Been working on some new poems and new styles. New favorite style at the moment: Still the prose poem! Yay! A form offering great variability in grammatic structure and presentation. The following piece I wrote sitting down outside Champagne Cafe in South Coast Plaza. Nice little place to rest your legs with a great sandwich and, if you’re like me, an outside seating area perfect for smoking a cigar with lunch and a book. Over all good food and atmosphere. Think you all would like it.

–Call Me Life, You, or Myself–

In my lungs is a bag of marbles. When my heart turns over, I can feel them humming between breaths. The pistons in my heart drive hummingbird wings, I forgot how to use them a decade ago after I found them in the garden out back. They said coyote left ’em there for me, along with this thing called a name. Somedays I forget how that sounds too, but the marbles remember it, hum it across my ribs when my eyes are shut and I can hear the trumpets in my spine.

Two Small Prose Poems

Posted: December 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’ve decided to put down a couple of just small prose poems I thought up the last couple of days. Think I’ll do a recording of the second one later and post it up to, so look for any updates.

And Twenty Years From Now

Boy, through all these years, you ain’t been alone. You’ve had the tall grass in your bones. You’ve had dirt between your toes and the hair on your head. You’ve had the wind whispering to you since the cradle. One of these days you’re gonna die of a broken heart. Not the whole thing, just a piston that forgot you needed it.

http://chibilady17.deviantart.com/art/Steampunk-Heart-128700120

Directions

There’s still a few lessons you’ve gotta learn before you leave here. The first, because you’ve got a crown doesn’t make you a king. Second, as long as there is wind between your shoulder blades, you damn well better follow where it points you. The last one’s a secret. You’re gonna have to figure it out on your own for it to mean anything. It’ll be the one you live by. When you go, take all the wealth you can carry in your skin, you won’t need much more than what fits in the space of your spine. Carry it over with you on your chest when you cross over the pink ether. Burn it all when you get there. Along with the boat. When you look back, hope it looks like cigarette smoke; suspended in belief.

Recently I’ve been trying to think outside of the box as to how i describe things in my writing. It seems like it’s helped me reach up to a new level in it, and I’m really proud of the stuff I’ve been putting out. Or, keeping in…. whatever (laughs).

Basically here’s what I’ve come up with: When writing, especially poetry, the more creative the image use the better. The more interesting it makes it for both you as a writer, and for the reader.

As a writer it’s pretty easy to see how it could change things up and add some spice to the pot. Challenging yourself to step out of the cliche descriptive patterns definitely makes the writing process more enjoyable. We all know that love is fiery hot, but if you can make a metaphor for someone’s affections using, say, their favorite movie, or even using their favorite pair of shoes (preferably worn down) as a metaphor, you’re really pushing the boundaries of your imagination and description.Image via Noel kingsley's Blog: http://www.noelkingsley.com/blog/archives/2007/12/familiar_as_old.html

Also, as a writer using these sorts of metaphors can also increase the everyday appeal of your writing, or even put some humor in. Yes, she was beautiful as the night sky, but did you guys fit like your favorite sneakers from high school? The second description adds not only emotional depth, but also a taste of tongue and cheek humor.

For the reader, creative use of imagery adds to the experience by first changing the way things are read. Again, we all Image via Mary's Meanderings (Blogspot) http://megardengal.blogspot.com/2008/08/tissue-paper-textured-walls.html know that white is a symbol of purity, but there are so many different shades of white you can choose from. And as a reader, connecting white with a more concrete thing, like the color of the walls after they’ve been painted before moving, can really add additional symbolism and emotional depth. And you have to remember, you want to connect with people on that emotional level. That is after all the long term goal of writing. To make a human connection that transcends the confines of your existence.

Any rate, I thought I’d update my blog with a little thought on that. And I hope it was slightly entertaining. You all take it easy, and as always, life is in the details.

More often than not I’ve written about different things and aspects around town literature wise. It’s worked out pretty well I think so far. But this particular post we’re going to take a complete 180 and talk about the other love in my life.

Chemistry.

Bio-Chemistry.

Okay, so Molecular Bio, but you get the picture!

Now the advent of DNA typing and the ability to isolate specific genomic sequences in a strand of DNA have revolutionized medical research and practices. Who’d have thunk a few years back how far we’d come with just the ability to see how our bodies work on the most fundamental level? And with that has also come huge advances in Cancer research.

It’s like looking at the world in tunnel vision, and then drinking a red-bull. Whoah! Hello SoCal?

What is important to note though is the inter-connectivity of DNA to your body. What DNA really does is dictate the exact sequence of Amino Acids that eventually link up to become proteins in our cells. Simple enough. Now also note that proteins are the fundamental building blocks of cells and that cells are the fundamental building blocks of our body and, WHOAH ThERE TURBO. You just realized why DNA affects our every day lives the way it does.

