Saturday, April 26, 2008

April 26

I had shared that there is poetry in the lyrics of some songs. Here is a video of Alicia Keys, performing a poem of her own. When I first saw this, I was blown away and my estimation of Keys skyrocketed. Perhaps you'll feel the same way.

Friday, April 25, 2008

April 25

And it was inevitable that I would get around to Shakespeare. But sharing a piece that had a story to go along with it was not as easy to do. I mean, I could share seeing Romeo & Juliet in the movie theater or describe the first time I saw a Shakespearean play performed on stage. I could even go into the first play I read from beginning to end. None of that felt quite right and I'm glad I waited. Here's the story . . . once upon a time I belonged to a listserv that discussed Shakespeare. One of the members wrote a message in which she complained about how her daughter's teacher had the students watch a video of one of his plays rather than read the play itself. She thought that this was ridiculous, that the students shouldn't "waste their time" watching videos when they should be reading Shakespeare! I had to respond to this woman's post and pointed out the very obvious: Shakespeare didn't write his plays to be read; he wrote them to be seen in performance. And on that note, here is something you should see.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 24

I have been participating in a writing challenge, A Poem a Day Challenge, and today's challenge was to write a poem inspired by a photograph. I suppose that it makes sense, all things considered, to share a poem of my own so today, rather than share someone else's writing, I shall share a bit of my own. (I would like to think that at least one person is saying, "And it's about damn time!" while reading that I am finally sharing my own poetry.)

The Game of Love

Tag! You’re IT!
I said I love you
Now it’s your turn
To say something
To fill this overfull silence
In which love becomes
A double dog dare
A game of hide and seek
A hot potato dropped
When the music stopped
And we stand wondering
If the game is over.
Photo Credit: Dave Peleschak
Aries Horoscope for week of April 24, 2008

The U.S. government is spending over $500,000 per minute on the war in Iraq. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil is raking in about $73,000 of profit per minute. Is there any connection? Though I have my suspicions, I don't know for sure. I do know that the coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to phase out any situation in your personal life that resembles America's cash drain in Iraq. It will also be a favorable period for you to brainstorm about how you could upgrade your financial intake to be more like Exxon Mobil's.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

23 April

Have you ever bought a cd based on one song you heard on the radio or in a movie and you simply had to have that one song so you end up buying a whole cd just of songs just to get the one? (I guess now with downloading MP3s this doesn't happen as often anymore.) I buy poetry anthologies that way, finding one poem that I must hold in print. I hear a poem somewhere, or maybe I've never heard it before. I open up an anthology and I recognize the poem--even if I've never heard it before. I know the poem and I must hold it. The following is a poem that made me buy an entire book of poetry.
the n-word by Evie Shockley
i want to write a poem about the time a little white boy called me a ________: but i can’t use the word; it’s busy busy, i say: headlining the new civil rights agenda, bedding down with dictionary editors, shuffling back and forth between huck finn and new jack city: oh it’s busy, busy, and i wouldn’t want to disturb it. i want to write a poem about when I was nine and a little white boy whose coat sleeves didn’t reach his wrists called me a _______: but I can’t say the word: it’s busy , I tell you: black folks got their mouths around it, chewing, swallowing, regurgitating, chewing, swallowing again, re- defining it, they tell me: they’re calling cow-cud what I thought was bull-shit: either way, I can’t stomach it! Since the word is busy, busy, busy, I wouldn’t want to disturb it. i want to write a poem about how this little white boy said it: wasn’t even talking to me: told his father waiti wanna play on the pinball machine soon as the _______ gets through with it. yeah, we both up in woolco mooching amusement in the toy department: neither of us could afford the damn thing: but this little white boy he called me a ______: and i still can’t say the word: it’s busy, busy, you hear me, all tied up with quentin tarantino and i wouldn’t want to disturb it. you know, i thought i’d write a poem about the time this little white boy who could be married to my ex-best friend, could end up wrapped in a confederate flag, who could be our next president the time this little white boy called me a ______: but i won’t use the word: i’m busy. deeply involved in self-definition and world reconstruction: busy! i said i got work to do and i’m tired of being disturbed.

