Friday, December 19, 2008

Dealing with the Post

This isn't really related to studying but I need to vent a little. Last week I order something that is on a time schedule; not "need it by Christmas" but I need it pretty soon. I ordered it from a site that I have ordered from many many times before and I always get my package within 3 days of ordering. Not this time. Because I desperately need this package it refuses to come to my door. It is mocking me, making me wait until the very last possible moment, until I almost lose my sanity, before it decides to grace my doorstep with its beautiful green and white packaging. I have to sit here until the mail comes, unable to write, unable to enjoy my brief, very brief vacation because I am getting an ulcer over a small package.

Of course this waiting has given me time to reflect on my life. Let me take a breather and remember why I do favors for people who don't know me, don't care about me, and most importantly, enjoy yelling at me like the guy at McDonalds who just hands over the food, he didn't make it, he didn't get the order wrong, but they yell at him any ways because he's lucky enough to standing at the window.

So I say to you, dear reader, I hope this Christmas season your packages arrive on time, unharmed, and remember, don't yell at someone, more then likely it's not their fault; it's the post offices fault.

p.s. Go check out my new poem on my poetry blog Valiant Keep

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Music Swims Back to Me

          Anyone who knows me very well knows that my favorite poet is Anne Sexton. An odd choice, yes. Why would a 24 year old man read the poems of a depressed woman? The answer to that relates back to my last post but either way I connect to her poetry. I think everyone can connect to her poetry in ways that they are not aware of. For example, the following:

Music Swims Back To Me

Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.

Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.

          Breathtaking is the only word that describes this poem to me. I have tried writing papers on this poem, I have tried explicating this poem, I have tried doing justice to this poem, and nothing I do can express what Sexton has written. Now to the poetry-illiterate this poem is just about a crazy person, and they would be right. Billy Collins teaches us that poems are poems for poems sake, there doesn't have to be a tie-it-to-the-chair-beat-a-confession-out-of-it meaning. Ah, but the poetry of this poem doesn't come from its meaning. I have never been strapped to a chair so now can I relate directly with this poem? I relate to the language, to the emotion, to the idea of being trapped in a place that was once beautiful and freeing only to come to realize that same place was a prison. The music is her memory; it is her freedom, it represents all those things that she has lost; the sign post pointing the way to her previous self, that wasn't afraid.
          Anne Sexton's poetry conveys so many emotions in such a little space that its like being lost. I feel sorrow for this lady, I feel resentment for the people who trap her, I feel hope for the return on the music, I feel happy because she danced, I feel lost because she is lost, I feel found because I am not trapped, I feel pain because of the moon, I feel remorse for the four ladies, I feel cold because of the strangled November night, I feel and that is the beauty behind this and all of her poems. I can feel those emotions through her language.

Monday, November 17, 2008

M. Butterfly

I created this blog over a year ago. Back then I had high dreams of being able to get up every morning and 5:30 and writing til I had said something that was worth reading. That did not happen. So, in a fit of guilt, I have decided to set a much more reasonable goal for myself: Writing at least once a day. Writing of any sort. Poems (that illusive and yet delicious form of literature), Essays, Short Stories, Wild Thoughts, or even just a sentence using a word I find interesting. As I'm sure that hardly anyone will read this blog (which is so awesomely named...any guesses as to where the title comes from?), it is mostly for my benefit. Praises be to you, dear reader, if you find something hidden within my writing.

M. Butterfly is a play. Simple. And yet not so much. I have never read a play that has messed with my head more than that play. Just so you aren't lost here is a run down of what happens:

Man goes to China. Man sees a pretty girl. Man has an affair with pretty girl for twenty years. Girl steals secrets from man. Man is thrown in jail. Pretty girl is actually a man.

Yes you read that last sentence right; Pretty girl is actually a man.

Now, this presents so many different issues that I can barely keep them all in my head. The first one being, HOW COULD HE NOT KNOW?! After we get over the initial shock the next issue that we must deal with is whether or not the two really loved each other. Could these two men have fallen in love, under the guise of a false act? Can it be possible that love can grow between two people who are untruthful to each other? Of course the answer is yes, people do it all the time. Then the question is if a man can dress up as a woman and earn the love of other man what does that mean for Heterosexual relationships?

The next issue at hand is the question of gender. After playing a woman for twenty years is Song a man or a woman? True she/he has all the parts needed to be a man, she/he is a complete physical male, but what does that mean for his/her gender? If gender is a performance then isn't Song a female? If gender is something we are taught then did someone teach Song how to be female? If gender is something we are born with then is Song just a dude that likes to dress up? All of these issues are brought up in the play and question our response to the "defined" roles of tradational Men and Women.