literature

Charlotte Turner Smith’s The Swallow & Love and Folly.

Charlotte Turner Smith wrote her poem The Swallow in 1797. The main theme of the poem is about the beauty and mystery of nature. The narrator describes the unknown migration path of a Swallow as an escape to exotic places. The narrator uses events, diction, imagery, and symbols to express the theme.

The main event in The Swallow is the narrator looking at the swallow on a spring day. The narrator listens to the bird, “let my ear your music catch,” and wonders where the bird came from? The narrator is curious of where the bird has traveled and is jealous of the bird’s freedom to fly away. The narrator thinks “I wish I did his power possess, That I might learn, fleet bird, from thee, What our vain systems only guess, And know from what wide Wilderness You came across the sea.” Another line that suggest that the narrator desire for agency to escape is the imagery of “I saw her dash with rapid wings.” The words dash and rapid imply speed and control in the bird’s movement. “In Afric” and “in Asia” symbolizes exotic places that the bird could have visited and places the narrator wants to escape to. In the view of the narrator the possibilities of where the bird could fly are endless and mysterious. “I would enquire how journeying long, The vast and pathless ocean o’er.” The narrator thinks about what she would communicate with the bird if they could communicate. Birds travel to warm locations when the winter comes. The narrator fined this beautiful as well. “Thus lost to life, what favouring dream Bids you to happier hour awake; And tells, that dancing in the beam.” These lines suggest that the birds have a happy and free life because they don’t experience the cold harsh winters that the narrator does. The idea that birds don’t experience cold winters symbolizes that the birds are untouched by pain and suffering. The beam is a symbol of light, warmth and happiness. The last stanza of the poem is a comment on the limits on science in understanding nature. “Alas! How little can be known, Her sacred veil where nature draws; let baffled Science humbly own, Her mysteries understood alone, By Him who gives her laws.” The narrator is expressing the mysteries of nature can’t by explain by nature because the freedom and innocence of the bird was given to the bird by God. He is a reference to God and describing science as humble shows that science is limited in its explanations.

The focus on a Swallow symbolizes the narrator’s and Smith’s desire for freedom and happiness. Smith suffered from depression her entire adult life and desired happiness. The migrating bird that only experiences happiness could be a symbol for Smith’s personal desire for happiness in her own life. Charlotte Smith was a feminist that rejected the idea of domestic felicity. The freedom of the bird and it’s happiness dependent on its freedom could be a symbol of Smith’s rejection of the idea the women should gain happiness from staying in the home. Smith wanted to have the happiness and freedom she identified in the bird.

Charlotte Smith wrote the poem Love and Folly about the foolishness and suffering that is part of falling in love. She used allusion to roman mythology to express the theme of the foolishness of love. There are many references to cupid in the poem with the lines of “ill thrown, yet resistless darts,” “thoughtless child,” and “mischievous malignant boy.” These character description make cupid a careless match maker that doesn’t know or care what he is doing to people. “Hapless mortals can’t withstand them,” (Cupid’s arrows). The narrator believes that everyone will be affected by cupid. The narrator believes that Cupid wasn’t always so careless, “once less cruel and perverse.” The narrator believes that love will turn to suffering, “Loud and more loud the quarrels grow…For Folly’s rage is prompt to rise.” Cupid is matching up carelessly and love turns into hate. A suffering Venus, goddess of love, prays to the God of the gods, Jove, to kill Cupid. “The wild with anguish Venus pray’d, For vengeance on the idiot’s head, And begg’d of cloud-compelling Jove, His swiftest lightening, to destroy, The mischievous malignant boy That blinded love.” Venus believed that Cupid had destroyed love by forcing it on people and making love blind. Jove denied Venus’s request and Cupid continues to strike people with his arrows and make them fall in love. Jove said, “For Love, tho blind, will reign around The world.” The foolishness of love will remain and lovers will quarrel. Another theme of the poem, which is related to Smith’s life, is that people get trapped in harmful relationships. Smith was in an abusive marriage. Cupid traps people in love matches by careless shooting his love darts and these relationships start of good, but then become toxic. This idea could be a personal reflection of Smith’s own ideas about love and marriage. Smith could identify with Venus and her prayer for the freeing of victims of Cupid and the death of foolish and harmful relationships.

ultimatum

ultimatum

september 10th will be the two year mark and you want more. 

