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January 2017

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So there are versions of this. I wonder if there are more. I guess I should check his website.

When she gives up on you,

ask a friend to hide all the knives not because
you will attempt suicide—you know
too much to kill yourself—but because
you will carve her name into all of the food
in your refrigerator. Draw her
in your family photos. You cannot draw,
so you will draw stick figures into all of your
family photos. Your dinner plates
will smell like her so you will not eat
and this will make your friends believe
you are anorexic. You will wonder
if maybe that would have made her stay.
Four times you will start to burn her
just-in-case clothes that are still
in your dresser. Sew a quilt
from those clothes, the ones
she abandoned to awkwardness. You will sleep
under the quilt only when it is above
eighty-five degrees and it will
make you sweat like her legs
thrown over your waking body.
Open the windows because she would have
wanted them closed. Turn off the radio;
she cannot sleep without noise. You cannot sleep
without noise, but noise
will sound like her whispering you into the world
of lights and breakfast. Make the rain
sound like nothing. Make the rain
sound nothing like her voice. Stop scratching:
relief will remind you of her. You will stop washing
your sheets because Saturday
was laundry day. When it is dark
it is easier to remember her so you will not
pay your power bill. Sit there
in the empty and tell yourself
in second person what you know
is going to happen.

~ Neil Hilborn


When your fourth love leaves you, you will want to kill yourself
but you won’t because you no longer think of suicide as a house
you will build one day. Your fourth love, your first real love,
who brought you peace when your whole body was a gun, when she leaves
you, stop showering. Warmth and relief will remind you of her. Masturbate
in public. Hope someone catches you just so you can
feel exposed in front of anyone else. At night, open all your windows:
the hum of the city will sound like her in the next room. When
it’s dark, it is easier to remember her, so don’t
pay your power bill. Sit there in the empty
and lie to yourself. Tell yourself it’s better.
It’s better that she’s gone.

~ Neil Hilborn
For the first time in my life I am reading poetry and it doesn't mean a thing.

Even before you there was poetry. Should I blame our dysfunction? My depression? My lack of sleep? Perhaps all of the above.

I read things that I know I love, and it had all the meaning of a strange language I'd never seen.

This is an intolerable state, and I'm not going to the doctor until next week. It won't even be for all of my crazy - just this insomnia.

I'm leaving this poem here in the hopes that it means more to you than it does to me right now.


October

4.

The light has changed;
middle C is tuned darker now.
And the songs of morning sound over-rehearsed. –

This is the light of autumn, not the light of spring.
The light of autumn: you will not be spared.

The songs have changed; the unspeakable
has entered them.

This is the light of autumn, not the light that says
I am reborn.

Not the spring dawn: I strained, I suffered, I was delivered.
This is the present, an allegory of waste.

So much has changed. And still, you are fortunate:
the ideal burns in you like a fever.
Or not like a fever, like a second heart.

The songs have changed, but really they are still quite beautiful.
They have been concentrated in a smaller space, the space of the mind.
They are dark, now, with desolation and anguish.

And yet the notes recur. They hover oddly
in anticipation of silence.
The ear gets used to them.
The eye gets used to disappearances.

You will not be spared, nor will what you love be spared.

A wind has come and gone, taking apart the mind;
it has left in its wake a strange lucidity.

How priviledged you are, to be passionately
clinging to what you love;
the forfeit of hope has not destroyed you.

Maestro, doloroso:

This is the light of autumn; it has turned on us.
Surely it is a privilege to approach the end
still believing in something.

~ Louise Glück
The Blur Between Fingers

He buries his face into my hair and inhales.
If I live anywhere in his body,
I live in his lungs. There are better organs
I'm sure, but it’s warm here too,
and most of the sound stays away.

Sometimes in the middle of the night,
I wake up to feel my spine against the wall.
I don't mean to make this all about bodies
but we are the sort of people whose faith is
Tangibility, and there is little room
for dreamy motions or romantic confessions.
Some mornings, I don't even stay for coffee.

