Cross My Heart and Hope to Write


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bards Annual 2011 and The Guitar Maker's Fireplace

A couple of announcements before I plummet into the nitty-gritty. The Bards Initiative, a poetry-related entity based on Long Island, NY, has just released their second poetry anthology, Bards Annual 2011Included in the anthology is one of my poems entitled "Smokey Says". I want to sincerely thank James P. Wagner, a.k.a. Ishwa, for inviting me to submit, thereby giving me this wonderful opportunity.

Secondly, in little more than a day, I will be on a plane headed for Rome, Italy, for four weeks with significant friends and colleagues. As such, I will not be updating the blog as regularly. Rest assured, however, I will get right back into it upon my return.

In the meanwhile, please enjoy this poem fresh from my synapses. I completed it merely hours ago! It was inspired by the brilliant guitar maker, John Monteleone. His work is currently being displayed as part of the Guitar Heroes exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in N.Y.C. I strongly recommend that anyone with interests in both art and music check out this extremely unique exhibit, but hurry, because it's only up until July 4th, 2011! I have had the pleasure of being graced by the beauty that is the Monteleone residence on countless occasions. On one such visit, I observed Mr. Monteleone placing some odd shaped wood onto the fire and, well, the rest is poetry. 
May God bless each and every one of you. 

The Sun King by John Monteleone

The Guitar Maker’s Fireplace

We were born from a fire,
But we died in a different fire.
We were conceived when a desire burned
Inside a brilliant man,
Persuading him and his well-worked hands
To erect what his mind aspired.
Chisels biding,
Planes awaiting
To shape, 
Spruce, maple, and engelman,
Stripping away the excess anatomy
That hindered them.
We took our place as heaps
Of curlicues and smithereens
That he swept up from the floor
Of his guitar shop to feed
Spitting flames in the fireplace
Of the house in which he sleeps.
He gathers up our jagged,
Rhombus pieces in his arms,
Chips and panels, planks and boards,
That did not suffice in form.
We were the siblings of
Fretboards, heels, and headstocks
Surplus younglings 
Rand from pristine wooden blocks.
Perchance we had been arched,
Anticipating a novel existence to assume,
But our intonation wasn’t right,
Perhaps a flaw bestowed upon us,
A mistake in the wood,
Our shape no good,
A vexing blight or non-euphonic.  
We huddled together in his arms,
Bastard slabs and orphaned scraps,
Bickering amongst ourselves
With woody whispers from rubbing backs.
We were intended to compose beautiful instruments, 
While our brethren were metamorphosed, we were labeled detriment.
At the close of a cold, productive day,  
Never given the opportunity to play,  
The only music we ever made
Was the pluck and vibrato of rising flames.         

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Somnambulist and The Mind of God and the Teleological Argument for God’s Existence

Today I've included a short poem and the opening paragraph from a philosophical essay I wrote for a Philosophy of Religion course I had taken a few years ago. The poem is entitled "Somnambulist", which refers to one who sleep walks (somnambulism), and I believe is quite fitting for the subject matter.

by The Sven-Bo! 

I dreamt that I was dreaming while I was awake,
A dream of perfect nothingness
Where you and I locked hands
Looked into one another’s eyes
And whispered something I can’t remember,
But I think I saw you smile
Or did you cry?
I can’t remember
All I see is your perfect eyes
Floating there in some etheric pool of nothingness
When I awoke
I realized that the dream had only just begun
Rolling over,
I stared into your perfect eyes 

In a paper entitled "The Mind of God and the Teleological Argument for God's Existence", I argue that there is indeed evidence for intelligent design in nature, but that this intelligence does not assert the consciousness of God. I cite papers from other philosophers and scientists, including Max Tegmark, Robin Collins, William James Sidis, Alan Snyder, Eric Steinhart, and V. S. Ramachandran, among others, while examined both microscopic components of the human body and juxtaposing them to macroscopic structures in the universe. As always, the full paper may be obtained by request.     

Excerpt from "The Mind of God and the Teleological Argument for God’s Existence":  
The Teleological Argument posits that the presence of purpose, organization, design, and eloquence in nature suggest the existence of an intelligent mind that accounts for their occurrence. The intelligent mind in question is often speculated to be God and the observation of these naturally existing phenomena is cited as evidence of God’s actuality. The argument presented here, however, maintains that the intelligence responsible for the occurrence of these phenomena is essentially a functional attribute of the universe and that it alone does not confirm the consciousness of God. Further, I will attempt to justify the theory that the universe as a whole is a component of the mind of God and that intelligence as a functional attribute of the universe is a consequence of the unconscious intelligence of God. Following from that assertion, I examine whether this intelligence can be inferred as justification for believing in a worshipful deity.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Heart Series

I am fascinated by how common the heart symbol appears in nature or by chance. I have been stumbling upon it ceaselessly for quite some time now, and have been compelled to document its occurrence. This has led to the present project, "The Heart Series". It consists of many photos I have taken of heart-shapes appearing as I find them throughout my day to day existence. (Apparently, they appear in swiss cheese quite often). This is merely a taste of what I have collected thus far, and I am sure to add to it in the future. Keep your eyes peeled...                        

