The less I speak
The more you listen
Preamble to this post:
Whereas POETRY, being defined by Merriam-Webster as “writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm” and by Oxford Dictionary as “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature”:
And as LITERATURE being defined by Merriam-Webster as “writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest” and by Oxford Dictionary as “written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit”:
Therefore, I will commence to perhaps finally introduce myself to POETRY, thereby to determine whether or not my creations are, indeed, to be considered poetry.
Emotion is something I’m good at. Too good at, perhaps, a bit tipsy at, even. I’ve tried to educate the emotional out of me, to view everything through slowly formulated, data-specific stiff, logical answers. But there, did you see that? Even sticking a little word like ‘stiff’ into that sentence makes the whole idea take on a negative tone. Corpses are stiff. Living things are fluid, malleable and adaptive.
Emotion is something I’m good at, at least in myself. I don’t know how the emotions relate to you because I’m not you. Sometimes we’re similar, almost the same. Most times, we’re very different. It’s hit or miss every time I take the keys. Intensity, though, that’s something I have. At least most days, because life has taught me that that, too, is not a venerable trait. Too intense, too deep. These things are not good, people say. Balance. One must always have balance.
Distinctive. Artistic merit. Those are things I struggle with. Do I use up all the big words I used in big-people school or dumb it down for the general consumption of the masses? Is “dumbing down” an insult to humanity or a tool to communicate broad ideas in sweeping brushtrokes? Is there broccoli in my teeth? The choice to be precise and articulate or vague and abstract spins about in my mind like the needle of a compass, wobbly and dependent upon where I am standing.
Expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest. I can do that, right? The brushtrokes. Pain. Death. Love. Creation. These are things all humans understand, but would a thirsting child in a war-torn world be interested in my poetry? Would a hummingbird pause to hear my musicless song? Can poetry ever do such a thing, and is that to be our chief aim?
I think, in the end, then, we are all failures. From nobel laureate to ten-year-old lyricist, Wolf to Shelley to Dickinson and back again.
But maybe we weren’t meant to succeed. Maybe it’s not about succeeding at all, but about stabbing about with emotional intensity for the heart of a thing until it stops beating in our ears.
Daily Prompt: This Is Your Lifeby michelle w. on January 11, 2013
If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.
Depends on the writing style. If it were written in an enchanting, personable language I might be tempted to read it if only for the sheer joy of experiencing they beauty of semiotics. A scant, detached and matter-of-fact tone without any commentary, on the other hand, would not only be unappealing to me, but also grossly out of character. I revel in seeing myself from newer perspectives, whether they are favorable or not, because each pass over my life grants me deeper insight. A scientific statement of facts would be highly unenlightening to me. Yet, if writing style were not a factor, I would have to ultimately say I lean towards no. There are painful, dark parts of my life which I do not need to revisit in prose as I have already spent years exhausting the subject in poetry. As for the future, I have no desire to see what it figuratively holds. I would only purposefully spend the rest of my life trying to foil it, just out of sheer stubbornness.
sandwiched between tall grass
and layers of sulfate
tagged in the peculiar proteins
and acids that wind to the stars
like curling stairs
repeating illicit worries
and phasing on dreams
from mother to child
to mother to child
You and me, he said while waving around his large pudgy hands in the stale air, are like radios.
Somewhere between the greasy tang of his scent, the weathered overalls stretched across his plump, generous paunch and the hay stem sluicing the air from its pivot in his teeth, I lost all confidence in his ability to philosophize. And frankly, his pomposity was slightly irritating.
Radios, I echoed stupidly while trying to stare through rather than at him.
Exactly, he said with a broad sweeping gesture of his hairy arm towards a cluttered table at the other end of the room. My eyes traced the outlines of the wreckage and honed in on the details, slowly, methodically. What I had at first taken for a mess pile was actually a series of radios in various stages of repair. There were old-fashioned models with silent red needles sandwiched between analog numbers, dials and collapsing antennae, and there were more modern, sleek editions with fully digitized LED displays and docking bays. The fact that anything other than a starship out of a sci-fi [or is it Syfy?] novel could possible make use of a docking bay was a source of endless wonderment to me.
He cleared his throat, and I turned a respectful and infinitely patient face back to his drivel. All those radios sit on the same table, he continued, and all of us people sit here on earth. Now we may be different models, have different ways of going about things, be a bit more banged up than the rest of them, he droned on, heck, some of us aren’t even all that old yet.
