Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rylie Carter Final Piece

Rylie Carter
Word Count: 5,148


The essence of the idea of quantity being of greater importance than quality in writing is against everything I have ever learned in any class I have ever taken. To stretch out a thought that would sound better as a single sentence into an entire paragraph full of bloated nothingness seems disgusting to my English major brain. That is something best left to those beings who care little about the language as long as the feeling is conveyed. I am not about feelings; I am concerned with perfection, beauty, condension (ha! I invented a term), language, intelligence; I do not exist. Enstrangement is just adding strange to enment. Strange is easily inserted in most everything. We do not consider ourselves to be strange most of the time and most of the people. Anything out-of-the-ordinary is strange. What is ordinary? What is strange? What is relative? Insert an Eskimo into a perfectly ordinary room full of perfectly ordinary people in a perfectly ordinary city on a perfectly ordinary day and the scene turns into a slightly enstranged room full of confused people in a perfectly ordinary city on a perfectly ordinary day. However, if the Eskimo, while wearing a necklace made from his own toes, fell up through the floor out of rat mine into the room full of perfectly ordinary people, the scene changes again. Now we have a broken room situated over a gravity-defying rat mine, a group of frightened floating people, a city that may or may not have just imploded, and the whole day just flew from ordinary to strange. Is that strange enough? Since it was composed of sentences, words, punctuation, mostly real items, does that take away a level of strangeness? Does it always have to be incomprehensible to be counted as strange? Did I just write a story? a narrative? a poem? all three?

There is poetry in common language. More than that, there is poetry in everyday life. It needs not be in the form of words. Language is a common connection between the lives of people, so it is the easiest way to give an idea to someone. There is no exact definition that fits all types of poetry. Poetry is comedy. Comedy teaches us how to endure. It increases our elasticity of being. Elasticity of being is to be elastic in the face of pain, suffering, and sadness…to get back up when a boulder falls on you and laugh it off. It helps us to practice detachment or at least equanimity. It all has to do with dealing with suffering. What do we do with all this suffering we endure all the time? That’s what comedy teaches. It shows people getting over their pain. Pain without suffering attached to it—that’s comedy. Comedy cuts right to the core, it says, let’s start here. This is a comic poem but it’s not funny. It fails. Comedy teaches us to be happy. The Elizabethan notion of the great chain of being includes a giant chain dangling from heaven. The top is God, the bottom is matter, only they didn’t have viruses in that time so it was probably like slugs or something slimy like that. People are halfway between spirit and flesh, making us capable of both good and evil. In comedy it is funny when someone is raised or lowered on the chain. We laugh when we feel superior to the clown.

Poetry sometimes only makes sense to its writer. Anyone else can read a variety of meanings into a line that came from a particular mindset and situation. My finished submission is centered on inside jokes because they were enjoyable to me to write and remember. The world is welcome to peek in and see my private lines, but they could never know the original meaning. It may sound profound, but we were only talking about ice cream. Poetry fulfills many purposes in life, not all of them practical. To ask for only the practical seems to diminish the value of poetry itself. There is little practicality in sharing a dream about a birthday party of midgets with a poetry class, but it makes people laugh…that’s the practicality in it. People need to laugh. Poetry is an expression of emotion and allows for experience of emotion in the reader, hearer, though it may not always be the same emotion for every experiencer. Still, there does not need to be a lack of intelligence. Poetry seems pointless in a heap of words indistinguishable from gibberish. Different people, different meanings, but I can’t enjoy a glob of mixed words like mixed nuts on a page. I like being forced to think through a poem to find the subtleties of meaning and beauty, not forcing myself to get to the end without ever being able to make sense of the mess. It can have fun language or an extravagant vocabulary and still be interesting to puzzle through. I hope to have succeeded in displaying none or very few of the traits that I find unacceptable in other poetry in my poetry. Quantity is hard to write with dictated formulas to follow, but it is even more difficult to move away from my pillow of quality into a mountain of loose ideas.


