Youth is a B—

Youth is many things, and in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge I’ve come up with this poem. Enjoy!

An unwanted burden

you carry or

a fruit unharvested,

unripened and rich?

Either way, it’s still a—

The girl running breathless in the snow

the wizened scholar at her oak desk

the nervous painter at his first art show

the determined boy standing at the pitch

Youth remains by your side, a loyal—

But now it eludes you, slips through your creased fingers

hides under pampered cheeks and stylish shoes,

hazarding appearances in soft smiles; never does it linger

leaving only laugh scars where once youth grew.

Hurry, gather what is left and preserve it in a ditch

Too late, it’s already gone, that sneaky—!

Some say youth is a blessing, a birth rite,

a bold stone, weathered not withered by the sea;

the beloved years, the black days, the winged bird in flight

but either way it’s still a B.

Here are some other Backwords thoughts on youth, age and other splendid things:

  1. Ilya Fostiy. Amnesia | Crazy Art
  2. Ilya Fostiy. Muse | The Bliss of Reality
  3. Youth Insults My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
  4. The Illusive FEAR of Getting Old | Musings | WANGSGARD
  5. Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years | In my world
  6. Looking Back (and Traveling) | JGTravels
  7. Thoughts on Aging | melissuhhsmiles
  8. Yelp for help…… | Obsessive Compulsive Running…….
  9. Youth is a B— | The Backwords
  10. Riding Into The Sunrise
  11. Weekly writing challenge- golden years | A picture is worth 1000 words
  12. The Defining Number | Through The Eyes Productions
  13. I am not my mother | Twisting Suburbia
  14. Weekly Photo Challenge – Perspective | Joe’s Musings
  15. Artfully Aspiring
  16. Wisdom of a Toddler | Artfully Aspiring
  17. I Couldn’t Wait | Fish Of Gold
  18. Young or old? Here’s how to tell | The Crayon Files
  19. The Elders of Us | Wired With Words
  20. Aging with grace and acceptance | Ezhealthcents
  21. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  22. Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years | imagination
  23. Thirsty thirties | Scent of Rina
  24. Weekly Writing Challenge: GOLDEN YEARS | Thinking Languages!
  25. Wholehearted living… One day at a time. | masknolonger
  26. You’re As Old As You Feel | A Day In The Life
  27. Social Media has changed me | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  28. Golden Years | Icezine

Black History Month: Such Strange Fruit

I was in an Introduction to English class and my professor played this video (this is graphic, if you’d rather not watch, the lyrics to the poem written by Abel Meeropol and sung by Billie Holiday are down below).

Abel Meeropol: Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

We need to reflect on how far we have come with issues of social injustice, but be critical of how far we still need to go. Discussing racism, sexism, and homophobia should not be reserved exclusively to February,  we should be outraged all twelve months of the year. Though lynching may be outlawed, stones, guns, words, gas chambers, atomic bombs, nuclear weapons and words serve the same purpose.

Why the hell are you a writer?

Who inspired you to write, to dabble into the crazy, uncertain, beautiful world of the writer? For some of you maybe it was an inspirational quote,  a poem or a novel you were forced to read in elementary school. For some, it may have been a painting or a writer in their lives.

I know that for me it was a teacher I had for Gr. 11 English. That was probably one of the most essential courses I had taken in not only high school but in my education as a writer. We read King Lear, Death of a Salesman, Of Mice and Men and Lord of the Flies. She made the writing of dead men come to life. I hadn’t been exposed to writing the way I was in that class. I had never felt so much emotion while reading a literary work as I did while reading King Lear. So thank you Ms Solet- Louis for the gift I will never return but hopefully always re-gift.

Enough of me. Find what made you write so whenever you feel like it isn’t worth it you can return to that text, person or place and regain that wonder of writing. Writing is a journey, we’re always trying to move forward with our tales, venturing into unexplored places, but don’t fear the venture backwards. Don’t fear the backwords journey.

What, who, or where makes you write, paint, sculpt, compose and read?

 

 

They told me nothing

You took me to your favourite place

To see the tree they cut down ten years before your birth.

Our fingers traced its history

We brushed our hands back in time through centuries

Memories are mapped out by lines we’ll trace;

Ashen faces in cold breeze

Tell me a piece of your history.

Speak in words you’ve picked up

As you walked through life alone

Shrugging off the dust and memory,

You ran out into the night

To see what it means to be free

Of the shackles and the dreams.

Summer evening breeze blew –

They will come for you

Standing on the cliff face

We are the last people.

At the end of the night,

In the cold morning light

They will come

The birds are mocking me, calling out your name

They pull me back.

All of your flaws lie hand in hand deep beneath the ground

Dig them up, leave a path to trace

I see in the shapes of the morning we’ve cast out

I see them sinking in, it crept up on you, crawling underneath your skin.

Oh, I hear you calling, but what is there to gain?

I won’t show my face.

They licked the walls, all that we’ve amassed – stubs, tops, backs, diaries –

Shattered into ash.

Tenderly, they turned to dust all that I adore

Many days fell away with nothing to show,

It’s been cold for years.

Oh, I read the words you used.

They told me nothing.

I wrote this poem using someone else’s words. Not one word was thought up by me. What I did do was take the lyrics from Bastille‘s album Bad Blood and rearrange the words to make this poem. There is at least one line from every song on the album in this poem. I thought it would be cool to reconfigure Bastille’s songs into a poetic narrative poem. Really, I’m just highlighting the creativity and lyricism already present in the songs. I wonder what it would sound like played…

I’m thinking about making this a feature on my blog. You should check out the album. My favourites are:

Daniel In The Den

Oblivion

Things We Lost In The Fire

and Overjoyed (I prefer the a cappella version)

Attack of the Crack!

