Thursday, April 28, 2011

After Tonight

To sleep, perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; for in that sleep of death what dreams may come.

Hamlet said it like it was a plague: to sleep, perchance to dream. Granted, to take your life only to find you'd never rise again, but that your mind would forever swell in images and hauntings of all you knew and all you imagine you knew, would be quite the plague. Yet sill I find myself incapable of saying the curse without a smile of pleasant possibilities.

To sleep, perchance to dream.

And dream of you, figment of my subconscious, and the form you'll take tonight. Approach me on a dance floor and steal a kiss before you fly. Come calling with bread each morning. Leave a pressure on my cheek I still feel when I rise. Sit with me on a green couch, talking. Parade arm-in-arm with me through a grocery store, let me sing By The Sea on a dock. Steal me away as the sun touches the night. Let me call you mine.

But in that sleep of death what dreams do come! And I wake so refined and amazed. And love holds my hand in my heart, on my sleeve, but this love is myself. It's only me. Oh now, wretched bliss, take back all you gave. I'll have no more these feign fantasies. This world is too imperfect compaired.

Sweet peace, release.

To die, to sleep; to forever be free.

To sleep, perchance to dream.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Music Library

I've been wanting to do this for a while. Kate asked me one day if all my blog posts were titled by songs. I told her yes, the vast majority of them are song titles or lyrics. I then tried to tell her what song each was from, but she stopped listening. A few days ago I realized that here, on the blog, you can't run away from me. And, well, if you do it's not as obvious as it would be if I were talking to you face to face. But to make this fun, I'm not just going to rant off the name of the song and artist who sings it. I'ma attempt to link you videos of the songs. So grab some popcorn, slink down in your seat, and get ready for who knows how many videos.

Let's start from the beginning.

January 21, 2010 I Liked You Better
Song: I Liked You Better Before
Artist: Little Jackie
Video: (Didn't have a music video, so it's just audio. Sorry.)

January 22, 2010 There Once Was Love
Song: There Once Was Love
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson
Video: (The song actually starts about a minute into it.)

January 26, 2010 ...Or Am I Standing Still?
Song: Standing Still
Artist: Jewel
Video: No, this isn't the official music video (embedding on that was "removed by request"), but this is actually the very video I watched as I wrote this post. Funny I remember.

January 28, 2010 Not Love Blind Obsession
(The title of this post isn't a song. I posted song lyrics at the end of the post.)
Song: Dominoes
Artist: Dawn Mitschele
Video: First time I saw this video was on Jason Mraz's blog. Now you're seeing it for the first time on mine. Fun fact: She's a pal of Mraz's. He gave her one of his guitars. (Also, because it may take you a minute to notice, every woman in the video is Dawn.)

February 1, 2010 Gunning Down Romance
Song: Gunning Down Romance
Artist: Savage Garden
Video: Wow. If you only make it a minute through this, I'll give you kudos. I didn't know he was such an interpretive boy-band dancing fan. Not gonna lie though, it kinda takes the poetry out of it. And diminishes from his attractive-ness.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Drink from the half of a broken bottle

Well, today I was BS'ing an assignment for English in which I had to grade the moral conduct of each noteworthy character in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and explain why. Marmeladov is an alcoholic. When Raskolnikov first meets Marmeladov, it is in a tavern where Marmeladov has been blowing money on beer for five days, afraid to go home to his proud wife with the news that he abandoned the respectful job he'd procured just days before. He expresses to Raskolnikov his desire to help his family, and provide for his wife in a way that suits her pride, as apposed to her current squalor, and to help his daughter Sonya from having to sell herself in the streets for the financial benefit of the family.

I gave Marmeladov a D-, stating that his conduct was not justifiable or incapable or pity. He had such a desire and yearn to better his family's conditions, yet he quit his job days after receiving it and spent the intervening time and money drowning his poverty in alcohol. His situation was one where the sin could be prevented. Yet, intentions aside, he found himself incapable of putting off drink long enough to benefit his loved ones.

Inexcusable conduct. Wretched excuse. D-

As I handed my assignment to Mrs. Drake, she looked at me and said, "How are you doing this when you haven't read the book? Cheating?"

She was addressing someone else at the same time, so I let that person answer, walking away to get the sheet I was supposed to hand in with the assignment.

"Really, though." She said upon my return. "Was it Spark Notes?"

I didn't answer.

Because it was Spark Notes, but, I fumed in yoga the following period, it wasn't because I was a delinquent and didn't want to read the book, and went to Spark Notes instead. I wanted to read the book--I still do. I have a feeling it might be that dark literature I've been searching years for. I just didn't have time, with the play and math homework and YouTube and reading just takes me so long if I wish to comprehend it...

