Poetry

Yes, today I feel like talking about poetry. I can already hear you groaning your disapproval, and fixing me with a glare. Either that or just laughing, as you think: “poetry? Pah…” 

Poetry doesn’t really have a great reputation, does it? I mean… as far as I recall, the poets we studied in school were mainly Shakespeare, or men who survived wars and wrote about them, or women in the pre-equal vote era. No offence to the demographic, but it’s not easy for a hormone-saturated teenager to find some common ground and relate to that. 

I suppose the most entertaining one was a rather raunchy poem by Andrew Marvell . This was an entire poem about sex, which is very amusing to teenagers. But then… there are a lot of poems out there about sex, or driven by the need for sex. Even Shakespeare’s sonnets were driven by lust or longing – or whatever you wish to call that need. It’s just that nowadays, we are very willing to be direct about everything, perhaps due to a fast-paced lifestyle, or because of short attention spans, or whatever you wish to attribute it to. 

You might claim it is because we are willing to be more honest about what we feel and want, but I don’t know if that is the case. We’ve not evolved beyond emotion as a species in order for poetry to suddenly become irrelevant.

But who reads or writes poetry anymore? I’m still stuck on Shakespearean sonnets and Pablo Neruda’s “tonight I can write”, so I have trouble with poetry more modern than that. 

[I don’t really know why I started this rant. I used to be a poet, until I was seduced by prose, and have never really gone back since – mainly because I don’t believe I can. And today, I walked into a local bookshop, and just stared at the poetry section, looking for answers to my doubt and frustration. Obviously there was no reply]

Noise

There’s something very silent and empty about cyberspace today.

I’ve spent all day writing down facts. Things I’m meant to learn for my course, with music playing in the background to avoid the quiet creeping in.

And yet, I’m not really processing any of it.

The music is playing, but I can’t really hear it. The playlist just shuffles on, fusing into meaningless background noise.

My fingers are moving, typing, tapping the keyboard, turning pages in my notes.

I wrap myself in the shroud of voiceless silence.

I am on the Internet. Knowledge, and databases, and information, and even entertainment are just one click away. Yet it’s not enough. I don’t want the noise.

I don’t want the unlimited access to everything and anything but you. Having said that, I don’t want 24 hour access to you because, well, that’s just creepy.

I just.. I’m foolish enough to be excited about getting text messages because one might be from you.

Last week, the worst thing I felt was not being able to talk to people due to lack of a phone.

Now that I have one, I spend half the day staring at it, hoping I’ve given you sufficient reason to respond to my texts. Yes, I’m a wordsmith of sorts, but I’ve realised the reason I keep struggling to write, is because I don’t really do much else during my day.

I don’t want to have an excuse to message you. You are my excuse. You are the reason I can’t focus; you’re not the only reason I’m alive (let’s be realistic… but then, when did realism ever come into it?).

Anyhow, at some point, it is very likely I will descend into a lovesick craze and break out the romantic poetry by Pablo Neruda, or even claim the universe conspires against me on days I can’t talk to you.

Look, all I know is… you fascinate me, in a way someone hasn’t in a while. And I don’t want to blow it.

Call me a dreamer, call me obsessive, naive, whatever. To be honest, I just want to be able to talk to you. It won’t matter, because you’ll be on the other end of the line.

Although I am here writing on my blog at 2.30 a.m., I know full well the noise and buzz of the almighty Internet can’t give me that.

I just want to hear your voice.

Somebody ring the alarm…

Fire alarms going off are not generally considered to be a social tool.

Nonetheless, every time our one goes off, regardless of the time, there’s an air of pleasant obligation hanging about. No one is happy about it, but they are all relatively quick to complain about it to the nearest humanoid, whether it is at 5 p.m. or 3 a.m.

I struggle with this.

