scurrying ants.

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