NaPoWriMo: Day 5

Seasonal Battle

Look, breathe, smell, taste

the air, hear

the quiet mumbling

of constant water tumbling

out the ground and down the stones;

moist is the air,

smelling rich of green,

of spring,

of sweet nectar countryside smell,

living smell,

that was frozen in the bitter knives

of winter winds, all water frozen

into pikes. Snow smell

is gone, that snow

melting slowly, cramming

into every particle of  the dirt,

water table water balloon bursting,

oozing out of the earth’s every orifice;

the earth has hay fever.

Once more the seasons turn

to a battleground,

winter versus summer,

but watch the lengthening

sunlight

burning

away the winter,

burning

the cold air,

burning

the snow to bitter meltwater,

burning,

stroking

the skin with a thousand words,

a thousand thoughts. Cold north winds,

cold and harsh, again, bitter

at defeat, receding

to calm warm winds that carry in Spring

with her lacy petticoats.

Smell her perfume

on the wind;

she’s here.

I was a little surprised to see this post connect with two other posts that I’ve already written: one a NaPost about sunshine, the other about feeling fall, which is the idea of fall and spring being “battleground seasons”. The nights are cold, winter’s time, and the days are warm from summer. The temperatures romp wildly up and down the thermostat until the mercury just stops working because it’s so fed up with having to go up and down so far and so often. One day, the wind blows fierce in one direction, and the next day it blows just as hard in the opposite direction. Again, the “cardinal” seasons are at war.

As I grew up, April always meant “high spring”, a really warm time that quickly blends into summer. A lot of my NaPoWriMo posts from years past are about summer, which I find funny now. When I moved to the Northeast in the summer, I found out quick that the seasons come up and smack you in the face. It’s still a little odd to be someplace where the weather is the first thing you check, not some innocent little thing people don’t usually notice because it’s so nice. But for a poet, it’s wonderful to be in a place where you can walk out your front door and in about fifteen minutes of sensual information, you know how the seasons are.

I also got into the mindset of spring just starting on a single day, the equinox. Very interestingly, I found out that the seasons nearly changed so quickly. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had our last snowstorm (which I cross-country ski-ed on roughly three seconds after it stopped, and it was the best ski I’ve ever done–not that I’ve done too much), and that was it. The next day it was 40 and it rained…and rained…. Suddenly the snow was gone, the grass was green, the temperatures had leaped up to 45, and you could immediately tell it was spring.

Wherever you live, your prompt today is to go outside into your yard or a nearby park and just walk around. Look first; see what color the grass is, and the leaves, if there are any. Then listen; do you hear any spring birds, running water? Touch, next; bend down and put both hands on the earth and just feel it. Smell; throw your head back and breathe in, pollutants and all, seeking for the smell of spring. And taste: what do you imagine that the water, the earth, the leaves, the air all taste like? What do they really taste like? You could pick one and just write about that, or do all and write one long poem. It’s up to you.

Feel the spring. It’s here.

-Aidyl

Unrequited Love: Depressing, Interesting, and Strangely Appealing

Used To

I used to

laugh at your every joke,

sigh at every smile

you gave me,

record each possible flirt

in a diary

and create backups

and carbons

and hide CDs of the evidence in strategic points,

like under my pillow

so I could read them each night

and know,

rather, think,

that you really did have something for me.

Yes, I used to

fret over your casual text

that said:

Wednesday = kk w/me

and puzzle out the meaning of

can’t w8 2 c u 2 🙂

and analyzing their every letter right down to the font. And I used to

script my every phone call

and even the three-sentence emails

telling you that you forgot your hot, hot, hot wallet

and not mentioning that I hadn’t found a picture of me there

yet,

and by the way here’s a cute pic of me,

just in case

you’d happen to be

missing me.

Yes, I used to

feel my pulse accelerate

to 300 beats per minute

and start to feel dizzy and nervous

and like my feet were size fifteen

with my hair in a crimper

constantly

if I saw your face

a picture

a text from you

any mention of you

or anybody with your first name

or last name

or either first or last name that resembled

slightly

either of your names

or age

or address

or suit size.

I used to

dream of the day you’d propose

with a smile and the words

“Kathy, the day I met you…”

and open that ring box that contains

one fancy yellow 2-carat diamond,

and say those four magic words that make every girl’s heart stop

when they hear them

addressed

to yes, that girl:

“Will you marry me?”