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All the Shades of Pink and Gray

This one is from the Vaults of The Sven-Bo! I believe I wrote this piece in 10th or 11th grade, quite a few years ago now. It tells the story of a stingy man's observations as he makes his way back to his apartment in Manhattan, passing by seaside restaurants and sweetheart scenery. As always, feel free to give your feedback and let me know of your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and overall reactions.

All the Shades of Pink and Gray

I see
romantic smiles,
whistling in the streets,
passing by
bar windows and restaurant tiers,
walking docks and piers with hands held tight
as he nibbles on her ear.
I watch the people sip their wine glasses,
tip their hats,
and take shots by the masses.
I see the colors painted by neon lights and chain-link fences;
basketball courts, and back alley fold up chairs.
I hear laughing
in the moonlight,
tripping on each others' heels.
It feels,
like movie reels,
watching them cuddle by the sea,
skipping stones and sifting through seashells
in their land of make-believe.
A collage of shoebox thoughts
and jean pocket letters,
flowers bought
and peacock feathers.
Sharing dinner
and in their heads both worry about the bill.
Hours pass like grumpy mailmen
and I think I’ve had my fill.
I smell perfume:
A pheromone dance and a walk in the park.
Fate seems wrapped in bulletproof bark,
but tonight, that's all I'm peeling
as the fog and brake-lights hit my eyes.
I’m captivated as I watch them pass and look up toward the sky.
The colors of the sunset seem faded,
the clouds above me seem jaded,
and while I hail a cab back to my apartment,
reality feels baited.
With my hands in my pockets,
my coat slung over my knees,
and my spine chilled by
the cold leather seats,
I try to avoid my reflection in the window.
I tip the man a buck
and add guilt to my own increasing innuendo crescendo;
I’m out of luck.
I teeter my shoe on the cracked concrete step of my stoop.
My street is awkwardly quiet
and makes me want to leave again soon.
Grinding the teeth of my keys in the lock,
twisting my cold hand,
I see a rose petal beside my foot
and wonder what breeze had brought it there,
but I disregard the lock,
I disregard the keys,
I see this petal sitting lonesome,
only inches from my feet.
It brings a smile to my stubble,
something strange, and subtle,
a flutter of the heart I had forgotten and refused to know.
Reaching out my sullied hand,
my heart fell lighter than the rain
and with that smile on my face,
the rose petal blew away.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Stimming is a repetitive movement involved in self-stimulation. Autistic individuals often stim to help remain calm and concentrated. The poem was composed briskly in response to a phone call I had gotten from a close friend, informing me they were drinking at a shindig. Once our conversation ended, I hung up the phone and immediately jotted down this piece. 
by The Sven-Bo!

A swift thrust of the thumb
And you return to the hot liquid – 
Misleadingly hot,
Stinging warmth –
That fans your bursting laughter. 
“I’m fine,” you say
and I will worry,
but swallow my doubts,
with a swift thrust of the thumb, 
set aside your reassurance
to debate with my apprehensions.
You have done this before
and will wake up tomorrow 
of sound mind,
while I wait up several more hours,
though still awaken earlier,
“I’m fine,” you say,
“Don’t worry”
and yet I will.
I will. 
I will mull over convictions
and heartfelt opinions,
while you betray them.
I will meditate upon the question
of whether or not I should mention this
and you will remain oblivious
in your pleasure.
A swift thrust of the thumb,
a sticking click,
that segregates
and leaves me to my groggy
stomach churning.
You will return to your entertainment
with teeth shone white
and I will write to distract myself
from fears you will not know,
to pour my coffee in the morning.
A few swift thrusts of the thumbs,
in conjunction with its siblings,
to take note of this seething anxiety
that presently persuades.
“I’m fine,” you say,
“Don’t worry”
and yet I will.
I will. 

As always, any and all photography included in this blog may be purchased at a negotiable price. Simply email me your preferences and I would be happy to oblige.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea

Today we have an excerpt from a short story I finished not too long ago. I actually began writing it back in 11th grade, but left it alone for a few years before coming back to finish it. The end result is pretty much what I had intended to write. It is entitles "A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea", taking inspiration from the old children's sing-song, albeit with a different interpretation. It tells the story of a sailing ship lost at sea after escaping a harbor city gripped by a pandemic plague in search of new settlement. The crew has found themselves adrift in an unnaturally calm stretch of water where neither their compasses nor the stars in the sky can be relied upon to guide them. As hysteria begins to grip them, revelations of their fellow crewmen begin to tare them asunder.

