Tonight I did something I've never done before: I went knowingly to a place that is haunted, for the express reason that it is haunted. I've been to haunted places before, among them the Tower of London, but never thinking, "this place is haunted, and that's why I am going there." The reason for this lies firmly in the realm of the nebulously goofy. I've always believed in ghosts, but I've got no reason to do so (and therefore also no reason to doubt their existence)...but have always suspected I am the sort of person who would attract them, so I've sort of unconsciously closed off whatever part of me that would be open for it. It's something I'd really rather not deal with, but I've never wanted to say it doesn't exist either. I like there to be magic in the world.
So tonight I went to a moonlight tour of a "documented" haunted (American) Civil War battlefield. Over 2000 soldiers lost their lives on this spread of land over a few days in December of 186-something. The sky was clear, but foggy; the moon waxed and loomed heavy in the haze above as the temperature dropped and the air became clingy. I learned something I wasn't expecting to learn out there in the valleys and the barren trees. Now I am sitting in my living room listening to the radio, playing a series of 70s songs from Gilbert O'Sulivan to Barry Manilow...it strikes me as an absurd opposite, but I know this isn't the night to work and watch Halloween. No, this night is for reflection.
I had to drive through fairly dense forest and a few small towns to get to the battlefield, and the air was crackling with magic, as it tends to do in October. I turned in to the parking lot and there were already a lot of people there, and rows of lanterns leading to a check-in table (O now it's Christopher Cross!). Off to the side there was a roaring bonfire and a lot of children running around, so I DO get my bonfire after all! And I smiled to see all the children, first because I like seeing children having a good time, and second because if it's a kid-friendly activity, the fright level is about what I can take. :)
At the check-in table I learned that they'd had a big rush, and were already handing out tickets for tours beginning an hour-and-a-half later. Go home and wait? Nah. I brought a book, I like being outside. Who would want to miss out on all this jollity?? So I got my ticket and fetched my book from the car, and placed myself by the bonfire to settle in and read for a while. (Alright! "Copacabana!" I'm always gonna listen to this station!!) I ate "kettle corn" (sugared popcorn) for the first time in the states. A woman in period dress was cooking apple cider in a huge cauldron. Finally it was my turn, and I joined the very back of a group of people guided by a Southern soldier (I think--it was too dark to see if his cap was blue or gray) with a tiny lantern. He drew us away from the crowd into the darkness, into an apple orchard and proceeded to tell us that the casualties were so massive that they simply tossed the bodies into a shallow grave...right about where we were standing. The grave was so shallow that hands and feet were sticking out of the ground. Eventually the government retrieved the bodies and moved them to the National Cemetary down the road...but of course, they couldn't have gotten everything, since the bodies had decomposed somewhat. With that, we set off towards a big clapboard house. Hoping that we wouldn't be going in, I was relieved that we swung around the house, walking by a window in which one could glimpse a faintly-lit outline of a little girl watching us as we went by. It was creepy, but also very beautiful. This house is one of the documented haunted places, I've read about it on the internet. As we stood in the cold under the waxing moon, the house behind us, the guide told us about the night that inspired them to start this tour: the guides spent the night camped out outside the house, and watched as, in the dead of night, a woman opened and then drew back the curtains. The next morning, they entered the house and discovered the curtains on the floor. The children in the group drew closer to their parents and everyone turned to look at the window. We saw nothing. But...I know that house is haunted. I could feel them there. And I wondered what sort of constitution that little girl had to be in that house. Brave girl. I couldn't do that.
We proceeded down the hill into a hollow, and stopped just at the edge. The guide turned and told us he was pleased we were with him. He doesn't like going into the hollow alone, for all he knows about what happened there. Solitary soldiers attacked and were attacked on the hills on either side of the hollow, dying alone in the cold. It was at that moment that I reflected on the sadness of this place. It feels very lonely there, not in a dread way, but in a way for which you feel pity. And then I felt...this is not a place to be afraid, this is a place to be empathetic. I felt the eyes of soldiers, dying, far from home and cold, missing their mothers, missing their children and their wives, afraid and so, so sad. There weren't that many, but they seemed less lonely to me. Happy to be remembered, even if anonymously. We proceeded through the hollow, and someone fired off a musket, and we all jumped. And then we had to stand in the hollow for 10 minutes, waiting for a wagon to take us back up the hill. It was a pleasant 10 minutes, the guide told us about all the ghosts he'd seen, men and women, some in broad daylight. His wife and daughter came creeping out of the darkness and sat on a bench surrounded by lanterns. The soldier turned to them and said, "Does she miss her Papa?" and his wife said, "Yes." I looked up at the moon shining over the glen outside the hollow, the land stretching out to the river and beyond. Tree branches in relief against the foggy sky. I looked out over the field, trying to imagine the thousands and thousands of soldiers camped out. Drums and fifes. It was a beautiful night, I was so glad I came.