Move in or break up. 
I hate all or nothing requests.
What I want and what is possible are two different things.
So I guess, we break up.
For real this time.
we can get high off each other.
But, can’t remain good friends.
So we’ll make each other want to die,
to give each other strength to walk away & stay out of the way.
Maybe years down the line,
my name will come up in conversation
& you will have nice things to say.
And I’ll see walking down the street, I’ll smile & wave.
Until then I’ll hate you,
For holding my hips in your hands
and then pushing them away.

(Saying goodbye & growing up are two things we’ll never learn to forgive.
Not being able to let go & fall out of love are two things I’ll always regret.
Realism defeating romanticism will always break my heart.)

Twins

Twins?
July 31, 2009 at 5:00pm
On the bus, I meet this guy named Robbie who has a twin named Bobby. I wrote this on my cellphone as text messages so forgive it for sucking.

TWINS?

Caroline was in the infirmary of the Elder Care Living Community when her doctor told her that she was pregnant. Caroline always wanted a child but never had any so she was somewhat pleased. But, Caroline was puzzled by this conception because reason would make this impossible. Being a logical woman, she decided that this pregnancy was a gift from God.

Caroline went into labor after only 4 months making the pregnancy even more peculiar. She gave birth to a boy. A boy she named Obby. Obby was very tiny, underweight and ugly child, who was taken away from Caroline so he could be feed and once he was healthy, he would be returned to her. A few weeks went by and Obby was beginning to get bigger. As he grew his nurse noticed a small growth on his back. She didn’t think much of it. He was health, but still ugly and slightly deformed. The nurse brought Obby back to Caroline’s room. Caroline was asleep, the nurse didn’t want to wake her. So, she left Obby in the crib that sat next to Caroline’s bed.

A few hours later, the nurse went to go check on Caroline and Obby. Much to her surprise, she found Caroline dead. She called in her supervisor to tell her to make arrangements for the remains. Obby was crying as if he understood what had happened to his mother. The nurse picked up Obby to comfort him and noticed that the growth has grown twice as large as it was a few hours. With Obby’s body resting on her chest, she could feel his heart beat. She then rubbed her hand across his back to calm him down. She notices something strange when her hand went over the growth. She could not make sense of at first. But, after awhile she knew what it was. It was another heartbeat.

She rushed him to the hospital where the doctors performed emergency surgery to remove the growth. Obby and his growth were under observation for the 4 months. Obby was perfectly healthy, but still repulsive looking. The growth was transforming rapidly. It went from a heart surrounded by a pound of flesh to a well-developed infant in a few short weeks. The doctors and scientists were bewildered by this case, which led to the growth child being referred to as B.

B and Obby began to grow at the same rate. A rate that was like nothing that any one has every seen. Both boys reach the age 20 within 5 years. Another 5 years went by, but neither boy aged at all. The boys received all the same opportunities and resources living in observation. But, B seemed better at every thing than Obby. B was intelligent and so was Obby, but Obby had to struggle with things and every thing came naturally to B. No longer being minors they decided to sign themselves out of the case study.

Living independently was a hard adjustment for Obby, but certainly not for B. B was working in a coffee shop and going to college to become a lawyer. Obby was staying at home drinking and hating himself because of his deformity. B would go out to bar every night and he would force Obby to come along. People would stare at Obby in fear and disgust. And people would stare at B with longing and lust. Obby would wake up every morning with a hang over and B would wake up with a different girl every morning. After 2 years of this routine and still not aging, B started to be embarrassed by his brother and Obby became envious of his brother. But, the routine continued.

