Cross My Heart and Hope to Write


Friday, December 16, 2011

Porphyrogenitos and Wyld Chyld Tattoo Studio

This past Thursday (December 15th at 7:30pm), I had the pleasure of sharing my work with a small group of individuals in the back of Wyld Chyld Cafe and Tattoo Parlor in Merrick, NY. I attended the event on a whim, which was supposed to be hosted by another poet. Upon my arrival, however, I was told by the small group of 6 strangers that the poet was unable to host due to personal matters. Seeking the opportunity, I was kindly asked to take her place and to share some of my work, including some pieces from the blog. It was an incredibly intimate and pleasurable experience; I am thankful for my decision to contribute. I was told that such events are held Tuesday and Thursday of each week, in case anyone in the area is interested. The parlor itself is lovely, quaint, simple, but unique. Perhaps I'll have to stop in for a tattoo sometime...

Let's move onto the poetry, shall we? This weeks entry is very, very important to me, and should be heeded by anyone who considers themselves an admirer of my work. The poem is called "Porphyrogenitos" and is Latin for "born in the purple room". During the Byzantine Empire, the heir to the thrown of emperor was customarily born in the Porphyry (Purple) Chamber of the Great Palace of Constantinople. Later, the term "born in the purple room" came to mean someone who was born to prominent parents, such as royalty or in possession of wealth. The title (as always) contradicts the rest of the piece - it is my own personal elegy. Keep this in mind, ladies and gentlemen, should anything happen to me. Of course, I very well may write another one before my final breath, but until then, please enjoy this farewell. I hope it leaves a lasting impression.            


And if I were to die someday,
How selfish it would be
To erect an epitaph
That concerns only me.
As a courier of mankind,
As a cradler of life,
To dwell on such fickle things as death
Would be a futile strife,
For the median between
The first cry and the final breath
Is the majesty of the cosmos; 
The opportunity to exist,
To awe at tearful memorials,
Monuments and structures,
That twirl about our azure balloon 
And hinder us at our junctures.
The beauty yond that is eternal, 
To live and cherish every view,
That may caress and harbor gently 
The soul inside of you.
We do not lounge beneath your feet,
We enthrall the very deed
That brings about new consciousness -
Fuel for the life-giving machine!
Do not walk on in darkness,
Questioning what lingers above,
Profess your immortal souvenir
By drowning the world in a sea of love.      

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Kill Yourself Cookie

A very quick update today. I have begun to trudge through the contents of my filing cabinet, which contains hundreds of poems that I have written over the course of my life (some more precious than others). The one I've pulled out for you today is called "Kill Yourself Cookie".
Now, apparently, as I have been told, the group of friends I consider my closest kin happen to be quite creative... and mildly insane (I guffaw at the audacity of "mildly"). Thus, the name comes from my very good man Henry Oakes, who uttered this phrase quite some years ago, to which I felt compelled to document. I set it aside until I found a pertinent poem to attach it to. (I keep a cache of poem titles "just in case"; I feel there is a curious relationship between the title of a poem and the poem itself, in that they don't necessarily need to compliment one another. In fact, I enjoy when a title can evoke something to ponder and the poem can evoke something entirely different).
The poem deals with the notion of our physicality, our relationship to the divine and the universe, reincarnation, and the general plight of knowing, "Who am I?" A rather scatterbrain construction, it reads like a run on sentence and reflects my younger style of writing. I hope you all are starting to get a taste for my technique. Enjoy!

Kill Yourself Cookie

Transcend my being
Trip through an arch that's been carved from my thighs
Higher and higher
To a depth I thought I'd never reach
Beseech me!
I found a pluperfect means of hide and seek
A monoxenous Christ
Everything, but seams
I found another hole
To a soul that appeared to me, out of control
I found a mirror that was a window to another Columbus toll
Slip me a slip to pass through, the open doors of crypts stripped of open sores
Too many floors of business
Too many points of interest
Too much to witness
Do you remember when?
I was there
Back when I was fed with horsehair
It was something I couldn't reveal
A bee sting that wouldn't heal
A saint's ring I just couldn't steal
Sympathy I just wouldn't feel
You've clamped my little finger
In short-time, lined along a dead sea
Pushed on through
Lick the bowl clean, but leave me the spoon  
Born again
(I've lost track of my birthdays)
Tumbling down the cranks and spells that came standard with the gifts they left me
Frankincence disease
Magi, scorn with pink eye
Dead man's float
touting skulls on a black mattress
Hat tricks
Dining on rabbits
Sixth dimension antics
Fourth dimension intuition
Kickstart conquests, on a mission
Embryonic fluid
(I like it straight)
Shaken, not stirred
Nibbling on the bate
Of time
I withstood all the mammalian elements I could
Too many times I've tasted the batter of enthalpy
Reincarnate the meat
Baptized in the river Styx
Gathered up by the linens of Nyx
Held dear by the spirits
While condemned to reckon, but never know who I am
To the glass eye of Earth's sky
I've swam in its storms
Ken blotted by a swollen sun
Elegy after elegy
Head stone after stone
The grass stains on a shadow
But the shape never known

