Reader’s Regret ⎜On Reading When It’s Right For You

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I’ve been thinking a lot about when we read books. It has been said that we come to the books we read when we need them most. I’ve been going through my shelves lately, and I kept thinking, I bought this when I was a teenager, why didn’t I read this then? Why didn’t I read this then? How would my life be different? What complex emotions would I have derived from this experience at that time?

Reader’s regret?

I have to stop myself from giving into that feeling, except as a motivator to keep reading as voraciously as possible. Or, as much as I can. My eyes hate day-reading, so I end up staying up really late to read. It makes no sense; but I think years of libraries have, in fact, ruined daytime for me. So I will use this feeling to spur on better reading habits, but I won’t let it define me or make me feel bad for *past me* not knowing or empathizing or understanding those emotions and feelings the author presents or limits.

I remind myself that those books are still open to me, and, in fact, because I understand language and its nuance more than I did before, those words will take me to places into which I had, previously, been unable to tap. Booktubers often do a year-end wrap-up video about ‘Books that Made Me’. It applies to my reader’s regret. All of the books that I have read, thus far, inform how and what I read in the future. I may pick up a book that I bought when I was a teen, probably a little inappropriately (some of the books I bought were quite mature), and read and enjoy.

For example, I can’t quite remember how old I was, but Costo sold some of Ophah’s Bookclub Books. My mom bought me A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. I have only read one of the three, so far, and I only read A Tree in 2013. I do plan on reading the other two, but not just yet. East of Eden seems like a summer novel—and Canadian summers can get sultry—so maybe this summer. Additionally, I think my reading was informed more by Canada’s links to the UK and slight idolatry of UK literature over American literature, so that also informed my reluctance to tackle American lit. (Sorry guys…but I’ll get there). The reason I haven’t picked up Solitude, is mostly that other people have said a lot of “it was a long book”…so peer-pressure!!

A Bit of Fry and Laurie / tumblr

***

Back on point, I was an avid reader as a child, so I read other books instead of these. I think they were also a little too mature for my preteen or early-teen self. I think the language and nuance would have been a little lost compared to my reading them now. I read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men when I was in my early teens, and I did love it a lot. But, I had many other book to read and re-read. When I was younger, I definitely had an immortality complex when it came to books. I had/have all the time in the world to read. So, I read what I wanted and what I chose. I re-read books many time. I have re-read The Hobbit more times than I can count. Indeed, I read it so many times when I was so young, that it is a “gospel truth” to me. I don’t doubt the existence of hobbits. You all need to stop being such noisy walkers!!

Indeed, I read other books. I didn’t read some of the ones I was bought or took out from the library. I snuck books that belonged to my mom or sister. The books that I read then, have read since, and am reading inform what and how I read. I read Betty Smith’s book in the spring of 2013. I read it, and I saw myself so firmly in the character of Francie. Our childhoods were quite a bit different because I belonged to the sort of middling classes of a privileged country. Yet, I learned and could empathize and connect with the main character because of our mutual love of books and language, our desire to learn in spite of the expense of school, and our desire to share language with others. When I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I fell in love. I recommended it to everyone. I underlined passages and shared them on twitter. I would send photos via text of underlined pages. Pages upon pages, I underlined with love. Margins scribbled in a book that was warped from the final pressure my hands, heart, mind, and eyes exerted upon the covers and spine of this precious book. I loved it so much then and there and now, that I don’t regret that I didn’t read it when I was younger because I wanted to tell the world how much I read or how sophisticated my tastes were. I regret not reading it when I was younger because it was such a pleasure and I wish I had always known that feeling.

But, I remind myself, you did and do. I remind myself of reading The Hobbit and Harry Potter and picture books with my mum. I remind myself of dragging Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland around with me everywhere and not reading it. Sometimes we read books and sometimes we don’t, but books are our most exciting and powerful resources. Wielding a book means power. If you are reading right it is not a tyrannical power, but a power to engage and develop empathy. It gives us the power to engage with the creativity or frustration of the author.

IT Crowd / tumblr

I read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale the summer before I turned 14. I may not have really understood the stake of Atwood’s story: feminism, patriarchal structures of oppression, &c., but reading it exposed me to that language. I was exposed in a way that I had not been before. I may not have understood feminism from one book, but I was being equipped with the language to be able to understand. I read Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai in school, whilst gay marriage and homosexuality were being discussed distantly in the news or by our elders, this book provided a moment to engage personally and critically (literary not judgementally) with, for me and my peers, a new language: sexuality.

On a brief side note, this is why the internet is so important. It makes these types of knowledges so accessible. I read about these ideas through literature and later through various philosophers etc., but the internet allows young people to engage in discussions of feminism and LGBTQ+. Of course, there will always be trolls and havoc-causers, but I do think the internet has opened a space where language can instantaneously permeate through otherwise impervious spaces. The language of acceptance becomes normalized. But keep reading, young ones, it’s the stuff of life.

