About a fly

it hovers, then
alights
upon your forearm
hope-curious and tentative

humming

you see it has
eyes like mosaics and
iridescence in the twitch
of
its wings
and

whining

it moves in a sort of
halted
stares in a sort of
awed–

eyes like shattered mirrors
wide and faceted and eager,
strange

buzzing

it is a persistent and incomprehensible

Irritation–

Your dismissing gesture crushes me.

Drunk Poetry II: Do not go gentle into that fine ass

Hello folks. It’s been a while since my last post. I spent this year doing a different sort of job, and it kept me more busy than I had anticipated it would. Entirely worth the time, mind you. I find myself left with a lot to think about.

I have not abandoned writing, while I’ve been quieter here. I have kept up poetry for myself and friends, and have submitted a short story for a Best Men’s Erotica anthology with Burning Book Press. But I haven’t been writing at the volume I did during and after National Poetry Month last year, and haven’t spent as much time polishing things up to share publicly.

I have two weeks vacation now, and figure I can use this time to break the silence. I wrote a villanelle this weekend to thank a friend for his gifts of booze, which I was sampling generously at the time of writing. It is based on the poem Do not go gentle into that good night, by Dylan Thomas. I would like to share it with you.


Do not go gentle into that fine ass

Do not go gentle into that fine ass,
Sphincters should burn and clench at close of night;
Thrust, thrust, against the amply mounded mass!

When one’s presented that rotund crevasse
Respond with shlicking rounds of phallic flight,
Do not go gentle into that fine ass.

That they might seem to be of higher class
Does not assure that they’d protest or fight,
Thrust, thrust against the amply mounded mass!

The screaming’s no request to end it fast,
Toss them a pillow and tell them to bite;
Do not go gentle into that fine ass.

And when their voice begins to break and rasp
Take pleasure in those hymns of anal plight,
Thrust, thrust against the amply mounded mass!

And they, catching their breath, will glare and gasp
Curse, bless you with fierce tears of pained delight–
Do not go gentle into that fine ass.
Thrust, thrust against the amply mounded mass!

Thirty years

Thirty years in, Mr. Kent fell again
for the Ms. Kent he’d loved the first three.
She’d been a slip of a girl then with
sweet eyes and a
dancing gait
with
smooth legs
under a cotton skirt;
the memory
crept to his side in stolen minutes
or idle hours
when he could lie with it a while
and feel relieved.

Ms. Kent was a woman
who aged quietly,
shrinking with little opposition
into the hollows between her bones.

Still, she liked sometimes to go out
and find some manically colored dress
to take home and try on for just herself.
She’d pull the fabric to her hips
and let it drop to her calves–
It’d drop
like a sheet over a portrait.

steps to maintaining a Functional Relationship

“Take more care of yourself.”
Friend said
from behind a plastic clipboard
and wire-framed glasses.
“Communicate your feelings.”
I nodded
and tucked away
this piece of advice with the others.

It was the evening after
when I waded waist-deep
into stagnant waters
and dredged up a heart and
three empty littered cans.
The cans I tossed back,
but the organ I cradled a bit
in one arm while
with the other hand
I smeared away the mud and algae.

It absorbed me the way
the thing throbbed so
fatty red
underneath my fingers,
helplessly vital
with the aortic valve
gasping open and closed,
like the scrunched lips
of a crying babe.

I looked at it and, making a decision,
carried it the half mile home,
to drop it on the kitchen table,
where He looked at it
like a sodden boot
and asked what I was getting at.

I wiped my muddied hands off
on the front of my dress
and told him
it could be a conversation piece.

He repeated, with patient irritation,
that he wasn’t much for conversing
and got up to our room
to go to sleep.

I sat a while in silence.
Then, picked the heart up off the table,
and mopped up the mess.

The next afternoon,
He sat in his chair
reading his paper
while I worked
to the murmur of my thoughts.
He glanced up eventually,
and asked about dinner.

I wiped my bloodied hands off
on the front of my dress
and told him
I’d prepared a small meatloaf.

He nodded and scratched his stomach,
so I left to set the table.

Our forks whispered back and forth
over the ceramic of our plates.
We looked at our laps
and filled our mouths.

“You’re making steps”
Friend said
from behind a plastic clipboard
and wire-rimmed glasses.
“Relationships require compromise.”
I nodded
and tucked away
this piece of advice with the others.

 

——————————————————

Fwew, turns out that moving involves a lot of paperwork. Anywho, popping in here amidst the madness to break the radio silence. Take care folks.🙂

~Smithy

Smithy’s Drunk Poetry

So yesterday, I was splitting a scorpion bowl with a friend of mine at a tasty Hibachi place.

scorpion-bowl_0

About halfway through the meal the alcohol went to my head–and by the end of the meal, I was slurring a bit. Naturally, my decision at this juncture was that I should pull out my phone and begin texting my partner about Mr. Junior–his penis. This was not an unusual gesture; drunk texting his penis has become a bit of a tradition between us, a form of affection. Yet yesterday I had received good news that put me in a particularly inspired mood, and I decided that the regular cock compliments would not suffice. This time, his penis needed poetry.