Over the next year, these feelings of embarrassment and envy, slowly transformed into mutual compassion and desire. B began to bring women home less and Obby was sober more often. Then one night, the brothers made love. B’s heart was full of joy and Obby was ashamed. The following night, Obby went out and brought home a hooker to make him forget his feelings for his brother. B found Obby and the hooker in bed together and killed them in a jealous rage. B loved Obby and didn’t want to be without him so he ate his body. B then put the hookers body in a trash bag, drove out of state, through it in the lake and drove back home. B was exhausted so he went to bed.

B tossed and turned for hours. He couldn’t sleep. He went to the bathroom to take a shower, but when he past the mirror he stop because he could not believe his eyes. He was deformed and could not recognize his face. He stared for a while, and then began to feel his body. Lastly, he brushed his hand against his back and felt a small lump. He held his hand over it until he could feel it grow and then a heartbeat. B smiled warmly knowing that it was Obby.

The Ezra Pound session

If a nation’s literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.38 AM

The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.27 AM #2

A man of genius has a right to any mode of expression.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.27 AM

Either move or be moved.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.28 AM #3

Genius… is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.28 AM

Man is an over-complicated organism. If he is doomed to extinction he will die out for want of simplicity.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.32 AM #3

A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.34 AM

The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.

Photo on 6-19-13 at 12.33 AM

How did we become these broken things?

How did we become these broken things? We won’t find salvation in this. We are charlatans with blood shot eyes, but it makes us safe and warm. We just want to feel alive at any cost. It turns all my weakness into my strength. We are not the unforgivable things we’ve done. It makes you confess all your secrets to me. I can’t believe the wonderful things you’ve said to me. It gives me hope for a miracle. We could start over tonight. Oh, I could give it all up for you. So darling, I’m not leaving until you kiss me goodnight. You could be my miracle. 

If God

If God made us in his image then the following is true about him.

When he was 5 years old he learned to ride a bike and it felt like flying.

When he was 10 years old he had his first kiss.

when he was 15, he seriously considered suicide.

when he was 20, he thought he knew every thing.

At 25, he realized he does not know shit.

when he was 30, he swore to do every thing he could to protect his children.

At 40, he was terrified he couldn’t fulfill that promise.

At 50, he regretted being ungrateful child and not know his parents better.

When he was 60, he realized that he has always had every thing he ever wanted.

At 80, he knew with confidence that even at his worst he is fucking incredible and wishes he knew that sooner.

Letter and explanation

Dear Walt Whitman,

I understand, my comrade, your connection and harmony with all of universe. Being out in nature, you are surrounded by love and beauty.  It makes it easy to forget the pain people suffer for being different in this filthy decaying city.  I for one will not settle for an existence in which the self is oppressed. Nor, will I go unloved because some consider my desires unnatural. I will speak for those who are too afraid or no longer have the chance to speak out. I will not apologize for being unacceptable. I tried to be part of society, but the university was horrified by my thoughts. They refused to help me pursue my intellectual and creative pursuits because I refused to conform. But, I will continue to cry out for all of these angels who lust after drugs, drink and sex. I have seen friends lose loved ones because they confess to enjoy getting a fix, by a needle in the arm or a cock up the ass.  We should not go unloved because we can’t force ourselves to go to bed with women. Embrace your desires, let your heals embrace him and tremble with pleasure. But, be aware that it will disrupt your harmony with others.