"A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea" by The Sven-Bo! excerpt: 
After a few moments of hesitation, marked by foreboding and careful consideration of what should be done, I stepped forward into the violent corona the man had created around himself. He turned speedily toward me in resistance, pointing the gun directly at my person. I gasped, but it was muffled beneath my beard. The rest of the men hushed and awaited my response. I could not show weakness; I had to conquer this boy.
“Scud,” I beckoned with a gentle voice. “That is your name, isn’t it?”
“It was,” he replied erratically, the gun vibrating in his nervous hand. “I’m not quite sure it will be after tonight,” he warned.
“Scud, give me the pistol,” I requested. “I don’t want to see anyone else die tonight.” 
“Why should you care?” he argued.  
“Because I am the Captain and it is my responsibility to care for my crew.”
“Don’t lie to me! I’m sick of lies! This ship is built of lies! It’s manned by liars!” I watched the veins on his forehead and neck come alive as he stamped childishly upon the floor, his hair flung in his clammy face. “I want to go home,” he wept, tears welling in his eyes.
“I know, Scud. We all do. But we can’t if we’re all dead!”
“Maybe we can,” he objected. “Maybe we already are.”
I retracted a bit, giving him room to calm down.
“I had a family, you know,” he deviated. “I had a mother and a father. They loved me. They… they died.” He repeated the words back to himself in a whisper, as if ensuring they were true. I watched as the heavy weapon in his hand fell limp, loosening ever so slightly as to allow his arm to sulk, though still dangerously suspended. I saw one of the men behind him gesture that he was going to pounce, but I gestured back to him to retreat, lest he cause another death.      
“I had a family too,” I responded. “I had a wife and a son.” Pronouncing their names caused me to fall into a muse, spurred on by Scud’s caustic emotions and my own nostalgic reflection. My strength in authority folded as I gave into the very same sentiments that had conquered the weak-willed Scud.
“You liar!” he screamed.
“I had a family too, Scud. We all did.” My voice had risen slightly, so I eased it back into a quieter tone. “None of this is our fault.” I tried to comfort him.    
“I didn’t want to be here,” he admitted, weeping further as his face bunched up into a dirty frown. 
“Neither did I,” I solemnly agreed, half conscious of what I was saying, too focused on the images flashing through my mind.
Scud abandoned his sorrow immediately after I pronounced the words. He looked at me fiercely, his eyes prying in confusion, as if the words that had left my mouth were somehow deceitful. He stared at me for several moments while I tried to uncover what the source of his glare was, awakening from my reckless trance. He seemed to have discovered something, though I was unsure exactly of what.
The pistol in his hand suddenly sprang back up in excitement. His muscles tensed as his arm straightened, the barrel of the flintlock aimed squarely at my chest as the entire scene had once again given in to anarchy.
“Who are you?” Scud ordered in a monstrous voice. “Who are you, Sir? Tell me!”
“I…” I stuttered, my arms flailing wildly as the rest of the men pleaded with the man to desist. “I am Octavius Celeste, Captain of the Ex Nahilo. I have manned this vessel for thirty years.” All the while as I spoke, Scud continued to demand who I was.
Before I could finish, he grabbed me about the collar and swiftly drew me near, thrusting the jittering gun into my left nostril. The last of my confidence and clout succumbed to fear of my own demise, my heart beating with a furry incalculable.
“Oh, God!” I exclaimed, my eyes meeting his as I watched rage enrapture his brow. “I was impressed upon her!” I clamored.  
Once the words had escaped my lips a mounting silence began to fill the deck as each man, those who begged and the one holding the gun to my face, began to listen intently. I myself was doused in horror; I had admitted a fathomless wrong. I could feel the eyes of the company fall upon me in shock. I continued as not to disappoint, for I feared it would only damage the circumstances further, admitting the truth in its entirety, while the pistol remained tightly pressed to my wrinkled nose.      

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Keel Made of Scissors

This poem was composed around nine months ago in response to my transition from SCCC to Stony Brook University. The work load became significantly more burdensome, and I began to feel it exercising an influence on my relationship. The content was meant as a means of rationalizing through the struggle, as well as providing a glimpse into how I felt about the situation. Enjoy!

A Keel Made of Scissors
by The Sven-Bo!

Littered before me
is a field of fractured prose,
a sea of ebbing leafs
sprawled across an endless blanket of bleached folios,
with the fervor of anxious paper cuts,
to sever what remains of our tether.
But it is strong.
It is a keel made of scissors,
with sails constructed of moments we have strung together
that catch the tempests
and carry us across the margins.   
Temporary knowledge flows into our equilibrium,
jarring it,
with whitewashed distractions,
before being cast asunder
to leave us to recuperate
and nestle the precious lull
that does not last.
I witness your visage
floating, half hollow,
behind a gossamer veil,
a spider silk sty,
of cursive,
jostled penmanship so crude it adulterates your form,
leaving it blistered with concern.
I try to smear away the foggy protuberance,
the segregating servitude that impels my disquiet,
cleansing it
with rags of rusty tears
that lubricate the gears
of the clockwork beast inside my mind,
bypassing the apparatus that needs it most,
the one you subscribe so delicately to,
the immolation you willingly forgo. 
Yet I enthrall the former,
am propelled to keep it working,
though choked by a morass of papers,
fleeting facts,
and lame proficiency,
I contrive to find a sliver of you
imbedded in its mechanisms,
ferociously fed
for fear of failure.