How do I explain then, the nova in my stomach,
and the bird in my throat who, as time passes,
beats his wings more furiously. I have to keep
my mouth closed to prevent feathers
from bursting out. And oh, what trouble it would be
if a song escaped. What beautiful trouble
it would do to our small little worlds.

~ Cassandra Warren
Tags:
So. Yeah. It's been a long winter.




Disorder

Because sometimes one can taste the salty certitude of ruin.
Because each footstep is a promise of loss.
Because the molehill dreams of the mountain and the quick,
chill shower of rain that arrives tonight to break the heat wave
is like a lazy lover who will do a poor job of loving
and leave before dawn with a cynical sneer, moving onward.
Because my landlady says she can tell I am dying by looking at my hands.
Because there is a dove at every corner disguised as a pigeon.
Because the document I read on the day of my uncle's funeral
read "bi-polar disorder," which did not surprise me; because I found
it somehow brave of him to ensconce himself in a bottle and to allow the vodka
and rum to eat his liver and mind and because I recalled the jaundiced hue of his skin.
Because the metaphors about dark clouds and deep valleys seem literal.
Because the medications do not work but I tell everyone that they do.
Because the image of a hole in the ground so perfectly cut, the mere size
of a small box only large enough for one young man's ashes, harasses me
as I walk from here to the mailbox, or as I spend the afternoon rearranging
the piles of notices and bills and essays and photographs on my kitchen table.
Because I envision all my belongings boxed and bagged to be sent away.
Because I haven't the fortitude to answer the phone or to shower.
Because a poem is no therapy, and to speak of the reasons is not
to negate them but to empower them, such that they become birds
one cannot shoo away, such that they nest in the corners of the bedroom
or above the refrigerator, or here, in my stomach, and at the back of my throat.

~Paul-Victor Winters
Tags:
I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to think of anything for my song lyric prompt, but I've had a few inklings. Soon I'll try to put some of it down on paper. Ugh.

In the mean time, there's always more depressing poetry that I didn't write.



For My Lover, Returning To His Wife
by Anne Sexton


She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you
and cast up from your childhood,
cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.

She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of February
and as real as a cast-iron pot.

Let's face it, I have been momentary.
A luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.
My hair rising like smoke from the car window.
Littleneck clams out of season.

She is more than that. She is your have to have,
has grown you your practical your tropical growth.
This is not an experiment. She is all harmony.
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy,

has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast,
sat by the potter's wheel at midday,
set forth three children under the moon,
three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,

done this with her legs spread out
in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are there
like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.

She has also carried each one down the hall
after supper, their heads privately bent,
two legs protesting, person to person,
her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.

I give you back your heart.
I give you permission --

for the fuse inside her, throbbing
angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her
and the burying of her wound --
for the burying of her small red wound alive --

for the pale flickering flare under her ribs,
for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse,
for the mother's knee, for the stocking,
for the garter belt, for the call --

the curious call
when you will burrow in arms and breasts
and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair
and answer the call, the curious call.

She is so naked and singular
She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid.

As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.
I did a bit of work on the apocalypse AU. It's still not anywhere approaching ready. :/ In the past, I was much faster at writing, but I also didn't care as much about the quality of my work. It's possible that I'm too paranoid, but the act of writing is going better than it has in several years.

Because I am afflicted with analysis paralysis, I'm pretty sure that I've changed a huge part of the premise (exploring the progression of the relationship from their sex without love and then sex without happiness and then just having sad, almost happy sex to all the sex being implied or off screen).

All of that aside, have a poem I didn't write.

---

Urban Love Songs (after Tzu Yeh)

You stop to watch the Mandarin ducks.
The rest of us continue on to the flamingo lagoon.
I would like to ask what attracts you to them.
But my feet keep walking, I don’t look back.

* * *
From a piece of cloth I cut out a heart.
In the Laundromat it is washed and dried.
I can spend whole hours watching it toss and tumble.
I wonder if you feel the same way as I.