I try not to take myself too seriously, but sometimes it just happens.
What is the longest poem you've ever written? I can tell you why I hate it. It has to be slightly related in a random way. All poetry is structured. *Insert routine speech here* Maybe it's better to not know the answer to that question.
Nonsensical is my favorite word. I smile every time I hear it.
As I sit in the library I try to begin the 1, 250 words of poetry, but Facebook gets in the way, then the trees start blowing and catch my attention. They remind me that I should be outside right now because there is literally not a cloud in the sky and the sun would color my extra pale skin. You could start off with "How, now, brown, cow..." that line always brings some tears.
Poetry isn't so bad as long as there are beautiful words. Rhyming, meter, stanzas, verses: they don't matter as long as there are beautiful words. (nonsensical is a beautiful word)
But on the plus side. Oh! That's fantastic! I am really surprised. And that's really strange, I think. He wanted the whole thing. He speaks so well. It's got everything. You can kinda see that in this. All of it is legitimate.
That's weird. Like radical positivity. That's really trippy. This is the first time somebody put an onomatopoeiatic uttering of a goose in a poem. To be like kissy kissy it blows the fuse. Like flowy.
Affect style is emotion. No fear, love what is, the truth, fondness, don't be overly cautious, equanimity, calm, not angry, generosity, affection, praise, faith, helpiness (is that a word?), positive, composed, not discouraged.
With Song of Myself Whitman praises the things that have been overlooked by other poets. He brings poetry and beauty down from esteem and into the dirt and grime of humanity. He does not place himself above the readers, instead touches their private worlds. Why the recurring grass theme?
I need you. As much as I hate crying in front of you, it's much worse when I can't soak your shoulder in my tears. There's nobody else that I can talk to about anything more consequential than the menu for the next meal. Sometimes even that conversation starts an argument.
It's nonsensical.
Libraries are some of the most comforting places in the world. Very few other locales offer a guarantee of peaceful thoughts. The smell of old books makes me want to sleep curled up in the center of a king-sized water bed.
Can text messages be poetry?
You're like almost famous now. Can I have your autograph? Only if I can sign your face. YES!
Aghhhhh, denim!
Hey, it's me cameron from far off in Ohio. I really need to hear God's direction.
My ride home was awesome. God lead me in a direction that I hadn't even thought about. I will tell you all about it soon.
Sweet dreams, lover.
Aw, even though I missed your text by hours, and you are probably asleep by now, I <3 you.
In a ditch. Filthy and freezing, but out. Phew!
Erm, oops! Cursed phones. I am sorry.
Don't worry I actually miss you already. You give really good hugs. I miss you I need a hug and if I woke you im sorry.
I've read two whole books today and still my thoughts return to you.
Have a happy day! Keep working until the end. Don't give up. Your perseverance will always be rewarded. Go change the world!
Could you at least try to grow up a little? It's not funny. It never was. I cried that night in the park.
Praying for you. Wishing you were here. Hoping you have a good first day.
Thinking about you makes me smile; I smile a lot.
I just saw a guy riding a unicycle to class uphill with a backpack!
Your sister said I am officially your date to her wedding. I was a little scared.
Why does every word he says still torment me now, two years afterward? I cried enough then. The tears reserved for him should be long dried up. After all, he never shed one. But still he insists that he was never wrong and owes me nothing unless I will pay the ultimate price to get back what was always mine.

I was just pretending to be a hyper-sensitive snail.

Just yeah, how life moves on. Everyone is equal when they die. Even death has its own part in fate. Embrace all the good and bad. There's nothing you can do when death is gonna be there anyway. He's giving you a light at the end of the tunnel.
What's an example of that bluntness? At least you'll die, and your whole family will die. I mean, that's comforting in a way.
Cause it's true: the face is a lifeboat.
We've made our share of flubs. He is a joyful salesman for a bullfrog company.
But, I mean, he's obviously not talking about Santa Clause. It's a confusion of pronouns, but I think it might be intentional.

Remember, the baby gets his warm frog juice around 6:00.
Throw the woodchucks on the fire and listen to them squeal.
Let's play a game of touch lower-intestine ball.
Old MacDonald had a machine gun.
Fill your eyelids with fresh puppies.

Spinning people fill the room, needing more than now, than later.
Heavy breath, floating away with thoughts.
Music floating in front of my eyes, softly, softly.

