poetry

The Dinosaur

for my mother

I coloured in a dinosaur, at
the age of ten.

I selected five careful pencils and
put them all in a row.
Sharpened. The heads of fences.

I gave him silver claws, and a
dark green body. The colour oozed
into the page.

After an hour I had carved him
into a story, into my mind.

The teacher wafts around the
room, stacking reptiles into
an old palm.

A few days later the news broke.
I won the competition. My mother
chortled her praise, while she cooked
with a bent back.

I dreamed of art lessons
I won. Excited and curious. (I think
it was the silver claws that did it.)

I never collected my prize. I still
blame my mother. Only now I see
her lack of hands with two boys
bubbling in the house.

I wonder what she did to breath
back then. I think it was the piano.

I rocked in my dreams.
My mother stroked the keys, because
it cooled her head down.

It was her language.

 

PhilosopherPoet

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Art, Inspiration

Dare to dream…

In the last few weeks I’ve decided to give my blog more visual content such as videos and art. I love writing, although, it’s always handy to get a different source of inspiration for writers and artists alike.  😉

This morning after my morning thrust of coffee ignited my synapses, I flipped open my laptop and flicked through a swarm of tweets. An image caught my attention. Not just caught it, but engrossed me. My artistic brain started tripping…and time slowed down. I admit I’m a natural romantic and have a weakness for the fantasy world. A severe one. Mould those two together and…the inner artist starts to swoon.

We should all learn to dream a little. Put down the cellphone and let your creative mind slowly seduce you. Go have a look at these images below. If you want to learn more about this artist, go check out her Deviant Art account here: http://lanatustich.deviantart.com/  😀

 

a_call_for_a_flight_48_x_36_s_by_yantotzkie-d8lm8vn

 

alone_in_the_sea_by_lanatustich-d9iys47

butterfly_garden_by_lanatustich-d9ev2vg

 

christmas_tree_or_something_strange_by_lanatustich-d9jfxa2

 

d_r_e_a_m_c_a_t_c_h_e_r_by_lanatustich-d9rlyo0

 

forgotten_toy_by_lanatustich-d9rw9kq

 

perfect_flower_by_lanatustich-d9h3cz1

 

personal_world_by_lanatustich-d9sukb6

 

psychology_by_lanatustich-d9rbwfz

 

rose_by_lanatustich-d9fatp3

 

stardust_by_lanatustich-d9tj9bh

 

sunset_by_lanatustich-d987zy4

 

the_chair_by_lanatustich-d9jfhbs

 

the_hours_by_lanatustich-d9s75vl

 

to_be_continued__by_lanatustich-d9rrctv

 

to_the_light_by_lanatustich-d9t5s35

 

PhilosopherPoet

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poetry

reflection

there’s a long road ahead
headlights vibrate news back
to me through the windows
and contours of night

there’s a raindrop kissing the glass
it feels heavy underneath
fragile eyes and folded hands

something’s gotta give
make room for the aftermath

 

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poetry

teach me to whisper

for Maggie Wojtarowicz

 

teach me to whisper
and weave slow scents into
the dark

there are voices i have not heard yet
fragile echoes are scattered
in the folds of your smile

teach me to whisper
talking won’t carry
a sliver of mystery or
a simple pause before words
grow out of our mouths

there’s a voice that needs to be heard
in between
our silences
before our conscious clocks
amble and trickle out softer songs

 

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poetry

scenes from a memory

echos spin through
the dialect of the street
peoples feet shimmer and
evoke the stones of cold motion
the rapids of incense
churn through
treacle trusses
of a stoners song

clouds are sewn into the sky
a slow rope of saliva falls
from a pitbull
his jaw opens and closes

two hands of lovers clasp
and dance away into
suburban sunlight
absorbed in supple scents
and a growing gravitas

 

 

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Art, Photography, poetry, Technology

what lies beneath (photo poetry)

Ever since my curious mind was thrust upon this world; ever since I discovered the ability to reason and not be satisfied with the answers given to me…This has always happened to me.