* * *
I wave as you enter; you take your seat smiling.
This same coffee shop now feels crowded.
We whisper to each other:
all eyes have noticed something’s changed.

* * *
I’ve bought a new phone and an answering machine
because I know you will be calling.
Here’s the number, which only you will have.
I plan to change the tape every hour on the hour.

* * *
Our friends are laughing.
They say we sit so close in your old Buick
it has become second nature for me
to exit on the same side as you.

* * *
Pinocchio’s back!
Let’s relive that night at the drive in
when I whispered that his nose was giving me ideas
and you got into my pants for the first time.

* * *
You drop the laundry off going to work.
I bring the bag back when I come home.
Neatly folded, your underthings are left on the bed
- I wish to respect certain cabinets as yours.

* * *
You shut the window rushing to your covers
complaining of the cold night.
I need fresh air, but am willing to compromise.
Let’s just pull up the sash halfway, okay?

* * *
We hunt for photos in my parents’ storeroom.
Look how young I was and full of dreams.
On the way out you brush against a cobweb.
Your flailing arms make me afraid.

* * *
A firetruck screams through my heart.
Douse the flames! Douse the flames!
I awake to find my pillow soaked with sweat.
For a moment I thought it was my tears.

* * *
You’ve stacked your boxes neatly by the door.
I find atop one Chinese poems I had bought for us.
Quietly I take the book out.
I resolve to tell you this after you have moved.

* * *
For my clogged sink I called a plumber.
When my cat got ill I took her to the vet.
My heart is broken
- I will not ask you to come to mend me.

* * *
Last night you made me so mad.
I’ve resolved never ever to speak to you again.
I regret having to put my foot down so.
I’m sending you a telegram to let you know.

* * *
One friend I know cut her hair short.
Another shaved his beard without regrets.
I would walk this city naked and bald
if ever I thought I could be free of you.

* * *
After you, I took up jogging.
I wore through my running shoes in no time.
One night I chucked them down into the trash chute.
See how trim I am these days!

* * *
Once I bought a single chrysanthemum on a stem.
We watched it blossom, red and full.
Those times now bring a smile to me
finding its brown petals as I sweep the floor.

~ Wing Tek Lum
I was reading poetry, and this made me have a pang in my chest. Maybe it made me feel like writing something. I'll have to get back to that feeling.




And Nothing Is Ever As You Want It To Be
by Brian Patten

You lose your love for her and then
It is her who is lost,
And then it is both who are lost,
And nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.

In a very ordinary world
A most extraordinary pain mingles with the small routines,
The loss seems huge and yet
Nothing can be pinned down or fully explained.

You are afraid.
If you found the perfect love
It would scald your hands,
Rip the skin from your nerves,
Cause havoc with a computered heart.

You lose your love for her and then it is her who is lost.
You tried not to hurt and yet
Everything you touched became a wound.
You tried to mend what cannot be mended,
You tried, neither foolish nor clumsy,
To rescue what cannot be rescued.

You failed,
And now she is elsewhere
And her night and your night
Are both utterly drained.

How easy it would be
If love could be brought home like a lost kitten
Or gathered in like strawberries,
How lovely it would be;
But nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.
If you ask me where November went, then I have NO ANSWER.

Really, I have no idea how it is already December. Magic. Obviously, magic.

I managed to not participate in Nanowrimo, have a cold through most of November and participate in a semi-traditional American Thanksgiving... all through a haze of Nyquil and other drugs. If I did anything else of note (video games don't count except for with my little group), then I certainly can't remember. Oh! I watched all of the available Sword Art Online in two days. Yeah, still not very noteworthy or valuable. :/

My mostly non-existent immune system sucks. Maybe I should start taking a multi-vitamin again.

This month... this month I will write something! Anything. Well. Anything that's not an email or a review or a list or a blog entry?


Oh my. I just realized that I missed National Poetry Month. I love National Poetry Month. It is a wonderful excuse to spam people with poems I love or have just found or think are interesting...

So. Have a poem.