I find that I have to read poetry aloud to get anything out of it at all. I suppose I can understand why the librarians would dislike my habits.
Rush Limbaugh Sean Hannity
I have pain in my upper Mole People.
Is the other button that looks like this button an eject button for this one?
Legs, legs, legs, I hate my wart.
Ahhhh where's the toaster?!
But you're not capable of being weird...chihuahuas chew on the naked Barbies littering my couch.
That all gets instilled in the child and he grows up blah blah blah. He was like blah blah blah America. But now it smells like smoke instead of cheap perfume.

Here yet? Not me, but yes.

At 7am there is too much time in the day. By 5 there is too little.
Poetry is more than a function of language.
He's saying things in here that are precisely false.
A barrel full of angry hedgehogs. Rainbow cheesecake tornado.
Did you get green, or tea?
For every sentence, I eat a black olive of yours.

Dear Sir or hostage,
I have a long screwdriver for a reason; now I know. I swatted him down and swiped him off.
I like pickles! Indeed
Feet moving in front of my eyes.
People with smelly hair must wear bathing mushrooms.
I mean a bonfire, not a house burning fire. In ninety days I will be a new man; he's gonna look a lot the same. Tonight we'll be talking about consistent. That's what I'm all about, dude. If it wasn't possible to stand talking in parking lots I don't know if I'd survive. Becca has a hiccup.

I'm all for shanking people. I shank all the time and sometimes I rhyme while I'm shanking in due time.
Why would you chew on somebody else's pen?
You throw the egg in the microwave until it explodes and then you just lap it up...slurp.
I sure liked those kids when I was a movie.

Whispers heard by no one.

It's a lot about equality. There's a flower coming on to a guy at a gate. And this is where he gets really angry at the auctioneer. For your information I broke my cuticles surfing.

I walk through life hiding behind tortoise shell frames
world is tinted grey today
amber tomorrow, yesterday
it's safe when nobody sees
I don't know what would happen
I ventured out
colors are less clear
sky might be blue today
I could free my sight
I take in the space around me
people rushing by
never noticing my silent form
I always know the answers
anyone asks the questions
I avoid them anyway
I am alone.

Eww, meatloaf cupcake.
I'd lose my head if it wasn't screwed on to my head, what?
A tie with a polo? That's against the law!
Green toenails, flip flop scars, brown flowery dress.
I think she had a cousin named Lula Bell. Homework is harder the second time around.

They de-skunkitize them. They take the stinker out.
I thought my sister was a raccoon and I tried to kill her after I petted her head with my toes. I don't know how her head ended up at the foot of my bed.

As a Christian and as an English major, I am offended and disgusted by the use of swear words in place of intelligent conversation. I have never spoken a word worse than "crap" and I do not find it difficult to keep up a stream of conversation without such vile utterances. Speech needs not to be impure. Students in the English major are as susceptible as any, and I find that fact to be quite saddening. We lose the beauty of the language when f&@# is used as every part of speech to the detriment of all other words. If it cannot be completely removed from everyday discourse, at least we need to widen our vocabulary. There are much better four-letter words. I shall end my rant with a brief list of examples:

Roberto Harrison Magnetic Aisles
A perfect, but disconnected husband finds a path away from his monotonous life. "i" is the wife trying to bring him back when his addiction becomes suicidal. She wants him to know that she will always be there and she has always known. He doesn't have to pretend. It's a sad love story written to be interpreted in many ways.

John Keats "negative capability" what you're making at the moment makes no sense. To thrive in the lack of the predictable. Enjoy the not knowing. (Good, because I have no idea what's going on.) If you try to explain "the" to Polish people it takes 19 pages.
It's so confusing. Putting aside how monotonous the whole book was to me. I don't really get it, but that's okay. I think I've seen monkeys out of the corner of my eye sometimes. Does he mean he's going to collect a few iguanas for his lettuce patch? How is that insulting, it's just weird. And which cheeks is he talking about?
I am the hound of a smell with no hair for the count.
Pyramis and Thisbe
It's not like you have to grow a new arm or anything. Cause there are people who eat babies. We re-program their brains.
I am not like an ear that rains tigers in soup
or Cheeto dust in the corner of the sky.
A curtain rod is a mechanism, not an animal.