Say for example, I go to the doctor and he tells me, “you have osto-prosperous syndrome. Due to this specific condition I’ll gonna be putting you on ana-laxti-tri-syhp-phex-trazine to help you manage it.” Some people see he’s a doctor, realize he’s spent year doing this and just give the three-bags-full nod. Well, not me. (You might also realize I know very little about the medical world). I want to know what is beneath the common day veneer people throw over everything. I will question the doctor until I’m satisfied I understand the internal processes, or at the very least the words he’s using.

The other day I had a similar urge to do the same with a hard drive. Most of us, have held a hard drive before, understood it has two parallel spinning discs, whose data is read by a needle-like lever darting backwards and forth. If this description if lost on you, just think of the vinyl (or record) player that has an extended arm used to read the data from the disc. (A slightly more crude, yet simpler analogy).

The hard drive in question was a 2.5″ (laptop sized) and had given up the ghost months back. Holding this device in my hands, I became plagued by two thoughts:

  1. Why don’t I open it up, and see for myself what the innards of this object look like?
  2. Once I’ve dissembled the drive, I will make this mess look beautiful. Why not?

Below I’ve included the photos I’ve taken as well as a poem I wrote a while back about a computer. Free free to leave any comments, if you have any 😀

hard drive_01

the wires inside

i closed a coffin today,
it was black with
wires of time inside

it lay on the floor
the silver fan
(cooling its heart)
Stopped and sighed
It lay in the warmth
of my own curiosity

i was more technology than
this carcass, splayed before
me and the wooden desk
i could get off the floor
crawl away from the slow
undergrowth – over
our lives.

i wept more for the
numb life hiding in
the cage and its brain
my tears fell out

so did the battery

hard drive_02

hard drive_03

 

PhilosopherPoet

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Reviews

Gritty Scene, Mostly Male and White

Greetings Bloggers

Here’s a fascinating article that I came across while browsing the net. I subscribe to a bunch of daily newspapers to keep my brain active.

Enjoy

PhilosopherPoet

 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/arts/design/15downtown.html
By MARTHA SCHWENDENER

What would the proverbial alien, beamed into the Grey Art Gallery for a viewing of “Downtown Pix: Mining the Fales Archives, 1961-1991,” discern about New York toward the end of the last millennium? Maybe this: That it was very gritty, very gay and very Caucasian.

Organized by Philip Gefter, a former picture editor for The New York Times, the exhibition includes more than 300 photographs and serves as a kind of sequel to “The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984” from 2006. Like that display, this one reminds us what the arts scene in the East Village, SoHo and TriBeCa was like at the height of the AIDS epidemic, before gentrification and before the downtown ethos and aesthetic were packaged into family viewing spectacles like “Rent” or those by Blue Man Group.

This was the downtown of experimental art, music, film, theater and dance — often mashed up and delivered simultaneously. An idea of how it was received might be gleaned from a quotation from a review by the New York Times critic Frank Rich printed on a wall label next to a photograph documenting a 1984 performance of Franz Xaver Kroetz’s “Through the Leaves,” by the avant-garde company Mabou Mines. The work “is not pleasant,” he wrote, “but it sticks like a splinter in the mind.”

There are plenty of splinters here. A series of photographs by David Wojnarowicz documents the death of his mentor and lover, the photographer Peter Hujar, from AIDS in a hospital; nearby is a matter-of-fact letter to Hujar from his doctor describing his dire medical condition. “Heroin,” a three-minute movie shot in 1981 on Super 8 film, shows Wojnarowicz’s semicomatose friends crashed out in various lofts and bathrooms. The film wasn’t made to celebrate drug use, but out of concern for the rampant addiction the artist witnessed around him.

New York’s grittiness was compared frequently to that of 19th-century Paris, with its bohemians afflicted by poverty and consumption, and its reverence for poetry, a form that has been largely eclipsed in subsequent decades. There are portraits of real poets, like David Trinidad, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and John Giorno, and fake ones: Tom Verlaine dressed up as Theresa Stern, a fictive poet invented by Mr. Verlaine and Richard Hell, founders of the band Television (foreshadowing a more recent art world fictional character, Reena Spaulings).

