Monday, February 28, 2011

Round 2 -- Begin

We made it all the way through 26 cycles of topics and we're about to do it again.

Let's keep writing my friends.

New Topic: Approach
--------------------
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of a song?

long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And for the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's
ou t of my r ea ch
slowly fli tter ing
Just to dangle a meter away
Emphatically, I stress
"How tan ta li zing"


I was poking around with meter and syllabic force. Way out of my league for now. Also, it's hard to illustrate how I would want this to be laid out given the blog's limited formatting capabilities.

The Zenith

When that tormenting red sun reached has its peak, I find that I forget myself as I am savaged by the dread heat of its hateful rays. My strength withered, I run to shelter. I want, I forget, to stand in that scorching judgment, to feel the blistering grace of an angered god beat down upon me. I want, I forget, for my body to do what it does. I forget and I fear, for heat has numbed my mind. It takes so long, it seems, for my skin to open up and cleanse itself. I forget, and I run to mild, meek shelter. This shade does not stand against the burning ghosts in pride but spirits me away to mirthful shelter in infancy. I forget, I forget, until I leave this murky cave, why I wanted this sweltering heat, why I came out here at highest noon, but the sun seems long past its prime as shadows stretch, signaling the dusk of my sorrow. I look at my skin and feel the living medium between myself and the world and find it clogged evermore with dirt ground into it from my time frolicking in that cave of banal mildness. No, I ventured out to sweat today, to purge from within the choking comedones of my spirit. Like God's vengeance, cull the filth with the everflowing Cleansing waters of hardship. But now, but now, this sun seems to be setting and I still stink of moldy childhood.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Z!

Z is for Zenith. Y turned out to be a much bigger project for me than anticipated. It is forthcoming.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

to yearn
is a behavior rewarded
non-desirous pawns
lack personal power
in the societal struggle
for more,
the strongest will
can dwell
in the city
interact with fellows
but be unaffected
by motives of greed,
economic success
tributes the sure
with recognition
stall aspiration
and the world
still moves on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

New topic

Will says the new topic is xylographs or xylography (carved wood printing). Since we took so long to get the topic up, we'll make this topic go from 2/18-2/20.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Woods

I started out pessimistic, but I resolved to not condemn myself to failure in this (meta) piece. It is here that I am beginning to understand the holiness in writing.

What can knowing the secret paths of the forest do me? I alone know how twist and turn yield sacred grove, quiet pod of wooded solitude, where time reflects upon itself for endless eternities. Amanita ring where faeries dance, erratic, wild, free. Where sable stag's pride echoes from knot to trunk and eye. Where winds whisper between trees ripe and silent with sweet dew, wisdom in gospel pages of softly flowing leaves, where canopy breaks and all the world becomes dust in the night sky. The silence there, O, I heard it once.
Yes I know the way there. My legs bleed from thorny trails, I am harried by night's hunters, by shadows without number. Yes, these trails must be walked at deepest night, at the zenith of our loneliness. My smiling companion I must abandon, her shining visage cannot guide me where I go, nor offer me respite in its silver light.
My legs ache, my heart heavy with fear and bleeding from solitude. The only sound I now hear reminds me I still live in mortal flesh, the thundering timpani of my quaking heart. I have lost so much on these hidden trails.

I like how it begins. The transition when I decided to be more positive feels a little forced to me, but maybe that's what it will always have to be for me. As much as I like poetry, I think that the semi-aphoristic/poetic style is more what captures my (arrogantly) gravitas when I speak. Then again, this is just practice, I must remember that practice is not meant to be good, it is meant to be meaningful to me. I still feel my legs are too weak to reach that holy place, but that may just be today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

David's Song

David played his guitar, serenaded every beauty, and won every heart
But beauty is common and the one he loved, would not succumb to any flamboyant art.
So he left all behind to learn from the woods and discover its secret to seduce his beloved.
For years, he sat on the root of the beach to listen and glow in nature's harmony.