Casted out, we are living in parks and alleyways.  Cutting ourselves, jumping off bridges and crying on sidewalks, with so called “good” people glaring in disgust at us, the undesirables. The people that try to  “save us” take us away to medical prison. We are given electro shocks in order to “fix us.”  I say there is no need to fix us. These doctors are the ones who are insane.  They are not capable of understand how to love. Why do they get to set the standard?  All we do is pull the truth out of shadows and into the sun, in order to keep ourselves warm and bring a smile to our faces and we are received with hospitals, jails and wars. All I do is cry out for some one to love me for me. Still can’t even mention the words anal sex or communism without receiving uncomfortable gazes.  I want to feel this harmony with every thing that you feel so strongly. I wanted even more for my friends whose honesty has been received only with straight jackets and fights with cops. You must me suffering, my friend, unaware. We are all connected. Children, young and old men are all suffering because I’m suffering and my friends are suffering. We all need to make others see that there is nothing wrong with us. We need to not allow any one, no matter their authority, make us feel like we are not good enough. We are not mad for seeking pleasure; we are suffering from madness because we are denied pleasure.  Imagine a world where we are loved, accepted and happy, then we can build it together.

Sincerely,

Allen Ginsberg

In Howl, Allen Ginsberg is an angry, strong and proud man. But inwardly, he is also feeling misunderstood, afraid, desperate and insecure. He is screaming out in Howl for someone to understand what life as an outcast is like and he is looking for someone to accept him. Allen Ginsberg is writing to his friend Walt Whitman because they both share similar ideas on sexuality. Ginsberg is desperate to feel the harmony with others that Whitman feels.

Allen Ginsberg is misunderstood, afraid and insecure because of his alienation by society. He attempted to be part of the society by getting involved in the institution of higher education. He was out casted because they misunderstood his poetry. They found it obscene, instead of beautiful. “Who were expelled from the academies for crazy and publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull.” (Ginsberg line 7)

He is angry his friends going insane and people thinking they are insane. He also has a fear of being insane, being considered insane or going insane himself. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” (Ginsberg line 1) He doesn’t understand why some people get to define what is acceptable for other people and wants outcasts to fight back.  “I’m with you in Rockland, where you accuse your doctors of insanity.” (Ginsberg line 106)

Allen Ginsberg is afraid that he will continue to suffer all his life. That life is nothing but suffering for those that just don’t fit in. “Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!” (Ginsberg line 80) He is desperate for some kind of escape for his alienation and craves acceptance, but feels he will never receive it  “Visions! Omens! Hallucinations! Miracles! Ecstasies! Gone down the American River!”  (Ginsberg line 90) Ginsberg is sad and angry because he had friends that have committed or attempted suicide. His friends were just as misunderstood and insecure as he is, which makes him fearful and desperate to not end up like them.  “Who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully…. who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge” (Ginsberg line 53)

Allen Ginsberg is desperate for acceptance by others. He wants to feel like its okay to feel his feelings and want his desires. Mainstream society considers drugs and homosexuality to have negative impacts on individuals and society as a whole, but Ginsberg does not. “Purgatoried their torsos night after night with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls.” (Ginsberg line 10) He is outspoken and proud of his sexuality, but he is still insecure and fearful of punishment at the same time.  Mainstream society depicts anal sex as painful and dirty, but Ginsberg rejects that idea and believes it to be pleasurable. “Who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy.”  (Ginsberg line 35) Others would have written screamed in pain, instead of joy.

Howl is one long angry desperate cry for love, acceptance, and confirmation that everything will be fine.  The letter and poem share themes of sexuality, pleasure, desire, nonconformity and alienation. The poem is free verse. It is a continuous thought about many different fears and grievances.  The letter is similar because it’s a casual letter of connected thoughts.  The language in the letter is direct without being too sexual because Allen Ginsberg is blunt about sexuality, but Walt Whitman use metaphors. Ginsberg feels alienated and is desperate to feel the harmony with the universe that Whitman feels.

Alienation

An acceptable physical appearance and ability to communicate is needed in order to be accepted by society.  The hunger artist in “A Hunger Artist” and Io in Ovid’s Metamorphoses both share the feeling of being alienated by society because of their physical appearance and their inability to express themselves and communicate effectively; Io adapt herself, but the hunger artist didn’t.