Finally the wagon came and we rode back up the hill, but some people walked back up with the soldier and his lantern. I was so torn, I wanted to do that, too, but I'd never been in a haywagon before, so I stayed there. We disappeared into another hollow as the soldier's lantern dwindled in the distance. There were some silly voices and things hanging in trees. The place itself seemed to take no notice of all this hooha. I didn't feel any soldiers anymore, until we got to the top of the hill...and suddenly I...saw...one. Not really saw... it's so hard to describe, I could see him, and I couldn't see him. Standing in a thicket, watching us go by. Was he there? Or was it something the guide had said... I don't know. I can't be sure. But I felt like he was there, watching us, and not feeling anything. As we rolled along I kept saying the words in my head "a place of such pain and suffering"... imprinted with the intense emotions. But not a place to be afraid. I felt at ease. I never expected to feel that way.
And then I got in my car and drove home. I learned the sense that ghosts are place-bound...I feel like I'd be the sort of person a spirit might follow home...but not these spirits. These spirits are bound to that place. I think I've been followed home before. This was very different. I feel good for having thought about these soldiers and their families.
I wanted to share that.
For a long time now I seem to use this blog as a space to tap around in when I am not sure what I want to do. It's a kind of lost space, a space I'd describe with a word I can't find at the moment...liminal. There, I found it. That's why I come here, I suppose. To find things that aren't really anywhere.
It's a Friday night, it's been a tightly-wound week, and I'm not sure what I want to do. So here I am again.
I wonder what I'll find. I found liminal, which by nature is a weird thing to find since it is by definition an ever-shifting space that one doesn't find so much as find oneself in.
...even when I have to switch off I can't. Everything is an object for observation.
Some would, and have, called me a workaholic. That is, as Eddie Izzard would have me say, 'a load of Bol**cks'.
Last week someone told me with great conviction that he lived in a place that has long held strong positions on educational development, whereas I--he felt quite certain--do not.
How that incensed me!
Among educators of a certain ilk there seem to be 2 divergent paths: the one promises some kind of cozy environment of establishment, a place to rest on one's laurels for having been placed there; the other promises a great deal of challenge, much room for development, for maintainance, for improvement. You can't just place any old person in either path, rather there are some suited to one, some suited to the other. I prefer the path of challenge. Something to do with my time, energy, ideas. Places of change and flux. I don't like establishment. I like chaos.
Tapping around in the dark to see what happens.
I think that's all I have to say.
What is this feeling, calmness? Or am I pressured-out for the day?
I'm too tired to know, I think.
A recent article, or several I suppose, have addressed the topic of a link between left-handedness and what is persistently referred to as 'mental illnesses', although scientists are hard-pressed to give much conclusive proof of such a link. Just, it seems left-handed people tend also to be different health-wise, especially where paranoia and dyslexia, and I am sure we'll hear other things as well, are concerned.
And...well I can't help noticing that almost inevitably these articles begin with a reaffirmation that the world is made for right-handed people. Well now...if the world is primarily constructed for right-handed people--and any lefty who has ever tried to do such simple things as scoop ice-cream, wash dishes, or indeed read a book will I think agree that generally, it is--wouldn't that be evidence of a right-handed way of thinking? And might not that differ fundamentally from left-handed thinking? Say, even simple things like the angle of a key or doorknob, the shape of a mouse button, that, if on the wrong side, can look downright confusing? So, perhaps it isn't that left-handed people are ill, or defective, but rather that they think and work differently? Physically and mentally?