I am not the most sociable being on the planet, but I am not the quiet mouse in the room if I am in my element. Sufficient to say, fire is clearly not my element. The past three or four times this alarm has gone off, I just march outside and do my part by glaring at the building and counting the number of fire engines sent along.

Today actually, I wanted to text you, but obviously figured you’d be asleep at 3 a.m. Besides, not much for me to say, really.  In text-speak, it could be summed up in about…5 words:

“OMG. WTF. Fire alarm @3a.m.”

Ok, that’s not what I’d write, not even for a mobile message. But then, what would my excuse be for bothering you at 3 a.m.? I was dreaming about talking to you right before the alarm went off? I wonder how well that would go down.

Time to crawl back to bed.

Writer S.O.S.

Writing late at night seems to suit me greatly. I used to write great pieces at 2 or 3 a.m. because I would fall asleep, and then wake up at that time.

Don’t really know what’s wrong these days.

If I were a scientist, I’d say “let’s consider the variables”. In this case, I suppose those would be time, place, mood, and theme.

Well, I guess the time is pretty consistent.

Place is at my desk, or in bed.

Mood is variable.

Yesterday morning I was in a murderous rage, which isn’t the most constructive phase to be in – although depending on the day, it can produce quite intriguing and terrifying results.

After I returned from being out, it came back in a different incarnation: the “lovesick puppy” mood. Another dangerous mood; means wanting to write about one thing and one thing alone. This often means getting frustrated with my lack of originality and imagination.

Theme is variable too. So far, I have been trying to write reviews of shows. Don’t get me wrong, they were amazing shows, but I just can’t seem to get words to flow. Part of me wonders whether this is due to my current preoccupation with the vampire smile. Maybe not. Maybe I just need to actually focus on other stuff (like my law assessment). But then, I’m not great with obligations (in other words, I’m lazy).

ARGH.

When my muse gets back from her holiday (since she clearly is AWOL these days), I’m going to give her hell for leaving me with this writer’s itch and no inspiration.

Vampire smile

To the lady with the vampire smile,

I’ve probably written this letter one too many times. Maybe I should have written it in French; at least then you might read it and not actually comprehend a word of it. Then again, there’s the delightful Google translate…

Either way, this letter is for you. I guess. (probably a very bad idea, like most of mine)

I love your vampire smile. And your eyes. They glimmer whenever you laugh. Quite a simple thing really. So simple, yet so magical (to me). That smile! I want to claim it is a secret smile, reserved only for me, but I doubt it. I doubt you even know I am writing this about you. You see, I am a writer but not a great speaker. I am not great when it comes to speaking about feelings.

Feelings? I experience them, yes. I usually reserve them for the terrifying, blank, page – so much so I end up crying while writing sometimes, because they just need to come out.

I guess my greatest fear at the moment is that I am feeling this without you. You are not in this equation yet. I like you a lot – I will not rush to the word ‘love’ just yet, to avoid scaring you off – but I have no idea what you think or feel about me.

On one hand, I fear I will prepare, and plan, and then choke, and say nothing.

Then, I fear I will blurt everything out, and you will give me that same smile, but it won’t be the same, because it’ll be saying “sorry” without words. And you’ll mutter something to explain, and I won’t hear a word, because it will hurt, and I won’t be able to breathe for the briefest of moments.

I struggle to breathe when you are close to me, the amorous fascination setting in quicker than the rainclouds.

Is it peculiar that I long to show you that I am broken? I am broken because I care; that’s what I become. Broken, confused, and ever unworthy.

I’m back to feelings. Most of the time, they slumber somewhere deep beneath the surface, but since I met you, they are back with a vengeance. Anger, frustration, attraction, even envy. I envy the cold wind, and even your gloves. I am quite jealous, I guess. In Romeo’s own words:

“O, that I were a glove upon that hand. That I might touch that cheek!”

I want to show you how human you make me feel. Perhaps it is simply the feeling of being able to spend time with you, in comparison to the bleakness of daily routine. I don’t really know what it is, but it feels great.