Oh, I used to believe

that you loved me,

that I was the only one for you

and you were the only one for me,

that we’d be together and loving

for, well, ever.

How I used to believe

that in every one of your glances my way

there was love,

a way for us.

I used to…

I used to believe that we

would be something,

that we were something,

that we were more than just friends,

because it’s just so hard to tell

between a man and a woman

and it’s just so hard to find

that you were pouring mud down a bottomless pit

in the hopes that it would fill,

just so hard to find

that for all you’re giving

there’s nothing coming back.

And all that I did

turned into the imperfect tense

the moment I saw you with another woman,

the moment you said

she was your girlfriend.

I used to believe that wasn’t true.

I used to believe that there was a space

between

“girl” and “friend”,

that she wasn’t your girlfriend but a girl friend

like that which I turned out to be.

What small irony

there.

And all those “do”s of mine

turned into the imperfect tense

and now a preterite, if you will:

My heart

broke.

My heart

broke,

you insensitive idiot,

and the worst part about it is

that there’s a piece unbroken

and that piece still loves you.

How could I have loved you,

once,

how could I have used to love you?

Oh, the same way I used to have

a heart that was not broken.

I used to…

Unrequited love is interesting. Sure, it’s depressing and it kicks you real good and hard in the feels, but it’s a nice change from the “Happily ever after” advertised throughout the media and fairy tales. People should definitely know that real life is rarely “happily ever after” all the time. Otherwise? It wouldn’t be interesting, frankly, if you got everything you daydreamed of. Desire, and, unfortunately, some pain, are part of living and what fills your soul.

Enough of that philosophical stuff, though.

Take Eponine, for example, since she’s quite fresh in the world’s mind after Le Mis came through in glorious movie form. ‘Ponine is deeply in love with Marius, who’s passionately enthralled by Cosette, who loves him back. Typical love triangle, really. Anyway, Eponine hopes and hopes that that twerp Marius (no offense to any fans who would want to take offense of that for his sake) will at least recognize her love, although she is aware that it’s foolish to believe such a thing will come to pass. Then in the end…well, there are still some people out there who are unfamiliar with the story of Les Miserables, and though they really should see/read/listen to the recording of the original Broadway cast, it’s not any real interest of mine to spoil it. Fellow fans of the play, you know what I’m talking about, of course…

Returning to the original topic, unrequited love is sad and extremely painful for those on the outside. It’s my good fortune not to have experienced that. “They” (who’s they? No idea) say it’s best to write about what you know, but sometimes you have to write about things you don’t know. Then you fling yourself wholeheartedly into an imaginative daydream/reality experience of your character and struggle through to find what you’d do, then throw in the variables of your characters’…um, characteristics. You know, important character-building stuff like mental scarring, hopes, dreams, secret desires, etc. Such “experiences” make you more in tune with other people’s suffering so that you can cry at depressing musicals like Le Mis and feel proud of it. It makes you a better person.

Once more at the end of this extremely long post, unrequited love is interesting. But that’s what makes it the topic of so many poems and stories: it’s interesting. It’s different (ha-ha, a little irony there if you can spot it) from the “norm” (whoa, I’m using “quotation marks” a lot in this post) Here’s to hoping you don’t have to experience it!

–Aidyl

Form Poetry: Real Poetry, Or A Form of Poetry?

I have rather mixed feelings about form poetry.

That and meter, rhyme scheme, and everything else. Shaped poems, too, like the ones that come in the shape of a star or a Christmas tree or a heart. The ones that form words with the first letter of each line, which I can’t remember the name of.

See, when many people think of poetry, they do indeed think of form poetry, usually sonnets, limericks, haiku, and the common ababcdcd rhyme schemes. And meter. Don’t forget the meter. They usually believe that a poem has to rhyme to be a poem, that it needs to have meter, to be a poem. That’s why few people actually write poetry: they’re under the misconception that it is a creative form without a….er, creative form, if you will.

Here’s where my mixed feelings come in. They’re based around what poetry is, in my mind: poetry. A lyrical, beautiful arrangement of words that is effective and powerful through word choice and line breaks. A metaphor. A simile. Any kind of “poetic” arrangement of words. (Doesn’t “A sodden blue towel” sound more poetic than “a wet towel?”) It also depends upon the context and phrases with multiple meanings. A way of storytelling, too.

