reblogged: Love Poem No.23, by the beautiful due

AND THEY SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.

     While this gladly refers to the
friction of our bodies on one another
     it also points to a more magical union
listed under the heading: Mystery.
     Because we’re one we share everything,
maybe not completely but in part.
     Like if you’re happy, I am sort of too. And when
I’m angry, so are you, if only just a bit.
     This doesn’t mean we’ve lost our individual
selves but rather found one plus one can equal one.
     So if you get cancer one of these days
rest assured I’ll have traces of cancer too.
     Medical tests won’t reveal this because
such things are not designed to show the soul.
     And if I should slip into dementia then
since we’re one I just bet you’ll misplace
     a few thoughts here and there as well.
I apologize in advance if that last example
     should befall us. If so, please tell me the
stories about the two of us because
     they could remind me who I really am.

copyright, Trey Ratcliff, http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com

copyright, Trey Ratcliff, http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com

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and round and round we go

I downloaded a tuning App to replace my warped metallic tuner. The one I have looks and works like a mini-harmonica. Pretty much as typewriter is to touch-screen.

One small step for woman, one giant step for…the same woman.

The world has been moving pretty fast for me: a spacecraft now rests on a hurdling comet, ebola is becoming old news, and Benedict Cumberbatch got engaged. I have mixed emotions about the last one. Side note: I had grand plans to savor the third season of Sherlock for as long as possible. As long as possible lasted 2 days.

I got to know one of the exchange students from Norway this past semester, and it will be weird to go back in January and not see her. We worked in a small group for the second half of the semester, and we had a lot of fun trying to figure out what to do as mostly-clueless therapists. Observation: when writing a collaborative report, brains will abort English mode after 6 pm, and be replaced by Norwegian or Chinese counterparts. Alas, semester 1 of year 2 of school is now complete, and I have no idea what to do with myself. Vacation: noun, synonym for “plan to accomplish too much then end up not accomplish much at all”. A perennial struggle.

I’ve also been binge-viewing Humans of New York. Either Brandon Stanton is an undercover hypnotist-psychiatrist, or NYC is filled with fascinating people, or I am doing a terrible job listening to stories of the humans around me. I know it’s easy to romanticize a place, or a period in time, when I am somewhere else, or sometime else, and I am sure nothing would be remotely romantic or exotic if I ever happened to be paying rent in NYC. In any case, end of the semester + HONY + feeling a bit anachronistic, and this poem came to mind:

Fjes

De kommer mot deg på gaten, suser forbi med sykkel, ender opp i samme heis som deg, står og venter på gront lys i samme veikryss. De fleste har du aldri sett før, noen er bekjente, noen er dine beste venner. Sett ovenfra beveger vi oss som maur i mønster. Vi går de fastlagte veiene, på rad og rekke fra a til b med kanskje et stopp i mellom. Som i et kretskort, ferdig programmerte og forutsigbare. Og mens vi går der innestengt i våre rutiner og gjentakende tanker inne i hodet, passerer menneske på menneske, folk vi ikke ser, med hver sin unike historie og utrolige liv. Noen dager tenker du på en person en hel dag, og på vei hjem fra jobb møter du akkurat han eller henne. Vi kaller det skjebne eller intuisjon, en uforklarig sans vi aldri helt har forstått hva er. Det bare skjer tilfeldig, tror vi, utenfor vår kontroll. Men som små molekyler i vann henger vi sammen og binder hverandre til hverandre. Og mens vi renner der av gårde som en elv, ulenkelig knyttet til hverandre hvor hver lille bevegelse påvirker den andre og den andre ved siden av der igjen, så blir mønsteret både tilfeldig og opplagt på samme tid. Vannet renner en vei, men noen av menneskene vi møter kan plutselig forandre alt og sende oss i en helt annen retning. Da blir alle møtene vi går gjennom hver dag til potensielle skatter.

roughly translated:

