jakebe: (Poetry)
Anything

I have only walked on air
for these past dozen miles or so
to prove a point;
that the gravity of a situation only holds you down
as much as you allow it
and that any connection, no matter how fundamental,
can be cut.
And who wouldn’t want to float over the precipice of life,
unburdened with the need to look down,
leaving the sharp teeth of reminder and responsibility behind.
It’s so amusing to watch those crocodile jaws close slow
around nothing at all. The unfulfilled, jealous stare
makes you feel even more alive than the banishment of physics --
there is nothing, nothing at all
like the feeling of knowing you’ve inspired someone to wonder
what else is impossibly possible?
As they shrink in your vision, note the way they look over the cliff
as if they could follow you, as if
there’s the seed growing within them,
displacing those connections, making them fray until one by one
they unravel.
This, my friend, is how we unmake the world
and put it back together to exactly our liking.
jakebe: (Default)
"The Unfinished Meal" was mostly all right, though Peregrine was right: the mixed metaphors are doing me no favors here. I think the image of a tiny man mining giant bits of word-food was planted by Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Yes, the movie actually is that weird. Despite that, I actually kind of liked the poem at first glance, and I'll definitely come back to it to see if I can tighten the writing.

We Love You Back )

Easter Sunday )
jakebe: (Poetry)
I actually had written most of "Commute" in my head on March 31st, and tried to remember it so I could write it down yesterday. The ending was the trickiest part; I had this idea on how to take the observation and tie it into a 'statement' a bit more eloquently, but I forgot that part. So it came off kind of preachy and lame. "Look at you sheeple. You laugh because I'm different. I laugh because you're all the same!" Ugh.

If I can remember it the first thing I'll do is change the feel of the poem. I think I might have a better handle on it once it's been in a drawer for the rest of the spring.

Anyway, here's "The Unfinished Meal":

Warning: Poetry. )
jakebe: (Poetry)
I had to wrestle with this one for a little bit, and it's still not quite where I'd like it to be. I'll be spending the summer fine-tuning most of these I think -- they're not bad enough to scrap completely, but they're not good enough not to need some massive retooling, either.

It occurs to me I need a better poetry icon. :)

***

The Persistence of History

Like most of you,
I desperately wanted a culture that wasn't mine.
There was nothing interesting
in the old spirituals and tales of struggle
endured by my parent's generation,
nothing profound in the garbage
that littered the streets of my neighborhood
blasting bass into the night
in a never-ending turf war with the crickets.
This was not home for me. Never had been.

But unlike you,
my options for co-opting were limited.
I could not disguise my hair or my nose or my lips
I couldn't hide other cultures in my skin
I couldn't pass off the songs I heard on holidays as my ancestry
but I tried.
I told people that my forebears were Mongols
who somehow learned to cross the equator
and ended up in an arid land, eating insects and getting water
from songs that live under the ground.
People found this improbable;
they could see the lines of entirely different continents
chiseled into me, they knew what I was running from.
I only stopped when I knew they wouldn't let me get anywhere with it,

but to this day, when I hear
the muffled beats of my East coast memory
driving down the street
I have to sit down
and imagine
that they were just strangers shouting their identities
to anyone who would listen
instead of my brothers chasing me down,
calling me home.
jakebe: (Poetry)
Yes, I do know that I'm a month late.

Hail Mary

I've always thought of poetry
as a sort of confessional,
a way in which I could be honest
when I could be honest no other way.
I would see myself when I was writing,
speaking every line in a polished wooden closet,
my face pressed against the grate,
murmuring to you in fervent, urgent whispers.
I would say
"I believe the world is a fallen place
that is hard and bitter and cruel.
I don't want to be out in it.
I don't want to participate in this any more."
And you would reply
"It's all right, son,
we all slip sometimes.
For penance, you must write this down
and in ten years, when you are looking at the
sun through the leaves,
or eating a really good strawberry,
you should take this out to remember how you were.
You will look at yourself with an amused and bewildered fondness
and you will forgive yourself for hating the world."
I left, heart heavy, and purchased a book
I took with me everywhere. And I wrote down everything.
And now, reading it back to myself one warm, fine morning,
I find that I do, because I did.
jakebe: (Spreading the Word)
Preacher Curl: 30 lbs.
Straight Arm Cable Pulldown: 45 lbs.
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 60 lbs.
Seated Row: 60 lbs.

One of the treadmills (my favorite!) is out at the resident's center, and there are a lot of people wanting to use the one remaining. I figure I would let them use it and try again tomorrow and (hopefully) Saturday.