Leaves fluttered onto his strings, but never did he stop playing these autumn things.
Snow dusted the guitar's wooden neck, but not a second would winter linger his set.
The melt and dew washed off the dust, and in spring his pursuit carried on in lust.
The shade made cool his fingers in summer, and not a second did David's music stutter.

His hair grew long, a patched beard formed, and his skin turned as gray as the tree.
In sickness and in hunger, skinniness took over but he wouldnot stop playing his song.
Ten years he played to win her affection, listen, practice, and repeat.
When he was ready to return, his weakened legs wobbled him down into town.

While there he found his red-haired love on a bench in the grass in the sun sitting fast.
He played her his ripe soul of autumn leaves, of powder snow, of flora grow,
Summer warmth and shaded breeze, of skinny trees and mated bees.
Frozen seeds and sprouting greens, of mulching leaves and scented trees.

Of lighted paths and mirrored lakes, of mountain rocks and twilight hawks.
Partnered fish and water's hiss from the waterfall's gentle bliss.
Sunset's grace and mammal's haste, of lazy snow that heat erased:
This through his guitar she did hear, for David combined all he could for his dear.

But all in vain for the vanished years had changed the lives of those in town.
A bolder lover had advanced, won her heart, on more than one stance,
And a family had begun which now included their newborn son.
David's playing had no hope to change his lost regrets and lover's elope.

When the sound of his music, he no longer could bare,
He went back to the woods and the beach tree's place, the same woods where he'd learned to hear.
He sat for weeks on that same gray root huddled in comfort under the light green roof
David forgot the years and his many tears, till the beat of his heart daily fainter got.

His body decayed, his mind was stolidly made, and all his pain slowly drifted away.
David died on the root, a gift back to his muse to eventually get carried up in the rain.
Where he fell from the sky to soften the earth, seep through the ground
And slowly feed that gracious tree, and in his gift David's song was lost to eternity.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Erykah Badu: a Commentary on a Commentary

'In the woods' = De La Soul's tastefully veiled phrase for gettin' it on. And a great song, vulgar in a completely old school way, like when they chant 'stick the bush...stick the bush...'




I was googling about Erykah Badu today and I found a fascinating, and hilarious, forum post about her somewhere. If you're not familiar, in a way you could say she's the undisputed queen of hip hop... She tours eight months out of every year and has collaborated with almost everybody. At the same time she has a mystical vibe which keeps everyone guessing, and a distinct hippie vibe...like Lil Kim or Nicki Minaj, she's always changing her hair and wearing radical outfits, but she doesn't present herself as a sex kitten, exactly. She's more of a philosopher, an intellectual--she appeals more to people who smoke a lot of weed and read political books, and she doesn't get a lot of play in clubs.

In any case, she's also really gorgeous, and her beauty is not separable from her talent and the undeniable eccentricity which she's always displaying. She's been seriously involved with Common and Andre 3000 of Outkast, two of the biggest names in hip hop, and now she's with another rapper.

So the guy was arguing in his forum post that there's something about her sex, about having sex with her, that completely changes guys, and he based his findings on the music of Common and Andre 3000, pre- and post-Erykah. Here's the post:

is it just me or did Erykah Badu turn sexy?

Maybe I'm trippin, I didnt use to be all that attracted to her, but I saw her recently on some show or magazine or something and I remember being like, "I dont know what it is about her but I really would like to impregnate her"

maybe its that voodoo that she hit Common and Andre 3000 with that made them all crazy! She sees something she wants and then she transforms their preferences to include her look.

yep, Erykah wants me.