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Tear Collector

This, ladies and gentleman, is the single most important work I have ever written. "Why?" you may wonder. Well, for one, it's the first story I ever wrote to its completion. I was nigh 16 when the idea occurred to me while riding a bus to school. At the time, I was rather depressed (over what, escapes me now), but I pondered the possibility of saving up my tears in jars. Most certainly impractical, the concept lingered in my synapses and began to flesh itself out, stringing together ideas that had been biding in my mind with no commonality for years (fallen angels, carrousels, poisonous flowers, bathing in blood, Latin, holy war, Frankenstein, and the list continues). Once the writing process began, I remember I looked forward to coming home every day from school to write until dinner time; it took about 9 months to complete. It is the second longest story I have written to date at about 90 pages (second only to The Purgatory Wing, which I'm sure to include an excerpt of here eventually). I am currently attempting to revise a lot of it, mostly improving upon the gammer, though I felt it quite pertinent to share a sample at this time.
More importantly than the work itself is the impact it had on my writing in general. At the time I began writing the piece, my understanding of grammar was fairly deficit. Growing up, I was a special needs student with behavioral problems, which made my teaching environment rather unique. I knew how to use periods, exclamation points and question marks properly, but other grammatical rules (such as the proper way to use a comma or semicolon, or how to separate paragraphs) were nonexistent. This being the case, I wrote the entire story as one continuous paragraph consisting of sentences built solely around periods, exclamation points and question marks. Only after the story was completed did I go back and add in commas, semicolons and so forth. All that being said, writing The Tear Collector singlehandedly taught me the rules of language.
Alright, enough history! The actual story concerns a 16-year-old boy (haha!) by the name of Fleo (Latin=to cry) who is orphaned at an early age and left to fend for himself in a bustling metropolis in an unnamed land, surviving in the home of and off the fortune left by his father after he committed suicide. For as long as he can remember, he has felt this sickening pain in his soul that has never left him. While attempting suicide, Fleo dips into the Dark (the afterlife constituted by Light and Dark, respectively), but miraculously returns to the realm of the living - only with a horrible secret. His secret is discovered by the tyrannical emperor of the metropolis Sir Malus Contemno (Latin = evil and despised) who desires to capture him. Fleo is lead into the uncharted woods that surround the city by a man named Sapiens (Latin = wisdom) to protect him, and the hunt begins. The rest of the story consists of his escape into the woods and the people he meets there, discovering the forgotten history of the land along the way.
The small section I have included here is taken from the chapter entitled The Girl in Blue a third of the way through the novel. Fleo has met a wandering girl in the woods by the name of Angelus (Latin=the angel). We find them in the wee hours of the night sitting beneath a hulking willow tree, its branches aglow with fireflies and insects. It reads from the point of view of Fleo and, well, let's indulge, shall we?

The Tear Collector

     "She lifted her face to my eyes once more. She was so picturesque, so pleasing to my gaze that I did not want to look away. In that moment, those precious moments we had shared for the short while we had known each other (the most alien and indescribable moments of my entire existence), a passion had replaced the longing, bleeding, saddened crux that sat in my chest for as long as I could remember. A burning flame, a torch to light the dark path of uncertainty I had always traveled had been kindled. This newfound glory erected a warrior within me, ready to bite the bullet of love and strive for it with the zeal of a trillion valentines. 
     In seeing her, she flooded me with a happiness I had never felt, drowning all the pain and suffering. The reason I could never find was suddenly welled up inside of me, nearly bringing me to tears. With an unstoppable desire that I knew was right, I placed my hand in hers and pulled her close to me. My eyes dipped back into my skull as I pushed my lips to her's and the moment they met I felt another death become me. In that symbiotic moment, a burst of electrical ecstasy pulsed through every stem of my being, every wish and dream, and gave them life. Every question, every fear was shunned away, and the hunger I had felt before was suddenly satiated. As I held my eyes shut, savoring the texture of her lips, feeling as divinity filled my soul, I heard the leaves above us rustle and shiver as the trunk beside us shifted and creaked. A great rush of light illuminated my eyes from the inside as the insects flew off into the night in all directions, mimicking the walls of my heart as they were obliterated beneath the force of love."