Wojnarowicz’s series “Rimbaud in New York” features young men posing in diners or decrepit interiors, each wearing a mask with the image of the 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud, while a Jimmy De Sana photo captures Andy Warhol hanging out with the fashion designer Halston’s Colombian boyfriend, who went by the name Victor Hugo.

Poetry was also featured as a tragic-romantic motif in projects like Kathy Acker and Richard Foreman’s opera “The Birth of the Poet” from 1984 or a video of John Kelly singing “Love of a Poet,” based on a Robert Shumann song cycle from the 1840s.

Women aren’t particularly well represented — except as perfunctory documentarians of the scene (the Fales Library, New York University’s rare-book and manuscript collection, has actually acknowledged this weakness in the archives) — and neither are minorities. There are portraits of the punk-folk priestess Patti Smith, the punk-appropriation author Ms. Acker and the downtown dance pioneer Trisha Brown, as well as a video of Carolee Schneemann’s “Meat Joy” from 1964, an absurdist Dionysian performance in which nearly nude participants rub themselves with paint, plastic and raw meat.

And despite the extraordinary influence of black and Hispanic art forms, like graffiti and hip-hop — noted cursorily in ephemera-filled vitrines and in Polaroids by Martin Wong — one of the few images of a black man is Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1983 photograph of the muscle-ripped Derrick Cross. You can see why images like this — taken from behind, with his head out of the frame — published in “The Black Book” (1986), incensed artists like Glenn Ligon, whose “Notes on the Margin of the Black Book” (1991-93), took Mapplethorpe to task for his objectification and sexual stereotyping of black men.

Also included in “Downtown Pix” are a couple of portraits of Alvin Ailey taken by Robert Alexander, a photographer for SoHo Weekly News, who documented dance.

You wonder how much the show is a product of Mr. Gefter’s curatorial vision and how much he was limited by the Fales Archives, even though it holds more than 5,000 images. There is a strong black-and-white, art-photography flavor to the show; at times it feels anachronistic for a period when artists were making the switch to color photography. Mr. Gefter is also the author of “Photography After Frank” (2009), a collection of writings whose title nods to Robert Frank, whose artfully bleak and blurry images serve almost like a template for the show’s aesthetic.

A splash of color comes in a grid of 42 snapshots made by Mr. Trinidad, the poet, who is an avid collector of Barbie paraphernalia. Mr. Trinidad photographed his dolls in their plastic habitats, creating a tongue-in-cheek archive that also calls to mind Laurie Simmons’s more self-consciously arty photographs. Accompanying the photos is a sestina by Mr. Trinidad called “Playing With Dolls,” in which his mother defends his doll habit (“He’s a creative boy”), and his father calls him a sissy.

A few other decisions about how to present downtown art are interesting, like the one to marginalize Warhol, who gets his own section of Polaroids in the basement. Likewise, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, who have overwhelmed many downtown ’80s histories, are virtually absent.

There are some amazing inclusions, however, like the film “Beehive” from 1985, a delirious pastiche that feels like a postmodern mix of Looney Tunes, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and Balanchine. Juxtaposed with a black-and-white video of a 1972 performance by Grand Union, an Yvonne Rainer offshoot, you get the full range of downtown’s development, from serious, hermetic and formalist to zany, hallucinogenic and ironic.

Like “The Downtown Show” or “The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, this exhibition is essentially another preliminary history of art in the ’70s and ’80s. The Fales Library has become the biggest repository of downtown archives, which is paradoxical, since New York University is often seen as the biggest institutional gentrifier of the East Village and its environs. What that means, however, is that “Downtown Pix” is probably just one iteration of a show and a history that will continue to be presented, tweaked and re-presented over time.

“Downtown Pix: Mining the Fales Archives, 1961-1991” continues through April 3 at the Grey Art Gallery, 100 Washington Square East, Greenwich Village; (212) 998-6780, nyu.edu/greyart.