The rain is ice on the soles of my feet, making me recognize the distance.
The lava turns unexpectedly soft as it offers relief from the walk.
Hours go by in the waiting for pain.
It comes when my feet turn to pine cones.
(If I were to explain those four lines they would make perfect sense. Maybe that's what would happen with Harrison's work. Maybe it comes from personal experience and he's just really creative about telling stories.)

Bricks and koalas. The Jablonskis now have bees. Thomas already got stung. A panda landed on my chocolate. Run, nacho, run! I'm a cheater. Haha. Gazebo is the best word in the English language (according to Travis). It must be due to his experiences with the gazebo at church camp. I dreamed we had three kids. I'm not sure how they ended up blonde when the parents are a brunette and a redhead. Then I dreamed that I got Peter Furler's signature tattooed onto my back where he signed my skin.

This, is the silent end (913)
Of Expectation--also-- (499)
Of the Ones that pursued it (1344)
In Their Eternal Faces (757)
Were I with thee (249)
So stately they ascend (700)
Upon Enchanted Ground (1118)

There is another Loneliness (1116)
Within the Clutch of Thought (532)
Had it for me a Morn (323)
Parting with Thee reluctantly (1614)
Then Loneliness--looks so-- (590)
Pathetic from the Grass (1068)
And should sound--to me-- (227)
When men and women hear (1724)
Anecdotes of air in Dungeons (119)

I'm old enough, today, I'm certain--then-- (296)
Sweeter than a vanished frolic (65)
To re-endure a Day (660)
Remember it can cease (1196)

An honest Tear (1192)
Wrung me--with Anguish-- (497)
Her tongue more tender than the tune (1722)
Than Life's sweet Calculations (735)
'Tis customary as we part (440)
Amid no bells nor bravoes (93)
The wave with eye so pensive, looketh to see the moon, (1)
And just as tenderly (164)
Cannot resist (1344)
A merciful Mirage (859)
To witness her Goodbye (119)

How lonesome the Wind must feel Nights-- (1418)
When Winds take Forests in their Paws (315)
Two Dawns upon a single morn (1610)
The Moon upon her fluent Route (1528)
When sunrise through a fissure drop (858)
The Grass so little has to do (333)
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear-- (130)
To be a Flower, is profound (1058)
Lest Gratitude revive the snake (1500)
The first--a Gnat's Horizon (372)
At night's delicious close (1764)
Globe Roses--break their satin flake-- (339)
South Winds jostle them-- (86)
The unsuspecting Trees (41)
And rumbles still, though torrid Noons (1581)
Departed with the Torment (1196)

Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see (1)
Embarrassment of one another (662)
Turn on Me--when I fail--or feign, (722)
I am alive--because (470)
I was regarded then (1560)
And then I looked at Them (542)
Too tender, to be told. (1065)

Brave--shines the sun through the freckled pane-- (187)
And every Breeze that run along (1374)
Afar upon the Wind (774)
Unconsciousness of Perfectness (1002)
Even Nature herself (1344)
At Morning, in a Truffled Hut (1298)
Forever--is composed of Nows-- (624)
A Light exists in Spring (812)
I am ashamed--I hide-- (473)
On such a dawn, or such a dawn-- (146)
Within its reach, though yet ungrasped (1430)

Take all away from me, but leave me Ecstasy, (1640)
Too happy Time dissolves itself (1774)
The Lily passes sure-- (392)
He traverses--familiar-- (371)
upon a festal day, (56)
This was the road (9)
In her imperial round (58)

Tell Him--I only said the Syntax-- (494)
To interrupt His Yellow Plan (591)
Because that Death is final, (1260)
Majestic is to me beyond (1691)
The earth has many keys. (1775)

Christ--stooped until He touched the Grave-- (833)
Said Passion, through contracting Breaths (1033)
Except for Angels--lone. (154)
Ourselves are conscious He exist-- (630)
Ambition cannot find him. (68)
Nor can you tell me-- (65)
This was but a story-- (39)
In Villages remotely set (1202)
And an entire universe (1198)
For Evidence it be the Grace-- (968)
The Grace that I--was chose-- (356)
One Life of so much Consequence! (270)
Say, Jesus Christ of Nazareth-- (502)
Is this--the way? (1072)