And I realized, there on my yoga mat, that I was Marmeladov. I want to be better. I want to stop making Ashley hate me and treat me like an incapable little kid because I'm late to school everyday. I want to be dedicated to my school work and actually finish most of it at the proper time. I want to clean my room and the bathroom sink. I want to get my Young Women medallion. I want, I wish, I yearn, I desire, yet I keep waisting my time and money on drink. I keep turning back to the alcohol of procrastination, even when I know the day is laid out perfectly for me to get the allotted task completed. I acknowledge I have a chance, I even go out and get a nice uniform for work, but I find myself trading the clothes for something more... fitting, and I enter the tavern like the drunk I am, and drink until there's nothing more to drink.

And I'm afraid to go home to my wife, my God. I'm afraid to return and say "I took all I had, all you'd helped me receive, and I drank it. I spent each spare moment you gave me, and I drank it. I wish I hadn't. I wish I wasn't so wretched. I wanted to be better, but I kept drinking, Lord. I kept drinking."

Inexcusable conduct. Wretched excuse. D-

I hope the Lord gives me more of a chance than Mrs. Drake will. Because even after today, after this eye-opening, disturbing comparison, you'll find me tomorrow, bottle in hand.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nothing More Than Good Orderly Direction

I don't think poets think. And I know that sounds like a lame excuse spat from a pessimistic high school English student, but ask around and you'll find that I'm really not pessimistic, and I'm really not studying poetry currently, so there is no reason for an excuse to be flung.

After "I'm Yours" blew up, Jason Mraz's blogs tended to keep a steady theme: "Don't praise me for the music." I remember vividly (although sadly the man is such an avid blogger that I can't recall the post) him saying, in effect, "You don't want to meet me. I'm not the one writing these songs." After a dedicated search I have located one such post: ( ) "The songs don’t belong to me. They are bigger than I’ll ever be and they will certainly live a lot longer than I will...Even the personal songs about my family and factual love stories, I will not take credit for writing them. It is my duty to simply sit and listen to a frequency that anyone can hear; A station perhaps from space, commercial free, broadcast in the clouds. I don’t ask. I sing-a-long to that station nonetheless, and happen to record the phrases and melodies from time to time, and still they are not my own. Maybe I am a receiver, but just an instrument in that sense. My body is just hardware. Some other wonderful force is playing the song."

Did you catch it? Even this simple paragraph... He said it beautifully. Poetically.


And perhaps I'm so bent on this being the case because this is how I write. I don't sit down and think "I'm going to write a poem now. I think it'll be about a bird, but thematically it will reference the freedom of the human soul when the body is confined. And to accomplish this I will use only similes and words that sound like their meaning. And I believe an a-b-a-b rhyme scheme will be rather appropriate. Now for the plunge!"

Thousands of authors have come before me, and thousands have yet to come. But do any really know what writing is? And those who have cracked the code--whether it be sitting in candle light thinking of the most thematically relevant vocabulary words, or merely painstakingly adjusting your dials until the cosmics start transmitting to you--refuse to reveal the secret. My initial thought toward novel writing is that one should be written in a day or two. Because a day or two is about as long as it takes to read any normal book. My regard toward poetry is that it should take little over five minutes to create a poem: because it takes little under five minutes to read one.

But it would be idiotic, would it not, to assume that a stage show was created on the spot, the actors in costume, synchronized in dance, memorized and moving with no rehearsal or prior thought? Yet with movies I find myself wondering when the actors memorized their lines. And how. They don't have a stage to practice on for weeks. It's filmed in a studio or on location. Filming would be their first time running it properly. So it must be their first time running it ever. How do they know?

No one's been there to say "Here's a method for writing. Here's how poems come into being." So as far as I'm concerned they come with little thought. They are not created intentionally by the author, they come from a feeling pushing the mahogany shutters of the soul open and allowing the blessed rain of thought to drift in on the wind. Authors aren't rocket scientists. Poets aren't mathematicians. Writing isn't thinking. It's a realm of emotion backed with a knowledge of words that lets a composition thrive.

And for a time I thought perhaps it was just me, in spite of Mraz's insistence he experiences it too. Perhaps he and I are of the few who take the easier path of receiving inspiration rather than truly owning the talent, presence of mind, and strength to produce anything of worth. But then I found this, and I don't know, but knowing Michael Jackson's stand on the matter made it all the more believable that a power larger than man creates through man.

"I hate to take credit for the songs I've written. I feel that somewhere, someplace, it's been done, and I'm just a courier bringing it into the world. I really believe that." -Michael Jackson

"Whatever “being” is to the human. Whatever air is to the bird, or what water is to the fish. Whatever force decides to make our hearts beat and food digest. That mad divine scientist is who is responsible for these songs. They are a gift for all of us." -Jason Mraz

Poets don't think. Poets allow themselves to be used. And that "mad divine scientist" keeps finding new, willing, open vessels. And oh, how it is to be one.