I wasn’t quite sure if this was intended as a backhanded compliment or if he was just senile. Saying nothing, I only nodded attentively, silently hoping cooperation would win me a quicker escape away from this elder and back with the normal people in my fiance’s family. Yessir, he smiled softly, as if pleased with himself for imparting some unspeakable divine wisdom unto the next generation. You gotta let the music play through you, and it won’t always make sense ’cause we’re not always set to the same frequency, ya hear?
And then he closed his eyes.
It took me longer than most my peers, and I had to suffer through many years of heartbreak. Looking back at it, though, my best friend got proposed to in a parking lot. This, here, is just my promise ring. There really is truth to the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.”
Hello! I totally agree with what you wrote on the blog. Keep it well, because blogs like this are rare on the net too. A greeting!
Dear Random Bot,
“hello” and “a greeting” are the same thing. There were no opinions stated in the post you commented on so there is no way you could “totally agree” with what I wrote.
hi i came to youre site, and I have read some great information on it. It’s all about the game [LINK REMOVED] let’s PLAY!!!
First of all, it’s “your” not “youre.” This is one of my pet peeves and means enough for instant deletion. I am also not impressed that you “have read some great information on” my site. I don’t make a habit of giving information on this site. It’s basically a creative work space for entertainment purposes not educational ones. Also, what I write has little if anything to do with games. Don’t mention your random game on my blog. It doesn’t make me want to play it. It doesn’t make other people want to play it. It’s obnoxious.
Not So Dear Machine,
This isn’t English. Please try again.
Nope. Still not English.
No, there are no articles on my site about that. I am not publicizing your grimy business, so don’t thank me. There are perfectly legitimate businesses in that field who don’t resort to spamming random blogs and actually offer helpful, scientific information for those who need and are looking for it. I am neither, so scram.
Dear Commenter Who Can’t Read,
This is a blog, not an encyclopedia. I didn’t make a point or put forth any knowledge for you to glean. Also, if this “is the first time” you “go” please do not share with me. I don’t need to know your bathroom habits, although it is probably a healthy thing that it “will not be the last.” The last clause of your final sense makes so little sense, I’m not even going to bother to address it.
Dear Code of No Significance,
These are not articles. They are poems, rants and random drawings I make. The “website style” is a free template designed by The Forge Web Creations as is clearly stated at the bottom of the blog. You have successfully congratulated me on everything I have not done. Good. Job.
You don’t write books in things, you write books about things. And, yes, I have written several books which are nicely filed under my “Published Books” tab. I’m also so glad that you think that I “can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit,” especially considering that almost half of my posts now are of my own artwork. Oh, and one more thing. I am so glad that I didn’t read your mind. Because you are a buffoon.
Dear You Don’t Even Deserve a Name,
I post once a day. If that’s not often enough for you, follow me on Twitter. I have been known to post anywhere from two to twenty-four times a day. Oh, and I didn’t design the freaking blog, as previously stated.
Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned. I have become completely, irrevocably and borderline eHarmony cat lady obsessed with what could very well be the most adorable pet on the planet. I’ve spent hours thinking about its cat/dog features, its hyper sensibilities, its compact size, its teeny weeny widdle voice… *ahem* … and its ears the size of Zeus.
So what the heck am I talking about? A fox, of course.
That’s right. Turns out there are these miniature little desert foxes called Fennec Foxes which are fluffy goodness wrapped in a ball of hyper. Observe:
Amazing, right? It can totally jive with cats and dogs, and it can use a litter box. Not only that, but its gigantically huge ears actually aid it in flight. Okay, I made that last bit up, but would you really be all that surprised?
So what kinds of noises does this thing make? Does it growl, purr, chortle…?
Now, amid all this jovial and squee-inspiring research one fact really dampened my mood. Fennec foxes are illegal to own as pets in my state. Well, it’s maybe not entirely illegal to own one, but you’ve got to prove you’ve had at least two years of experience with the animal… which is kind of difficult since almost nobody here owns one. And then you get to apply for a permit. Yippy, skippy!
While I’m at it, why don’t I just buy a koala?
The ears. It’s like watching an animatronic at Chuck E Cheese. How does it DO that? At some points, it almost looks confused about what this whole tickling thing is about. I mean, if you stop and think about it, tickling is somewhere between an itch and a punch in the gut.
