Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Getting my Groove On

Paul (from the last post) suggested that if I was serious about the marriage thing, I should actually actively work on it to be around people who have similar interests. Good advice.

It turns out there are a lot of poetry venues in the Seattle area. So I went to my first poetry reading ever. To be clear- not to pick people up. One, far to shy for that. Two, wanted to actually listen to poetry and enjoy it- as well as see about the possibilities of people who have similar interests.

I'm staying with my friend Adrian now for a couple weeks, who has a beautiful condo above Lake Union. You can see Gasworks Park from here and the waterplanes lifting and landing. And every week there is a sailing flotilla, where it appears everyone tries to get as close to each other as possible without hitting each other.

So tonight me and Adrian went off to the Poetry Slam. It was...interesting. Lot of anger there. Lot of gay artists angry at all straight folks, but in a sexually explicit way; lot of African-American artists angry at whites and everyone, in a sexually explicit way. Some evidently famous folks as well. Some of it verged on rap. Lots of call and response from the audience. And there was some real good poetry too.

It started with an open mike. Particularly I enjoyed a woman sharing about "One day I'll realize my thighs can not save me."- how being with a guy is not the end all to life. You go girlfriend. Then there was the feature, done by Mike McGee and Lizz Straight, the latter who has a webcast on poetry out of Florida, the former who has won a number of awards for his work. Loved Mike's bit on being in love with pudding. Nice to have not all the poetry about how hot a guy thinks women are, or how hot he thinks the men are.

And then was the actual slam, which I found out is a contest. I decided to take a risk when they were asking for 5 volunteers for judging. Then I discovered that the audience cat-calls the judge if they don't like the rating. And I tended to give low ratings to extreme anger. Some anger in poetry is fine, even good. If all your poetry is angry, well, you need more out of life. Heard Maya Angelou speak once at Oxy. She has some great angry poetry. She also has a lot of other emotions. And her anger is expressed in an original way. They started with 9, winnowed to 4, and then voted on the last 2 for the best. I was supposed to judge on originality, content, and presentation. So I graded down when the poet just read from a book in front of his face, or where it was the same old sexually explicit stuff, or was explicitly racist (against whites), or if I tried really hard and couldn't figure out what the person was talking about. I found sometimes it was difficult to just enjoy the moment of the poetry 'cause now I had a job to do; at other times I knew I would grade high as I was swept away in the moment.

My favorite, and the one who won, was a Philipina teacher, Angelique I think, who gave a poem on what it's like to be Philipina and wealthy just because she's American, when her compatriats live in squalor on dumps in the Philippines. It was heartfelt, delivered with vigor, and full of honest emotion. Her second poem was like the first, but about her children in the classroom, and how they come in discouraged with the life they lead, constantly berated, perhaps by previous teachers, having to dodge bullets at home. She needs to be the teacher who encourages them in their potential. The final poem was probably the most personal, as she discussed a dad who was always angry with her, but now is growing old, and can't hold the same energy he once had.

This poetry event, a bit too raunchy at times. I'd like to find something a bit more honest. And Cheap Wine and Poetry at a $1 a glass sounds like just the ticket. I do love poetry, reading and writing. But for too long I haven't pursued my soul, and lived life deep. As an INFJ, if I don't invest in the artistic emotional, I don't think I'll be able to truly understand myself and others, or feel like the life that is happening around me bears any semblance to reality.

I entered a contest once, with poetry.com. They assured me it wasn't a vanity press, and that I had won the right to publish The Factory. They assured me that they would never publish it except in it's entirety, as I told them I did not want it published abridged. Then they told me that I had to pay only $50 to buy the book. I declined, as that was, and is, a lot of money.

A friend recently discovered that the poem was indeed published, and abridged. But when I contacted Poetry.com, they denied having ever published it. This I've discovered is a lie. Turns out that poetry.com is well known for misleading it's customers, always telling them that their poetry is excellent, for a price. They have been repeatedly investigated for fraud. You can see them above on the ads in adspace, under "Free Poetry Contest". I'd love to remove them, but of course, I can't, since Blogspot has repeatedly messed up this website since suggesting it migrate to the Beta, and nothing works right anymore on Blogger. Whatever you do, resist the allure of the Beta!

The Factory

It never stops, the rumbling factory-
I believe it’s function is the production of our air.
It intercedes between the hills and forces it’s presence.
Tall concrete walls surrounded by barbed wire protect us from the pipes that spew out liquid, perhaps water.
It is good the fence is there,
lest we be tempted to run to the factory and hug it close,
thanking it for it’s existence among us.

The wood rises up next to the edifice,
and the hill remains
remembering when Natives conducted life with it.
Unlike the evergreen ever present in L.A.,
here there is some hint that the year has a cycle.
If I pick my way through occasional trash
I can see new grass shoots coming through the ground of the hill from the last storm.
Today the air makes itself ready for it’s next weather onslaught,
and the clouds hang at the top of the hill
and below the tops of the houses.

The factory billows clouds drifting out in a mist,
over the branches,
then with an eagerness they return on themselves,
settling before me among the trees,
speaking of a fresh morning on the heather,
of a long walk on the moor,
when the sun is not yet risen but is no longer missing,
when the ground rises about me and the numinous surrounds me,
when the nothing that is possible happens.
The hill here is always green,
as the factory continues to rumble.


Before the Beginning

In the beginning
God said
Let there be light.
But before the light?
............(it was good)

There was the crash and pouring of rain from murderous waters,
Currents that dropped into the depths and rose to create a Pantholassa,
Darkness of mystery that called forth ecstasy,
An ocean not yet saturated with salinity,
An air not yet purified with oxygen.
Poison choked the fullness of life
And allowed freedom from death.

From latitude to longitude
Babelous waves climbed as they desired,
Hurricanes encompassed hemispheres,
And the cycle of water was the symphony of all existence.
The remains of The Little Mermaid tumultuously churned before visions of her were possibility,
Climbing up the face of the ripples that rose into waves that found their purpose as tsunamis
Ruling all of creation,
With no equal.

And the Spirit of God
Moved upon the face of the waters .

4 comments:

drh said...

I'd give your poem a round of clicks. Bravo!

Lauren said...

You're a poet and I didn't know it!!

Mom said...

Jed--After all the years of trying so hard, I'd reply...it's easy to stray from captivated by Christ to rigid proponent of prescripted values and ideas, and lose the vibrant spirit and sense of wonder we were meant to inhabit.

@bdul muHib said...

I agree, and excellent thoughts. But I am unclear as to what you were addressing in this particular post. Could you clarify?