Because let's face it- to be a lefty functioning in a predominantly right-handed world, that means basically that you are working against your instinct and thinking and acting backward. And you end up in between, where even if righthanded orientation is what you confront every day, like a language, you learn to do it, even if your prime directive is pulling you in the opposite direction, but because you haven't ever been in a 100% left-handed oriented environment, you wouldn't necessarily know what to do there, either. So, as a lefthander in the world, you gather information, and then process it to run the opposite direction, and then act--small wonder that left-handedness is linked to learning "disabilities" and "mental illness"--if it isn't just that lefthanded thinking is different, and what is now termed "illness" is just "difference," it's probably exhaustion, or perhaps confusion. Come on now, lefthanders--when you sit down to your desk, do you find it takes you longer than other people to get your workspace organized so that it makes sense to you? And doesn't that look an awful lot like an obsessive disorder? Who among you has accidently gotten a book printed backwards--and found that that was somehow...easier...than reading your standard left to right book? How many of you can write backwards--without thinking about it at all? How many of you have reading comprehension problems?
I am willing to bet all of this and much else is linked to lefthanded thinking, which honestly I've never heard a thing about--but in which I am a firm believer.
I'm sitting here "safe" at home in Brisbane tonight but two weeks ago I had to cancel a trip to the UK due to a number of problems...at the time I really wanted to go and was disappointed I had to postpone the trip... but on the other hand I wasn't, as I realised I would skip being in London on July 7...I was there two years ago on my way out of the UK when the bombs went off...I went through the very stations that were bombed only hours afterwards, as did lots of other people... As I flew half way across the world, I was oblivious to what I had left behind...when I arrived home, people treated me like I had risen from the dead, even though I had not been involved in the actual bombing...so, when I turned on the TV on Friday 29 June and saw the the news about London I knew my trip had been cancelled for a reason...I won't go on about this, but it's been a wake up call about trusting my intuition...
It's been a few weeks since I listened to Kate's music because recently my son's music has overtaken the house...Good Charlotte, Fergie, Maroon 5 (wrong spelling maybe) Silverchair...not that I mind... he has a developing love for all kinds of music and to be honest, the music these players produce is okay...he listens to Fred's 70's collection in the car and can sing along happily to Bob Dylan...this has been an exercise tolerating diversity for me as I'm not a Dylan fan at all, but if my son can sing along to Desolation Row and enjoy the gituar riffs...In my car he is gets exposed to some Kate, but also Abba, numerous disco tunes, 50s/60s swing/jazz/blues and a lot of classical stuff...he is a very well fed boy musically speaking :lol:
Work was so busy today. I hurt all over. Soooo many heavy boxes of fruit lifted. o_O
It's almost gotten to the point where I want to sort of discourage customers from buying at our market, so I don't have to work quite so unbearably hard.
... That's not a particularly good thing, is it? Uh oh. Oh well. I'll just have to hang in there, I guess.
Crannberry Juice is F***ing nasty.
I've tried to like it for so many years. Don't ask me why, because I couldn't tell you. It just feels like something I OUGHT to like.
But I don't. It makes me suck my own cheeks into my throat. Not good. I'm giving up, and am off to drink a delicious glass of apple juice.
All artsy academic bally docks left aside. I just felt like coasting idly through my mind and writing whatever I crash into.
I've given my blog 5 stars, so that's good. It's a positive response, so I'm optimistic.
For a while I considered having a honest-to-goodness reflective blog with a catchy title, and the subtitle "A Midwestern Girl near La-La Land" and then I jettisoned the idea because I was too busy to notice much about being near LaLaLand apart from the same five or six thoughts, like 'I hate palm trees' and 'Was that Paris Hilton who just cut me off on the Orange Crush.' The first few times I thought that, I thought it was blog-worthy. After about a week it just seemed sort of like a catch-phrase from a sit-com. See, I didn't even realize I was already thinking in "Industry Speak." You become Californian, despite feeling alien, without really noticing it. Until you go back to the Midwest, which smells of sulfer, and realize how Californicated you've become. And just when you can't remember why California seemed so wild and foreign to you, you get on a plane with actual Californians, and realize you're not one of them. Which is fine, but then you, or I, begin to think about how you don't feel at home anywhere anymore, and how lonely you are. The cholas in the row ahead of you mix their Spanglish with Valley-Speak, the kind you hear in 80s movies about people driving around all night long on Mulholland Drive or Hollywood and Vine, where you've, or I've, been once and compared to your uncle you feel like an expert. It always seems like 3am on the 101, that dim horizon just after the party has hit its zenith and the crash hasn't set in yet, and I'm watching all of it from a car window. Because I spend most of my time here on a freeway...that's just the reference system. I'm not really always in a car. And I've been on the 101 once.
Who are you now? A corrupted file? Part metropolitan midwesterner expat, part west coast transplant, on your way back to the dim hills of the south. Execution failed. File is corrupt.