The following texts were what ensued.

—————————————————

Thu, May 30, 2013

8:28pm

…I love your penis. And scorpion bowls.

8:33pm

A limerick:

I met Mr. Junior one day
and asked for a roll in the hay.
Mr. Junior said no,
and called me a Ho.
Since then I have been a clinically diagnosed alcoholic.

8:37pm

Haha! I joke. I’m not an alcoholic. I just cry and fap a lot.

8:52pm

Haha! I joke again.

8:53pm

It’s mostly crying.

——————————

There was no immediate response. Forgetting it a while, I went to a friend’s house, watched a terrible movie, sobered up, and went home.

It wasn’t until the next morning that my partner responded, asking me if I’d had a fun night and expressing his belief that as a poetry blogger, I had a duty to share the whole debacle with the internet. I hope you found this enjoyable.

Image credit: http://dtfjihky7xwic.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_section/public/Restaurants/scorpion-bowl_0.jpg

Terminal Velocity

I lie back as Earth spins and falls
listlessly pinned against its crust;
We can’t seem to feel it at all.

Pooled on the floor’s my wine-stained shawl
We whet our mouths and barter trust
I lie back as Earth spins and falls

Voice husked in morning’s slurry drawl
You feed me poems coated in dust
We can’t seem to feel it at all

As midday hangs its firey awl
We trade our tersely tempered gusts
I lie back as Earth spins and falls

Winding starlight into taught balls
I leave the sky bruised black and mussed
We can’t seem to feel it at all

I wash and fold my wine-stained shawl
We trade no more words than we must
I lie back as Earth spins and falls
We can’t seem to feel it at all.

———————————–

First attempt at a villanelle. Tricky buggers these.

Take care,

Smithy

Propaganda and the Role of Fiction

A debate rose up on Twitter today on the responsibilities of writers and the role of fiction in influencing societal change. A lot of interesting points were made, and one of the questions on “fiction with an agenda” led me to bring up the example of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe’s work played a significant historical role, capturing the dilemma of slaves in her time, and pushing her contemporaries to join the abolitionist movement. Some interesting questions that the Twitter discussion raised over her work (and fiction writers with agendas in general) were:

1) What counts as a piece of propaganda? (We seemed to agree that Uncle Tom’s Cabin does)

2) Is it okay for fiction to try and alter people’s behavior?

3) If so, do writers have an obligation to use their work to positively influence society?

Below, I have posted the response I wrote mainly to the second of those three questions. Please feel free to discuss in the comments.

————————————————-

Before diving into what casts much propaganda and evangelism into a bad light, it is worthwhile to examine aspects of both that are not negative.

I do not think they are negative because they are pushing an agenda. Some people need to see perspectives outside their own before they empathize with others. Some people will not think to enact positive change until they are compelled to. For these reasons, not many would say that people should *only* question and *never* compel others to act. Reformation doesn’t happen because a bunch of people just thought about changes they’d like to see (though that’s an important first step). Rather, people like Gandhi and MLK are celebrated for their ability to peacefully inspire others to actions that no single person could accomplish.

 

Instead, when I see propaganda and evangelism demonized it is generally because:

-Complex ideas are horribly oversimplified

-The opposition is flagrantly strawmanned/misrepresented

-Opposing viewpoints are censored, such that readers never see viewpoints to challenge the popularly circulated ones

 

My earlier example of Uncle Tom was perhaps a mixed bag here. I think there were definitely some instances of oversimplification and misrepresentation, and these detracted from my reading experience. But areas where Stowe succeeded were in her constant attempts to address the views of those who disagreed with her, and in her general acknowledgement that not all slaveholders are evil. She aimed (with admittedly varying effectiveness) to pose an empathetic view of both sides of the slavery issue, while still adhering to her own. She was not silencing any opposing views. Quite the opposite–she was trying to communicate a view that her society consistently silenced. She and other racial minorities of the time were legally voiceless, and so she created a voice through the medium of literature when many other avenues of expression had failed.

Stories touch empathetic strands that straight facts frequently do not. And in that way they bring comprehension to people who would otherwise retain narrow views. And yes, fiction can be manipulated such that perspectives are misrepresented or censored. Propaganda is an easy tool for authorities who do not want the opposition’s arguments to be examined too closely.

But it is also a tool for the minorities who want their arguments to break past the cultures that misrepresent them. It can either increase or stifle broader understanding. My view of fictional stories with specific agendas or calls to action is therefore as neutral as my view of hammers. It depends entirely on how skillfully they’re being used, and to what end.

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For a blog entry that addresses more of questions 1 and 3, as well as a differing perspective on 2, check out Remittance Girl’s Unsafe Sex and the Representation of Ideals.