Those Are Real Bullets- Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972

Those Are Real Bullets- Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972
In the leaf of Those Are Real Bullets- Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972, by Peter Pringle and Philip Jacob, it describes the horrid scene on this hellish of days- ?Barney McGuigan lay on the pavement in a pool of his own blood and brains, his head blown open by a paratrooper?s bullet. Peggy Deery was near death in the hospital, the back of her leg torn away. Frantic relatives searched the morgue for their loved ones. On that day, known ever since as Bloody Sunday, British paratroopers opened fire on unarmed Irish Catholic demonstrators in Derry, killing thirteen and wounding another fourteen. Five were shot in the back?? Although not a specific reference to Bloody Sunday, Ciaran Carson?s ?Belfast Confetti? conjures up images strikingly similar to the one?s I read about years earlier. What makes Carson?s analysis of this familiar situation so unique, is his direct use of punctuation as part of the language rather than directions telling the reader when and where to separate words. He incorporates it into his fast-paced, detailed poem allowing us to see into his thought process.
In the opening line, Carson says, ?it was raining exclamation points.? He sets the scene with the image of people yelling and screaming forceful outcries, as all their words, sentences, and other noises end in the expected high volume of exclamation points. As the ingredients of home-made bombs fly around a true explosion occurs- ?Itself?an asterisk on the map.? Here, Carson uses a form of punctuation for the second time, again as a visual aid. This line gives flashbacks to old military movies, where the main action of the battle is marked by a star or dot, or very often an asterisk, on the map. Perhaps, Carson didn?t mean for it to be taken so literal, in which he could have realized the similarities of an asterisk and an explosion- an asterisk boasts lines going in all directions, just as the destruction of an explosion expands in all directions. When I write my asterisks, I place a cross (+) on top of an ?X.?..hmmm, sound a bit familiar? In addition to his other reasoning, Carson is placing blame, by using the symbol that graces the English Union Jack as the exact symbol for the explosive. How clever.

In the next sentence, Carson uses his written hyphens to give the reader a visual of the flying bullets all around. When I was little, I remember drawing stick figures in a shoot out scene. My interpretation of bullets was always a series of short interrupted lines, exactly like hyphens. To add to this picture, Carson ends the line with an ellipse?more bullets coming.

As he frantically runs around, Carson can?t even complete one sentence in his head. Not only are the exclamation points, asterisk, and hyphens preventing him from finishing his thought on paper, but the real things these marks represent are preventing him from finishing his flee to safety. His stuttering must be a result of the repeating Rat-tat-tat of gunfire. The last line is true to form as colons help block the ways out.

The action-packed poem continues in stanza two, as Carson almost rapidly reels off the street names he goes running by. The question mark is introduced, as his routes and ideas get interrupted again and again. As fast as he saw the street names, he notices the common sites of a roadblock- face masks, and walkie talkies. All the sudden he?s repeating the questions to himself that someone else had asked him- all routine roadblock questions. ?A fusillade of question marks.? This brings the poem to an end by including the two main writing schemes- the concentration on punctuation vocabulary and the violence relationship between actions and words.

?Belfast Confetti? is a very intriguing and original idea. The fast-moving, suspenseful story would have been attention-grabbing without the clever references to punctuation, but this inventive creativity, truly made it compelling. I?m fascinated with his knowledge and ability to tell a meaningful story, yet get so creative in the process.

Those Are Real Bullets- Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972 9.6 of 10 on the basis of 4478 Review.