Monday, August 28, 2006

Poetry...

Is fucking dead. It's very sad to me, actually. What most people consider poetry now is exactly the opposite of everything it was intended to be. Here's what I mean...

I was just reading an article that was probably written in about 1576, although it was published in 1592. It was written by Sir Philip Sidney and was called The Defense of Poesy. In it, he said something very beautiful and thought provoking.

"Now therein all sciences is our poet the monarch. For he doth not only show the way, but giveth so sweet a prospect into the way, as will entice any man to enter into it. Nay, he doth, as if your journey should lie through a fair vineyard, at the first give you a cluster of grapes, that full of taste, you may long to pass further. He beggineth not with obscure definitions, which must blur the margin with interpretations, and load the memory with doubtfulness; but he cometh to you with words set in delightful proportion, either accompanied with, or prepared for, the well enchanting skill of music; and pretending no more doth intend the winning of the mind from wickedness to virtue."

If you break that passage apart, I believe, you can understand what poetry used to mean, and how this meaning has become hopelessly lost in the 'me' generation of poetry (I'll describe what I mean by that shortly). Firstly, he describes poetry as a science. Science is clearly about posing an initial question, and then taking steps to reach a solution. Therefore, if poetry is meant to be a science it should not be approached by the poet as a cathardic excercise. It should be approached as a mature way to sort through questions or life problems the writer may have. It should not end until the problem is resolved, or at least is made less cloudy, or takes on a new meaning. The 'me' generation of poetry has brutally slaughtered poetry, and what remains is a shallow, personal reflection which means nothing to anyone except the person who wrote it. What I mean by 'me' poetry is any poetry which has no purpose other than to release emotions. I am not saying that poetry shouldn't be used for this purpose in some capacity. Not at all! Poetry is an excellent tool for this. What I am saying however, is that the poet should never forget that it is their duty as an artist to "not only show the way, but to give so sweet a prospect into the way as will entice any man to enter it." Always remember, if it is inner turmoil you wish to relinquish with your poetry, that it should just as equally about creativity. If someone writes a poem that doesn't explore writing conventions, use interesting language, pays attention to a rhyme scheme or structure scheme, or tell a comprehensible story to the reader (unless it is meant to be interpretive), the "poet" has accomplished no more than a person who releases their frustration by beating up their pillow.

The next part of the passage, "He beginneth not with obscure definitions... the well enchanting skill of music." refers to the duty of the poet to meet eye to eye with their audience. To not take on a godlike attitude toward their subject, but to be inclusive and embrace the art of story telling. Many of today's poetry- if it is not a childish excercise in morbid purging, is a pompous and pretentious tool of pseudo intellectuals. No good writer should ever try to isolate or off put their audience by cluttering their work with obscure notions and terms with no explanations. If you are going to do that, you should never venture outside of a coffee house, because that isn't how your work is going to have any impact on the real world. Pretension is the ultimate sin of the intellectual. It is what isolates them, and keeps them down. It is fine to use sophisticated language but you must write in a presently understood vernacular! Nothing turns me off more than reading a poem using conjunctions like 'thou' and 'hither' and then finding out it was published in 2005. If you think you have something to say, say it understandably or else the only people who will have any type of reaction are people who already probably think a similar way, and the goal of the poet should be to elevate everyone.

"and pretending no more doth intend the winning of the mind from wickedness to virtue" Poets are people who have the ability to both perceive the world around them in a complex way, and have the sensitivity it requires to express it creatively. The rest of the world can benefit from this, so let them! Teach a lesson, impart your values.

This is what poetry should be. Please save it!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Short Story I wrote

This is an unfinished shorty story I'm working on. It's going to be a really fucked up story about love and hate and weirdos:

Something very odd happened to me that day. I don't know if I can make you understand how such an unusual feeling could emerge at such a seemingly ordinary moment. There I was sitting and watching a movie with a girl I had always known as a dear but overwhelmingly insecure human being. Someone I enjoyed talking to and being around, but always gave me an uncomfortable feeling for some reason I never quite understood. In fact, I had recently acquired suspicions that she might like me more than a friend and for that reason I had been making a conscious effort to spend less time with her so as to not lead her on. I never wanted anything more than a friendship. The idea of a singular physical encounter had crossed my mind because I did find her sort of attractive, but I had always brushed that off as a fantasy because I felt the awkwardness which would follow wouldn't be worth whatever brief satasfaction I would get from that.

She was an intense girl. There was a lot I didn't understand about her, but I understood that much. I knew she wouldn't let you just walk away without making an impact. I wasn't sure I wanted her to make an impact on me. Sure, she was more interesting than essentially anyone else I had ever known. She was a wreck however, possibly worse than me. She had no confidence, poor social skills, and a tendency to become very withdrawn and nearly impossible to read. Quite frankly, she unnerved me a little bit. Probably because I could relate to her more than I wanted to at times, but I didn't want to think about that, and I wasn't, not yet. I had actually thought about her relatively little up until this point. Up until she began consuming me, and I couldn't go five minutes without thinking about her in such passionate ways that I could become overwhelmed with happiness like I had never known, misery like I had never known, and sometimes I would even make myself physically ill or, just as easily revitalized with the energy of a child. All this from replaying scenarios of whatever relationship we had, thinking of wisdom she imparted, of jokes she told me, and sometimes I would even create scenarios that I had hoped would've occured, or ones more horrible than what had actually happened between us. I torture myself terribly. But honestly, even I had trouble with that because what happened between us was actually pretty horrible.