There is a new poem, "Drone," on [livejournal.com profile] writerrabbit. Please stop by and tell me what you think!

Thank you all so much for all of your birthday wishes. :) I got quite a few of them over LiveJournal and text and e-mail, and I'm in the process of trying to respond to all of them. You guys rock, and I appreciate all of the good thoughts. It really does mean a lot to me.

Yesterday [livejournal.com profile] toob and I helped [livejournal.com profile] andreal celebrate his birthday at the Melting Pot. [livejournal.com profile] mut and I had briefly considered holding our dinner there, but quickly scrapped the idea once we saw the expense. There's no way we could ask people to pay that much on such short notice! (Though this is precisely what Andreal did, and we were delighted to, so no worries there.)

This was my first time having fondue, and I have to say it was a singularly lovely experience. We had a brilliant three cheese fondue for appetizers, a 'fondue feast', which was essentially a sampler of all the meats the restaurant was most proud of, and Smores chocolate fondue for dessert. Some of the food was so good you just had to laugh out loud, it's that ridiculous.

I got a deluxe onyx edition Scrabble board (thanks [livejournal.com profile] harlkyn!) and a signed copy of Fables: The March of the Wooden Soldiers (thanks [livejournal.com profile] mut!!), and a chocolate cake from the gang at work. I'm hoping that we can invite a friend or two to help me break in the Scrabble board some time this weekend.

For now, though, I think I will watch Derailed, drink some wine, and cuddle with my dragon.
jakebe: (Thoughtful)
Weight: 172.4 lbs.
Last Measurement: 169.6 lbs.
Change: +2.8 lbs.

Time: 25 minutes
Distance: 2.29 miles
Top Speed: 6.2 mph
Calories: 238

Chest Press: 60 lbs. x3
Bent Arm Pulldown: 30 lbs. x3
Push-Ups: 30
Crunches: 30

And now, a poem. )

Not really good, actually. I wanted to do something a bit more in the moment, but then it jumped the rails and became this instead.
jakebe: (Thoughtful)
The woods were a short drive from Andy's house
so we said, "Fuck it, let's go"
and so we did; right up the interstate
into the heart of the national park.
You had a four-person tent and extra sleeping bags
for just such an occasion
and we were so grateful
we didn't even mind that the graham crackers
were absurdly overpriced.
The fire was beautiful, as always,
and we told stories to each other,
sharpening our cadences and critiquing each other's
ability to build to a satisfying climax
or deal with boisterous audience participation,
helped by the alcohol
you also had on hand,
just in case.
The morning was beautiful, as always,
great shafts of light wriggling through the leaves,
which were excited that so many things
were so alive that day.
You hugged a tree and said,
"God is here,"
and we all agreed and said a prayer,
asking for nothing else but to make this spot
right here
our temple for just five minutes.
We sat in contemplation and moved on.
The trail mix was amazing
as always.

Sequoias

Apr. 10th, 2008 11:53 am
jakebe: (Default)
The trees were beautiful
but not divine.
And yet, everyone around him
speaks as if there could be no other explanation.
"All that from a grain the size of a mustard seed,"
she says, and they all nod emphatically,
congratulating themselves for getting the reference,
making the connections.
How can they be so sure? he asks himself
and their certainty leaves him speechless.
He could never speak such a question aloud;
they would stare at him dumbly
and embarrassed,
his mother would lead him up the stairs
to think about showing more appreciation for His works
on an empty stomach.
So the thought fills it instead, like a pit,
unable to digest.

Years pass.
He is unable to know for sure
what it means to be a good person
or whether something matters enough
to voice his opinion.
There are many voices raised around him,
each pulling in its own fickle direction,
and he sometimes he feels as if something has grown
out of his skin and into the ground,
through his eyes and ears, into the walls,
stretching him, stretching him, stretching him,
until he can't even be sure where he is.
All this, he thinks,
from a seed the size of a mustard grain.

Some Poetry

Apr. 2nd, 2008 02:07 pm
jakebe: (Poetry)
Gary, My Day One Poem )

Survivor's Guilt, My Day Two Poem )

I'm participating in National Poetry Writing Month for the third time this year, over on the community [livejournal.com profile] napoewrimo with a whole host of folks. It always surprises me how easily I can get back into the groove of writing this stuff, especially when there are so many great poets to be inspired by. :)

If you're interested in joining the community, it's never too late to start! Constructive feedback is always welcome.
jakebe: (Default)
Hey there, guys. Just wanted to let folks know, in case there was an interest.