Objects Contain the Possibility of All Situations

I may kill. You should know this about me.
A razor in the night, without warning.
Objects contain the possibility
Of all situations. States of being
Embrace all imaginable events.
Any one life, or pair of lives, harbors
Every death. The succession of presents
Comprehends all foreseeable futures.
I have it in me to be a galaxy
Or one leaf on the frond of a fern.
I may become light in a sanctuary
Kindled by a rose window, or a cairn
Older than the woods it renders holy.
I may become water or earth. I may burn.

~H.L. Hix
Piano
by D.H. Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of rememberance, I weep like a child for the past.
"The Hardness Scale"
by Joyce Peseroff

Diamonds are forever so I gave you quartz
which is #7 on the hardness scale
and it’s hard enough to get to know anybody these days
if only to scratch the surface
and quartz will scratch six other mineral surfaces:
it will scratch glass
it will scratch gold
it will even
scratch your eyes out one morning—you can’t be
too careful.
Diamonds are industrial so I bought
a ring of topaz
which is #8 on the hardness scale.
I wear it on my right hand, the way it was
supposed to be, right? No tears and fewer regrets
for reasons smooth and clear as glass. Topaz will scratch glass,
it will scratch your quartz,
and all your radio crystals. You’ll have to be silent
the rest of your days
not to mention your nights. Not to mention
the night you ran away very drunk very
very drunk and you tried to cross the border
but couldn’t make it across the lake.
Stirring up geysers with the oars you drove the red canoe
in circles, tried to pole it but
your left hand didn’t know
what the right hand was doing.
You fell asleep
and let everyone know it when you woke up.
In a gin-soaked morning (hair of the dog) you went
hunting for geese,
shot three lake trout in violation of the game laws,
told me to clean them and that
my eyes were bright as sapphires
which is #9 on the hardness scale.
A sapphire will cut a pearl
it will cut stainless steel
it will cut vinyl and mylar and will probably
cut a record this fall
to be released on an obscure label known only to aficionados.
I will buy a copy.
I may buy you a copy
depending on how your tastes have changed.
I will buy copies for my friends
we’ll get a new needle,
a diamond needle,
which is #10 on the hardness scale
and will cut anything.
It will cut wood and mortar,
plaster and iron,
it will cut the sapphires in my eyes and I will bleed
blind as 4 A.M. in the subways when even degenerates
are dreaming, blind as the time
you shot up the room with a new hunting rifle
blind drunk
as you were.
You were #11 on the hardness scale
later that night
apologetic as
you worked your way up
slowly from the knees
and you worked your way down
from the open-throated blouse.
Diamonds are forever so I give you softer things.

- - -

I had a mixed reaction to this poem. On the one hand, it definitely resonated with me. On the other hand... I don't like it. Maybe I'm confusing my feelings on the poem with feelings on the narrator? There doesn't seem to be much to like about the narrator or the significant other. On further reflection, it must mean I love this poem because I'm almost incapable of liking poetry or stories about happy people with functional relationships.

(no subject)

Jun. 20th, 2012 07:23 am
malapropian: from The Sandman - Endless Nights (delirium fish)
I've been in the mood to read The Sandman again, but I don't have the entire collection. :(

Sometimes I'm amazed at how Neil Gaiman found such an appropriate poem for Dream.

The Bridge of Fire
by James Elroy Flecker


Between the Pedestals of Night and Morning
Between red death and radiant desire
With not one sound of triumph or of warning
Stands the great sentry on the Bridge of Fire.
O transient soul, thy thought with dreams adorning,
... Cast down the laurel, and unstring the lyre:
the wheels of Time are turning, turning, turning,
The slow stream channels deep and doth not tire.
Gods on their bridge above
Whispering lies and love
Shall mock your passage down the sunless river
Which, rolling all it streams,
shall take you, king of dreams,
-Unthroned and unapproachable for ever-
To where the kings who dreamed of old
Whiten in habitations monumental cold.