What am I doing tonight? Goofing off. I have mountains of things to do but instead I spent 2 hours reading Hollywood gossip columns, like PerezHilton. And now I am here. California is a very gothic place. I will miss it. I will miss that feeling that not an hour away, Lindsay Lohan is passed out at Hyde. Nicole Richie is probably driving the wrong way down the east-bound Santa Monica freeway. They don't seem like celebrities to me, they seem like your neighbour's messed up kids. When I am 1500 miles away, they seem like celebrities. And that's just that aspect of being not-terribly-far from LA. There is much more to say of this and that around my own neighbourhood, IE, the dirty 909. I have no idea what that means, but the kids say it. The kids say a lot of things I don't understand but that fascinate me. Like Hollaback Girl. Or cholo/chola. Dirty 909. Mija. I won't hear those things in other places.
All the good TV shows are over. the 24 season finale was last week. Survivor is over. The Riches only has 2 more episodes. My only hope is the new pirate survivor show that starts next week. It had better be good. The lack of good TV depresses me. That this depresses me distresses me. By next Thursday I'll be so desperate I won't care if the pirate show is good. I'll just be thankful it isn't Cops or I Love Lucy.
My family aren't like addicted to pain-killers, but I swear as soon as you say my _____ hurts, up pops a family member with a handy bottle of ibuprofen--do you want an aleve? ...no. I'll just hurt, until it passes...it's just pain. Can't something just hurt, and you go about your life? No, for people who have 'made it,' who have reached a stage in life where they have detergent for every conceivable clothing stain, there can be no hurt.
Who are you now?
My headphones are lying on the desk next to me. I can hear faint music. It's "The Red Shoes." I haven't listened to that in a long time. I'm not putting my headphones on.
There is not one clean bowl in the whole house. Baseball is on TV. I can't bring myself to do dishes.
I've hit a dead stop.
The letter Y is simply medieval. By this I do not mean that it barbarically assaults you with blunt and fearsome weaponry, and of course it isn't illiterate [well, or literate]. I mean rather, it is, perhaps besides the þ or ð, both still in use in modern Icelandic although long since dropped from English, the most medieval letter in existence. It has the unique property of being a hermaphrodite, mostly a consonant (masculine) but sometimes a vowel (feminine)--name me another letter that can do THAT, or indeed a mammal--, and it is this letter, the seahorse of cyphers, along with the u and double consonants that consistently attract my attention.
For this reason words like "bunny" and "pudding" (which was once spelled as you see above--with a "y") distract (but at-tract) me continuously.
U is absurd.
Y is silly.
And who needs a double consonant? We know that "pudding" is not "puding," because "puding" with one "d" would be pronounced "pyewding," which, unimaginably, is even more ridiculous than "pudding." No one would say "puding," it sounds like vomit. So pudding it is. Despite the absurdity of "dd". So tell me why we spell the present progressive of the verb "to bus": busing. Not bussing. I, for one, protest, and always write "bussing"...but I also remain convinced the personified form of "travel" should be spelled with "ll," as should the present progressive form of "to travel," despite the objections of my spell-checker. I also used to think that, depending on the context, "of" had to be spelled "ove".
In fact present progressives--that is going, doing, being, bussing, baking, etc--are a damnable thing. It is formed by adding "ing" to a root: go-> going; do-> doing; be-> being...dumple [believe it or not] -> dumpling...
P1: what are you doing there?
P1: delish! may I have a dumple? ...er...a dumpling? or a dumple. Whatever mood you are in.
so...pudding? according to the rule [these rules that tell me "busing" is right and not "bussing"...indignantly I rebuff them!!] the infinitive would be...pud. To pud. There is no "to pud" (there is "to bud," among other things! -> budding) so why no "pud"? I suggest we introduce "to pud," which would mean to mix up a vat of blood, grains, and entrails, put it in a stomach, and boil it. As there is clearly a need for it, since there is so much nominalized "pudding" about (not "puds" or "dumples," at least not in American...), we must need a verb for that activity, rather than encumbering ourselves with yet another helping verb, to make (in addition to "to be"). And if "ing" is the marker of the present progressive, then "making pudding" is downright silly.
P1: what are you making doing there?
P2: making going!
P1: you sound ridiculous!
P2: I? errr, me? you started the double progressives, you dumple!
P1: what are you doing there?
