Outside my house
No not like petals they aren’t delicate
they go with the flow
they are good listeners
they speak every language
observing how other things work
they are patient with their growth
and don’t fall for anyone
they are adaptable to change
you can see it on their skin
their wise age transforming them
they sacrifice and leave home
so another can grow in their place
sometimes they feed others who may be hungry
they know appreciation because seasons are short
some of them have the prettiest neighbors
but they don’t need a consort
they take a risk to learn how to fly
they have heaps of faith
they are immortal because they
let go of when their ready
do it all again come spring time.
Night of the New Moon
The night I fear most; the night of the new moon; the one night that renders me powerless in the face of others. My secrets I hide on the one night in the month, I change into something fragile. All my senses have changed. I can not feel, hear, smell, or taste as I do on moon light nights. One night in particular stands out, the quiet night my boyfriend found out about my secret. I was sitting there in my room, meditating, as I always did that night. I must have zoned out because he walked in to my room. He gasped as my hair had changed, as if I had dyed it a different color than normal, he had never seen this night, and its effects on me. He backed up towards the door, a panicked aura surrounding him. I turned my head over in his direction, and even with my blindness, I could feel the tension in the air. “Please, I am sorry I never told you about this time of month.” I stated. Hoping my words would convey into the quiet of the night, for he didn't say a word to me. “I keep it secret, due to the danger that could arise with this knowledge.” I said, not wanting to upset him anymore. I hear him shuffle in the background. Furthermore, I feel the burning sensation in the back of my eyes, as tears well up and fall down my face. “ I’m sorry, please stay. I can't be alone right now.” I told him, hoping that would bring him closer to me. Furthermore, I soon heard footsteps behind me and felt him snake his arms around me, pulling it towards him. The stress I feel comes alive as I cry harder. The best thing about the whole situation is that I shared something on this quiet New Moon Night, and my boyfriend learned more about me.
the clatter of bones.
the cracking of homes.
a full moon that blooms at night.
a save haven that provides the darkness light.
graveyard fevers over the land.
their ashes are almost like sand.
The Death of Poetry: and the rise of the Instapoets
THIS POST WILL UPSET A LOT OF YOU. I expect nothing but your most vituperative dissent in the comment sections. Enjoy.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who takes even a perfunctory glance that their first notice in the artistic discipline, before any else coming from the wide total of its offerings, will be of Poetry, the once solemn figurina of romantic virtue, now molted of her flowers and collapsed, clenching her pale soul between tired gritty teeth. This is not an attention inviting any real doubt; instead, a conclusion which I trust my peers, studied and brimming with the keen intuition of their professed craft, have observed themselves. Indeed, She is a subject over which the sepulcher-lid has slid long before any of us here can be said to have been born—an affair whose example recounted (by Orwell) imparts the same uncontroversy as when it was originally written:
‘There can be no doubt that in our civilization poetry is by far the most discredited of the arts, the only art, indeed, in which the average man refuses to discern any value’
Surely, poetry has come far to fall since the Muses inspired the first blind-man’s tongue to sing splendid verse, ushering his music, from there, along its way on careful course to those heights of the English-speaking Tutored countryside. Reading poetry today, in its pitiful decrepitude, picked and plundered to an unrecognizable incompleteness, one sees a disgraceful mimicry that does not yet approach even parody in its utter lack. She is a fragile heritage now preyed on in imitation by casual passers-by and the ungracious laity so wholly ignorant of any poetic sense; their paltry imitations only good for the recognition that to modern man all art is low art, no more to him than what at bottom is his panem et circenses, unaware and indifferent of Her succumbing to the full drop of dust-bitten disrepute.
If civilization discredits poetry, it is right to do so, for it has waned to a meaningless mockery of the name, bearing none of the likeness to a history so proud and statuesque—and I do not mean a remote history either. But if I were to take this line, I recognize that I would be getting on the wrong side of the problem: civilization does not discredit poetry because the art—as a form and method of composition—is unworthy; rather, poetry has become unworthy because civilization has forgotten how to discern any value from it, and by those means, hold it to the account of its artistic richness.
I am referring to the populist Instapoetry movement that passes as art in a society which cannot be said to have even a cursory familiarity with verse, let alone have been taught its significance in the English classroom. The written is unlike any other art, the more because most uncivilized people do happen to stumble into a gallery then and again or stop to photograph some “beautiful building” on vacation. This is the distinct disadvantage of literature: it cannot be passively observed, and none of its value is accessible on the face of it, as is so with the visual works—it must be read, and painfully at that, to get at what is therein ‘embalmed and treasured up’ (Milton, for the curious). How convenient then that Instapoetry comes in a prewritten masturbational package, neatened of any deeper intelligence and openly glutting the illiterate tastes, made digestible by an absurd reductionism from literary to depictive. By this I do not just mean the ridiculous visual accompaniments underneath every post and printed page—a recriminating fact in itself, for which picture can be more forcefully drawn or excised in evocative shape than the one composed in poesy?!—but I am also inciting the very method of the forgery, which takes reading to the closest shores of seeing, whereby one has less so to read and study the words than he has to simply look and see them—and this last part can be done with a thumb in your mouth for additional comfort.