Oh fandom

Jun. 18th, 2012 04:59 am
malapropian: (Default)
How do people start bingo communities? Or big prompt-y places?

I wish I knew. I wish I knew this because I desperately want people to write Naruto stories based on/inspired by poetry.

It's only that I was reading Pablo Neruda again last night and Naruto-verse is always in my head now... so everything was about various characters or interesting premises. I'd just... like to share that inspiration with people and see what poem X made them think of instead.

But how? I'm such a lurker what lurks at midnight. Lately, I haven't had the time or energy to talk to my friends as much as I should.

I have many fandom wishes (I'd say goals but I lack the will to carry them out). I doubt that they'll be accomplished, but that's still okay.


From Twenty Love Poems
by Pablo Neruda
translated by W.S. Merwin

XIII

Your breast is enough for my heart,
and my wings for your freedom.
What was sleeping above your soul will rise
out of my mouth to heaven.

In you is the illusion of each day.
You arrive like the dew to the cupped flowers.
You undermine the horizon with your absence.
Eternally in flight like the wave.

I have said that you sang in the wind
like the pines and like the masts.
Like them you are sad, all at once, like a voyage.

You gather things to you like an old road.
You are peopled with echoes and nostalgic voices.
I awoke and at times birds fled and migrated
that had been sleeping in your soul.
Wow. Life has been pretty busy. I'm glad that the semester is almost over, and that my club adviser responsibilities will be mostly over until August.

*throws a party*

Have a poem that I desperately wish I'd written. It has so many things that I've thought that I had vague thoughts the writer had been stalking me... just kidding?


Mon Semblable
by Stephen Dunn

I like things my way
every chance I get.
A limit doesn’t exist

when it comes to that.
But please, don’t confuse
what I say with honesty.

Isn’t honesty the open yawn
the unimaginable love
more than truth?

Anonymous among strangers
I look for those
with hidden wings,

and for scars
that those who once had wings
can’t hide.

Though I know it’s unfair,
I reveal myself
one mask at a time.

Does this appeal to you,
such slow disclosures,
a lifetime perhaps

of almost knowing one another?
I would hope you, too,
would hold something back,

and that you’d always want
whatever unequal share
you had style enough to get.

Altruism is for those
who can’t endure their desires.
There’s a world

as ambiguous as a moan,
a pleasure moan
our earnest neighbors

might think a crime.
It’s where we could live.
I’ll say I love you,

which will lead, of course,
to disappointment,
but those words unsaid

poison every next moment.
I will try to disappoint you
better than anyone ever has.
I know that I'm not going on a trip until Friday, but it feels like I have no time left to pack and prepare road-snacks. Maybe it's because tomorrow will be a busy day with half of it spent out in the world.

Bah.

Have a poem. Have two poems!


Matins

Unreachable father, when we were first
exiled from heaven, you made
a replica, a place in one sense
different from heaven, being
designed to teach a lesson: otherwise
the same—beauty on either side, beauty
without alternative—Except
we didn’t know what was the lesson. Left alone,
we exhausted each other. Years
of darkness followed; we took turns
working the garden, the first tears
filling our eyes as earth
misted with petals, some
dark red, some flesh colored—
We never thought of you
whom we were learning to worship.
We merely knew it wasn’t human nature to love
only what returns love.

~ Louise Gluck


Beyond the 45th Parallel

I want alchemy from this ocean,
not these metaphors of endlessness.
I have driven two hundred miles in a rented car
for alchemy. Past the Burnt Woods
and the Chitwood Bridge. Over
the 45th Parallel marked by a small sign.
They are all small signs, he'd say--
but he'd mean something literal
about the footlong oblong, the green
behind white lettering. While I
imagine grass limp in the equatorial sun,
snow adrift at the pole--equidistance
compressed to a metal slate.

Like alchemy endlessness is a fiction.
We are always halfway to somewhere.
I want more than transmutation:
I want the god I pray to to be real.

-Geri Doran, from Resin
This poem is full of uncomfortable topics, and I love it for that.