Laughing Baby

Today I got an email that linked to the top ten laughing baby videos. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for Tickle-Me-Elmo. I can't hear one of those things giggling without beginning to giggle myself. Laughing babies have the same effect on me. And because I am in need of a laugh, I am sharing this video of a baby laughing. This particular video was used in a commercial so I guess it is famous. I don't know that it matters. I just get a kick out of the fact that the man, presumably the father, is encouraging Ethan to tear up paper. I am not sure how he is going to learn to read. Maybe they won't use books. Maybe they'll teach Ethan to read using computer programs and Sesame Street. In any event, this makes me laugh and I wanted everyone else to have a laugh today too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22

Thoughts Before Pissing Now that we know all aobut Reality, let's forget about it --its solitude, its labor (on the railroad), its loneliness its automobiles on the barren streets and the ever faster eclipse of the years Last night I dreamed an old lover welcomed me back with shining eyes and warm kisses arms round my shoulder then lay down with me embraced on his couch I'm reading the journals of Allen Ginsberg because I have often heard that he never ever revised but I also knew he had. His "not revising" is one of those odd myths that attaches itself to an icon and contrarian evidence goes ignored. Still, it's nice to read these rough drafts and see inklings of his process.

Monday, April 21, 2008

April 21

And today I offer the first poem I ever tried to memorize from one of my favorite books. Interestingly enough, I recently read that Shelby Silverstein doesn't believe any child actually likes Lewis' Alice in Wonderland books. I disagree because I remember reading them over and over again, much as I did with Winnie-the-Pooh and Andersen's fairy tales.

Lewis Carroll

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
.....Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
.....And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
.....The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
.....The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
.....Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
.....And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
.....The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
.....And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
.....The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
.....He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
.....Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
.....He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
.....Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
.....And the mome raths outgrabe.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Arpil 20 with Book Review

Poetry is so subjective and my inability to appreciate Landis Everson's Everything Preserved is not so much an indictment of his talent as it is an indication of my plebian tastes. That this collection is the winner of the Emily Dickinson First Book Award is all the proof one needs that this poetry is wonderful.

Unfortunately, I was left completely apathetic and even caught myself debating the imagery. A perfect example is the reference to Dorothy and Ozma in Everson's A God and his misidentifying the silver slippers (of the novels) with the "red slippers" (of the movie). Line choices occasionally also disturbed my reading and instead of immersing myself in the tone or moment of the poems, I kept analyzing them to determine what it was that I was missing. (A perfect example of such analyzing causing me to remove myself from the piece is found in Red Dust. The lines "who could relate realistically with the blond/filing her nails in the wilderness" caused me to ponder why blond was not blonde. Was there a blond male or was this careless editing? If this is the latter then how did this book earn an award? If there is another, how many times will I have to read the poem to comprehend who this other is? Obviously more than three. Ironically, in the same collection is a poem titled Blond(e) which is rather like adding insult to injury because obviously the poet knows that there is a difference so either I'm an idiot and don't get the line or someone missed the obvious.)

Why could I not appreciate what is obviously considered award winning poetry? I have no answer. What I do have is a poem from the collection. This was my favorite piece in this collection.

Where Truth Lies

The truth of your lies
renames me. I am not a name.
The street is swept of leaves.
Homeless dogs invade the park.
My own backyard could not be
more beautiful
than the shadows of difference
between what you say
and the escape of shadows
behind words.

Sun and shade.
Truth that I am loved.
People say the watchdog
will never bit
unless silence fills hi.
True, I am not loved.

Listen to what you’re saying.
Watch the shadow.
It covers your mouth.
Who taught you to open your mouth

against the caress of a
rough shadow?
I can’t imagine a tongue
without a mouth to lie in.
Lying in your mouth.