I’ve been told it shows on my face; in my childish, idiotic smile whenever you approach. I know it is there; I feel it in the sweat that lines my palms whenever you show up and my hands dart to my pockets, because I simply don’t know what to do with them.

I want to kiss you. That much is certain.

Maybe just once will be enough. Then we can move on with our lives. Maybe not. Maybe I will become greedy and addicted, if I know how it feels. I wonder what you will feel like. I wonder how I will know that the moment is the “opportune moment”, that is the right move at the right time.

Maybe I won’t get to kiss you.

As the song goes, “I hope you don’t mind.”

I hope you don’t mind that I can’t quite say this just yet.

I hope you don’t mind that I want to kiss you. I hope you don’t mind that I want to go off script and write silly poems about you, and quote various songs to you, because of the way you make me feel. I hope you don’t mind that I want to howl at the moon, shout it to the world, and whisper it to my pillow. I hope you don’t mind at all.

Yours sincerely,
E.

Eyes

Oh boy, I’m in deep trouble.

See, I’m a writer. I build worlds with words. I try to capture sensations, and feelings. And that’s even on a good day, when the muses are being kind.

But now, I can’t stop thinking of those blasted beautiful eyes! I don’t even have enough words for those. I don’t have enough words to describe what I feel when she smiles, or how foolishly I behave even knowing she’s in the room.

I can certainly say I behave like a proper idiot.

That day she called my name, and I followed, in true puppy style, because she just wanted to say goodnight.

Within moments, I was standing in the drizzling rain, yet it didn’t matter to me if I was drenched because I had those precious few seconds more with her.

Damn those mesmerising eyes! I’d follow them to the ends of the earth. Such is the gravity of my condition.

I’m a real boy!

Note from author: This was my submission for a local magazine. I realised I would rather put it up here and see what happens. I changed names for the sake of keeping this a ‘work of fiction’, although this actually happened (perhaps not in the brevity of a blog post, but it’s my own artistic representation of what occurred).

Real boy

“Are you a boy or a girl?” Jimmy asked for the fifth time in the past twenty minutes. “I dunnae mean to offend you but you look like a girl.”

I forced a smile. It was cold, Kurt stood expectantly beside me, we had things to get back to, and this inebriated homeless fellow had decided to question the very core of my existence.

“No, I’m a boy. People make that mistake all the time.” And that’s ok, isn’t it? It’s ok for me to be challenged for ‘looking like a girl’, because your definition of a boy or man is very different to mine. How many times a day do you think I get that?

Do tell me, sir, if you see a man in a kilt, do you challenge his masculinity? If a woman wears trousers, do also you challenge her femininity?

I suppose this is where I must explain, it’s not being lumped into the wrong category that is frustrating – well, it becomes such when I have to spend 45 minutes explaining myself to strangers – but rather the fact that the categories exist.

People instantly assume I can only be one or the other. It seems a very narrow-minded view of the world; girl or boy, black or white, straight or gay, heaven or hell (if you believe in such things). As if nothing could exist in between, and I absolutely have to be one or the other.

Living as a person in ‘gender limbo’ – my colourful way of saying ‘in transition’ – makes life both interesting, but also very difficult and occasionally reflects how disturbingly foolish our society can be.

“I’m a boy,” I insisted, hoping he would drop it. He was holding my other arm in a vice-like grip from when he’d shaken it, and he was getting too close for comfort.

“Are you one of them…whatcha call’em… transsexuals?” The question lingered in the air a moment.

In all truth, I could ignore it, or claim it was inappropriate. Even as I opened my mouth to respond, I told myself I shouldn’t be justifying myself to anybody for this.

“No, I’m a boy. I’m just look very young,” I stated firmly.

“See if you were a girl, right, I’d fuck you in a heartbeat.”

I wouldn’t.

“I’m not, though. I’m a boy and very interested in women.”

“Ah, you like the pussy? That’s fortunate. At least you like the pussy.”

