Why I am not a painter

March 16, 2008

Why I Am Not a Painter  I am not a painter, I am a poet. Why? I think I would rather be a painter, but I am not. Well,  for instance, Mike Goldberg is starting a painting. I drop in. “Sit down and have a drink” he says. I drink; we drink. I look up. “You have SARDINES in it.” “Yes, it needed something there.” “Oh.” I go and the days go by and I drop in again. The painting is going on, and I go, and the days go by. I drop in. The painting is finished. “Where’s SARDINES?” All that’s left is just letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.  But me? One day I am thinking of a color: orange. I write a line about orange. Pretty soon it is a whole page of words, not lines. Then another page. There should be so much more, not of orange, of words, of how terrible orange is and life. Days go by. It is even in prose, I am a real poet. My poem is finished and I haven’t mentioned orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery

I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.

I really enjoyed reading works by Frank O’Hara, more than i have of any other poet in a while. his style of writing is so different, and so personal towards the reader. The title of this poem really grabbed me, because i know that i am in no way a painter or a poet, so doing these blogs sometimes is not something i can do very easily. It was interesting to see how both him and Mike Goldberg wrote/drew about something that wasn’t included in the final product, but became the title of it anyway. It’s things like that that made me think about the poems i’ve read, and paintings i’ve seen, and looked back and thought hm.. what did i just read? the meaning to them is found deeper than just looking at it. it’s like what we talked about in class, you have to look at how something means, not literally what it means.

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We are a fly

March 7, 2008

The Fly 

Little Fly,

Thy summer’s play My thoughtless hand Has brushed away.  Am not I A fly like thee? Or art not thou A man like me?  For I dance And drink, and sing, Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing.  If thought is life And strength and breath And the want Of thought is death;  Then am I A happy fly, If I live, Or if I die.

This poem made me think about the idea that we seldom talk about, the idea that to everyone else, you are just a person, a number, a fly. You have your small close group of people that surround you, but to everyone else you can easily just be swatted away. also, it made me think about the disney movies that have animals as humans, living real life situations ( such as the lion king, nemo, madagascar). And even though we look at those movies as mearly fun, animated, and non realistic, is it possible that animals live like us? What is it that really defines a human. There are the textbook answers to it, but animals are living and breathing and walking just like we are. it is just an interesting concept to think about, how the way in which the word human has been defined puts a perspective on things. because like this poem says, we are the fly. we live happily and die, just like they do. we are on ein the same

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Desconocido

February 29, 2008

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A un Desconocido I was looking for your hair, black as old lava on an island of white coral. I dreamed it deserted you and came for me, wrapped me in its funeral ribbons

and tied me a bow of salt.

 Here’s where I put my demise: desiring fire in a web of tide, marrying the smell of wet ashes to the sweet desert of your slate. My intelligent mammal, male of my species, twin sun to a world not of my making, you reduce me to the syrup of the moon, you boil my bones in the absence of hands.  Where is your skin, parting me? Where is the cowlick under your kiss teasing into purple valleys? Where are your wings, the imaginary tail and its exercise? Where would I breed you? In the neck of my secret heart where you’ll go to the warmth of me biting into that bread where crumbs crack and scatter and feed us our souls;  if only you were a stone I could

throw, if only I could have you.

in spanish, desconocido means unknown. In this poem Cervantes is referring to something she was looking for, but doesnt know where to find it.

 “if only you were a stone I could

throw, if only I could have you.”

    when looking for something you don’t know exactly how to classify it until it is within your grasp. like rocks, they are all rocks at a simple glance, but when you take one and look at it for yourself, you begin to define it. this is much like how you are to the universe. to the people that surround you and to yourself, you are someone, and known. but to the universe, you are just another stone in the garden, unknown to everyone.

  it’s almost as if this unknown she is searching for is a lost love. “Where is your skin, parting me? Where is the cowlick under your kiss teasing into purple valleys?” it seems to be something she used to know, and used to be able to define. but now that it’s gone, it is unknown to her and something she is not able to grasp.