*P1 runs out the door*
But good. So dumpling is the present progressive of dumple--stay with me here, it's all logical--and pudding is the present progressive of pud, both foods and both involving a certain man-handling of ingrediants cooked in a particular manner, then what of pummel? Dumple and pummel are delightfully similar, and both involve man-handling; why is there no dish called "pummel" or "pummeling"? And whatever would it be? By definition it would have to be meat beaten beyond recognition, perhaps mince meat, for when we pummel someone, do we not make mince meat of them? So clearly, mince meat might also be called "pummeling". This would possibly have provided Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett with another verse for "A little Priest." How grim.
So: pummeling, dumpling, pudding are all progressives, and their roots are, respectively, pummel, dumple, and pud. Obviously "bring" is the progressive form, then, of "to br," "sing" the progressive of "to s" (or possibly "sy" with a dropped vowel) and finally "bling" must be the progressive of "to bl". To br: to kindly take an item along; To s[y]: to vocalize in an organized melodic manner; To bl: to consume conspicuously.
P1: I enjoy running, it fills me with purpose and pride.
P2: I enjoy listening, it provides me with knowledge and friends.
P1: I enjoy bussing, it provides me with opportunities to listen.
P2: I enjoy dumpling, it provides me with an outlet for my pent-up frustration and is easier on my knees than running.
P1: I enjoy pudding, it fills me with joy, it provides me a use for all my stray blood, entrails, stomachs and grain, and is easier on my joints than dumpling.
P2: I enjoy pummeling, it provides me with an outlet for my pent-up aggression, and...other things.
P1: I enjoy thing, it provides me...
P2: I enjoy bling, on any given day I bl, my friends bl, too, we bl stuff for my car, and yesterday I bled hot pink windshield wipers!!
So. Two days slow. That's what it is, two days slow.
So... what's a Blog do anyway?
thought I'D check 'em out,
everyone I visit....
there's poetry flying about!
Ill have a crack at this,
It's probably a piece of p***.
I know some words,
and I can write,
does it have to rhyme?
...I am actually not certain what this project is, or will become. Just this title came to me, and it seemed so certain that it would be a title. I feel it is my task to follow it where it leads, until I've met the title whereever it originated.
What is invisible? What are the ways of being invisible? Is one always invisible to onesself? Is virtuality invisibility or are these different things?
For now, it seems to have some link to an idea like this one:
When I saw a beautiful woman I could not express my shock and desire. [ :angry2: ] I was; but she could not see all of me, that is all that I was in that moment. The invisible is the insensible. O how precarious this project is, to be all that we are, yet to remain invisible. The only way to see is to be invisible. The only way to be is to see. If I had been visible she would have ceased to be. Where is that point, and it is precarious, where you sense and in order to solidify, sanctify, actualize that sense you must express it; without that actualization it remains an uncertain flimmer, it cannot be fulfilled, cannot be. Yet to fulfill it is to endanger the other that gives rise to that sense. So you be, and you be invisible, for yourself. And then you are but a shadow...I am [a shadow]--shadow is inherent in "to be". [Mrs. Bartolozzi-Frost]
Here I am invisible. That is to say, not really. I am visible through my words, I am imagined and visible. "The I" of me is visible in this text, this text is "I" and immediately it conjurs the sound of the voice that would say it [is it a gendered voice? is it a chronological or chronotopic voice? is it high or low? laconic or chipper? is there latent joy, latent sarcasm? Am I a character that might be played by Emma Thompson? Judy Dench? Kevin Spacey?] and probably the face, the clothes, the glasses--can you imagine a non-glasses-wearer expounding on visibility??--that would adorn the voice who 'speaks' in this ( preposterous and inquisitive) way. But here I "am" [invisible, but am I a shadow?].
Another poem I wrote a fews years ago. It was the final poem for a while...
I feel like a phoenix risen
From the ashes of my solitude
Which ignited it self
While my self
Against the emptiness holding
High into the night
Long into the day
A pyre i pushed
Me around in
My eyes it sparked
While i broke
The wind of anger
Or pity blew some
New skin wet with tears
From the pain, and mourning
That makes up
Me the phoenix arisen from my ashes
I blew into the storm of history
I think this is my favorite poem I ever wrote. It would make a nice song, I think.
