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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Awkwardness comes in many infinite shades,
like pretty faces.
Or homely ones.
Or senses of humor.
Or laughter.

And it’s merely a matter of finding a shade
that catches your eye.
Or mind.
Or taste.
Or touch.

Your awkwardness is what drew me in,
from your hidden corner, valiantly hoping against all hope
that no one will notice your very personal shade.

For now, this is all I need to find enjoyment.
I could see what other wonderful shades you have
later.

Songs of the Day:

Matt Nathanson – “I Saw”
Stars – “My Favourite Book”

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City
lights
emulate
the night
sky, offering
up glowing
balls of
varying size arranged in systematic
constellations. Meteors with cone-shaped tails travel backwards
in long, predictable two-way paths. As the aeroplane soars higher
into the cold clouds of the night, I stare at civilization,
slowly but
surely, being
reduced to
empty
lights next
to dancing darkness.

Songs of the Day:
Teitur – “Poetry and Aeroplanes”
Elton John – “Rocket Man”

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I know Valentine’s Day has already come and gone…but this was just too good not to post. I found the following clip on Berg Loves Pizza, a great music blog, and I decided to steal it and post it here:

That little boy is a future Ernest Hemingway! Or at least a future Nicholas Sparks. (Hey Kristiane! The boy’s name is Max!) I can’t think of any modern love poets…post-modern writers are too depressed by our thoroughly empty and depraved world to be writing useless love poems…or they find some super-depressing thing about love, and the world in general, to underscore with the poem. (I love modern/post-modern literature by the way. Seriously.)

According to the youtube description, this was an ad for Indigo, a Canadian bookstore chain, and their “Love of Reading” program (and, of course, to sell its books). I don’t know about you, but showing me this ad in grade school would’ve been more effective than telling me that “Reading is Funnnn-damental” or that I should “Read to Achieve.” Reading will help you get the ladies, yo!

(Note: I’d like to point out how big of a bitch inconsiderate the teacher was for reading that letter out loud. And what kind of a classroom full of kids doesn’t scream, laugh, and ridicule after a letter like that is read? Unless…the vocabulary and writing just went right over their heads…and what would that say about the success of Indigo’s “Love of Reading” program? Should I just enjoy the ad for what it is?)

Songs of the Day:

Rachel Yamagata – “Letter Read” / (album link)
Lupe Fiasco – “Can You Let Me Know” / (unreleased track)
Elliott Smith – “Thirteen” / (album link)

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comedy-tragedy-mask.jpgArtwork by Guy Haley – title unknown

“We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes —
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties….”
Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask

“It’s all impersonation–in the absence of a self, one impersonates selves, and after a while impersonates best the self that best gets one through.”

“The treacherous imagination is everybody’s maker—we are all the invention of each other, everybody a conjuration conjuring up everyone else. We are all each other’s authors.”
-Phillip Roth, The Counterlife

I have this thing with assumptions: I hate them. There’s really not much you can do about them though. It’s just that some people make assumptions far too much and place far too much confidence in them — that’s what can be annoying. In many cases, the less you give people to go on, the bigger the leaps they make about you. But of course, assumptions are what we do. We all do it to varying degrees. We all hate them, yet we all make them.

I think assumptions are part of the reason why it’s so hard to really know someone these days. And it doesn’t help that people are more insecure than ever — insecurity is one of the defining characteristics of our post-modern condition, no? So we create multiple selves for ourselves, choosing a mask for each aspect of our lives.

Truth is relative — that is also one of the epiphanies of post-modernism: the most blatant of lies can carry more meaning than the starkest of truths; it can be a more profound “truth” than any real truth could have been. And this “truth” can help us get closer to finding and broadening the beautiful spectrum of our identity as humans…and can hurl us ten steps backwards by also serving to fracture and refract it even more.