Punctuation without any conscious sense, scarcely used effectively, if ever properly; too often invoked against itself to abortive or gaudy hyperbolic ends. A dissolution of the capital letter for the sake of it, because it is novel and naughty: this is not a reinvention of the rules for a definite poetic purpose that uplifts and elevates the technique, unassimilable from the nature of the lines themselves—rather, it is titillation and amateurish posturing. Meter? Never counted or considered, unless it be that one in the remembrance of a popular nursery rhyme—maybe the only proper pasteurization left for our diet of Milk and Honey. Metrical feet trampled about the page unawares, for no discernable reason, strewn together in incognisance;
sometimes at the beginning, other times at the end,
or perhaps starting new lines arbitrarily. In the unmeaning amusement of being rid of any endowed structure, (remember that ‘modern’ in today’s terms is a blank refusal of any formal institution whatsoever) do the Instapoets unwittingly forge the trammels to their own poetic freedom. Not to mention the pathological addiction to the swear word (Fuck, shit, crap etc.) as the favorite of all their flash; more so (and this is impressive) than their repetitive vomiting of depressive sexual encounters and self-motivational gall. Swearing to provoke interest or depth, which compacts a majority of the cases, is a cheap recommendation for actual poetic accent, forgoing hard-won sophistication for the lowest pandering to an audience who, if they are so impressed, is not worth the loss in integrity to relate to. These are the primary characteristics, according to my own abilities to see into the matter, that give the essential quality to Instapoetry, an anti-poetic force of the kind severe in its unconsciousness and monomanic in the aesthetic reproduction of the cultural masses.
“Art is subjective! There is no way to measure good from bad.” I hate to have to say that whoever avows this short-sightedness immediately betrays there having no acquired sense of what art actually consists of. The more one is steeped in the voluminous manuscripts of the classical oeuvre, to take from it according to his particular wont, yet absorbed by the effort in translating its consummate lesson, the more he cultivates a sensibility about art itself, attaining quickly the sensitivity to a high and low manner, to a great and poor style. And if by a lengthy effort to that end, does he come into his long-awaited expertise, calling on for confidence in his chosen artistic field the many labours and hours of investigation that compelled him, for his prize and due reward he will have the distinct pleasure of walking into any bookstore in America to see before him under Arts and Letters a miserable corner of Shakespeare (the only sole survivor) crowded out by the protruding belly of those shelves, in endless supply, of a “poetry” no better than the vining paroxysms of a pubescent diary.
What does this all have to do with the English classroom? The English classroom is perhaps the last bastion against the increasingly absorbing program of ‘democratic education’ whose focus is both industrialization and specialization, aspects particularly designed to cull the scientific intellect. Instapoetry is but a taste of what will happen to the arts if we continue in this way, where there is increasingly no societal value left for things other than the technologic. In many ways, the English classroom is lashed into submission by this mechanisation of culture, but too does it enable it by failing a proud protectionism over its singular monopoly of training and teaching the mind to think: no other subject, especially at the highschool level, can make this claim for itself. It should not be embarrassed of its esoteric achievements, and the seeming irrelevance of which it is accused of from a world whose majority will always be ignorant of its utmost importance. The living tradition begins in the English classroom, but it is a fragile teaching that requires an even stricter discipline in a time when any thought worth holding must be shown to be able to be turned to some economic account.
On this platform I’ve heard the criticisms of the modernised mind: picking through the lines; analyzing every word; scrutinizing the meaning of a passage and dissecting it for tone and timbre—that these activities in some degree tire out the study of English. But these are the happiest instruments of literature and critical analysis, the ones which transform a poem to the immortal embers deposited deep at the bottom of the soul; these are the very tools of one’s enlightenment, whose applications are endless and need have no sense of shame about themselves. There is a limitless joy in wrapping both hands around a poem and forming such an intimacy with each and ever word, to touch its essential texture and fabric—for what you are actually feeling is in fact the very allusive substance of life.
This is not a comment on English teachers, to be sure, nor any specific English classrooms across the millions in this country. If anything, it is an invocation to the teachers and classrooms that know the fundamental value of their subject, and who are right in their fear of its dying in our culture so hideously against its own illumination, to cloister the dim flame of life in their delicate custody, and with their gentle care, alight the wick in the minds of precious youth, so that they may carry it forward into the darkness of all their working days.
Whether it be large or small
It is well-designed
It holds many lights
To illuminate an elegant room.
Blue Mountain bird
I love the way
got my attention.
I crawl with petunia
as he longs
to your south
I kiss your
to the deep.
for the lollies
as he kept
the zip intact
Yeahsssss! Yeahssssss! Yeeeeeaaaahhhsss!
Twilight of My Life
An old man came up to me one day,
with a twitch in his eyes,
no teeth in his mouth,
and a three-day old beard.
He wore beat-up, old khaki pants,
patch-worked several times,
and an old jacket with no pockets,
wearing a faded cap.
But you could tell by looking at him,
he had had his better days;
for though he looked rough,
but his step was lively, purposeful.
I was sitting under a tree,
plucking blades of fresh-smelling grass,
casting them to their own fated landing,
when I felt a shadow encroach my space.
It was the shadow, so huge,
the rest of him, you already know.
Just passing through, he said,
but had to stop, said he.
That look in your eye I’ve had myself,
and I know you’ve lost someone close,
someone you can’t replace, he said.
I asked, how could you know?
Simple, he said, I’ve been there,
but let me tell you this;
if you love her as much as it looks to me,
don’t be or feel sad.
Hell, he said, that’s what keeps me going.
The old man grinned his toothless grin,
straightened himself taller than imagined,
saying it was time to be going,
and he turned and walked away.
I watched him walk away,
until he simply vanished.
When the volume is all the way up
And I can feel
Through the soles of my aching feet.
What a curious feeling
To want to dance on broken ankles.