The even more confusing part is that form poetry is beautiful to me! It seems, to me as well, like “real” poetry (as if there was such a thing. Psh!). To say such a thing while confined to such a strict form! Ah-mayzing! I have a friend who writes unique and fun poetry in her own style, in perfect rhyme, on impeccable meter. On the drop of a pin (sort of. Doesn’t it sound awe-inspiring, fellow poets?).

Yes, form poetry is beautiful. I personally have a hard time writing it, but that’s what makes it so beautiful! So much effort goes into form poetry, and to write in it without sounding like a dying cow or a two year old spewing random and flat words (words that are “dead”, that aren’t powerful, like say and do and all sorts of simple words like that which are not poetic at awl)…that’s what makes the good feeling from me towards form poetry.

Form poetry can sometimes have a lot more impact than free-verse. Like this one:

 

Succulent droplets of broth and flavor run

Over my tongue, delicious,

Until its scorching heat forces me to swallow, lest I have a cinder for tasting with.

Plop! Spoon back for more.

 

You’ve got to think more about your subject when you use form poetry. You can’t just spit out random ideas. It’s sort of like making an outline of your poem before you write it, getting down what you want to say.

Personally, I’m a little against that kind of planning before a poem. It used to be that I would get my idea straight and dive headfirst into the pool of words, following my feelings. Often, I wouldn’t dare edit a poem I’d written because the words chosen at writing are sacred and must remain the way they were, lest I contaminate the meaning (Stories would be harshly edited. Poetry, the punishment for the crime is burning at the stake.) Slowly I’m coming to realize that poetry isn’t just that flurry of words coming out of the firehose-like pencil. Nearly every poem has a point where I struggled for a phrase or word and shoved in a make-do replacement so I could move on. I’ve realized that poetry isn’t just working with a moment.

Poetry…I’m still quite muddled about that. Is it following the emotion of a moment, like I do when I write many of my free-verse? Is it taking absolute meticulousness (is that a word?) over the choice of a word?

Or is it both?

The world of poets may never know.

–Aidyl

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 1

Softly Through the Night

She walks

softly in the dark,

her foot on nothing but

still stepping,

still shining with a light

that envelops her whole body,

that is nothing save

the intensity of her soulfire, the

light of her love that still burns even though

he stopped loving her,

stopped seeing

her,

long ago.

But she didn’t stop

seeing him.

She didn’t stop

seeing anyone,

but then they stopped seeing her,

until the fire of her soul told her like a crystal ball

to

step into this world of darkness

because

nothing mattered,

nothing but

him.

Now she stopped

seeing everyone, and

everyone stopped

seeing her, and

she walked slowly through

the darkness,

shining foot stepping

on nothing but still feeling,

still stepping,

part of the only light

in this place.

And she walked,

looking for the only other person

that she could see,

he,

who stood in both worlds

simultaneously.

Whenever she found him she would

step in front of him and stare

hungrily,

like echo at Narcissus,

having learned long ago that she could not speak

to him, and

could not touch him,

whence her fingers would cause him to

disappear. She

would then have to wander,

wearily, until she

found him again, so

she chose to see his face

over letting him vanish,

even if

his eyes stared through her indifferently,

even if he never responded to her words,

not even to her touch although

his image did vanish,

but she didn’t care

because

what of this was different from that other world

that she had lived in,

once?

She wasn’t part of his world,

he was all of hers,

and all she ever saw was him

anyway, so

the blackness never bothered her.

She didn’t know

if she was in a new world entirely,

or stuck in her mind, gone mad

with heartbreak,

or if she walked through all things mistily,

walked through her world ghostly,

and although she was there only saw

him. She

stood in the nothingness and looked

and

saw a distantly glowing figure,

he,

like a ghost,

walking, talking, dancing,

but not with her, to her.

Her approach made no difference,

it didn’t matter if she spoke or not,

but she placed her hands

in the air beside him

and waltzed with him

in painful pretend glory.

And all she saw was

him,

an all he saw was

nothing,

so what was different

from the world she was in before?

Suddenly in confusion

he paled, then

laughed nervously to his

real partner, said:

“For a moment you looked

like a girl I knew,

once,

but I

can’t recall her name,

and now her face has vanished too.

Just as well.”