Nature and God--I neither knew (835)
I touched the Universe-- (378)
A little Snow was here and there (1444)
White as Indian Pipe (1250)
I know a place where Summer strives (337)
The Ocean's Heart too smooth--too blue-- (723)
Not so arrogant--this Noon-- (758)
Her Providence--the Sun-- (380)
Comes up to face the skies, (1718)
The Sunset stopped on Cottages (950)
Beauty is nature's fact (1775)
Her final Summer was it-- (795)
God made no act without a cause, (1163)
This World is not Conclusion. (501)

To Lorine:

People should know (80)
I'd like to mow. (96)
and give you lettuce (141)
and that's the way I was raised (117)
And where are we all from here. (38)

often one takes his madness (25)
if he has the feeling-- (140)
before he could sleep. (125)
Sleep and it won't matter. (119)

I love you despite the coconut on your tie. (78)
I'll wait, he said, (160)
Sweet Life, My love: (200)
She bore a child (213)
but she could not (224)
Love the night, love the night (127)
How slippery is man (185)
You are the man (283)
longingly immense (240)
under wild flowers sons (210)
After all, ecstasy (202)
slowly (295)
in a bathtub (255)
I knew a clean man (208)
I learned (194)
while he sat in the rain. (176)

What cause have you (240)
to take (266)
Last night (293)
beyond my life (273)
This morning (217)
gives sight (195)
Energy glows at the lips-- (162)
Lonely woman, not prompted (115)
If you stay at home (90)
One translucent morning (37)
Now go to the party, (152)
on one leg in the weeds. (196)

These were my passions: (281)
Life (224)
to an enchanting (276)
past dead (164)
It must be fun (85)
to go to war (102)
I've spent my life in nothing. (148)
These may survive (253)

A thousand turtle monsters (297)
wrote letters that John (286)
in creation here (248)
ten dead ducks' feathers (173)
beside the river--out of flood (169)
and the air was loaded (130)
of the ground that takes you away. (100)

those glimmering talks (225)
the plumed flamingo (193)
shoe string side burns (152)
Gather all the old, rip and sew (102)
the trouble (52)
on my little river (153)
Blue and white (286)
at no bird dawn-- (228)
moved a little quicker (299)
that's gone (160)

Lost in Translation

Emily Dickinson Poem #733 translated

Known as the soul of the ears
We hear
When we check.
Here is recognition.

Other services such as voice,
Ear hanging down
Including the palace, out
The rest have heard about

This poem was unintelligible to me in its original form.
Through translation it becomes even less understandable.
That's okay though, there are many things I don't understand:
God (but am I really supposed to understand?)
Song Lyrics (poetry I can interpret (usually) but songs baffle me)
College Kids (not to be confused with responsible adults) who (or whose parents) pay more money than I've made in the last four years, yet they do no work for the classes (and rarely show up)
Physics (why would a balloon fly to the back of a car when I slam on the brakes?)
Love (but it doesn't really matter; I can enjoy it without understanding why I do)
Apathy (again, a trait that I often show)
The Attitude of Old People (I don't want to live to be ninety-five and see everybody I've ever known die)

Lorine Niedecker page 245 translated

Neu Year's Day
in the vicinity of trees
My father left plant hours
the uniform

This poem did not quite make the transition back to English from Galician.
There is always a problem going from one mindset to another.
I took the pants off the frog because I didn't have any others. You took the pants off the frog? Yes, I took the pants off the frog.

Emily Dickinson Poem # 450 translated

Dreams of a good, but better than Wake
If you wake up one morning and
If one of the best to wake up at night
I dream of dawn

Dream Sequence:
In the middle of the night I awoke to an earthquake. My bed was shaking rhythmically. When I opened my bad eyes I saw a small creature at the foot of my bed. My glasses showed me Twix the bunny jumping from mattress to floor to mattress to floor to mattress to floor.
I dreamed a party of midgets. I was nude but nobody noticed.
We had three adorable blond children. The only problem is I'm a brunette and he's a redhead.
We tried taking a train to Chicago, but it left without us so we went back to my house. We sneaked upstairs, planning to hide out in my room, but my parents had rented it out in the hour we had been gone.
I tried to walk through dignified, but I never found my pants.
Clap, clap, clap, I'll eat your face.