Would it not have been ‘manly’ to say I was interested in men, then?

“Yes, I like women.”

“Yeah, he loves the ladies,” Kurt added with a chuckle. “But really, Jimmy, we have to get back to work now…”

We had spent the past half hour trying to ‘get back to work’.

“You got a knob then?” Jimmy gestured to indicate what he was talking about, and glanced unabashedly at my crotch.

The statement tore me in half. Part of me really wanted to punch him, and the other part of me said he probably didn’t know better.

Oh, you wanna play the anatomy game?

Bring.
It.
On.

“Yes, I do.” I paused, then added: “You want me to show you?”

“No, no,” he laughed. “I didn’t mean tae offend you. It’s just… you look so much like a girl.”

How was I not to take offense? He piled them so clumsily one on top of the other.

“But I’m not, I’m a boy.”

“Oh, you’re a lad then? You come down the pub – we’ll drink 12 pints, and get into a fight!” He laughed, clearly entertaining himself with the idea.

“Sure, ok. But I can’t right now, we-” I gestured to Kurt. “have to get back to work.” I tried to pry my hand free, but he stopped me.

“I’m sorry if I offend you, but I don’t think you’re Eric yet,” he declared. “But I wish you luck in going from Erica to Eric.”

Who are you to decide whether I am or not? I decide, and nobody else.

“Thank you, but Kurt and I have to go now.” My arm was finally free, and we slipped back indoors to our office.

Am I intolerant towards the less fortunate? I wondered.

No. He might not have had the same opportunities as I have for education, housing, and so on, but there are other ways of talking to people about this… I want to believe you don’t need a university degree to respect someone.

I am Eric. I am a real boy. Not made of wood and glue. I am a real boy.

I am a boy.

I bet even Pinocchio didn’t have this problem.

On my mind…

An hour later (3 a.m.), I’m still awake. Brain is still active. Maybe I should just switch off the laptop and curl up under the covers; surely that would help?

I am aware something else in this brain of mine is wanting to come out – not by any surgical means; I merely need to let it seep through into the tips of my fingers and onto the keyboard, and onto the screen. Easy as that.

However, I keep stopping it.

In fact, I dare not write it on the page, for fear that its exposure to the world will cause it to wilt, like a plant exposed to the sun for too long.

I confess, it’s a thought that is so precious, I worry putting it into words will somehow restrict it to what I transcribe to the page.

Yes, on my mind, there’s a fiend that I can’t explain.

Memory meaning

He stood on the street corner in a daze, waiting for the light to change.

How long have I been walking? he wondered silently. His legs were beginning to seize up, and ache, as if in accordance with his empty stomach.

Yet stopping proved worse than walking; if he kept moving, it meant he wasn’t reminded of the hole in his stomach and the ache in his limbs. The backpack weighed him down.

I’ve carried heavier, he pondered. I’ve been hiking before.

He closed his eyes briefly, then countered his thought with an argument, quickly resolving his unspoken query.

But never while this tired.

He wasn’t the type to talk to himself; it wasn’t his thing. Nonetheless, he’d noticed every once in a while, certain issues cropped up that seemed to require an internal monologue.

His eyelids fluttered. He strove to stay focused and awake, even while standing. He’d read about “moments lasting forever” but this one was taking too damn long. And not in the good way.

An irritating beep caused him to stir.

“Green man!” squealed a little girl beside him, all dressed in pink, skipping forward with her parents.

Where do they find the energy?! Was I like that at that age? He plodded on sluggishly, lost in thought. If only I could remember.

It wasn’t like he couldn’t remember anything at all – he remembered what his boss told him yesterday, he could remember his card number, or the egg-yolk yellow of the old man’s vest. He remembered plenty.

Briefly he wondered whether there was some deeper meaning to him not being able to recollect memories from his childhood.

Nah. Who am I kidding – is there a deeper meaning to anything?