Tuesday, July 21, 2009

For most of us reading, whether prose or poetry, is a form of entertainment. At times if we find our own life disjointed and our reactions to some situations beyond clear, reasonable explanation, literature offers us the opportunity to look at patters of human life and contemplate them from a distance. If the writers are good, we can see parallels with what we have experienced and causes and effects make sense. According to one English teacher, "Fiction gives us little universes to ponder, to discuss with others, to marvel at and question."

from a lecture handout

White Music

Blank, soft sound, muted
by the sense of brighter.
No specific voice sings.
all voices melt and span
the breadth of the day.
Across the open, flat sky
the white flash of a seagull wing.
Rising, falling, open, flat,
filling the vastness,
creating the vastness.
Wide and untroubled
float these voices.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I think therefore I am- until I was

Writing exercise from my Composition class: Describing dieing in outer space because your ship has blown up.

That's my wing over there. I think maybe it's moving. I think... Who said that? Cogito...
My thoughts freeze in my head. I feel as if I ought to feel like I'm falling. But I don't feel... What do I feel?
Cogito igitur... Who said that?
I should be tired. But I am too tired to fell tired. I am freezing, but my blood is moving so slowly I don't feel it stop.
Twitch my finger, and it hurts. Hurts to move: am I moving in this stillness?... So, this is dieing. I see a friend's face before me. Why her face? I wonder. Why not someone else's? I cannot remember what they look like. I can never remember what anyone looks like. Why am I thinking? Shouldn't I be dieing? Am I alive? I know I'm not dead.
Stop. Like a telegram. Stop. But I haven't stopped yet. Cogito Igitur Ego. Stop. I hold on to that thought, like a lifeline. But I don't care about dieing. I am too far from what I love to think how I will never be near it agian. I cannot, somehow, think 'Why am I dieing?' Perhaps because I only know it, cannot feel it.
It hurts to twitch my finger. Is this what death feels like?
There is a vacuous silence. My thoughts are sucked into it. They enter it and die. Dieing... But I cannot be sucked away into nothingness. I must exist until I die. I cannot disintegrate and evaporate with my ship. I must be. I will be. Until I am beyond existence. Stop.
Cogito Igitur Ego... Sum. And that is the final word, the closing chord. I am alive and wait. Wait. this is going very slowly. Why, I wonder, why am I dieing so slowly?
Blackness all around. Strange place to die. As if I were buried alive. Will my body fall apart, once I die? There is a very white star over there. It is so white and far away. Maybe I will come near it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

water lilies

Water lilies whisper wondering
in the lakes and wetlands.
These are hard times;
these are cold times.
These are times,
and time's a river.
Listen, listen!
Don't you hear it?
There are times:
All times are history
by the morning
aft the closing
of the night.
Water lilies, water lilies,
wild stagnant water lilies
in the blooming of the waves
and in the sparkle of the the sun.
Time goes; time goes, and it's lost.
Hard times down the water falls.
What is left? What is left?
Water lilies, Water lilies.
Wild, stagnant, still the same.
Heart unbending in the waving,
blooming and not wilting yet.
These are hard times, water lilies.
These are hard times yet.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

and the garbage cans

The sky is gray
and it's raining.
I lie here
petting the cat.
I should be
doing school.
I was so
happy yesterday.
I thought I'd
found something,
a reason to
hope in today.
But the earth is
the same place,
has changed.
We lie here,
and it's raining.
We want to know
the answers,
colors to our
gray questions,
and be able to lie
down and sleep.

The answers are there,
at the other end of it all,
So I must keep going.

The bicycles lie by the garbage cans.

I thought I had found my answer.
But only I asked the question.
And there are many more questions.
The bicycles lie by the garbage cans.
It seems as I gaze at the cat
like I'm ready to sleep and not ask.
And the bicycles and the garbage cans in the rain.