National Poetry Writing Month 2007 is less than a week away! Starting on New Year's Day and ending at 11:59 p.m. on January 31st, participants will write 30 original poems in 31 days. Poems can be any length, from haiku to epic Greek lit, rhyming or non, on any subject. Winners will get a warm, light feeling deep within their bowels, signifying the accomplishment of something worthwhile. :)

If you're interested in joining us for the festivities, hop on over to [livejournal.com profile] napoewrimo and sign up today! Joining the community requires authorization, but the admin (me) is a friendly fellow who'll likely add you as soon as you request it. There you'll find a lively community of poets from all walks of life and skill levels ready and able to offer critiques and submit poems of their own.

See you folks on New Year's Day!
jakebe: (Skunk!)
New trailer for the Darren Aronofsky film. While there's not a shot of an elderly woman undergoing EZT or a math genius giving himself a home lobotomy with a power drill, the visuals *do* look stunning. Where Aronofsky goes, I will follow.

Went to see Billy Collins give a reading yesterday. He was the Poet Laureate for the United States from 2001 - 2003 if that means anaything to anyone; one of his books, "Nine Horses," was selected for Today's Book Club (is that even still around?). He's been a pretty big deal for quite some time, though most people, I suspect, still have never heard of him.

Anyway, the reading was to celebrate the U of A Press' 25th anniversary (which I didn't know) and reprinting of Collins' first book of poems, "The Apple That Astonished Paris." Isn't that a great title? It was published by the U of A and edited by Miller Williams, father of Lucinda Williams and local Big Poet. :) There, now that I'm done with all the name-dropping...

Ever since [livejournal.com profile] toob turned me on to him, the most impressive thing about Collins is his remarkable simplicity. The language and the concepts of his poems are funny and relatable, but they point to such complex themes. He name-checks people like Laurence Ferlinghetti and William Carlos Williams and Cezanne but they're absolutely inconsequential for enjoying the poem. However, if you want to do a little digging to find out about the way that very specific allusion affects the mood of the poem, you can. He works on so many levels, which is cliched praise I know, but absolutely true. People who don't like poetry can really get into him because he's so funny and engaging.

The reading was quite awesome. He picked a subject -- dogs was his fist -- and read two or three poems along the theme. So many of his poems open inconspicuously enough, and while amusing they're...easy-going. Somewhere along the way, though, the metaphor turns surprisingly sharp or sexual or fantastic (which is one of my favorite words), plucking you from the comfort of easy, amusing ideas into a much more exciting tangle of "what the fuck were you on when you wrote this?" His delivery of his poems, it turns out, are a key of understanding them; if you read them with his droning, Steinian voice in your head, the humor itself just opens up. All the stresses are in the right places, so something hilarious turns pointed, then resigned, then...dryly witty.

Billy Collins is the poet I want to be when I grow up. :)

In my own writing, one of the things I think is missing is...well, humor. I'm not a terribly funny writer, even when I'm dealing with stuff that isn't...family-oriented, which tends to bring with it a matching luggage set of pathos. (His influence is working on me already.) I feel like M. Night Shyamalan on his way to making "Signs," that moment where he realizes that everything would be much more engaging, that his characters would be so much more human if there was humor. And everything falls into place right then and there. I hope my next rash of poems is flawed but funny enough that they're given the benefit of the doubt , and the willful suspension of disbelief is stretched a little further. People are always the most charitable to things that amuse them.

I felt really bad for Billy at the signing. He didn't even have time to drink his water and take a few breaths, or to talk to Miller Williams before he was ushered out to a lonely table with this crushing throng of hopeful and smiling faces all shoving books in front of him. That must be the weirdest part of these public appearances; all these people, pressing in on each other, subconsciously elbowing each other to get to him first before he decides that his arm is too tired to sign another piece of paper. And they're all going crazy and dropping their dignity all over his feet just because he's there. He doesn't seem like he's a particularly vain guy (his hair was vastly uncombed when he walked onto the stage, which, for some reason, just made me instantly like him), so...it just had to be weird for him. As bad as I felt, though, I was one of those jostling people, my head swimming with all kinds of witty things to say that might improve his mood just a little, to help him through the rest of the evening. When I got there, I just said "To so and so" and he signed, and I said "Thank you very much." He said "You're welcome" while taking someone else's book.

That was the extent of our conversation, and while I didn't quite do that thing, you know how it is...get around someone you admire and you're so very likely to choke. The way around this is to admire no one. And that's easier said than done.