All of that mess. That pitiful and hopeless obsession which made me at times outright suicidal started that very ordinary day. I cringe to recall it coherently enough to write about it. At least my memories do me the favor of being foggy to ease the pain. But I am tired of hiding behind that. So here it goes:

I looked at her. I just looked over at her because I thought something in the movie was funny, and I wanted some assurance. Have you ever noticed how people do that? Anyway, when I looked over at her I had noticed that not only did she not the the scene was funny, but she had lost interest in the movie altogether. She was reading a book- Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. A writer who I admire, deeply relate to, and love very much. While she was reading I took the time to really look at her. There is a lot you can learn about someone when you take a thorough look at them. However, in our society this is frowned upon. You are taught it is impolite to stare so most of the time you don't get a chance to really look at the beauty and complications that are very apparent if you were to look hard enough. I felt kind of odd doing what I was doing, I was insecure about it all the while but my desire to see all there was I could see about this wonderful person was too intense to stop. I looked at her cup her hand over her mouth. A habbit I had noticed, and used to apal me, quite honestly. Right now it didn't. I thought it was very interesting now that I was really looking her do it. I never noticed that her top lip curls over the top of her index finger just slightly, so that it rests inside her mouth a little. Now I saw, that this was actually very funny, and I had to hold back my laughter. This was really just a more adult way of sucking her thumb! I looked at the way she sat. She had very good posture, but couldn't quite figure out what to make of her lower body. Her legs would constantly shift. They were always tucked close to her body, but it was like she was slowly trying to brake them away. I found this very funny and cute. Like she knew in her heart of hearts that she wanted nothing more than to hug her legs close to her, but she felt like that way of sitting wasn't desirable to look at, or that it was immature or something, so she was attempting to compromise by sticking her knees shoulder width away from her stomach, but still leaving them in a curled- upwards position. Just as soon as she noticed they were gliding back in towards her she would put them back into that same pre- conceived position. I loved how she thought about these types of things! How bizarre! How utterly weird this human being was! Most people will simply stop sucking their thumb or hugging their legs at a certain age because that is what society expects of us. Not her. She had found a way to balance out her innocent natural inclinations with the cold, hard expectations of the world around her. This was amazing. This meant so much to me. I don't know if you or anyone else can understand, and possibly (quite possibly) I was looking too deeply into this, but to me this embodied an incredible independent spirit. Someone who shapes the world around them as oposed to letting it shape them. She was a mess to. Oh, what a beautiful mess! Her bra strap was clearly hanging out of her shirt, and falling over her shoulder. The skirt she was wearing had ridden itself up to the middle of her stomach, and the already short skirt was now barely covering her underwear. Next I looked at her face. I didn't pay any mind to her pretty she was or wasn't to me. I just looked at her expression as she read. She looked amazed. She looked as I felt while reading this fantastic novel. She was reading so carefully. She would stop at points, and just think, then continue, hungry for more. Most people will never love to read like that. Most people will never love anything like that, and yet, this poor girl has never been able to love another human being in that very special way that only she could, because the only people she has had relationships with don't understand her. If only she could meet Hermann Hesse. If only time and space didn't seperate the few truly great people of the world. I bet he would appreciate her. I bet he would fall in love with her as I was at that moment.

Still, I didn't feel completely in love yet. I thought I did. But what I was feeling at that moment was nothing compared to what I was about to what came next. When I really fell in love was when she noticed me staring at her. I was embarassed when she looked over and caught me gawking, so mesmorized that I wasn't able to hide it. But she didn't get snobby, or looked disturbed, or try to flirt or engage in any typical responce. She looked touched. She gave me a very genuine smile, and nodded approvingly. She was very flattered by this great compliment. Although I was embarassed I was glad that she caught me staring at her because this was a wonderful compliment, and I couldn't imagine anyone more gracious or worthy of receiving it. I put all my pride aside and continued staring at her. Now, the voyeuristic aspect was missing so you would think this observation would be less interesting, but quite the contrary. Staring at her while she knew it was a remarkable bonding experience, better than the best sex that ever was. She began fixing herself. Moving herself in several positions she thought might look appealing, but each one was decidedly more awkward than the last. She was very excited to be looked at like this. So much so that she couldn't focus on anything else. She was obviously not reading, but just posing with the book. She laughed at herself as she tried to look pensive. I laughed too. We didn't chuckle. We really laughed. To the point where tears were streaming down our eyes, and she had fallen off the couch. I didn't take my eyes off of her once.

"I was trying to look smart!" She said in the midst of her laughing fit. I could barely make it out.
"I think you're brilliant." I responded, still laughing so hard that I began feeling ill.
"I'm not! I'm such an idiot. When I read I space out so bad that I usually have to read every page twice." She said, we were still laughing but had calmed down a little for fear we might vomit if we continued laughing this hard.

This beautiful, humble girl had thrown me for a total loop in under a half an hour. I went from not liking her very much at all, to feeling so in love I could barely believe I was still the same man. At that moment, I believed, and still believe to this day that I was just as in love as anyone could ever be, or has possibly been. I couldn't imagine anything stronger. I would've done anything for her, and wanted to. I wanted to make a beautiful life for her. I wanted to treat her like a princess forever. I didn't want to date her, and then see how it went, and eventually settle down as people do. I wanted to take her off right now and marry her. But this was insane wasn't it? This isn't how the real world works, it just... it isn't, and so I thought I'd compromise. Sort of like the way she had found a more adult way to suck her thumb, I had to find a less fantastical way of being with her. So instead of wisking her away and throwing away everything to be with her, and expecting the same in returned I just kissed her.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Not dead.

I haven't updated this thing all summer! That probably has something to do with the fact that my internet at home is slow and frustrating, which is a good thing I think. It keeps me off of the computer and doing more "productive" things with myself. Back at school, I have high speed internet and a less embarassing social life to write about soo.. I'm starting this up again, or intending to anyway. Maybe I'll just sell my soul to myspace... Well, I have unpacking to do so I'll write again later. Bye.