 

One cell at a time.

Now in terms of cancer that means a lot. Your DNA also encodes how cells divide within your body. It’s like having both the blueprints and demolition plans all conveniently wrapped up in one little package. But when things get screwy with the demo plans (ie: the coding for how the cell is supposed to divide under normal circumstances), Bada-bing, Bada-boom, you’ve got cancer (diagnostically, the uncontrolled and often infectious  division of cells in the body.).

The obvious thing to do then is to attack cancer then at its source, the DNA then. Right?

This is where I disagree. Though fixing the DNA strand could be preventative, it seems implausible after cancerous growth has developed and even less so if it has metastasized (spread throughout the body). There is a second option however.

Start looking at the proteins, baby!

So remember back up at the top? The little bit about DNA encoding for proteins? Well some of those proteins control cell division. Now, these proteins also have inherent “On-Off” switches built into them in places known as bonding sites. In these parts of a protein chemicals can bond with the huge chemical orgy known as protein, and change the shape of the mother-prot, turning it on or off. These amazing little buggers capable of causing such huge change in a protein are known as substrates.

Cell division is actually a guided process, where hundreds of proteins are triggered in a long chain of events that inevitably causes the cell to divide. But the trick here is not to turn off all the messengers. Just taking out one or a few should suffice, making administration of such a treatment theoretically easy. All you need is the right substrate and a means of localizing it to a particular region of the body. Such treatments could potentially have the ability to stop the spread of cancerous cells in a tissue, and more importantly, stop it from metastasizing. That’s one quick cut away from getting it the heck out of your body, and potentially for good if you’ve caught it early enough.

Best part, it would work with the chemistry of your body, decreasing the likelihood of ugly side effects like those seen in chemo-patients.

In any case, these are just a few ideas to mull over. Happy Halloween everyone!

Words From My Childhood

Posted: October 15, 2010 in Life, Writing

I’ve recently taken up to writing more from my experiences and childhood. Most of my more recent stuff has been metaphorical, but it’s been really good to take a step back and re-evaluate the experiences that eventually brought me here.

Writing about childhood in general has been a sort of exercise in positive thinking. You don’t realize how much different the world is to a kid until you’ve taken the time to really observe them! Working at Barnes and Noble, I love seeing that look in a child’s eyes when they read or hear a story that they adore. It’s unmistakable. Children really do approach life with a vigor and brightness that I can’t even fully express. Perfect metaphor for loving life: A five year old laughing with his/her dad.

Tentative Things to Come

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

So in light of how seldom I post things on my page these days (and mostly due to a lack of things to report) I’ve decided to start blogging with what I like to call daily observations: Things that I’ve seen or heard about that I’ve found interesting throughout the week as well as some things worth noting that I’m working on as well. I’ll try to update ever wednesday/tuesday night, and we’ll see how it goes from here :] So starting with the last few days, let’s go for it.

Monday: Monday was an interesting day at work. Started of with me contacting admissions at Caroll College and ended on an interesting note. Driving on a backroad on my way home I found  coyote wandering around in the industrial district by my house. It’s easy to imagine, or even hope, that it was a sign of some sort of hidden “fern gully” amidst the development. A sort of natural haven while we’re all asleep. Watched it disappear behind the buildings, probably off to the river bed nearby.

Tuesday: Filled with school and the gym, but interestingly enough received a phone call back from Mr. Knickerbocker at Caroll admissions. Also worked on editing a couple of poems. One of them is actually posted on Brenna Aumaier’s wall on facebook. Because I’m silly like that. Also took some time to try and reach the Gypsy Den Grand Central Cafe again, trying to get an event for To Write Love on her Arms going over there; a sort of local poet’s night to support the cause.

So more to come as we sneak up on next wednesday! And hopefully some new things as well to post in the interim.

A mix of slack key guitar, raspy, soulful vocals, with a little funk for some oomph, “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise” by Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs has a mesmorizing sound. Borderline haunting. The vocals, by none other than Ray LaMontagne, border on thick nostalgia: Nostalgic the same way maple syrup reminds you of September, falling leaves, and pancakes.

The title track characterizes the album. The interlaying layers of slack key guitar, electric undertones, and slow tempo are reminiscent of LaMontagne’s earlier work, while holding out a couple distinct steps away from it as the lyrics promise: “God Willin’ an the creek don’t rise, I’ll be home again before this time next year.” We can only be so hopeful :]

I would like to record this on eventually, but right now my voice is shot. So that will have to happen later.

But first, some back story!