Reading All the Ads in the Back of Magazines

You fold two loads of laundry.
Your hands, once split by heat,
are now calloused, invincible.

You sit at your kitchen table,
masturbate next to a half-eaten bowl of cereal-
swollen clouds floating in pink sugar milk.

You stand in your living room
turn off the television, glare at the
reflection of your thickened hips,
wipe your hand across the screen
tearing through static.

A garbage truck roars outside your window.
You watch the barrels spit out the unwanted-
exhausted light bulbs and soggy cabbage,
a doll’s torso bruised by crayons.

You press your hand against the glass, shock
at how the morning’s cold presses back,
how even calluses do not deny
this pointed chill.

It is in this moment that you see yourself.
First, spot your left arm, pale blue stiff
and reaching. It tumbles with empty milk cartons
and a dead hamster zipped in plastic.

You see your heart waddle
like a damaged plum as it drops against
your breasts now sticky with syrup.
You watch your blood crumble and fall
like day-old rice, your face,
thin and jagged, slides from
the barrel like an oiled mask.

You turn away, once you recognize
the sound of your legs slamming
against the truck like twin corpses.
This.

This is when you realize –
you should have kept his number,
should have stayed after he kissed you
so hard it split your lip

when he chewed your nipple through
your sweater and you nearly fainted
by the shock white charge of it,

when he ripped your stockings
grabbing your thighs, when you felt
his fingers move inside you
as if searching a coat pocket.

This is why the price tag still swings
from your wedding dress, why you cannot
fuck your husband with eyes open,
why you dunk your child’s head too long
while rinsing his hair.

This is why permanence terrifies,
why your spine threatens to tear out
and run, why you do not own pets
but keep cages

this is how you haunt your own house,
why your hands coil in hunger
and why the sound of screaming tires
burning away in the night
is the only song
that ever puts you to sleep.

~Rachel McKibbens


I actually needed to be doing other things like finishing my club adviser plans and taking a shower. Some days are harder than others to find motivation. True story.
I <3 national poetry month more than many people. Possibly, for the excuse it gives me to gleefully spam everyone with poems.




Dear Stupid

elegy for myself

You’ve been seeking
advice in trees again.
Cut your hair short,
call it a day. Quit

falling out and in
of love with friends,
their scratch and sniff
tattoos. Idiot girl.

At home, the dog
waits by an empty dish.

Fridays you tunnel
in bed, think of exes
who are married—
and worse—fat.

On your wrist
is a new bird.
You will turn
into your mother.

You friends will say

She was beautiful,
she was an anarchist
and There is neither
rock nor roll
anywhere in Kalamazoo.


Bourbons, marathons,
little yellow pills:
you tried them all.
Dear, stupid girl.
Nothing can save you.

Except this:
go back to that tree.

This time listen
when it tells you
Don’t worry so much.
Another sixty years,
we’ll both be dead.


~Christina Olson
I just had the stunning realisation that I can post all the poetry I want in this journal. Yeah yeah. Don't hold it against me. I've been awake all night and listening to the same song for hours. I'm having a slow moment.



A Path
by Dallas Clayton

A.
If you do not accomplish the goals
you had when you were sixteen
you will be troubled the rest of your life
and will inevitably replace them with new goals
that are less fun and involve
a fear of failure.

B.
The best conversations
you will ever have
will happen
on a front porch
just before dawn.

You will be wearing your socks
cut off shorts
and wondering if you should
hold out for breakfast.

C.
The two best ways to die
are laughing
and in battle.


Something about it makes me think of Sakura. Okay, it also makes me kind of think of writing something involving Sakura and growing up to accomplish her new goals but never able to forget how simple it was to want the things she couldn't have and chasing dreams with no thought of shame or dignity. There would also be a gratuitous summer sunrise scene. Maybe pancakes. (I love pancakes so much. They are almost the perfect food). I could totally write this. It might even have a happy ending.... *looks at giant list of unfinished/unstarted projects*

Yeah. That's not happening for a while. Like, not until my next life. *hangs head*