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Reviews, Thoughts

The Art of Scribbling

Writing is an unexplained energy that flows through us all. I’m not the slight bit religious or sentimental, however I’ve come to realize that writing is a rhythm and a desire for us to plunge ourselves into the consciousness of something unseen. Think of the Greek symbol of infinity (a numerical eight pushed on its side). This is what I think of when people blame the Muse, some other entity, or situation for their work. When we write, and whatever it is…we’re accessing a constant rhythm. Sometimes we might scribble down something terrible, and other times, a masterpiece.

I’m a chaos addict. When I first grabbed a book and explored poetry, metaphors of Ted Hughes, and the mythology of Yeats entranced me. Like anything, learning to write came as a challenge. After much criticism, and some confusion I liked what I saw. The reason being, after enough exposure and plenty practice, you learn to internalize the craft. I like to think that all good writing has three critical components: exposure, practice, and mentorship.

Exposing the Animal

Starting off as a writer is a sign that you’re learning to listen to the inside of your own psyche. It’s tricky and exhausting, but the first time you’re seized by the characters of a novel, or the images of a poet…it becomes hard to let go. A writer needs as much of this as possible. I’ve always loved books because they’re the cheapest form of entertainment. (If you disagree, try and turn off your TV for a month or two and watch your habits change.) When I take out a library book the fine is 20 cents a day. An overdue DVD or a month’s subscription for satellite TV is considerably larger.

So start to expose your brain, with something else that the general public isn’t trying. Secondhand book stores are often my retreat to explore other people’s lives, and the words that have gone before them. Also don’t just limit this to books. Join clubs and societies that think along the same wavelength you do. You don’t always have to pay to have an experience.

Scribbling

Writing is also fairly cost-effective. Paper is widely used and a pen or pencil isn’t going to break your piggy bank either. The Harry Potter series was started on a bunch of serviettes. People are generally scared to start something that might burn up their wallets. I’m placing an emphasis of money because it has little to do with starting out. If you can find a surface that enjoys a pen…you’re half way there. I first kept a journal, and then went on to put together school exercise books labeled Writing 1, Writing 2, Writing 3, and so on. Writing means getting a pen, paper, and an undisturbed part of the house to practice.

It’s just scribbling. Nothing makes sense at first and doesn’t always have to either. Keep it as a mental note to get down and do. I sometimes like to go and sit out in a park, and wait for a usual person (who is poem-worthy) to come along. The South African poet, Kobus Moolman calls it ‘bum discipline’ and this is exactly it.

Mentorship

Find an admirer. Even if it’s a lover looking into your eyes, and listening to the words you sculpt. If you’ve scribbled enough, someone is bound to listen to you, and find you interesting. Writing is as common as any other pursuit. If you can do it, chances are, a million other people are also trying it out is fairly high. There are also people prepared to help make your words stronger and original. Taking advice can be very hard at first, but once you do, bouncing back is easier.

Why the fuss?

It’s there a point in breaking everything down into a category? I like to think so. When you’re suffering from Writer’s Block, your emphasis is just on writing and you may need to change your stimuli. If you’re feeling bad for not writing enough, you’re still busy exposing yourself and waiting for the penny to drop. We may feel like we’re stuck in a pattern, and just repeating ourselves. If so, then you need to get a friend to give some advice.

I’m sure from time-to-time you’ve heard the clichéd hermit writer, who’s socially illiterate and avoids the public. This craft does tend to lean towards introversion. Any editor will tell you an award-winning novel that takes 2-3 days to read, has probably taken the same amount of time (in years) to reach you. This covers the birth of the idea, until the final copy is laid to rest on the shelf.

However tempting the backstage work becomes, the best writers are activists. Seasoned writers become the exposure that new and naïve writers seek out. In this country alone, the number of voices exceeds the amount of fingers I have to type this.

My advice would be to seek them out, and become exposed.

PhilosopherPoet

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