While you paint the fence
I see you looking back at me from my mirror
And while i imagine you seeing me
I try to guess what
I am thinking
While you paint the fence
When you come to me
And say, what is wrong with you
Who have you become
--which you don’t—
i am in here somewhere
and please just be patient
while you paint the fence
you stepped back
So i could brush the crust
Off my strengths and stuff it
Under my weaknesses
Til i stood before you
Painting the fence
You used to be the place
I could be myself in
When i took you
For granted as refuge
When i stopped taking you
I stopped being myself
And forgot who that was
I distanced myself
Out of respect for your borders
Or did you want me to be part of them?
In my mirror you
Shake my head
Look for the door
You’ll be outside
While i wonder
Who i am without you
(as opposed to
who i am)
while you paint the fence.
I already wrote about my vampire dream. I think I will make that into a story...in a short story collection involving the following things, nightmarish and funny.
They discovered the marble tomb of St. Paul the other day. Paulus's tomb had holes, so that in the middle ages, pilgrims could reach in and touch his skull or some other artifact. In the story, someone as part of a group goes to put his or her hand in the hole, and Paulus suddenly comes to and bites the person. It escalates to an unpleasant end based on a grammatical inaccuracy in the news articles I read.
A viking ends up living in what would some day be known as Southern California, which even then was groomed and landscaped to the hilt. What a nightmare for a viking. It would involve 'authentic' viking romance poetry.
When I awoke this morning, I came across strange things. As I glid silenty and slowly through that place in which I dwell, I became aware of certain things going on that would only happen if my presence was not suspected; indeed, the surity that I could not be present, and at all, was the foundation thereof. I stood stock still in my place, not intending to come across anything, and things were unaware of me. It was not any wanting to see, I didn't mean to be; as if when I had said goodnight last night, and went to sleep, I vanished and was no longer. The world went on, or went back, fell back into a place before me, and I, like in so many dreams, was a ghost in my own life, haunting hallways. Watching you without me.
And as I hovered there I pondered the meaning of things, pondered purpose and fate. Try as one might to do what one wants, there are occasions where one finds that, no matter what measures or miracles are undertook, there is simply no way in, and then, one is rather forced to ponder, what IS my purpose here? Perhaps it is to be a ghost, to hover silently in the margins and liminal spaces, help where I can, smile at the fates of others, dissipate like notes in the air. I went back to my bed, I put on my headphones, feeling rather that I wanted to lose the weight of my form and slide again along the staff of music imagined, and music heard, from a disc that contains a concerto that is current again and again, but with no orchestra or instruments. Only my ears have access and thus discarded from time, from within and without, I ceased to feel and slid along, having given up purpose and found, as it were, my natural form, a wraith, a mist, a presence perhaps sensed in some distant thought and otherwise...not.
So I ended up writing a poem today. I just kind of sat down and it all came out. I was a bit angry about Global Warming at the time, and that's what its about. It was going to be a song lyric but I think it works much better as a poem. I can't decide whether it's really good or really bad. Maybe both (?). Anways I shall post it here and if you could write feedback i'd be grateful. It doesn't have a name, so here we go:
Little beaver make your damn
Don’t come knocking when the rains come in
I’ll hold my hand up over my head
Your voodoo is safe from me here
Lock my door and ram the rusty key
Sit by the fire roasting marshmallows
The beaver runs and comes-a-knocking
On my door, I bar it shut
“Leave me out here in the pouring rain”
Said the beaver through my latch
Sun is getting hot, hotter, and hottest
God! I can’t even breathe. No layers
We have no layers here.
We are safe from the Moonmen
Safe from the feel of sticks
Safe from the tide’s low seven
Safe from the wind through the trees
Safe from the beaver and the donkey
Safe from my lion and it’s tiger
Little beaver make your damn
So I may watch it grow, take a photo
But don’t come crying to me…
…When the rains stop running.
So anyways thanks for reading. Hope you are all well :)
"this is J. Evans-Pritchard as rewritten by the man who played the sublimely obtuse General Melchett in the “Blackadder” series" (--David Orr)
We can have armies of academics marching forth, measuring poetry. Certainly. But whosoever thinks one can measure the greatness of a poem through a ratio of form and meter to the appropriateness of topic is marching forth under a banner that above all seems to dip sideways, like blinders on a horse. I suppose having poetry explained by Lord/General Melchett (but really actually more the Duke of Wellington) would be appropriate in this context. Obtuse, indeed. If we are to expect a Wellington-tone, it is either pedantry beyond patience or buffoonery the like of which poetry hath not earned.
