Baked the day she suddenly dropped dead
we chew it slowly that last apple pie.
Shocked into sleeplessness you're scared of bed.
We never could talk much, and now don't try.
You're like book ends, the pair of you, she'd say,
Hog that grate, say nothing, sit, sleep, stare…
The 'scholar' me, you, worn out on poor pay,
only our silence made us seem a pair.
Not as good for staring in, blue gas,
too regular each bud, each yellow spike.
At night you need my company to pass
and she not here to tell us we're alike!
You're life's all shattered into smithereens.
Back in our silences and sullen looks,
for all the Scotch we drink, what's still between 's
not the thirty or so years, but books, books, books.
The stone's too full. The wording must be terse.
There's scarcely room to carve the FLORENCE on it--
Come on, it's not as if we're wanting verse.
It's not as if we're wanting a whole sonnet!
After tumblers of neat Johnny Walker
(I think that both of us we're on our third)
you said you'd always been a clumsy talker
and couldn't find another, shorter word
for 'beloved' or for 'wife' in the inscription,
but not too clumsy that you can't still cut:
You're supposed to be the bright boy at description
and you can't tell them what the fuck to put!
I've got to find the right words on my own.
I've got the envelope that he'd been scrawling,
mis-spelt, mawkish, stylistically appalling
but I can't squeeze more love into their stone.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Language: a way to release your thoughts, to vocalize them, to visualize them, to move with them. Language is the first cry out of a baby’s mouth, a shout that without words announces ‘I’m here. I’m alive. And hell yeah, I’m scared.’ The thunder of applause, the stern upraised finger of a parent, the wind whistling through the trees, it’s all language, language that can pass a shudder, build up a scream, tears of laughter, or bring on some dream. Once it has started, and it has, it doesn’t stop. It spreads.
Creativity: a new way of thought, a way that did not exist before being formed in your mind. It’s the bulb that lights up in what was before dark and void, a bulb of knowledge that brings forth an idea that can light the depths of the brain to reveal what was before hidden. Once it’s lit, it spills forth colours, rich pinks of sunrises and turquoise blues of oceans. It’s a seed through which one can plant themselves on to the world with original footprints.
Expression: a way of communication, a way of conveying moods and feelings. Lips turned up, or lips turned down, reflection swimming in eyes, the crunching of a nose or the grinding of jaw, the brush of a hand or the sting of a slap, the jagged lines in a sculpture and the smooth surface of a fantasy, express.
Communication: an exchange of thoughts, varying in forms, senders and receivers. The shared vibrations we feel in the soul of the universe, that’s communication, communication that arises in us the want to quiet down around people praying to show respect, communication that makes us want to match our wardrobes with the colours of the season. To communicate, I use the thick sloppy brushes for the portrait of a goofy friend. To honk, to jump, to burp: communication.
Imagination: a creation in thoughts, an invention, a fantasy taking place in mind. Rain clouds while looking up from a balcony, breathing in the scent of the thick pollution multiplied by the harsh sun’s heat, the shape of a hand that let go a while ago, drawing, drawing out what’s not there. It’s the despair that pulls out the world beneath you to place in a droplet of paint and water that spread through the blanks of a canvas. It’s in the breath sucked in and the grin spread out as the water splashes on to her face behind your eyes.
Rhythm: a pattern that bounces and floats through the senses, a pattern that is some times jagged and painful, crashing like the waves on a cliff wall or throbbing through my head with the thump of some new distress. Rhythm lies in the weaves of silk running through my hands and the lines on my palm that boast of knowing my fate. It beats with the heart. It beats with the drums and the laughter of a million girls when I dream of weddings.
Artistic vision: taking in the world and hurling a view of it back out in a way that is staged to be viewed. Using the tip of a pen, the strokes of a brush, the strings of an instrument or the snaps from a camera, you own the world, and once it’s yours, it becomes to big to stay inside of you. So you blow, big and wide and sometime only one word at a time, you speak and you sing and you dance and you burn to share, to share what you have, to share what has enveloped all of you, to make room for more. You crave for more but only after you have shaved off what you have already filled up on. So you spill all you have between the grains of wood and the curves of clay.
Topic: the word, the phrase, the sentence, the base, the point, the center that pulls together all the marks of your thoughts, that sucks it all into one small pool and then lets it rush out in a tornado of words and images and textures and sounds.
Incident: an event – separated – like a dinner party, and in that a temper tantrum, one that ends in the flinging of a chair into the face of a well-prepared meal. Talked about, noticed and not usually forgotten, especially not at dinner parties. An episode that lands you in the hospital in the middle of your very regular life, or the moment in which a beautiful man falls for a flaw, all incidents – separated – only when looked at up close. From far, they are all in the same chapter, the same book, the same life.