[livejournal.com profile] daroneasa, my poetry buddy, and I ate dinner at A Taste of Thai before the reading. I had yellow chicken curry which was amazing, and we talked about my D+D game, and rice, and K.A. Applegate. It turns out Daro was the biggest Animorphs fan growing up, and I turned her on to Remnants, which is a fantastic series that most parents would absolutely lose their shit over if they actually read anything between the pages. There's death and manipulation and weirdness and a Marine with a mutated baby fused to her abdomen. It's easily one of the best children's books I've read in quite some time. I've spazzed about it before, I'm sure, but...it bears repeating. Remnants is awesome, and it would make a killer show on the Sci-Fi Channel. You could pair it with Battlestar Galactica even!

I'll be picking up "Cooking for Dummies" today, since [livejournal.com profile] chipotle recommended it and we happened to have it. Rice is also on my list of things to come to know intimately; there are so many different kinds that you can use for so many different things, and the textures can get damned specific. There's white rice and brown rice and wild rice, all with their different flavors and uses. When you get right down to it, rice is almost as versatile and essential as herbs are for good cooking. I really like little things that you can twist and use to completely change something. One of the reasons 'fantastic' is such a great word.

Tonight, my game; I have an idea of what's wrong with it and how to fix it. I've always shied away from combat because, really, it's the most system-heavy part of the game and the one thing that requires the most preparation. And, to be honest, it's my least favorite part of game prep. But, my players are clamoring to rip something apart with their bare hands, so it's the least I could do. Mwahah. Mwahahahah.

Really, I wish I could be scratching Tube's itchy back and rubbing calamine lotion to all of the places he can't reach.

*sigh* Now, work.
jakebe: (Default)
All right, so I've done the first week of NaPoeWriMo. It's been pretty hectic, but I've managed to keep up. My biggest goal for week two is to actually critique a lot more than I have been doing.

Delirium at Room Temperature is a pre-January poem that I'm just including here. It was written during a kind of funk that was induced just by a coworker calling me 'weird'. Sometimes you wear it like a badge of honor, sometimes you shoulder it like a curse. Anyway, I could explain it a bit more but I don't want to make everything *too* clear, do I?

Patchwork is something I wrote for [livejournal.com profile] ladyperegrine and I hope she doesn't mind that I used it to break the ice for the month, or that she saw it first posted on the NaPoeWriMo page. I've always been fascinated by and attracted to 'cool moms', a group to which she definitely qualifies. To maintain a vibrant imagination while being actively engaged in raising children is no small feat, and she succeeds admirably.

The Thin Black Line is a poem I wrote because I've always been fascinated by the line between existentialism and out-and-out nihilism. Tube described it as 'apology of nihilism,' and several other people offered up similar comments such as 'scary' and 'yikes'. I think I should make it a little more clear that I really don't like nihilism. :)

Dissolution is yet another clumsy attempt at explaining how loving and being loved makes me feel. The ending, I think, particularly needs work.

Sit and Movement, beyond having a silly title, is a response to poetry that can be found here. I don't think it's nearly quite as good as the other two, but I like it anyway...mainly because it's written with, you know, timeless love and everything.

Donning grew out of the ending, actually. I really hate it when I come up with a few lines that sound like they'd be a neat closing thought, with nothing to actually lead up to it.

Dear Leonard, From Ayn is an imaginary "Dear John" letter from Ayn Rand. Since actually making it good would require reading more of her and developing a feel for her writing style, I think I'll just leave this one where it lies.

Shock, Future is a poem I'm actually kind of proud of, though it's jumbled and messy and not very clear. I think it's the closest I've come to putting down what I think about the possible end of the world on paper; absurd and romanticized and too horrible to think about.

Well, there, I think that catches us up. On to week 2. :)
jakebe: (Default)
Little more than a shameless plug, but it's also good for a marker.

Chipped

The Center of the Loop Has No Gravity

How Michael Found True Love in a Half-Eaten Cheese Sandwich

Father's Day

Elvis is No Robert

Why The Coyote Is: A Legend I Mostly Made Up But Is Undeniably True

Everything

Killing Time

This Birthday

Most of these are first drafts and need to be revised, so please be gentle with critiques. :)
jakebe: (Default)
I know it seems like I've gotten on this whole political kick, but really, it's just the words. :)

*****

The Patriot )

Harry Potter tonight! Woo! :D
jakebe: (Default)
Cross-posted this to [livejournal.com profile] writerrabbit, so sorry if this comes across twice.

The Center of the Loop Has No Gravity )

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