So, friends, I wish that I had always been capable of reading the way I do now. I wish that, at the age of fifteen, I could have picked up a book and seen through ideology. I saw the things I saw, even if I was still learning. I’ve read and listened; I’ve worked hard to read the way I do. It was never a chore, except sometimes. I wish I could see the nuance I do now. But, “we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” I hope that I am able to look back, in ten- or twenty-years time, and say, I wish I understood these (new) things back then, too.

The Great Gatsby / giphy

Heaps of Love,
Word Play Xx

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A Not-So Valentine’s Day Post

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I’ve been trying to think, all week, about an appropriate Valentine’s Day Post. I’ve been largely unsuccessful. I wanted to write about the love in the book I’m reading. For goodness’s sake, the ‘girl’ is called Valentine! But I love the book too much to have it fit in with a themed post. I want to unravel this book more intimately, if you will. Perhaps, I am delegitimizing the opportunity for love and true caring that is meant to surround Valentine’s Day, but this book is pretty rad. I am looking forward to ruminating on the text even further. I’ve read the first book of four, Some Do Not…(by Ford Madox Ford), and I feel so in love with the text and its meaning. Valentine struggles against being a (first-wave) feminist and the realities of the Edwardian society in which she lives. For all her innocence, society has painted her as a mistress, unkept by her lover. And whilst I think we should always be wary about making anyone sexually-innocent or not, I think those societal pressures are there, so it is valid that she struggles with it. Additionally, she is quite thoughtful about the whole situation. The man she loves, and who does love her, is married and heading off to war. He may not return. Some Do Not…

I hadn’t meant to talk about the book, and look what I did! It just happens. I think when a book is that momentous, you just want to share it with everyone. I find that I am always slightly ashamed over books that have a theme of love. This text isn’t quite just that. It’s far more complicated. My GoodReads review reads as follows:

I want to rant and rave. I want everyone to know of its genius. The way the novel envelops you; reminds you of your own love. The novel cleverly creates an empathetic reader, and we want the rose-red days of love to live on forever. Tietjens is a man of great intellect, and his knowledge translates into a great criticism of Edwardian England. Richly engaged and tied to every corner of the world, England seems isolated, but this text reminds the reader the far-reaches of England’s Empire and the biting nature of a gossip-ready bureaucratic class.

Read this novel and fall in love. Fall in love and recall it’s intricacies.

From my review, it should be clear that the novel contains a lot more than just romance. And, I am going to take a little moment to censure my last sentence and my shame. I do not think that we should judge a reader, writer, or novel based on the inclusion of love and romance. Love always surrounds us. Just like Christmas:

So why do I, and others, think that books which contain romance, love, or social affairs are somehow bad or less worthy of our time? Isn’t it these kinds of books that teach us how to empathise and connect with others? Aren’t there so many internet posts about social awkwardness? I am not saying reading romance novels is going to solve these issues; I wouldn’t characterise Ford Madox Ford’s novel as a romance novel. I just think that we/I should stop shaming ourselves for liking the emotional gratification that comes with these reads.

I guess I am just trying to say that, whatever your jazz is, just enjoy it. It wouldn’t be right for me to judge someone who reads a book that I find flakey or lightweight. I’ve read YA, and I think that, whilst they don’t always contain the best of grammar or plot-lines, they do contain something current and instantly meaningful to the reader. It’s like this…you may know something really well, but sometimes someone rephrases or frames an idea in a way you never considered, and that moment of recognition is the same space in which your brain grew a little wiser. To end with an example, Ford’s novel reframed WWI in a way I hadn’t before considered. The protagonist is extremely clever and really only likeable to few people, but his cleverness presents a new way for me to think about things. His politics, though not always overt, offer me an opportunity to see the difficulties of Toryism, Whiggism, and early feminism in England.

Just read something that makes your heart swoon this Valentine’s Day. If you’ve done that. If you’ve found the book that makes your heart race, your blood rush through your veins, and your brain quiver with beautiful words…you’ve lived and you’ve loved.

Heaps of love,

Xx

P.S I think I might read Barbara Pym’s Some Tame Gazelle now…

Pensives from a Smart Doggy

Pensives from a Smart Doggy

“No Kacheeny, you are mistaken. Achilles’s sense of honour and duty is juxtaposed with Paris’s. Paris seduces Helen and causes the Trojan war. In the midst of war, Achilles’s temper results in Agamemnon dishonouring him by taking Briseis. Here we see that Helen is the ‘object’ of a war, and Briseis a captured ‘object’ of war and a refusal to fight by the greatest warrior. Does that clear up your misapprehension?”

