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Poem: The Synchronicity of Longitude and Latitude

April 21st, 2010
05:20 PM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Writer Laurence Bass"]

EDITORS NOTE: Laurence Bass, a 28 year old writer from New York, wrote The Synchronicity of Longitude and Latitude during the summer of 2003. The idea came to him while flipping through an array of 24 hour televised news network coverage one night. Everything from comedy to conflict was displayed and Bass was compelled to recreate it all on paper. Laurence Bass, 28, has written for The Baltimore City Paper, The Green Magazine and currently freelances for Creme Magazine.

The Synchronicity of Longitude and Latitude

While I try to write a poem with effortless precision, a man in Virginia contemplates suicide for making the wrong decision, a nine year old girl in Sao Paulo solves her first equation of long division, two doctors in Calgary attempt brain surgery by making the first incision, and a ridiculed teen in Kingston starts to love the sight of his vision.

The moment I inhale for air, a child in New Zealand sees his mom in a casket and realizes that life is not fair, three white teens in Oakland fearlessly return a police officer’s racially charged glare, a former paraplegic in Romania takes her first step from her wheelchair, and a father tells his son the story of the deadly protest in Tiananmen Square.

Seconds spent revaluating my major, Parliament listens to the speech from the leader of the party of Labour, two Louisville women are arrested for asking an undercover cop for a paid sexual favor, a convicted rapist is released from a Melbourne jail for good behavior, and a seven year old girl in Marseille refuses to eat liver due to the nasty flavor.

The same minutes I watch the 1983 highlights of Orioles Magic, 100 children in Manila are working 15-hour days for the production of a synthetic fabric, a joyful conversation in New Delhi is cut short due to cell phone static, a college student in Krakow gets a glimpse of inner-city life in America by listening to the fourth song of Illmatic, and sons of the slain in Cape Town see that apartheid was indeed tragic.

As I hear the news from another state, a wedding in Salonica is celebrated with the smashing of a plate, tension between rebel groups in Liberia begin to violently escalate, a mother in Philadelphia cries when a judge seals her daughter’s fate, a 17 year old boy in Aomori tries to play like Pele in 1958, and a Protestant and Catholic in Northern Ireland try to end the circle of hate.

Instances that I get lost in this collection of sound, a wife in Madrid sees that her depressed husband cannot put the bottle down, a man in Somalia finally plants a seed in fertile ground, and a pitcher in Santo Domingo carries his family’s hopes and dreams as he walks to the mound.

While I think of those thoughts of summer that remind me of beaches and sand, a teacher in Bombay analyzes James Joyce so the students can fully understand, Chile’s political actions make citizens rebel with rock in hand, a 27 year old women in Ghana sees that drugs have made her life something she can no longer command, and Israel and Palestine still smear blood all over the Holy Land.

During my small sips of this glass of water, drug trafficking in Houston sends another casualty off to the incalculable slaughter, a teen mother in San Juan regrets the birth of her daughter, and an old zealot in Vietnam praises Ho Chi Mien and still wants to be a martyr.

Hours that I sit back and let life take its course, two 29 year old virgins in Montreal joyfully experience sexual intercourse, an abused 14 year old boy in Boise silently shouts out loud until he is mentally hoarse, a drug addict in Venice steals from his mother with no remorse, and kamikaze missions in Iraq are taking lives with truculent force.

When I think about how my college days will soon be gone, a family in Liverpool finally purchased a house with a manicured lawn, grandparents in Cairo read spiritual text in the Coptic language at the break of dawn, a good police officer in Los Angeles has her emotions pushed like a pawn, and two siblings in Pyongyang fathom and discuss the peaceful verse of 3:103 in The Qur’an.

The small chores around the house that need to be done with the lemon scent of ammonia, film students in Guyana attempt to decipher the ending of Magnolia, an AIDS patient in Manhattan is painfully dying of pneumonia, and newlyweds in Puerto Carreno celebrated the birth of their child by giving her the name Sonia.

Life is so beautiful in every small way that it is presented.

Still, here I sit wondering how to start this poem.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Phillip Bass

    Dear Laurence:
    I'm so proud of your work. Can remember the day you told me you wanted to be a writer instead of an engineer.
    Reluctantly I agreed and accepted your talents.
    Your a great writer, keep up the good work.

    April 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  2. Leonardo

    There once was a Black man named Larry,
    Whose face was exceedingly hairy.
    When sitting and shaving,
    His wife would start raving
    That waking to stubble was scary.

    April 22, 2010 at 8:45 am | Reply
  3. maya

    Circular motion of life where absurdity makes perfect sense. Nothing is by chance. Synchronicity rules. Connecting the dots to find a message, sometimes is tiring. Trust the universe, trust less humans. Flow in motion with beauty. Surrender to the universal beat of life. Enjoy every morning as it is a symbol of renewal in love. Like mother earth rotates, every thing is a whirl on stillness.
    Finally, take yourself and others less seriously.
    That was my beautiful synchronicity.
    Good morning, World.

    April 22, 2010 at 10:16 am | Reply
  4. Lirmak Yury

    To start the poem:

    I get ideas as I sit on the top of the world (NY) sadly looking down while the world number three is flooded with s,,,

    April 23, 2010 at 12:44 am | Reply
  5. maya

    Accept your art to be hated for that speaks of its ferocious beauty. Note to artists.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  6. Leonardo


    Thank you for your encouraging words to us poets!
    Larry & I deeply appreciate them!!

    There was a Young Lady of Hull,
    Who was chased by a virulent bull;
    But she seized on a spade,
    And called out, 'Who's afraid?'
    Which distracted that virulent bull.

    (With tongue in cheek)

    April 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Reply
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