Faces

They come at you on the street, whizzing past on bicycles, ending up in the same elevator as you are, waiting for green light at the same intersection. Most people we have never seen before, some are acquaintances, some are your best friends. From above, we move like ants in a pattern. We are the established roads, all in a row from A to B with maybe a stop in between. As a circuit board, pre-programmed and predictable. And as we go, trapped in our routines and recurring thoughts in my head, passing human to human, people we do not see, with their own unique history and remarkable life. Some days you think of a person for a day, and on the way home from work happens to meet him or her. We call it fate or intuition, an inexplicable sense we have never fully understood. It just happens randomly, we believe, beyond our control. However as small molecules in water we hang together and bind each to each. And while flowing off as a river, unlinked, linked, each small motion affects the other and the other adjacent, to where once again the pattern is both random and fitting all at once. The water flows one way, but some of the people we meet can suddenly change everything and send us in a completely different direction. And all of the chance encounters we go through every day are potential treasures.

photo credit: Eric Whitacre

photo credit: Eric Whitacre

shameless plugging: featuring Katherine Hein

I have a solid group of women that I’ve known since undergrad, who support each other no matter where we might be. I guess it’s normal to stick together after chugging through a few dozen weddings: cloth-pins for windy days and freezing by a lake in June and narrowly escaping death by truck on a rural highway and ad lib-ing through some of the most classic pieces because the wedding party randomly started processing down the aisle. And lots and lots of Canon in D. 

And some of them write the kind of poetry that I wish I could have written, and we understand each other without having to say a word. So here’s my shameless plugging for one of them, Katie Hein, whose lines came across my path and struck me wordless all over again.

——

sometimes i forget that you haven’t known me all my life,
that you never knew the little girl
that became a not-so-little girl
that became this young woman you call friend.
sometimes i remember what never was
because today is something that i never imagined.
sometimes i forget that i have to tell you about myself for you to find out
what’s in there.
sometimes my past catches up and my present wants to step aside.
sometimes my present catches up and i just want to go back.

it is strange for me to think that you have made assumptions
about me,
but i suppose we all have our suppositions.
i feel i know you where the rain meets the leaves,
whatever that means,
and though i am so familiar,
you don’t know what to think
sometimes.

Winter Contrast in Krakow, Martin Ryczek

Winter Contrast in Krakow, Martin Ryczek

neverland

photo credit: Micah Ricke

photo credit: Micah Ricke

Love, come with me, let us make lodge
in our secret garden, our cottage by the sea
and whisper thoughts with naked vulnerability.
We will recite the constellations–wrought
above the sea, mocking her restless waves by night–
and walk under the Milky Way, that silver sash that trims
the sky. The seagull’s cry will be our garments, rimmed
with fiery trembling in this joy of being alive.
… …
if only for every time I thought of you I could
escape to our Terabithia in the woods
and relive the summer days and autumn eves
showered in stardust whilst our minds inter-weaved.

reblogged: The Beautiful Due, featuring David Robert Jones

John Blase has the most unique About section in his blog, The Beautiful Due. he is exhibiting his fellow poets’ work in The Common Good series. this particular poem by David “Davey” Robert Jones struck and stuck with me.

Machu Pichu, photo credit Melana Tysowski. But if she didn’t take it, then it’s probably from Tumblr and I probably have premature neuron atrophy.

An Ancient World

An ancient world moves
inside of you,
rocks me seasonal,
spins me solstice.
The heft of your sigh
                        beside me,
                               before me,
                                    within me;
my melody pulse measured in
your wind-song symphony;
your lips’ purse like
tectonic cataclysm poised
to wreck-erode my hold
of who I think you might be.
My only truth is,
my only certainty rests in,
your eternal mystery.
And just as your magma cools to form me into
cascading granite mountain ranges,
as I imagine you will fade into the obscurity of midnight dark,
your light pours over me,
a tide-summoning, lunar force:
I realize that you are, too,
in the strength of the incandescent,
moon-rock orb above me.

winepress

Are you my Yeats and I your Maud,
each straining toward a secluded repose?
Are we feigning an artificial abode
for the other? We trample and laud
cracked dreams in that winepress
(wrath, angst, euphoria), our eyes drunken,
Besieged in this gilded and broken
Deception, our half-baked love pressed
To staunch our brightest wounds. I,
Timid, silent, trying to be who I should
And you, trying to find where you would
Be going. Always leaving, the goodbyes
Suffocating the so few returns, all
The while incubating this dream,
This haunting longing that seems
To never have before existed yet, calls.