Sadly, there are no koala bears or fennec foxes in my future. But you know what is in my future? Babies. Lots and lots of babies. Snails, that is.
Those two weird little blob looking things on the aquarium glass are actually clutches of apple snail eggs (often sold under the name of ‘mystery snail’). The clutch on the right was laid sometime today while I was at work, the one on the left was made last week. Needless to say, I’ve been doing my fair amount of research on snails, but perhaps that is a post for another day. Until then, make sure not to tip your echidnas unless they are very polite.
i won’t fall waste
to your slack pace
did i fail to mention
once i grab your attention
how i never fell behind
in a beat or a rhyme
and half of the time
i run round you blind
cause i’ve got the stuff
man, strong and tough
things that you been dreamin’ of
things busting full of love
and you can’t even dream this up
how i go slicin’ the horizon
with a tongue like ice ‘n then
heat it up, whip it back and treat it up
cause i am a winner
a maximum sinner
who never quit the game
that’s why you know my name
i didn’t choose a purple love
in truth, it just chose me
it clutched me, gripped me in the night
and never set me free
my tongue was set, my jaw was clenched
against its purple wave
my arms were drawn around me tight
for so my heart to save
i didn’t choose a purple love
with this insatiable thirst
to always bind her to myself
and put my lover first
my brain was wrong, my heart was false
i was one of but two
yet if it comes to fighting days
i know which love i’d choose
One is a chunk (or microscopic spec) of metal, wires and technical magic, while the other is just magical. Or just plain God-awful, depending on the poet.
Luckily for you, I’m not a poet.
I’m a writer bent on semiotics and a musician with a sensitive ear. So, clearly, I despise hearing my poems read out loud. Why? There are a great deal of subconscious, emotional, linguistic and cultural influences that feed themselves into spoken word. No two people will ever read a poem aloud the same way. Minute inflections, pauses, breaths, quavers, pitches and other details will vary from speaker to speaker and even from moment to moment.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a sincere appreciation for the spoken word. It has a jazz-like beauty to it; there is an art to its performance.
But it is a performance. It is something that evolves in each audience over time through a very auditory process. Any shift in that auditory delivery can affect the meaning of the poem, itself.
My poems are visual.
No, they’re not diamantes or arranged into elegant designs. Actually, if you’ve been around me for any length of time, you can probably tell they’re pretty sparse. And there’s a reason for that.
I write for the eyes. When your eyes pass over my poem, instead of interpreting a performer’s sounds over time, your eyes unlock meaning nearly instantaneously. I can’t control what pops into your head when I shoot out the word “tangerine” but I can pretty much bank that something is popping up in your neural circuits. That something is raw, primitive and shaped by your consciousness, your experiences. There is no mediator interpreting words for you to reinterpret. When I send out words, the instant your eyes gobble them up, they become a part of you. It’s the most direct, most human connection I could ever make.
In the end, that’s one of my goals as a creative- to become human, reflect humanity, connect with humanity. The lack of punctuation in my poems is a stripping of formalities. The lowercase “I” is a sign of humility, of diminishing my voice so your own voice can speak louder right from the speakers of your own mind.
I am not a poet, but I am a writer. And in my world, the spoken word and the written word don’t necessarily have to be two different things. But they have the potential to be. And maybe, just maybe that isn’t all so bad.
tap dancing in the trenches of a thought
ideas get sold and ideas get bought
but who knows which one is the top of the lot
when ideas get sold and ideas get- bought
but we mad dash the fashion
and label the passion
just stuffin’ and stashin’
the verbal whiplashin’
and who knows what tips when it all hits the top
your idea will rip; your idea will pop
it will drown in the market until it gets caught
in the rain tap dancing in the trenches of thought
you are glorious you
in all of your hip nonconformity
they will never break you down to a number
you are not a statistic
we all need patterns
the stability of belonging
the structure of reality
we need things to predict
you are transcendent you
in all of your eye-opening views
they will never label you as predictable
you are not a machine
we abuse cliches
we fear them
they represent unoriginality
they are the creative well run dry
they are the knee-jerk reaction
they are what everyone else thinks
but you and i
oh, you and i don’t think like them
we cannot be labeled or hunted
cliches are the red-headed step children
that we pretend never really happened
we all need patterns
the stability of belonging
the structure of reality
we need things to predict
predict my next move
and you own me, completely
you are glorious you
and i give you my world to forget.