Theme: the root of a plant, the dusk after dawn, the base of a song, all themes of some sort, that make up this world and this life. It’s the substance from which come the substance of all other things and thoughts. With the heat of the sun, comes the theme of joy. With the lit up trees, comes the theme of the cool blue sky. It’s in the mood, the atmosphere, the repetition of our spinning sphere.
Voice: a medium. Sometimes the medium is a woman’s heels that announce her importance with each click and sometimes it’s the writing of the sobbing journalist who saw too much. But mostly, it’s my loaded paintbrush ready to be flung on my sister if she comes in my room one more time.
Point of view: a view that’s mine. It may be shared if I wish or have similarities with views outside of me, it maybe be added on or subtracted from but in the end, it’s still unique. It still has to twist to fit the storage of my mind. It is the creator of conversation, the central heating system the fuels my blood, makes it run on paper and carpet, on the faces and the places and the stories that I hear and tell and watch and share.
Perspective: the vantage point in which every line, every street and every store runs towards you. Everything that exists, it all accumulates into one point and goes inside you. It’s energy, energy that you have to run off so you don’t go mad. So you draw, draw those lines back out, you share, share the streets with your friends, and you thank the owners of the stores for being part of the point that circles in your thoughts and leaves the smudged charcoal prints of your fingers on to that new, seriously epic drawing you have to hand in for the boring night class.
Moment: a flash, one before the first touch, one that will never leave memory. Significant, even with only a few brief seconds or a few quiet words, it stays. Everything is clear, waited, waiting, and finally, it’s here. Glorifying, petrifying, it circles and you still as if it to move will break it, make it disappear. And so you wait some more – for another moment.
Plot: a piece of ground used for a specific purpose. The purpose can be any. It’s the piece of ground that matters, whether it is suitable for the purpose it’s been chosen for. The life that will grow from it can either flourish or wither, so the ground has to be perfected, solidified with just enough room for fluidity, for the water to seep in and nourish the thoughts as they are being planted. Once the soil has been refined and the water has been poured, the flowers will spring.
Structure: above and below, right and left, start to finish. This world has rules. And we, as artists, defy them. We, unstructured as we can be, break them to dig in deep, put our feet underneath our chests so our hearts can trample amongst the lines and the cubes to find the curves and the waves that flow without corners and edges and boundaries.
Foreshadow: When I walk and the sun in in front of me, the light and the truth in my eyes, I cast a shadow behind me so the rest can follow my lead. They know, with a shadow, there is light. So they follow in the cold, dark, mysterious world of shadows, anticipating for what lays ahead. They wait for the warmth, for me to move out of the way so they can see what I see. The sun is mine and I do not want to share so I paint them a picture of it with my voice instead. That is all I can give.
Character: a gem, a flaw, who am I? To know, I define. I replace and erase, draw on a face. Sculpt out the form I want them to see, I paint, layers and layers until I forget the blank that was there before all the bright faces before me.
Characterization: Summarizing a person. Gender, level of attractiveness, eye colour, hair colour, mental health, physical health, any grotesque blemishes or birthmarks… Name?
Image: a representation. A reflection that is either built up or is already there to mirror an-other. Whether that other is imaginary or real, the reflection always comes last and the other always first. The death of thousands of Pakistanis is the reflection of the corrupt Pakistani government. The invisible government still always comes first, and the corpses come last…
Imagery: a language that can set the moisture on one’s tongue, the hum in one’s ears, the tingle in one’s skin, the beat in one’s breath, and the blobs of colour that swim underneath one’s eyelids, to shape a story that the mind senses.
Figurative language: words that string together layers of meanings, to describe what is indescribable in a literal sense. The thirst of the soul or the face lit up like the glow from a billion Christmas lights… how else to figure out, to explain the synchronized explosion of each and every cell in your body that the lightest brush of a hand on hand sends?
Poetics: the art of writing poetry, of figuring out its structure. What works? What doesn’t? Understanding that when you write out the words, one next to another, each has to reach towards the next, to move between the spaces, sometimes gliding, sometimes glancing over and waiting a moment, pausing to make room for a breath; that when you write out words, they are more than just sounds or lines on paper. Once they are out, they take on their own lives and therefore, have to be carefully strung on.