She has to have the bomb cooch! Think about it. The sheer exposure to it will change a Timb & hoody wearin emcee into a vegitarian, art fruit who refuses to wear anything that a black man should ever wear. Its wild! Not only that, but the badu-snatch affects musical output of whatever victim she chooses so much so that it should have a production credit:

"Between Me, You & Liberation" – 6:23

* Featuring Cee-Lo
* Produced by ?uestlove, James Poyser, Jay Dee, Pino Palladino, and Erykah Badu's Vagina

from http://forums.undergroundhiphop.com/readpost.asp?Forum=Producer&Whichpage=5&QuestionID=786575


You really have to listen to their music to understand the change, and it is remarkable. But here's a visual cue:
Andre before, on the right:


Andre after:


This argument taps into all the male fantasies, and fears, about love: on the one hand, it will change you, on the other hand, it might sap you of all of your manhood, because all of your creativity will belong, ultimately, to the inspiration of the Earth Mother Vagina who you will worship for eternity. I would say that this sentence describes a straight man's greatest hope and greatest fear at the same time.

But then there's the whole question of the aristocracy of taste, as Pierre Bourdieu put it. How classy of a woman do you want? For some of the respondents to the post, Erykah Badu is, maybe, too classy, or too intellectual, and, therefore, crazy. For lots of men, you don't want a woman who is more avant garde than you, who is so creative that she can take a good rapper and turn him into a weirdo, who is, nonetheless, still a good rapper.

But if creativity isn't sexy, what is? If a woman is not creative, what's left? And if her creativity falls solely within the boundaries of the 'domestic'--cooking, cleaning, giving sexual favors--is she still creative? Is Erykah Badu sexually unique, like the post would imply, or is the change she solicits in her former lovers an effect of her philosophy, her music, or both at once?

What we are approaching is the limit-point of gender as the unity of opposites. These comforting and oppressive oppositions, between looks and personality, emotions and sexuality, aggressiveness and passiveness, which so predictably structure gender relations are beginning to unravel. It is no longer possible for a straight man, unless he is a complete fucking idiot, to look for looks alone in a woman, just as a woman can no longer be passive the whole way through.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Going Thoreau style: Set yourself in the Woods

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The class had just begun and Riley was already struggling with the content of the professor's words. Rat – a – tat a – tat – rat – tat. The professor turned around and started writing on the black board. The chalk's clicking sounded in a curious counter-point to the cadence of his voice. The words meant nothing to Riley.

Riley kept forcing his attention back to the words and their meaning. He hurriedly tried to catch up with his notes. What would Dad think? He frantically scratched the writing on the black board into his legal pad. The other students in the classroom all sat with their backs erect and their gaze hooked on the professor at the podium and the board behind him. Every time Riley's body drifted into a slouch, he lost the words' meaning again. Although he kept correcting this over and over trying to get into the material, Riley's knowledge was gapped.

He only needed a few more years of business school until he could finally join a big New York firm, wear a business suit and be a man. He just needed to persevere through this tedium until he could finally become something. He knew it was just around the corner.

But Riley couldn't keep his focus on the lecture. His mind kept drifting away from the meaning and towards their sounds. Da – da – do Rat – ti – ti – te

The lecture ended. Riley was slumped back in his chair and was the last student to begin packing up his belongings.

“Riley, can I speak to you for a few minutes?” the professor asked. Riley put his notebook and pen into his bag and met the instructor at his desk in the corner of the room.

“Your midterm results are in,” the professor began, “and it will take your greatest effort just to pass my class. I've spoken with your other professors too and you aren't doing well with them either.” While the professor was talking, Riley stood still and made eye contact. His father had always demonstrated respect and confident communication during every business deal Riley ever saw him make.

“You may want to consider withdrawing from my class or even from school this term. I understand the tragedy that has befallen your family recently. You may want to take some time to allow those feelings their place. Otherwise, your GPA will likely suffer and hurt your chances in the future.”

“Thank you for understanding,” Riley said, “but professor I can't give up. It would let my dad down.”

