Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A drunkard, afloat

Bottle of wine after bottle of wine,
I drink every drop,
Licking the rim of the glass,
An example of efficiency,
A leviathan of consumption,
And to what ends?

I am shaking,
Shaking hands, bottles, glasses;
Unsteady at sea,
I pull my nerves to lift the masts,
But no man can blow hard enough
To move his ship across the sea.

I ask the questions
I should have long ago:
Why am I here
and where am I going?
But in the morning I forget,
I tire of work and regrets,
and I resign myself to the sea.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Art, Culture, and the Modern World

Last week I didn't update my blog with any new works, and I won't be posting anything this week as well.  I was in Berlin last week, and this week I have a lot of school work to catch up on.

Lately I have been thinking about what culture is in the 21st century.  I have heard many criticisms from the older generation that today's culture is lazy, stagnated, lacking originality, and proletarian.  I don't think this is uncommon; one could easily find criticisms in the transitions between each epoch in cultural development.  However, the criticism does raise an interesting and rather hard to answer question: what does the current generation have to offer?

Today's culture is viral and fleeting.  We have reduced Warhol's infamous fifteen minutes of fame into an even shorter-lived fifteen seconds.  There is an immense difficulty in defining trends in the cultural dialogue, because the cultural conversation changes so often. 

This, in itself, is an indication of who we are as creative people.  The information age necessitates rapid development, incessant change, and adaptibility.  This ADD, frenetic pace of life has deeply gouged our cultural landscape.  With the advent of the internet, blogging, YouTube, and other services, people hastily navigate from site to site, video to video, with an insatiable appetite to consume as much as possible in as little time as possible.

The genuinely gifted must now compete with the short attention span of a population spending their time watching thirty second videos of cats meowing, reading for breadth rather than depth, and viewing art on buildings and objects on their hurried commute.  This hyper-caffeinated environment has given rise to art forms such as Twitter poetry, micro-fiction, short YouTube films, found art, graffiti, and a reverence for one-liners over monologues. 

Adding another layer on this manic environment is the rise of social media.  The share button has become ubiquitous across internet webpages to the point that not having it makes one's ditigal work irrelevant.  To have something go viral is the standard of success. 

Underlying the viral phenonmenon is the most fascinating complexity of modern culture.  Through sharing, recommending, retweeting, etc, the consumer becomes the creator.  By posting a link, video, or picture to one's Facebook wall, the work is recontextualized by its surroundings.  The Facebook wall or blog itself becomes a defining statement about its user as well as providing an altered context for those who view the shared links based on their preconceived notions of the original user's prejudices, habits, and personality.  Taken as a whole, these accounts redefine the individual and the art.  Artistic collaboration through shared work or commenting from consumers also blurs the lines of what it means to be the creator, leading to an era where the art itself is more important than the artist.

It is through this viral, collaborative, and open environment that the consumer becomes something more.  He is not only a purveyor of art and culture, supplying it through his online accounts, but also a creator who recontextualizes works based on his biases and preferences.  Since so much of today's cultural trends are intended to be consumed quickly, walls and blogs become megalithic musuems of individual preference. 

That's enough for now.  I have other work to do.  I have a feeling I'll be coming back to this topic more often, and hopefully will be able to reorganize and clarify many of the things I've already said.  Later everyone.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I am the brooding wind
that rages obstinately
at a stained glass window,
using all my might to
fracture, disfigure, deform
anything that is beautiful.

I am the shallow current
that flows swiftly over ankles,
an inviting path across the river
that submerges those enticed
in waters just deep enough
to drown the incautious.

I am the fake, silk roses
stolen from a grave,
recycled for a valentine
given to someone
not worthy of something organic
or the cost of its life.

I was brokenhearted,
a tempest on the sea,
an internal, scathing
mix of fear and hatred
and pity and self-loathing.

Now my hands are folded,
my face is serene,
my body placid
and my neck flaccid.
I have become stagnation.
I am resignation.

A Cynic's Lament

Every brick I lay upon this wall,
this monument to stupidity,
this Colossus of Ignorance,
is well laid.

I have sewn my eyes shut
and sprinted backwards;
i have plugged my ears
and screamed for help.

As I gaze upon myself,
I decry vanity;
Before each dessert,
I damn the gluttons.

So here I build,
brick by memory by brick,
my fortress of misanthropy,
a refuge of cynicism.

On each brick is your name;
Your breath fills the air,
exhaled words
hiding in the cobwebs.

Though I am alone,
you are always present.
Your picture is the sand in my canteen
when I drink to parch my thirst.

And the cost?
I have paid dearly.
I paid with love given
that I could never return.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog #3

Hello everyone.  A few big changes are coming.

You might have noticed a short story below.  I have more on the way.  I'm trying to venture out into other literary genres with my writing.  Writing only poems, haiku, short stories, etc is so limiting.  Some forms are better at communicating certain ideas more so than others.  I've always liked to hear stories, and now I'm trying to tell them.  And while I've always been creative, but that hasn't led to me creating.  I see writing as much as possible in any format possible as an attempt to squeeze as much as I can out of myself.

I just read that April is National Poetry Month.  I've decided that for the entire month of April, I will write and publish a poem every day and read a poem from a different poet everyday.  Some of the poems will undoubtedly be short, poorly thought out, and probably not very good, but I think the exercize of writing will be tremendous.