bright star

one book on my (self-propagating) reading list is Keats: A Biography by Andrew Motion. it’s surprisingly multi-purpose, actually, exhibiting considerable potentials as a bullet-deterrent (though i highly question its efficiency to protect more than one vital organ at a time), or to stun an assailant, or as an emergency door-stop.

anyways, i got inspired to check the book out because the immortal words of John Keats seeped into me again, recited heart-breakingly by Ben Whishaw in Bright Star, whose production involved Motion as a consultant. i first met Keats in British Literature course in undergrad. tasting the lines of Ode to a Nightingale i vacillated between being swept away by the sweet inebriation distilled in his syllables and feeling mildly psychotic because i am–Keats was–professing an ardent love for a potential carrier of the Influenza A virus of the Orthomyxoviridae family.

poetry is unorthodox like that. we take a particle of the world, examine it, whittle it, recreate it, splatter it with blood or veil it in gold, and most of the time the lines at the end of the day don’t make a lot of sense. “i don’t really get poetry,” a friend said once, “i just [like the movie] because the words sound pretty.”  

poetry used to have a stricter form and meter, but even that’s very diluted now. poem-construction has no formula and uses far too many words to describe one minuscule detail, yet if it sounds contrived and heavy, if it doesn’t seem “like a moment’s thought” the poem deflates and dies a very pitiful death. either way, poetry really doesn’t make much sense.

sometimes i wonder how i can reconcile being in the sciences while simultaneously enamored with the humanities. there are thousands of tendrils of feelings and longings bursting out of me at any given moment but i compulsively censor them with sensibility and clarity of fact and logic just so i won’t lose myself. it’s like choosing two parts of me and trying to decided which one is the more truthful.

and life can be messy like that. we could weave a garland of ideals and drape it with splendor, or stratify it with formulas and quantify it into neat little tables–new year’s resolutions, ten-step processes (to lose weight, to have better sex, to be more attractive, employable, powerful), normalize performance into numbers using tests, but sometimes i wonder if we are not missing the point. it’s not any of that. it is all of that.

and maybe poetry is verily this, that which makes no sense but needs no explanation at all. we know it is “[poetry] by the symptoms it causes”.

Ben Whishaw

and as it so happens, Ben Whishaw is the endearing brainiac Q in Skyfall. i love a man who can cause mischief in his pajamas, drinking a cup of Earl Grey.

addendum: he will appear in Peter and Aliceat the Noël Coward Theatre in West End, alongside Dame Judi Dench. anyone volunteer to smuggle me into England? i will lose some weight so i won’t be blatantly overweight inside a piece of checked luggage.

finding dissonance

someday I shall be inspired to marry
a Jewish boy. we’d raise a brood of musical prodigies.
(whatever those are.) my mother would be aghast.
so what do you think? you ask,
brows raised. if only I knew
how you wanted me to answer you

(instead of this wandering and wondering and over-thinking.)

maybe I will just chase the same wretched
dream like everyone else. white picketed
fence. (but what if I don’t like white?)
nonsense, you quipped, white is the loveliest,
and really, know your place.
(is that a warning?) just live this tried-and-true way

(instead of this searching and stumbling and overachieving.)

perchance when I’d see my dreams manifest,
aged like full-bodied wine, then I’d embark on my quest,
brave and stubborn enough to plunge in with nothing
more than a bravado (and this raw heart), risking
what some may consider a pitiful naivete.
I’ve rarely contented to walk the wide and paved way.

(instead just a lot of feeling and fighting and overreacting.)

shotgun theory. I’ve heard that something’s bound
to turn up, if I shoot hard enough. no task left undone.
all chances taken. still this blind waiting; I tire
of this passive silence. (what for?) I grow restless and aspire
to fix–no, I can’t fix anything. (I don’t know
what is askew.) the temptation to bemoan.

(instead of living and loving and overjoying.)

you know that I can’t stand still a moment. vis inertiae.
did you make me this way? or did I stray
off the destined path? I know this incessant
moving, this repeating pattern, thread-bare, familiarly pleasant.
(but no, no longer.) somewhere I will muster
the energy to weave a new one, shining with luster

instead of this running and ranting and overwhelming

false certainty

a sappy valentine’s

attempt at Photoshop shenaniganism. individual characters are plundered from the internet. composition and editing are original, as is the mini pseudo-poem. artistic consulting credits: Jesse Cordes and Katrina Smith.