Both Io and the Hunger Artist’s physical appearance caused them to rejected from society.  The hunger artist’s physical appearance was diminished by his fasting and caused some people to avoid his performance.  “Fasting that had brought him to such skeleton thinness that many people had to regretfully keep away from his exhibitions because the sight of him was too much for him.” (Kafka 2) The hunger artist responded at first by enjoying the audiences’ shock, but then became indifferent. “Stretching an arm through the bars so that one might feel how thin it was and then again withdrawing deep into himself, paying no attention to any one.” (Kafka 1)  Io was physically transformed from a nymph into a heifer causing her to loose her physical identity, making her unrecognizable to her family. “Reflected in the stream, her jaws and horns, she fled in panic. None of her sisters knew her, And Inachus, her father did not know her.” (Ovid 23). Instead of isolating herself as the hunger artist did, Io stayed around her family in hopes that they would one day recognize her. “ But following them, she let them pet and praise her.” (Ovid 23)

When Io is turned into a heifer, she loses the ability too communicate and express herself effectively and needs to learn to adapt in order to reconnected with society. The ways she was used to communicating were no longer possible in her transformed body. “When she wanted to reach towards Argus her imploring arms, she had no arms to reach with; when she tried to plead, she only lowed and her own voice filled her with terror.” (Ovid 22) After some time, Io realized that   she couldn’t use verbal or body language to express herself, but could still use written text to communicate.  The act of writing is how Io revealed herself to her father.  “If she could talk, she would ask for help…all she could do was furrow the dust with one forefoot, and make an I and then an O beside it, spelling her name.” (Ovid 23) In the end, her ability to adapt her way of communicating lead to Juno returning her to her original physical state, allowing her to better express herself again. “Juno was appeased. Io became what she once was. And little by little gains back the use of Language.” (Ovid 25,26)

In “The Hunger Artist”, the hunger artist’s inability to communicate and express himself caused him to alienated and misunderstood by others. The hunger artist wants to fast for as long as he possibly can and set a world record.  But, the man he works for will only allow him to fast for forty days for business reasons. The hunger artist does not outwardly express his discontent with the time limit.  “The longest period of fasting was fixed by his impresario at forty days…at this very moment the artist always turned stubborn…Why stop fasting at this particular moment, after forty days of it?” (Kafka 2) The audience would accept his stubbornness and troubled spirit as a side effect of his fasting, which caused him to feel more troubled. The hunger artist believed his troubled spirit was caused by the misunderstanding of his fasting, but never used language to express himself. He would shake the bar of his cage when upset, but his behavior was excused and explained incorrectly by his impresario. “He would apologize publicly for the artist’s behavior…because of the irritability caused by fasting.” (Kafka 3) The hunger artist viewed these statements as “perversion of the truth.” He didn’t express himself because he found it to be futile. “To fight against this lack of understanding was impossible…Just try to explain to any one the art of fasting! Anyone who has no feeling for it cannot be made to understand it.” (Kafka 3,4) Unlike Io, the hunger artist felt so alienated by society that he didn’t believe it was possible to reconnect with society. He did have a final attempt during his death, but it was too late for him.  “I couldn’t find food I like. If I had found it, I should have made no fuss…These were his last words.” (Kafka 5) These words were lost on the insensitive overseers. They buried his body and replaced him with a panther. His last words failed to connected with the overseers because the hunger artist didn’t express himself completely honestly. He didn’t   mean it when he claimed to    he would of stopped if he found food he liked because  “his dimming eyes remained the firm though no longer proud persuasion that he was still continuing to fast,” even in death.  (Kafka 5)

The main difference between Io and the hungry artist alienation is that Io believed it was possible to reconnect to society and the hunger artist believed it to be impossible.  Io had her desire to be part of her family again as motivation to adapt to her situation and find a way to express her true self. The hunger artist had no motivation to reconnect with society until his death because his alienation caused him to feel hopeless and belief that no one would ever understand him.

Io’s and the hunger artist’s physical appearance and their inability to express themselves and communicate effectively caused them both the feeling of alienation from society.  Io was able to adapt herself, but the hunger artist was not.