This poem was originally conceived sitting in Le Enchante Cafe in Huntington Beach sitting with my good friend and fellow writer, Kevin Mai (who’s older brother by the way just scored his ticket to the National Poetry Slam competing for an LA team. So kudos for that!).We were discussing ideas for a slam we wanted to write together (which I’m seriously lagging on right now….) and talking ideas when I got to jabbering on about the new Medieval illuminated manuscripts exhibit at the Getty on display.

Samson and the Lion. The blues in this particular illumination are phenomenal in person. Courtesy of getty.edu.

If you haven’t seen the paintings yet, you’ve got to. They are fantastic. Seeing those paintings was the first time I actually considered being an art thief. It was the imagery from those as well as inspiration to write from Anis Mojgani (see my earlier post on his “Shake the Dust”) that eventually birthed this poem.

— I’m Listening–

God, I’m listening.

Both my ears. Open. I’m waiting for sounds not

heard yet. I’m listening for birds singing

in a courtyard not built yet. In a home not dreamed yet.

By a man not born yet. But he will be someday. So God, I’m listening.

Because the sun is rising, and these days I

believe in colors. In the blue Lapis Azuli the

dye maker slaves over the night through. Which has got me singing

hope like the blue-jay. And writing verses to be hung

from the midday sun. I’m hoping. Because If what you’ve got

is worth saving, then God, I’m listening.

For the baby being born now. For the sound the wind makes in

the rye. For the thousand tongues of babel. Each beautiful

without a doubt. Each singing.

Each spinning. Each telling a story worth telling.

Of boys becoming men, and men, boys again. And all the

Beautiful women who held them up. God, I’m listening

For the first notes of the blue-jay, on my window this morning, singing.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~

Reading it now and thinking of the exhibit, a lot of the imagery is actually

Tower of Babel sketch. Also from the Getty Exhibit.

improvised from the manuscripts on display; The tower of Babel, the courtyard was influenced by a courtyard scene from one of the “Book[s] of Hours” on display there, the “women holding them up” is a reference to just some of the angels depicted on the pages. And arguably so are the references to God (since I rarely write anything that even remotely sounds religious. I’m Jewish. That’s kind of asking for it :P).

There is an almost bitter reality in the inspirations for this poem: I’m not a “visual” artist. Much of my poetry however is inspired by art pieces I see and observe. And it argues that there is indeed a special relationship between writing, painting, and all the rest of it. After all, Modernism was born out of an art Convention held after the first World War, where many of the notable writers of the day were introduced to painters such as Dali, along with others.

The influence of Modernist art on the literary perception of reality is palpable: remember Hemingway, anyone? Old Man and the Sea? It seems that visual artists have a particular relationship with “wordsmiths” that historically transcends the often thin boundaries between the different art forms.

In any case, I’ll record this one soon. I hope to read it at a poetry night somewhere, so wish me luck on that! And until then, I hope you enjoy it!

When I first heard this poem I literally cried. Now, weeks later, I still tear up. Everything about is beautiful. Language, delivery, everything. And the message is the most wonderful thing I’ve heard in a long long time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

So For the next week or so I’ll be in Hawaii with my family, mostly exploring, trying to write some new things, and just over all hanging out. I went bouldering a little while earlier (Bouldering for those who don’t know is rock climbing without a harness on a rock face that is safe to do so for the most part. Surfaces like, say, a boulder, haha. If you already knew that my bad :p) and wrote this little humorous diddly about it when I got back to my room:

Not me, but a man named Aaron climbing a spot, similar to what I did, also on Maui. Picture via ROCKCLIMBING.COM

I am perched between a rock and a hard place: My fingers

reaching up through the crevices of volcanic debris, grabbing

hold to lichens and ancient bacterial organisms. He lingers

there for longer than I want him to: me grasping the wall for

the sake of limb, but not life. And as I stand there, wide legged,

glued to my perch like a backwards Prometheus, my fingers

move and edge their way closer to the next handhold. Eyes

looking down the whole ten feet to water and rocks, then,

gravitating to where my foot lingers

after my knee, above my head and pushing wildly to keep a

hold on a ledge that really, is just too high and that I should

have calculated better, or used my fingers

to get to instead. So here I hang, a spider on a wall, listening to

the wind ripping through my hair. An annoyed man-harpy

thing with only myself to blame for lingering

so long, when I realize I could have just put my foot down,

released my fingers

from their perches, and dropped, all ten feet into the water as it

deepens where the body lingers.

As always if you like it, comment on it. If you don’t tell me why. All opinions are valid and this one is just a fun little piece. Later today I’ll probably type up a piece I’ve been working on for the second Wednesday of next month at the Alta Cafe (they do a poetry night there the second Wednesday of every month, if anyone out there is interested in checking out some great local poets sometime. The tea there is phenomenal too, letting you all know.)