Poetry: words become music, visual music. They take on shapes and even when read at the same level of voice, they sing in harmony by themselves. The lines in which they are written, and the spaces between, all give room for the reader’s brain to do a little wandering, to flip some letters and imagine possibilities that may lie behind them. Swollen with emotions, pregnant with expression, poetry, even when jagged like shards of a broken mirror, can be meditating because of the light that dances across it.
Prose: pretty much the opposite of a poem. Instead of fluid with words that dance around, it states it like it is. One word after another, it moves… but not in the way a princess in a fairytale would, humming and stopping to talk to the birds, more in the way a middle aged man would, freshly bored, on his way to work.
Short Story: An incident, one that might have inspired or touched you enough to write about it, just it in itself; No past, no future, no context in general, just the incident; Like the incident in which my hand went out of my control and did what I did not know it was capable of doing. It wrote and wrote about the incident and only the incident, so fast that after a few minutes, it grew limp and tired and could hold the pencil no longer. Only a few pages it wrote, enough to cover what occurred, short, the story of what happened, a bit about why it did, sometimes imaginary, but mostly real.
Narrative: a story. Something happens and then it’s told or written or shown. It’s heard and it’s felt and sometimes, it can even be tasted; Like the grilled chicken that leaves the story of summer, the bonfire, the inside jokes, and the precious moments that have passed so fast on your tongue. The tongue then remembers that it can be used to repeat the words it just tasted. And those words get drawn on to the sand by some one who listened too closely and tried to cling on to each syllable by writing it down only to see it all get washed away by the sea. The story gets taken to a place too far down the memory lane to be reached other than by glancing at the kids again, reminiscing, and using the present to record and to tell how everything passed away.
Narrator: the one who owns the story, the ‘I’ who has a voice. A letter amongst all the others, only when it stands alone, becomes the narrator – the letter that describes every single one of us, which allows us to tell our story.
The speaker in a poem: sometimes it’s me and sometimes it’s you, the animal or the object whose shoes I’ve stepped into, who I’ve gloved around my personality to re-shape my mouth, to re-shape the words that fall out.
Persona: a mask, transparent – the ‘I’ that’s only part I, the ‘I’ that others can handle dealing with, the laughing, carefree ‘I’; not the ‘I’ that finds slamming drawers meditative, not the ‘I’ that rolls drunkenly around at night, and definitely not the ‘I’ that tries to search for things that the eye cannot see.
Narration: story telling! Dancing, eating, singing, pooping, everything is a tale of what happened, of what’s happening, it’s all narrating. Wringing your hands in frustration, narrates how much you need some pizza. Knocking your hands against the bus door, narrates how fast you need to get home. In ways of all sorts, we tell our tales. Sometimes it’s around a campfire that a narration takes place about that bear that girl saw, and sometimes it’s in the bow a winner makes to show his gratitude for his audience. With every breath we take, we narrate our existence.
Vignette: here’s one… A short passage I was told to write, to cluster first and then wait for a story to come. Problem was, I had no time. I know we’re only supposed to cluster for two minutes and write for five so ok, seven, max ten minutes in total. But here’s the catch, we had to write a billion of them – along with a billion other exercises and summaries and stories. And that’s not all, there were also paintings due, a room to clean, a subway to catch, a friend to please. I felt like I would explode. But this vignette right here? It’s helped me compose.
Assonance: blobbing through this blog, this slow, spinning glob of a day, so hazy, so breezy, so lazy, so easy, I want to plop around this town.
Metaphor: he fired up my body, fed it through his fingers, unbuckled all my troubles, backed me up under the covers… changing gears, he slowed down; idled with the engine. Overflowing, we sped, we raced, and in ways so sweet, we moved till we crashed into each other.
Simile: her laugh, instead of bubbling like a gentle stream, hee-hawed all over the place every time I was around her. She had this way of making me feel like only I could make her laugh like that, like I could do no wrong to offend her, that my extremely stupid wonderings would only make her laugh more, make her like me more. So I decided that was that… we would be best friends forever!
Personification: my dreams splashed to the shore of my skin as my lids fluttered open in shock. The rays of the sun were seeping in through the window. They spoke to me with deep honesty about the falsehood of my dark visions.
Allusion: I came first. He had slacked off, making fun of me, saying that even if he got up and put together something in less than a minute, he would still win. He obviously hadn’t read the fable about the hare and the tortoise…
Alliteration: spinning in circles, waving a wand, I heard the swing singing a song.
Connotative Language: turns a lady into a chick, a good student into a loser, and falling in love a drug.
Irony: having cheese cake before going on the treadmill…
Oxymoron: the combination of a scarf with shorts was pretty ugly.