Trees Speak Louder Than Words

Linda asks us to explore surrealism in poetry.   Stream of consciousness poetry or surrealism doesn’t have to be long.  Joyce, Wolf, Faulkner, Proust, Kerouac, Vonnegut were masters of the craft of surreal or stream of consciousness writing.  I’ve read them all.  Obviously my SOC is not messy – organized SOC.  But when it goes, it does wander.  I wrote this last year in the winter. I have shortened it by cutting the poem in half.


Trees Speak Louder Than Words
“Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time…” – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

and so it goes –
do I dare to eat a peach
or do I dare to eat an apple…
the trees speak louder
than a letter being opened with a boning knife –
rolling down the road hoppity-skip
and into the ditch.
you act as if you are the queen or king of creation.
yet I look at you as if you were a waterfall.
no flarf for me.
soc…stream of consciousness
the massacre of the Lakota Sioux
at Wounded Knee…
the sound of trees is louder
than a bullet through the air

image from Slaughterhouse Five

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Lee Lyberg
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 15:09:54

    Toni- Amazing where the mind goes isn’t it?


  2. Phillip Knight Scott
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 15:23:33

    Yes! “the trees speak louder” indeed 🙂


  3. sarahsouthwest
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 15:25:23

    I love those last two lines in particular. This is a helter-skelter of a poem, so much energy sweeping it along.


  4. kim881
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 15:45:55

    I love the title, Toni, and the phrase ‘the trees speak louder / than a letter being opened with a boning knife’. I agree with Sarah bout it being a helter-skelter of a poem.


  5. Frank Hubeny
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 15:56:39

    Nice lines: “rolling down the road hoppity-skip
    and into the ditch.”


  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 16:09:07

    Oh… anything that reminds of Slaughterhouse five is amazing isn’t it… I have never thought about the surrealism of it, rather the unreliable narrator, but it could be seen as surreal as well… and the journey from death in Dresden shares the vicious streak with wounded knee.


  7. Glenn A. Buttkus
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 17:43:33

    I liked /yet I look at you as if you were a waterfall/–Flarf indeed. For someone who does not write SOC often, you take to it quite well.


  8. revivedwriter
    Nov 19, 2019 @ 18:01:45

    Great quote to go with this quite surrealist poem!


  9. lillian
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 07:38:47

    I like starting with the two mundane questions about eating a peach or an apple…adding the word “dare” to the question sets it up as more than mundane though. And the ending is an outloud sigh ending. From common fruit to the massacre of humanity by humanity and the silent trees that stand for so many years thereafter. Powerful indeed. MEANINGFUL soc here.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 20, 2019 @ 10:58:16

      Thank you Lillian. The daring to eat a peach comes directly from T.S,Eliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 20, 2019 @ 11:00:33

      Hit enter too soon. I couldn’t write stream of consciousness poetry, it just isn’t in me. And surrealism…no way. So I did it my own way and probably failed but hey, I tried. I don’t really care for SOC or surrealism. I enjoy it when other people write it but I don’t care to write it myself. LOL. I am too literal.


  10. lynn__
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 09:15:34

    Wow, Toni, you bit the apple and the trees cried!


  11. hank77
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 10:48:31


    the sound of trees is louder
    than a bullet through the air

    No holds barred. Surrealism is fun. One can go to town in classic ways Toni!



  12. Rob Kistner
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 17:12:42

    Well written Toni. The mention of the Lakota Sioux really hit me.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 20, 2019 @ 19:26:11

      Thank you Rob. I am linked genetically to the Lakota people – about 10%. On one of my road trips across the country when I was 18 and 30, I stopped at the Wounded Knee memorial. I was ashamed of the way it was not maintained. I understand it is better kept now.


  13. Just Barry
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 20:12:23

    I echo Rob’s sentiment about the Lakota Sioux.

    I was greatly intrigued by where your mind went with this poem. I was especially impressed by these lines:

    “the sound of trees is louder
    than a bullet through the air”


  14. rabirius
    Feb 14, 2020 @ 14:17:37

    Amazing work.


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