In this age of personal blogs, myspace pages, user profiles, and polished, carefully designed resumes, we are always busy creating our various fictions that make up our identities, hoping against hope that it is the poignantly true type of fiction. So we create this fiction — some complete fiction, a lot of non-fiction, and much more a combination — for the world to read.

Boy, do people read. They read into everything we say or convey through our actions and expressions. So it’s probably understandable why we create these fictions for ourselves. People are constantly reading and counter-reading each other, and conclusions, no matter if they are true or not, are reached. Because, fuck, truth doesn’t matter. It’s the essence that’s of utmost importance. And really, it’s so much more intriguing when a lie or a series of untruths are able to convey a concrete, undeniable truth. (Perhaps we have fallen so in love with doing this that now we only get mostly flat, dull, boring untruths that don’t mean anything.)

We not only create fiction for ourselves but we also create fiction for those around us in our lives. And the conclusions we draw from our palette of suppositions — with their many nuances and varying shades and colors of truth, emotion, envy, love mixed in — are what we use to paint the people who surround our lives as well.

And it looks like I am in the same boat as all the people I get annoyed by — all the people who misread me, misinterpret me, and create their own fiction about me; all those people who I in turn misread and misinterpret, sometimes out of spite; and my self, who misreads and misinterprets me as much as the worst of them. Who am I? I have no clue really. I guess I’m writing my own fiction for me to read and say, “Ah, yes, this is me. I’ve found myself.” This of course is different from the fiction that I consciously and unconsciously write for everyone else to see. That fiction is the one that provides the hard covers for me to hide my “true fiction” within. And who knows how many other fictions are hiding in those? After a while, you can’t tell which is which.

We’re all writers, then we’re actors, in a continuous, alternating pattern, and life is just a matter of finding the best scripts to act out in the most convincing fashion. Ideally, that script would come from yourself, but it could come from a script someone else makes for you.

The idea of a “true identity” may only be an unreachable mirage of an ideal, only possible in a work of fiction.

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”
-Shakespeare, As You Like It

Songs of the Day:

Fugees – “The Mask”
Radiohead – “Fitter Happier”
Radiohead – “Karma Police”
Belle and Sebastian – “Storytelling”

__________________________

….We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To Thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!”

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To J.B.

I think of the day you were born.
So small, you quivered in this cold new world.
I remember those first couple of years,
as you struggled to come to terms with
this land of giants with high-pitched voices and
exaggerated expressions

I’ve heard your gibberish chatter
form foreign words and phrases.
I wonder if your language of ga-ga’s and goo-goo’s
held more meaning than any language I know now.
What secrets from the womb and the world before
were you trying so desperately to convey?
No one understands.
Maybe it is beyond our comprehension.
It has become everyone’s dead language,
and now it has already become one for you too.

I’ve seen your innocence,
and the moments that gave a glimpse
into the inevitable loss of it:
Oh why do you cry so, when your mother must attend to your brother?
And stick out your tongue and make that nasty face,
when all I try to do is nourish your body?

But the purity of your smile,
and your heart-filled laugh,
make all amends for me.
Who says you need perfect teeth to have the perfect smile?
You seemed to be able to pull it off just fine without a single pearly white.
No doubt, a picture of you (placed in the right magazines and ads, of course)
can render all orthodontists unemployed.

Soon enough, your day will come.
After these current obstacles of monkey bars and swings,
after school, friends, jobs, maybe a bit of rebellion, and more jobs,
someone else will come into your world,
speaking a language vaguely familiar but foreign,
smiling a beautiful smile that,
if pasted onto your own “grown-up” face, would be ugly.
And you’ll wonder as I do today,
“Was I really once just like you?”


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Sigur Ros – “Hoppipolla” (follow link)

I hate when people immediately assume that whatever you write (especially when you write fiction) is directly about you, the writer/author. We’re in the freakin’ 21st century people. What with all this post-modernist/modernist writing floating around for damn near a hundred years, with all its quirky meta-fictional tricks and inverted/reversed/weird narrative voices and styles, (more…)

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