Also, there is another reason for my new writing of short stories.  I am going to attempt NANOWRIMO this November, and I want as much preparation as possible.  If you don't know what NANOWRIMO is, it is is National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month.  I think its a great stimulus for those of us who have always wanted to write but needed some initial oomph.  Anyway, I want to learn my limitations, how much I'm capable of writing and how much I need to push myself, so I can be prepared to rip out 50,000 words in 30 days come November.  The first short story was 904 words, so it will be like writing 50 of those to complete it.  Damn.

Last, and definitely not least, I am contemplating a move to another blog hosting website.  If that happens, it will be soon.  I started blogging here a long time ago for a class followed by several personal blogs with only one post.  After an English class blog, I tried again, but this one is the first one that stuck.  I've never shopped around, and my eyes are being enticed by other places.  I also want to have two blogs: one purely personal, the other for my poems, articles, short stories, etc.  For now, however, this will be the go to place fro all my work.

Another Perspective

This is an attempt at a short, autobiographical story, of which I hope to write more in the future, including fiction. It is personal and has a directed audience. Feel free to read it, but it may not be of much worth to anyone, including its intended recipient.


You called me. I answered. It was the fifth or sixth ring. I had been sitting holding the telephone, feeling it vibrate through me as my heart palpitated faster to keep up with its pulse. An eternity passed between me hitting send and hearing my hoarse, unused voice cough out "Hello?"

I don't remember anything you said. I know you wanted me to pick you up outside your dorm. I think you were hungry. I was shocked at hearing your voice and at the thought you would call me. I ran eagerly to my car, pushing past youngish looking men blocking the stairways laughing heartily about everything and nothing. I tripped on one of them and heard only faint curses in the distance as I hurriedly continued. I needed to touch you. I wanted to hear you. I was determined to see you.

I reached the car, flung the door open, and suddenly felt a sinking feeling. "What does she want from me?" I sat there for five minutes. Then it was ten. Twenty minutes later I summoned the courage to start the car and leave the parking lot. I tried to clear my mind, but I was overcome with anger at the thought that maybe this was only a car ride. Maybe you just needed something. You probably think I just want to be your friend.

You got in the car, and it was silent. Even the car drove tensely. I tried to think of something, anything I could say. It all sounded stupid, so I just kept my mouth shut, hoping you had something to talk about. You didn't. We drove somewhere. I don't remember driving at all.

All I can remember is the tightness in my chest, the way you filled my car with the scent of your lotion, how happy I was that you were with me, how I wanted to touch you so much it hurt, that I wanted to tell you I still loved you and how beautiful you looked in that baggy, old t-shirt. I wanted to say that I had never loved anyone before, and I didn't know what that meant before I met you. I wanted you to know how tortured my life had been since I selfishly paraded out on you because I thought you couldn't want me anymore.

Then I heard you say, loudly, "So are you just not going to talk to me?"

I looked you in the eyes for the first time in months. Your face was red; your look was fierce. This was not a look of scorn, anger or sadness. It was much worse. It was all three. I could hear your heart beating and breaking through your voice. It was both powerful and weak.

We argued. I don't remember anything I said; I didn't know what I was saying then. I should have told you I loved you. I should have held you. I should have kissed away your tears and asked for you back. But I didn't. I said something about how I felt left out and alone and needed friends. It was a lie. I needed you. We didn't settle anything that night. I hoped I would get another chance, but I knew I wouldn't.

I went to my room and lay on my bed. I stayed there for weeks. I couldn't go to class, because I would see you. I couldn't go eat, because I would hear your voice in the next hall. Eventually, I moved home because every time I saw you with someone, I was jealous and defeated; every time you spoke to me, I wanted to grab you and kiss you but knew it was past that; every time you reached out to me, I knew I had blown it.

It took me almost a year to get over you. What should have been a one year anniversary was for me a painful reminder of what I had lost. Two years later I still felt depressed if I looked at your picture. Only now, after three years have passed, can I even talk about it, wonder what you are doing without me, and not be tortured by the could-have-beens.

I did love you, much more than you think I did. It might have been young and naive, but it was love nonetheless. All that is past and gone now, but we will always have our memories, however short and sweet they might be.

I will always think of you. I will remember our long rides to the middle of nowhere, an excuse to smoke cigarettes that was a veiled excuse to be with one another. I will remember how we dented my car hood that night under the Texas stars. I will remember the first movie we went to see and how awkward I felt. I will remember kissing you at IHOP, then kissing you more in our secret spot. I will remember how I held you as you slept, or pretended to sleep, on that late drive back from San Antonio. There are a thousand other memories, still as vivid as the day they happened, that I will always treasure.

But the time has long passed to say the things I wish I would have said. That flame has been extinguished, that life choked out. I hope you can forgive me, and whoever you find makes you happier than I did.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blog #2

Once again I was low on time this week to devote to poetry, so there are only two poems up today. I still didn't finish the one I'm most proud of so far, and I've reached an impasse with it. Its an ode to average, common people, and I think the problem is my own background. I'm going to have to stretch myself on this one.

Also, my poetry writing process is changing significantly. Where before all my poems where just vomitted out onto the page, now I'm actually taking extra time to write out more poems. It hasn't worked every time— one poem I thought I would published last Wednesday will probably not be published till next Wednesday— I am seeing results. My online published work isn't growing, but my catalogue of ideas and half written poems are. Hopefully that will allow me to be more consistent in publishing the poems as time goes on.

Finally, I'm going to try to get back into haiku. It is such a great writing exercise and really gives me inspiration. Haiku actually has a lot of rules, but I just follow the basic syllable order. I like haiku because it is like emergence in biology; something much greater comes from the sum of its parts. Really good haiku evokes strong imagery or emotion, which is remarkable since its only three lines.

That's enough blogging for only two measly poems. Enjoy!