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We are hurting
We are dying
For a new blues
One that doesn’t rhyme
With worn-out shoes
We are hurting
We are dying
For a neo blues
More than an inverted pyramid
Something to push against
To get to the evidence
Inside us
Forget the applause machine
Forget the corporate lotto
Forget he alchemist’s gold scheme
And you can ditto
The sphinx’s motto
We are hurting
We are dying
For a nouveau blues
To underline
What’s left behind
Forget the Nazi doll
Designed in Detroit
And made in Beijing
Forget about this
Contagious computer virus
Travelling up the Tigris
Forget Batman
In this postmodern
Fantasia
Amnesia
A new shade of blue
One hundred hues
Down from the stratosphere
Up from the
Red Sea
A hell of a journey
We are hurting
We are dying
For a brand-new Blues

 As an american, i feel so  lucky to have the rights that i have, and i feel like i can change the world. but has not been the case for everyone, and will never be. During times like the Holocaust, and now with the darfur genocide, i cant help think about the people who are “dying for a brand-new blues.” they want change, and there to be a different “blues.” Especially now as a registered voter, i know that i myself can change things. that is why it is important to be informed on these topics, and be able to change your blues. You can help someone change theirs by standing up and changing your own.

February 12, 2008

standard.jpgCamouflaging the Chimera 

We tied branches to our helmets.
We painted our faces & rifles
with mud from a riverbank,
blades of grass hung from the pockets
of our tiger suits. We wove                                                             pray.jpg
ourselves into the terrain,
content to be a hummingbird’s target.

We hugged bamboo & leaned
against a breeze off the river,
slow-dragging with ghosts

from Saigon to Bangkok,
with women left in doorways
reaching in from
America.
We aimed at dark-hearted songbirds.
In our way station of shadows
rock apes tried to blow our cover
throwing stones at the sunset. Chameleons

crawled our spines, changing from day
to night: green to gold,
gold to black. But we waited
till the moon touched metal,

till something almost broke
inside us. VC struggled
with the hillside, like black silk

wrestling iron through grass.
We weren’t there. The river ran
through our bones. Small animals took refuge
against our bodies; we held our breath,

ready to spring the L-shaped
ambush, as a world revolved
under each man’s eyelid.

A Chimera is an imaginary grotesque monster, and it is what is trying to be hidden in this poem. When i read this poem, i got a mental image of war, and the soliders fighting it, and Komunyakaa served in vietnam. so it makes the poem that much more personal

” We wove ourselves into the terrain, content to be a hummingbird’s target” i can picture men in camoflauge, trying to hide from the small bullets that will come from the enemy lines. is this how the soliders feel who are fighting now? you can feel the tension as Yusef depicts this scene of war.

as a world revolved
under each man’s eyelid.”  the man seems to be praying, and seeing his entire life flashing before him, because he does not know what is going to happen in the next seconds. this uncertainty is something everyone feels. what is going to happen next?

For a Fatherless Son

February 10, 2008

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after reading about Slyvia Plath, and learning that her father died when she was young, it made me realize the reasoning behind all of her poems about father figures ( or lack there of). In her poem For a Fatherless Son, it seems as though she is saying that she is ok without the figure there.

 “You will be aware of an absence, presently, growing beside you, like a tree.” When the father figure is there, you will be aware of it there, growing beside you the entire way.

“I look in and find no face but my own, and you think that’s funny. It’s good for me.” Instead of looking and seeing a face formed by her father, she says her own, which is good for her. it allowed her to develop on her own.

“One day you may touch what’s wrong (..) till then your smiles are found money.” Is Plath saying that her father’s absense is found money, as in his will? this is the part that i couldnt grasp. He may be able to touch her in one way or another someday, but that is not going to affect the way she is going to live her life. She is able to identify herself. Plath’s ability to define herself says a lot about the poems she wrote, which seem to be very dark . if you hold her poems about her father next to Hopkin’s poems about the son being the father figure, they are complete contrasts of the other. It shows the afffect that figure can have.

The Child is Father to the Man ‘THE child is father to the man.’ How can he be? The words are wild. Suck any sense from that who can: ‘The child is father to the man.’ No; what the poet did write ran, ‘The man is father to the child.’ ‘The child is father to the man!’

How can he be? The words are wild.

just looking at it, this poem seems so out there, because the idea of it doesnt make a lot of sense..the child being father to the man? but at the same time, it reminded me a lot of how when you get older, you always wish you could live the simple life that children do. it’s kind of in a sense that you look up to them, wishing you didnt have to stress about everything. maybe because of this, Hopkins was trying to tell us to slow it down. it reminded me of a song by one of my favorite artists (keith urban) 

 “These are the days we will remember
These are the times that won’t come again
The highest of flames become an ember
And you gotta live ’em while you can”

that song is also telling you to live the days while you can, because they wont come again