The cat's eyes slit open in sleep.
Even in dreams you cannot leave
the life holding you and the rain.
It seems like I'll be passing
while the bicycles, garbage cans, rain.
The earth is the same thing
And it's fading away.
Vague thoughts that I don't hold.
And the bicycles- the cat twitches-
the rain. The rain has gone.
And I lie here by the cat.
And the bicycles lie by the garbage cans.
My thoughts run on; they ask
and I'm tired. The cat is asleep.

And I'm fading away.
I thought I found something.
I'm fading while the bicycles
rust by the garbage cans cracked.
And I'm fading. The earth is the same.
And cat, in the dream, and the rain's gone.
I'm fading. The questions still ask.

fascinating, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

stupid people

you are a fish in a glass bowl
your eyes are big
you cant break your confines
just swim in circles
in circles
in circles
your eyes are big
what do you see
locked yourself in a glass bowl
away in selfmade walls
selfmade walls
selfmade walls

Monday, July 06, 2009

Pondering the Quiddity of the Palpable

You figure out what "Pondering the Quiddity of the Palpable" means.

I think that thinking of anything that can be sensed automatically leads one to ponder that which cannot be sensed. Because the rules and consistencies behind the palpable are the impalpable.
The apple falls from the tree because of that force know as gravity. We can sense gravity upon our own bodies, but in a much more abstract way than how we sense the apple in our hands.
Pushing this thought farther, take something like a hug. Palpable indeed, but there is an impalpable truth behind it- love. Love may lead to palpable sensations, but love itself is beyond our senses.

That is why I chose the least palpable color- gray. This picture represents the moment when the human mind leaves off pondering the quiddity of the palpable and transcends into the impalpable.

So, I had to write this essay for my English Composition class. I think it's worth reading.

Music, Who Am I?

It was all Socrates’ fault. He said that one can tell who a person is by what they listen to. I desperately wanted to know who I was, and I was determined to discover the truth is this assertion.

I remembered how on the last days before my three most recent birthdays I had watched the hours end, one by one. It was like trying to hold the waves as the river dragged me onward. Then, shortly before my seventeenth birthday, I heard the song “From a Distance” played by flutist James Galway. I instantly associated it with growing up, and the song became a source of steady hope and my window through which I looked back at my past and forward into my future. On the last day before my seventeenth birthday, I thought of that song and all it was to me; I did not count the hours.

I recognized this as proof that music did indeed shape me, perhaps even who I was. I decided to test Socrates. I don’t know who I, a stupid American teenager, thought I was to challenge the unquestioned wisdom of an ancient Greek philosopher.

For one month I did not listen to music. I hoped I would discover my essence, uninfluenced by music. In the silence, I became more perceptive of sound, and as my ears sharpened, I grew to rely on them more than any other sense. A strong connection developed between what I hear and how I consider my life and surroundings.

I became acutely aware of the evils of the world, perhaps because I was listening more than ever before. The world struck me as horrific, resonant with hatred and deception. My friends were disappointing me; my parents expected me to make choices I was not ready for, and I was hungering for something I hardly believed in. The chaos of others’ voices and my own faults strangled me. My mind was jarred with raucous noise. With increasing panic I struggled to understand it all- society, immorality, people. Yet I did not even know how to perceive the world. Truth and falsity are too tangled. What was I to do? How was I to react? Below all this was a throbbing hope that there might be a universal truth to summarize, unite and explain all people, including myself.

Also at that time, I found everyone wanted me to be happy and nice. It was like a sheet of smoky glass surrounded me. People only saw of me what they wanted. When I did not smile, they would laugh and say, “Smile! The sun is shining.” They did not listen to what I was trying to say. I would flounder for any answer to their questions and hope they would hear the hypocrisy in my voice as I said something I did not believe. But I was saying what they wanted to hear, nice things lit by the sparkle of an imaginary sun. Why did they expect me to be so happy and nice? Did they think that by being so, they could pretend the world was a good place and life easy?

As another month began, I decided to listen to music for one hour in the morning and one hour at night. One Saturday morning, I chose Shostakovich’s 8th Symphony.

I listen.