Poetry does not deal in answers. Poetry deals in many somethings, in meter, in form, in love and death, in stairwells and diseased prostitutes, patroleum, bridges, trochees, spondees, nationalism and above all in nose thumbing at the rules of conventionality.
Since it has been raised to a pedestal-manacled art form (that is "Poetry", that boring tedious pith trite with rhyme and tart with the residue of exclusion) being exposed to reading it comes with the presumption that we are about to enter authoritatively and unyieldingly charted waters. This is both true and not true. It presumes the cult of the poet-prophet, which certainly is a tradition that existed. Not only in an era, but across eras, belonging to a category of poets who seemed very delighted to be much too complicated and self-absorbed for anyone but their chosen followers to get. A cult needs followers, and there have always been plentiful supplies--armies of academics included--of aesthetes who seemed in a state of ecstasy only when they could (can) submit themselves to someone who claims to be much better, smarter, and above all more tortured than they.
Remarkably there have been enough of these followers--poets themselves, often--who have been disenchanted, dismissed or replaced by their masters, and who subsequently took to writing poems about hating their former masters, whom they often posit as a metanym for "Poetic Tradition." I'd almost be willing to suggest that this has not helped poetry's cause; but frankly, few lay readers of poetry would be aware that this is happening, precisely because of the idea that poetry is supposed to be meter and rhyme, with an appropriate subject. Hating one's master is in fact a popular topic in poetry--but it is unseemly for "Poetry", which is supposed to be about greatness, and gods, and indescribable beauty, the love of a fair maiden.
Even great works of Poetry don't only do that. Take for example the canonical "Ode on a Grecian Urn." It's about far more than one might suspect, and not really so much about appreciating ancient beauty.
But there is Poetry, and there is poetry. Or even "Poetry", Poetry, and poetry.
There is convention, there is innovation, neither of which is really absolute, and more often than not those things that seem to us extremely conventional are wickedly innovative. Bach comes to mind.
Ha! Got him with my subtle plan!
At any rate, poetry (like its alter egos "Poetry" and Poetry) is about skill with form (meter, rhyme); but it's what you do with these skills--not reproducing them perfectly, but wittily and perfectly. Rimbaud was not such a rebel when he claimed poetry is deliberate disorientation of the senses. Poets want readers to think. Poetry by definition, even back to ancient Greece, concerns itself with those things that lie outside conventional sense. It is the medium that challenges language and human use of it, pushing, breaking, aggrevating, twisting. Understanding meter and form are only part of the battle--one must see--learn to see--the passion and struggle in the strangest most commonplace things.
The washing machine.
Poetry does not (only) glorify, it explores and imagines, at times reveals or exposes.
We do not decode it, learn to abide by it. We learn to feel it, engage it, argue with it, poke and prod it. Then we learn how to count it. Because then the numbers become interesting.
There is Reading Poetry--that is what we do when we appreciate the perfect meter of the sonnet, because that is what "is done"--and there is reading poetry: that is when we focus our eyes beyond the bars of meter, syllables, and feel the language, taste it, study it. Most of us have Read Poetry in our lives; many fewer have read poetry. When you read poetry, you almost can't believe it, as if you suddenly realized the world in fact looks entirely different than you thought. If it isn't wowing you, you're Reading Poetry. But you will know when you read poetry.
You will know.
In honor of my 1 year anniversary on the forum, I am 'immortalizing' the text of the trick-or-treat aria I love so much.
Don't mind me
standing here by your tree
I am not a normal woman
my eyeballs are white
I am deceased...
aaaaaaand yet I'm waaaaaalking waaaaaaaalking around
I'm a zomby!
Dead, but living--
and that's why my hair's a fright!
yes, my skin is falling off
and my dress is stained with blood!
don't be afraid.
Give me chocolate
and I'll bother you no more.
I don't want a Butterfinger!
a bag of licorice!!!
Or you'll find some rolls of toilet paper in your trees!
Toilet paper in your trees!!!
Dark chocolate, please.
while you go find some.
[Credits: sung to the tune of an aria from Mozart's "The Magic Flute," though I don't know which; sung by "the masked soprano" (Maria Jette) on the radio programme "Prairie Home Companion". http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2006/09/09/
36 min and 19 seconds into the show. The words are funny enough, but her performance really is indescribable.]