The verbal poetry of G.G.
It's like a worm is a dirt licker and a fish is a water licker. What's under your uvula? Have you ever seen a lemur? That's like what a boyfriend would say. He's unlacing monsters? Is he not talking to a pastry now, after invoking the apocalypse? And now he's gonna boo the sun. He boos the sun. Jeepers, he's talking about a horse, right? He finds ugly on page thirty. Let's imagine a queen that's like drooling big time and she also has leprosy, so, like her arm is gone and her ear is falling off. I think of a dollop of feces. Do feces rot? I've never heard feces clink.

Lorine Niedecker page 142 translated

The first bomb snow,
Color the Christmas tree lights
Window, only the light of meditation

Somehow "along this road" became "The"
Poetry that has significance in one culture, one language does not necessarily have any intelligible meaning in another. While an English poem induces memories, feelings, intellect for us, in translation the emotion and connection is frazzled, becoming unclear and dim. There is a great use for poetry in society, but it needs to be understood.

I don’t want things…I want people ideas emotions feelings intelligence sights sounds experiences. Gifts are a feeble expression of love to unimaginative people who don’t really care enough to find out what is really wanted. Don’t ask me what I want. I don’t know. Find out with me.

Xylophone lemurs love to dance aimlessly around nuclear warheads.
You know how grocery carts are like cheese graters?

I would suggest watching the old lady dancing in the field, but that’s probably not what you want to do.
The invisible jackal resides in my favorite parking space.

You and I were driving home. You were driving and you were fat. You saw a tornado and it picked up our car. You made us run to a cornfield and tie our feet with cornstalks to cornstalks. You and I survived to run home. You stood by watching as the house leaped onto my toe. You watched the news but there were never any tornados.

When was the last time you parallel parked? We tried it today. Would you pull in forward or back in from ahead? I would rather park four blocks away and walk in embarrassment than parallel park in front of the building.

I see him everywhere; everywhere he should have been. And I raise my hand to wave before I remember. Nick, what hurt so bad? Before I remember his empty face. The face that held the bullet and wouldn’t let go. Nick, was there something I could have done? He let go and left the world. The world that was so selfish. Nick, why didn’t you pick me instead?

I wouldn’t say I have a large vocabulary. I’d say it was a different vocabulary. I grew up on Dickens; you grew up on Doug.

I also want to punch his face right in the face.

Lost for words
Overwhelmed by sensation
Reaching for radiating love
Vaguely recalling missed opportunities
Sorrow expires before it can materialize
Life is rewarded
Light softly blinding
Freed from oppression
By beautiful mercy
Silence growing stronger
Enraptured by majesty
Everything is new
Wonderfully alive
Unknown miracles transpire all around
Tangible emotion
The scent of raining love
The taste of pure joy
Audible peace
The sight of real passion
The touch of flawless faith
Unimaginable perfection
In an instant

Go past the first two towns.
Turn left at the 4-way stop sign.
Continue for about 12 miles until you hit my town (please don't hit my town, you'd die).
After the curve, stay in the left lane all the way through until you have to turn left.
Turn left.
At the stoplight turn right.
Go over railroad tracks. (look both ways)
Stop at the stop sign.
Go straight until you see a church on the edge of town.
Turn right into the parking lot.
Park (don't smash into anything).
Watch out for ice as you're walking to the door.
You have now arrived in Bethlehem.
Enjoy your journey.

I came the closest ever to dying tonight. It was scary. I screamed. Have a nice night.

Be careful with that boy! Hold strong to your convictions!

After seeing you for three days straight it will be hard to not see you for two. What happens now? Thursdays won’t be the same without you if you don’t go. I’m not sure that I could be there with those people if you aren’t with me. I lean on you too much.

I love school and learning but I simply can’t figure out what to do for the rest of my life. This semester went by so fast and I haven’t decided what the rest will look like yet. It has been a crazy week. Really really really really crazy.

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