“It isn't necessarily giving up Riley to take some time for important things in life. You can resume your studies in a few months which in the long term doesn't amount to much time lost.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Practice practice practice

A crown of leaves
heralds spring's new coming
Trees broken by snow heavy
shed silent tears for winter sorrows
"We, constant vigil of verdant fields,
stand our ground at frost's void"
Guard us from our harrowing doubt,
night's dark succor
temptation of winter months
to watch the world die and mourn
its passing.
Dry our tears with blooming boughs
sound the trumpets of life's return.
Silent guardians, share with us the tenderness
of spring's unfolding
First flower blooming
Save us from our infinite Fall.

Catchup

Simple bricks make mortar flow from contingent soul
Sight dominate sound
crash my heart
to rigid wall
Hard lines drive reason to rage
How obvious, in light of day, I am right
But right bar me from your side by moon
Hard lines bring hatred to your heavenly touch
Gentle hands need gentle mind
Calm, calm
Dissipate
I..
You..
Breathe

New Topic - Void

2/8/11 - 2/10/11
Void

Every prophet sought out companions.
A wall standing alone is useless,
but put three or four walls together,
and they'll support a roof and keep
the grain dry and safe.

When ink joins with a pen, then the blank paper
can say something. Rushes and reeds must be woven
to be useful as a mat. If they weren't interlaced,
the wind would blow them away.

-Rumi "Of Being Woven"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Neil and Eric were waiting for me near the bar as I walked off the dance floor. Some other people were coming to meet them. I saw them standing next to the only girl wearing a pink sweatshirt in the trendy club. Neil introduced me to Jane. Her blonde hair was pulled in two pig-tails. She didn't say anything to me because her soft-lipped smile and confident gaze said enough.

Drawn by instinct, Jane walked into the crowd of pulsing dancers. Her hips led her purposefully towards the center and her pinched shoulders gently swayed and gracefully maneuvered through the tightening mob. I looked at Eric and Neil and followed after her.

Her distinct baby pinkness stood out from the black wearing mass. I watched her reach the speakers and begin to move to the loud music. I came up to her and offered her my hands to dance. I held her slender fingers in mine. Her eyes captured me as she looked up through her eyelashes. In them, an impenetrable calmness looked out at the world and watched it's story unfold.
The days that go by adding together in sequence form a schedule of habit. Strung tight the right pattern of attainment connects the intended end of the gulf with a first step out of fear.

Many instant desires are out of reach from where we stand now. Arms cannot stretch across a river and clutch a feeling from the expected and pull it back into the breast.

Patterns create power and movement that use the world's tendency to create a future event in the now shortening the wait for distant dreams with each step.
Unattainable-Their kingdom favored illusions of desire and power. Obtaining only the quantifiable, for modern materialism was religion. Drugs and androids holding hands, instructions on how to think pulsing lyrics of sin. In a sober mind this unpleasantness points out the extreme of the minds known limitations of perceived reality

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The test begins only when the stakes are high enough to kill. Where it's do or die. Those moments when my choice demonstrate who I am. Until the action is made and I stamp my intention onto the world, the future is an illusion of my weak projection. But every time I step up with confidence, my trust in my action will create the future of my dreams. Each second I live asks me to live it well and full as a trial of who I will become. A test that I cannot fail but have illimitable control over it's result and therefore must never stop studying.
Willing to lose it all
I step down from my throne
Into the common homes
Into their lives
Where I understand nothing
From where they came
Where they hope to go
But my desire to understand
Lets me begin to learn
And humbled I discover
The throne was my only advantage

Doing some catch up

A term that I came up with that I really like (and it relates to loyalty); one's ordinal paramount. It's basically just a fun and more poetic way of saying the 'most important thing to you' Ordinality is just the concept that one can rank things, i.e. A>B>C>D (the difference between A and B need not be the same as the difference between B and C), and paramount means preeminent, most important. Kind of redundant, but it is at least fresh and still has life left in it (isn't that what poetry is all about? Trying to say the stuff that has become so overworn that it has lost all its meaning). You are loyal to your ordinal paramount, period. Your loyalty to everything else only goes as far as it is on the path towards your ordinal paramount.

2/1-2/3

Trial (not necessarily the court kind)