First, a disclaimer: I am not going to talk about hoarding as a clinical condition, since I’m not qualified to tackle medical issues. What I mean when I say “hoarding” is the opposite of “minimalist living”, which has become so popular of late and is often cited as a kind of mantra. Either implicitly or explicitly packaged as “an intentional search for happiness” by its proponents, “minimalist living” is essentially a guilt trip for hoarders. It tells us that if we don’t relinquish most of our material possessions in search for a kind of miraculous 21st-century urban Buddhism, then we we are entirely to blame for our unhappiness, failures, and general ills. “Minimalist living” is also often put forth as the cure for the capitalist evil of consumerism, suggesting that people who buy and collect things that they don’t strictly need are bowing down to the global market. A taste for acquiring bric-a-brac is condemned as unhealthy, materialistic, and leading to disorganisation and inefficiency. (more…)
I haven’t updated this blog in such a long time, but I guess life and work have a habit of getting in the way. Well, this weekend I’ve finally done … Continue reading Skin-deep Beauty
The Pyromaniac and the Salamander
You burn me. They say
if you die in flames,
your shadow burns
with you and so
you may not
I am heaven.
I burn you because
I am incandescent,
in me you have
your greatest wishes
fulfilled. Desire scorches
but it does not
crease the soul.
You are the blinding,
one may not love you
You feed on homes
and ships alike.
I taste but to learn,
I consume but to
restore. My tongues
are tongues of wisdom,
and their venom
Had lots of fun coming up with a riddle for day thirteen of NaPoWriMo! I won’t give out the answer straight away though! So read it and leave me your guesses in the comments! ;(
Riddle Me This
Hunt me, chop me,
boil me, fry me,
to summon good fortune
you must kill my rush.
In spring I am folly,
you wear me in winter,
and although in tunnels
I set up my household,
some say that I live
on the moon.
Hopefully, this will be the last time when I have to make up for one “skipped” day in the NaPoWriMo scheme.
For yesterday’s poem in Sapphics, a sequence inspired by this rather uncanny 1951 New Yorker cover:
With a jump, the monster was there, beside her:
in their seats, the viewers were dancing shadows,
her ballet transformed into danse macabre
in less than a second.
Lips upturned, the curtains fell down in silence –
all the songs had changed into gruesome dirges –
turned away, the hands had no more applauses
to counter the stage fright.
And now, for today’s prompt to describe a favourite thing, I decided upon a favourite scene from a favourite movie: the dance scene in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. (Yes, somehow both poems ended up withe dance as their main theme.)
Brigitte Helm as Maschinenmensch
Her hips twist
on an impossible orbit
cutting the air like blades
grating the edge off time.
Every man’s shoulder
is a throne
for her heel
and when she puts
her foot down
she is unapologetic
to leap and bite.
Neck thrust forward
she is a bird
crowned with the bones
of her ancestors.
she pulls down the divide.
Finally, the inevitable happened: I skipped a day. Which, considering it was the first time in 39 days consecutive days of writing a poem on a postcard a day, it’s not too bad. I am, however, making up for the blip today, with both a calligram for day nine of NaPoWriMo, and an abecedarian poem for day ten. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I’ll be on the road tomorrow with probably no access to the internet, I’ll have to skip another day. But I will make up for it on Sunday!
So, then. For yesterday’s “visual poem” prompt I decided to make a little butterfly calligram. Unfortunately, however, it appears that the original doesn’t look much like the butterfly poem I had in mind (more like a misshaped fly, perhaps). Ooops!
So I tried to recreate it with the Word Art function of Word, to make it more legible, and also to give you a better idea of what I actually intended to make:
I have a special obsession for lepidoptera, and it so happens that Vladimir Nabokov also had a soft spot for the little fluttering creatures. As I was thinking about how best to make the calligram, I was reminded of his poem “In Paradise”, which, although not of the visual kind, features some really striking imagery (I mean, come on, his angel is “a semi-pavonian creature”!) which I adore.
And today’s prompt – to write an “abecedarian poem” – reminded me of Edward Gorey’s emblematic “The Gashlycrumb Tinies”, which is possibly the best alphabet poem I’ve ever read. Here’s my own (and I have to apologise again for the fact that the scanner decide to cut out some of my handwriting):
The Writer’s Primer
A is the steeple of the church where my thoughts enter unarmed
B is the shape of your lips, wordless and unguarded
C is retreating in the shell of my dilated nights
D is a convex mirror wherein my selves are reassembled
E is the rack upon which destines lie embalmed
F is reaching for hope when no one is around
G is the chair that rocks me to silence
H is the step just one foot too high
I is the wicker man too heavy to carry
J is the tail shed before I was born
K is the shadow I often recede in
L is the seat with a view to the sea
M is my name when I exit pursued by a bear
N is the bend of my knee
O is the shape of a breath drawn in winter
P is the white flag whenever I falter
Q is the trace of my lingering doubts
R is a kick in the sand
S is the body twisted in languor
T is the gate between worlds
U is the fosse where Atlantis is hidden
V is the base of your throat
W is the knot of illicit hands under tables
X is the rage to be deeply alive
Y is the spin of the phrase
Z is the roundabout journey of lies
Charon Was Never a Child
in its folds.
In a language
of the blur