The Writer in the Politician

We can’t simply record facts and experiences objectively because everything is tainted by our subjective lens.

This is a continuation post to Tyranny of the Minority.

If Ford is smoking crack do we attack is actions or his person for engaging in such activities? If he is able to reduce the deficit, do we praise his actions or his determined, efficient self? We don’t know his character. In both instances it wouldn’t be fair to associate his personality with his actions. We have no problem divorcing the executioner from the act of execution in writing, so why not with public figures? The words on pages, and images created speak on their own. The identity of the writer doesn’t, or shouldn’t, affect the analysis of a work.  The words of the writer speak for themselves, and are separate from the person who created them.

Or maybe it isn’t that easy to separate the man from his actions. As writer’s we write our experiences, experiences that are essential to who we are. We can’t simply record facts and experiences objectively because everything is tainted by our subjective lens. Sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing – these things colour our narratives, no two people will describe an apple in the exact same way. We put ourselves in the text, so do we not open ourselves up to criticism?

So maybe it is fair to bring the writer into the work, maybe it is fair to criticize a politician for her/his actions. Maybe it isn’t. While writing this piece I went back and forth, considering both sides, and I still don’t have a conclusive answer.

What are your thoughts? Should the personal lives of politicians be publicly discussed? Or are the lives of politicians exempt from criticism? Is it fair to shoot the messenger? And what about the writer, do you bring writers into criticism?

The Drowned

I saw you but you went away.

I pulled, stretched, reached for you but you slipped into the fuzzy, uncertainty of memory.

I called, and you faded, threatening.

You hint in the corners of my mind, suggesting your presence.

An image distorted in water, your form an inconsistency, I never really knew you.

Only a thought, not yet developed,

So I let you bathe in the water,

To swim and fleshen form.

Yet when I reached for your submerged body I found your remnants;

Washed away, into forgotten tides

I saw you when you died.

What Am I? We are The Fallen

This is a continuation to the poem What Am I? that I posted on Tuesday in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge. I had the idea for the short story a while back, and decided to try it out in a poem as well. Hope you enjoy. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

The Fallen

“Well then. I won’t be seeing you again” Hielo said, drifting through fragmented clouds towards Nieve.

Nieve looked out the fortress’s white window, towards the green ground and the crystal skies. In adjoining homes and distant forts, soldiers prepared for the first battle of the season. “I agree,” Nieve said through frozen lips. “We are the seekers. The seekers never make it back. We need to burn some holes so it is easier for you weaklings when you come. You know how it is, the mature ones first. It’s only fair. If you hurry up – that is if we even leave you anything – you may get some flesh.”

Hielo frowned, refusing to look out the window. “Of course you won’t be coming back. No one ever comes back from a mission, regardless of its success. This war is pointless. I might as well kill myself now and save them some trouble.”

“Wouldn’t you like to bite into some warm flesh?” Nieve goaded. They carried no weapons into war, only their cold, cutting teeth.

“I’d rather stay up here, nice and cold.”

Nieve ignored Hielo. “Things are changing at the front, I don’t know why but they are. I don’t think they even know why it’s happening,” Nieve said, looking at the distant ground below.

“How would you know? Have you been to a battle? Have you met anyone who has? None of us have and none likely will, for not long at least, meet anyone who has been to the front.”

“Yeah, I know I haven’t met anyone but something has changed. The winds are colder in the main fortresses—”

“You’re going to die Nieve. The weather may change and the winds may shift, but your death is a certainty, a certainty since the day you were made – written, signed and ensured by Sol.”

“The winds may shift in our favour.”

“Aye to that. May they bring us more swiftly than usual to our death.

Thousands of white soldiers fell from the sky, eager to make contact with the enemy, to solidify a front for those who would inevitably follow. There was no home territory, nor a place to regroup and collect the fallen. Not one soldier would be buried. The wind moved through their ranks, gently steering the paratroopers as they fell. The cold air cut across their exposed skin, but they were used to that. The cold reassured them.

Some clung to their neighbours hoping to mass a group attack. Bracing themselves for impact, the group stood a better chance of staying intact. Nieve tried to link to a comrade but a wall of air separated them. Teasing and testing, the current ripped them apart, then brought them together, but not close enough to touch. The wind directed their attack; the soldiers forfeited control of their bodies when they fell from the base. They moved in dizzying, spiralling flurries. Nieve looked towards the green ground, as it transformed into unfamiliar colours, obscure shapes and sounds popping sounds.

Nieve wept. Actually, Nieve’s body wept. Home is in the heavens. If we die where do we go? The snowflake melted in the winter air, the first in a succession of flakes to liquify in Earth’s atmosphere. The fallen became indistinguishable, lost faces in the grey slush; dead before they breached the front. How do you mourn a face you can’t remember, dissolved into a puddle of greyness?

Once sharp flakes, now shapeless droplets, cold rain exploded against hard, dry surfaces. Street lamps, glass windows, parked cars and green grass glistened in the rising sun, crystallized in blankets of ice. Drops of rain don’t burn, sting, hurt; but they clung, like kerosene on wood they clung and seeped in, waiting to be ignited.

“It’s snow Tommy. You’ve seen this before, every year this happens.” Dan dragged his feet in the snow, not waiting for his son to follow.

“Yeah daddy but it tickles when it melts in my mouth.” The boy traced down single flecks of snow as they fell from the sky. His mouth open and his tongue flailing, he rarely caught anything. They moved to quickly for him to catch. He couldn’t  focus on a single flake, for they merged together and danced quickly as they floated down the sky. Tommy’s toes tickled, planted in the pooling snow they began to burn. He frowned. The flakes seemed to dance around him, deliberately avoiding his tongue.

Dan called back, cautioning. “And they will sting like hell when they bite your tongue.”