The music is wild, bizarre, unlike anything I ever heard before. Like water might feel as it spreads across the ground where it has been spilt free from its container, so I feel my mind expanding, daring to look into horizons I had never thought possible. I try to do something while I listen, but I cannot. My entire mind is consumed by the symphony. The instant I am not alert, the music will leaves me miles behind and become incomprehensible. I close my eyes, and I see colors, brilliant colors on opaque darkness; they seem to mean nothing, only visual translations of the sound. Then I realize the darkness is my mind; the colors are my thoughts. My thoughts are being blown up as they are given unbelievable expression in the music. The music explodes in the darkness, challenging, mounting, bursting, shattering. Breaks. Heals. Breaks again. Is meant to be broken. The bandage was false. My thoughts are all fragments, dancing apart like galaxies, held together by sound.

The music begins to translate itself into the language of my mind. I understand. The music is an analogy of society, immorality, people. It is a rhythmic explanation of all the inconsistencies and faults of mankind. Within this symbolism, I find I am a microcosm of the wild, bizarreness of life and the human experience. We are each worlds of unanswered questions; we are each symphonies. All people together create the chaos portrayed in this symphony.

The music grows to be everything but what I hear. It is the patters before my eyes. It is the swaying surrounding my body. It is the clean, limitless air I breathe. Yet I cannot hear anything, just as I cannot see my face. The music is my mind. I am slipping from it. I am slipping into it. Music, who am I? The music is me. The music is the confusion in my own soul.

If I could breathe slower- If I could write faster- Every measure is a day’s emotions, rising, falling. Every wave is a passion. I skim at breakneck speed across the foamy crests with hardly a chance to see into the depths.

My eyes are closed. I do not see the sun. I feel motion. I am moving through my mind; I am climbing up into the past. Problems unsolved, like incomplete days, are sewn together. With rapid speed the music fills the voids in me of unanswered questions, from the surface of perception to the depths of my subconscious. The darkness is alive, and I am alive. I do not need the sun to show me that I am moving, that I exist.

I open my eyes. The music seeps from my consciousness. I have not moved an inch. The air of my room is polluted with demanding questions and haughty answers and expectations. I feel a queasy uneasiness. When my eyes are open, I need the sun to see that I exist, but I do not know who exists. So I close my eyes.

And I listen.

I am turned inside out and shaken like an old rug. My essence is explodes into a thousand fragments that transform themselves into sound. All the confusion in me is surrounding me. Mental trauma, which once choked me at every turn of my mind, is now outside of me. The symphony is coming to a close. I watch the minutes end, one by one. I wait for one last discordant eruption. But the music is simple, vulnerable; what could it mean? I wonder at myself for understanding the dissonant sound but not being able to relate to a restful melody. My subconscious, concupiscent desires, despair, and perverted hopes talk to me from outside of me. They are far from me, and I realize I am free to sense the inner peace that I had almost forgotten to believe in. The answers and harmony I have been hungering for are being sung to me. I know how I am to respond to society and the faults of humanity. The symphony glides into a finish with poignant ease.

Music, who am I? I close my eyes, and I know. I am the question, the seeker. The music is my reason, my illumination.

Friday, July 03, 2009

what is an artist?

What is an artist? What makes a person an artist?
H.L. Mencken said:

It is almost as safe to assume that an artist of any dignity is against his country, i.e., against his environment in which God hath placed him, as it is to assume that his country is against the artist. The special quality which makes an artist out of him might almost be defined, indeed, as an extraordinary capacity for irritation, a pathological sensitivity to environmental pricks and stings. He differs from the rest of us mainly because he reacts sharply and in an uncommon manner to phenomena which leave the rest of us unmoved, or, at most merely annoy us vaguely. He is, in brief, a more delicate fellow than we are, and hence less fitted to prosper and enjoy himself under the conditions of life which he and we must face alike. Therefore, he takes to artistic endeavor, which is at once a criticism of life and an attempt to escape from life.

From The Vintage Mencken by Alistair Cooke, New York: Vintage Books, 1958

Wednesday, July 01, 2009