The food of poetics and the poetics of food, and not particularly in the grotesque sense but I suppose so, excepting I am less interested in expulsion of said elements and much more concentrated on the ingestion, since words can be like food that is digested but not processed or released, it seems to me, and so the grotesque, so much about the 'ex'-factor, seems to me to play less of a role where one is incapable of removing words from the system by force or otherwise--for even when we repeat them they remain firmly, hauntingly implanted, imprinted on the tongue. Possibly elsewhere. On the hips (which I've heard don't lie--are there then no words there?) perhaps?
How queer. Queer means something you like thinking about a lot, that otherwise seems quite conventional and then on introspection and an indulgence in contemplation appears suddenly wonderfully inexplicable and marvelous unlikely.
Your nominative case is the plate upon which the food of a sentence is carried. The accusative is the salad greens, mostly lettuce, that keep us all reasonable. The dative case is the mound of mashed potatoes with a lot of homemade gravy that you save and savor. The genetive is the hand-made delicate glaze on a froofy desert, that only chef can prepare, and you save for those occasions when you want to impress. Yes. How queer. Some books are like brussel sprouts, or grisly beef, and others like a heavy bread or butter, and you stuff them into yourself guiltily, happily, putting aside that critical palate and leaving not one farthing of grease upon your glass.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
So incase any of you have wondered where I've been for the past two weeks, I've been away rehersing for Hampshire Youth Theatre's production of Homer's 'The Odyssesy'. It was a residential project and the rehersals were 12 hours a day so now I'm knackered. It's not over yet though! Still got production week to get through. We're performing from 7-9 of September. Should be great!
After that, I begin college on monday 11th. How exciting!!! I'm going to be a full-time student. I'm going to H&M next week to buy lots and lots of scarfs. Should be great.
Ooooh, got my GCSE results last week. Got 5 A's, 4 B's and a D. The D was a dissapointment, but the B in music was a suprise (I was on a D before taking the exam).
So yeah that's all good. Life is sweet at the moment. As sweet as eating honey convered toast whilst listening to 'Aerial'. Now that's a metaphore.
When there's so much signal so fast
that it's white noise to the ear-
not like the babble of a crowd
but like a trillion bits per eyeblink-
white noise, one voice drowned by a torrent of data...
like beyond planck's constant
where so much message decays
by bees and a supermarket
Three minutes I can brush my teeth in three minutes alright so go and I'm brushing my teeth 3, 4 I think 1.5 minutes bottom and 1.5 minutes top and that makes three even with my bizarre sense of numbers I'm late I said not by me of course by you who else you silly dunderhead I wasn't hurt I wonder is that always the first reaction not that I want it any more worst timing ever worst timing ever ruin everyone's life no one would want me I'd be all alone really ALL alone have to move and no money no job no insurance and a lot of explaining to do why why why why are people so interested why can't it just be great and here is some money and what if he never talks to me again or can't look at me I'm repulsive or embarrassing simplest thing in the world why the hell is it so complicated but what if I'm more beautiful what if I'm more powerful yes the world DOES look more vibrant, more clear, scared to death but feel empowered and all alone what if what if what if I am left all alone that wouldn't be fair why does that have to happen and how did I get into this mess well what mess no one is sure yet one o seven I always thought it would be just that and that would be that and when I'm awake that's how it is and then I get sleepy and suddenly I'm more scared than I've ever been and what if what if that reaction is this a sign do I have to move anyway because this is what I want well not right now but it is what I want and I seem to be the only one but o time is ticking one thirty two switch sides time and you can't just walk up to someone and say hey come on I need this or that but will I ever get it here and what kind of a reaction is that to have not by me implying o now I'm getting really mad that son of a bitch you know what that was it was a step towards being all alone that son of a bitch why can't people be happy and what am I going to do I can't do this alone one fifty three that son of a bitch how can he just drop everything and blame me like I control it him and his I have to right this second and it has to be this way or that way but if I have to work o no then I have to drop everything son of a bitch why why and why not this and why not that well doesn't matter now little me little me little him god that would be nice but it would ruin me maybe I'd have to hop a ship like Nell what a stupid idea but boy do I understand the desperation now never thought I'd feel this desperate scared to death I have to leave can't I can do this on my own have to but how god I don't want to work at Wal-Mart and I can't even go get a proper test, no money no insurance and no one to tell god I really am all alone that son of a bitch I never wanted to see blood so much in all my life can't afford a test how can I afford anything else o god o god o god two fifty five don't look don't look whole life mom dad christmas and everyone happy the world is so colorful and I have new depth three.
O my God.