Tears stung

her

face,

and his blurred like watercolors,

but she danced,

on and on,

refusing to stop,

but her trembling fingers,

her distracted eye,

combined to force one mistake

of the placement of her fingers,

which brought his face,

his waist,

in contact with

her hands, and he

paled, widened his eyes,

in shock, in alarm,

whispered,

“I felt her. I know it.

There’s no mistaking it. It

was her,

though it couldn’t be,

possibly…”

His

voice began to fade,

his glow to dim,

and she

was alone again, weeping

tears hot with anguish.

She

fell to her knees

on the floor unseen,

and released two painful sobs

from her tense, hot chest.

Tears,

glowing, fell, and vanished,

then their flow ceased,

quenched, and

she stood,

face calm, almost grim,

wild but determined.

And she walked softly in the night,

glowing feet treading

on nothing

yet treading

as she went, seeing nothing,

seeing no one,

none save him.

And what was different

from the world she had

inhabited before?

This poem was inspired by the phrase, “She walks in beauty, like the night,” from Lord Bryon’s poem “She Walks in Beauty”. The phrase was part of NaPoWriMo.net’s prompt “to write a poem that has the same first line as another poem.” Following were a few first lines, including the one inspiring my poem. That line morphed into “She walks softly in the night,” which is the baseline for the poem I wrote.

And how about you? (“Me?”)Why don’t you give the line a shot? If you read poetry, there’s got to be a line from some random poem that never fails to make you half swoon in the beauty of the English language. Or if you want, write a simple and interesting-sounding sentence and mix it up. Or pick eight of your favorite words and fling ’em together. “Bubble acrid tasteless dissolves empty and  cold-hearted” is a really neat sentence. I’d like to see where someone goes with that, since I have no idea what it means. (Hey, I’m just the writer. Those words sounded right)

Or you could even write a poem full of random words. Use one, fumble for another word that fits, use it, and keep going. When people read it, they’ll nod and smile like they understand your work, but you can laugh inside and be delighted in the knowledge that you yourself have found meaning in only about a quarter of your poem.

I’d love to see what you come up with on this first NaPoWriMo day! Post in the comments if you wish.

–Aidyl

Numbers and Questions

Why?

Why do kids always ask

why?

Why do parents always say

‘because’?

Why don’t parents say

‘I don’t know’?

Why do the kids grow up like that?

Why can’t they admit

their ignorance?

Are they only proud or is it

taught?

How do you stop one of these

vicious cycles?

And how do you finally get

an answer?

Why

in algebra

don’t you solve for variables in polynomials?

Why do you

evaluate

but don’t search for a simplified

identity?

What is a real

number?

What is

the only real number?

Why is

 the only real number

one?

Why am I asking and answering

these questions?

Why am I so serious

about them?

Why am I still unanswered?

Why do I still not know

the answers to the unanswered?

Why can no question be answered

without another being asked?

Why can curiosity never be

satisfied?

Why must we

leave a question alone?

Why is there

never one completing answer that

argues and satisfies the question

and all its curiosity?

Why is

‘that’s the way it is’

not a satisfactory answer?

Because that’s

the way it is, because

we cannot always understand it.

A question unanswered is like a

variable without an identity.

Painful,

but you can’t

solve it.

This interesting poem came from one prompt: “Question marks catch the reader’s attention more than exclamation marks. If you use a question, your statement becomes a question and the reader tries to answer that question before they move on. Write a poem using as many questions as possible…”

When I was solving polynomials and doing other such silly things that had to do with moving stupid variables around, I hated it. A variable stands for a number, but the number is unknown. In an equation, you solve for the variable and find its true identity. You can think of it as sort of a number in disguise and you have to hire a P.I. (you) to find out who/what/which it is.

Then let’s look at polynomials and linear equations. Okay, give me a break. We’re unable to actually simplify the variable because we don’t know what it is. You learn to toss them around and rearrange them backwards and forwards (multiply, then factor). But what’s the point? How do you use these in real life?

And what about linear equations. Those, too, make me irritated. The variable in a linear equation stands for any number that fits onto the equation’s graph. Confused? I know I am. Let’s take a trip back to middle school…

Each linear equation has a graph with little dots drawn on it. This line, like the graph of an inequality, shows all the solutions to the equation. Well, not all on one sheet of graph paper, but the line would if you had an infinitely sized piece of paper…which nobody does. The equation is a rule that tells the solutions. The dots stand for two numbers, like so: (x, y) The x-axis goes horizontal, the y-axis goes vertical. They’re coordinates, like latitude and longitude, only a little less confusing for people to understand.

Now, the variables in a linear equation are not meant to be answered. They are placeholders for any number on the equation’s graph.  Get ready for the most confusing part for my brain: there’s no one identity for the variable.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH–

Hang.

On.

One.

Second.

No, that’s wrong.

There is one identity for each variable.

Recall my post Infinite Identity: A Theory of Numbers. Go back and read the post if you can’t; the theory is too complicated to say in here. I’ll wait.

You back? Good.

Do you know what I’m going to say? You do? I’m going to say it anyway, just in case.

Since each number has an infinite amount of identities, each variable has that at more. In a polynomial, a variable could be any number. Thus it has an infinite number of identities, but each number that it can be also has an infinite number of identities! So, a polynomial or any equation containing unsolved variables has a variable with an infinitely infinite identity!

For this reason numbers are often weird.

And for this reason I don’t really like algebra anymore.

–Aidyl

Jumbled Up Poems and Astral Koi

Astral Koi

Beneath my silken waters flow

orange fish with silver below.

The water and places that they go

are secrets only they will know.

~

As the moonbeams fall down on the pond

fish swim through it and upon.

Silver fins on some, waving as a silver wand,

other ones, crowns silver donned.

~

From the sky bright moonbeams stream,

and up them swim the kings and queens

fins waving, the scales! how they gleam!

Then to vanish, gone, ‘tall a dream.

~

A dream only, and one quite queer,

for koi-fish never disappear.

But…for truth? it does appear

remains in the pond a single silver tear.

~

From a koi-fish swimming from his home,

was cast this tear, and it alone.

The last he called swimming into the sky

was “Goodbye, mine pond, goodbye!”

~

Now these orange fish of ours

swim themselves among the stars.

Look up one night, away  from this Earth of ours,

and see a fish-shape, swimming way afar.

~

High up in the skies do show

orange fish that silver glow.

The stars and places that they go

are secrets that only they will know.

This poem was pretty interesting to write. My new poetry book has a swimming koi on every single page, which is pretty neat. This inspired me to write about koi, which is the first stanza.Then the poem kind of went from there, rambling on wherever it pleased, which is the case with most of my poems. That whole “fish swimming up a moon beam to swim around among the stars” thing was totally out of the swirling chaos of before poems exist.

Before a poem actually gets written down, your mind, rather, your creative writing part, is like an empty pond. Little ideas trickle in over time and stay there, all swirling and random and gaseous and colorful. Ideas and emotions are jumbled together, but they can’t work because they don’t have a vessel. Think power building up, energy, but it doesn’t have anything to flow into, a piece of wire to complete it. Sometimes all this building of emotion comes within a minute, other times you get a neat little idea and it doesn’t flow for years. A single glance, a thought, a few words…anything can complete the circuit and make you realize, “Oh, look at all these ideas!” and they pour out as if your completing thought was a faucet.  Some writers, after they’ve been writing for a long time, a one or two ideas combined with one perspective, word, or prompt can unleash either a tidal wave or just a trickle of water that they can magnify a thousand times.

A poet, when that one completing thought is found, just before the actual neat click into place happens, these jumbled up emotions flow into the front of their brain. All is the past, present and future, all knowledge without order. A poet’s job is to bring these ideas into manifestation, give them bodies and form, squeeze them into words to give them image and concept, and bring an order that makes sense. Whole words can get caught in that thought jumble and flow out in big clumps. They fit together, and they flow neatly into the form of a poem as if magnified there. A beginning writer can get overwhelmed by this flow, and not be ready for it, and find it gushing through them before they can get a pen for it to gush through like ink instead of them…before like ink, it’s all gone.

And as often as not, the little poems are connected, sort of magnetically or by a little string, so when you write one, that acts as the completing thought and the other poem comes tumbling out like hat boxes in a closet or shoeboxes on a shelf in the store, only you don’t have to clean up. You pull on one, intending for it to come out alone, but all these others have their shoelaces tied to that and you’re buried.

So write. Keep a notebook with you so when a little trickle falls out you can catch it on paper like a snowflake, otherwise the snowflake will melt forever. You might hear that time and time again, but it really helps. If you have a neat sentence or combination of words in your head, write that down too. Those alone can be cool!

See you next week! 🙂

–Aidyl