Definitely within the Madding Crowd

Warner bros / tumblr

God, Thomas Hardy is like magic. So innocuously placed, these phrases paint a landscape of subtlety and delight. Loving my current fling–Madding Crowd and all. 

The hill was covered on its northern side by an ancient and decaying plantation of beeches, whose upper verge formed a line over the crest fringing its arched curve against the sky, like a mane. To-night, these trees sheltered the southern slope from the keenest blasts, which smote the wood and floundered through it with a sound as of grumbling, or gushed over its crowning boughs in a weakened moan. The dry leaves in the ditch simmered and boiled in the same breezes, a tongue of air occasionally ferreting out a few, and sending them spinning across the grass. A group or two of the latest in date among this dead multitude had remained on the twigs which bore them till this very mid-winder time, and in falling rattled against the trunks with smart taps.

Between this half-wooded, half-naked hill and the vague still horizon its summit indistinctly commanded was a mysterious sheet of fathomless shade–the sounds only from which suggested that what it concealed bore some humble resemblance to features here. The thin grasses, more ore less coating the hill, were touched by the wind in breezes of differing powers, and almost differing natures–one rubbing the blades heavily, another raking them piercingly, another brushing them like a soft broom. The instinctive act of human-kind here was to stand, and listen, and learn how the trees on the right and the trees on the left wailed or chanted to each other in the regular antiphonies of a cathedral choir; how hedges and other shapes to leeward then caught the note, lowering it to the tenderest sob; and how the hurrying gust then plunged into the south to be heard no more.

Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (Toronto: Penguin Classics, 2013), 8-9.

Absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of when I go for a walk, by myself or with my dog, and I just stare into the distance. The way I notice the trees that line the variegated sun-setting sky. All you can do is breathe in the magic. Hardy’s lines are such beautiful examples of being a crafter of words and the subtle experience of existence. It feels like breathing. It feels like fresh air. It gives life. 

The Litigation Mermaid: Ideas of Consent and Contracts

Disney / GIPHY

Ariel signs a contract. Ursula acquires Ariel’s voice. Ariel has three days to kiss Eric, and, if she fails to do so, her soul becomes Ursula’s. Poor Unfortunate Souls, indeed. Although, Ursula is cast off as a villain in The Little Mermaid as an othered body—a powerful female, who is not a merman, and compared to Ariel’s slim waistline, fat. Her otherness is meant to vilify her in the context of Ariel’s so-called innocent quest for love and a different kind of othered body. It is arguable that The Little Mermaid is as much about the legal truths of contracts as it is a doe-eyed love story. In fact, I also argue that this film is not so doe-eyed, but a tale of sexual awakening and includes ideas of consent, if not outright comments on the subject.

First, let’s discuss the terms and conditions of Ariel’s agreement to Ursula. Ariel is not naively signing her soul and voice away; Ursula tells her the results of not paying a debt. Ursula shows a mermaid and man who wanted to become more attractive to impress one another, a vanity which costs them their souls. Arguably, their souls were in peril before Ursula got to them. Indeed, Ursula’s own size and curves emphasize the hubris of the choices of the mermaid/man to slim down her waisteline and to bulk his pecks, instead of just accepting themselves and each other for who they are [naive, right?]. Ariel and other Disney Princesses have unrealistic body types, Ursula’s parable about weight undeniably shows how unrealistic and disastrous coveting these body types are. Indeed, as we see in Ursula’s later transformation to woo Eric, she may chose to look however she wants. Ultimately, Ursula’s entire song “Pour Unfortunate Souls” shows the dangers of covetousness and hubris.

Disney / GIPHY

For example, underwater, Ariel is used to doing as she pleases. She is out-spoken, fearless, and adventurous. But to get above water, Ariel must give her voice to Ursula. The agreement is not all that unfair. In true trinity fashion, Ursula exchanges three days as a human with Ariel for her voice and Ariel needs to acquire “true love’s kiss.” Ariel agrees, and signs her name to the contract. 

Disney / GIPHY

Now, we all know that Ursula wants to use Ariel’s wish to be human to acquire King Triton’s throne and triton to rule the waters. She will manipulate the contract in order to acquire the goods from Prince Eric, so Ariel’s soul will become hers. Yet, the film focuses on Ursula’s contract with Ariel and her final contract with Triton. The presence of the legally binding contract is more authoritative than Triton’s sovereignty, his foul temper. Indeed, let us examine Triton’s court and his behaviour. Like the French Kings, a luxurious court life is meant to symbolize divine right and kingship. We see that his other daughters behave frivolously and sing little ditties to keep the court amused. Entertainment is the opiate of the masses—bread and circuses. But this style of kingship sacrifices the populace for the grandeur and splendour of court life.

Moreover, Ariel is, from the start, shown to be irresponsible to court life because she is not at the concert. Instead, she searches shipwrecks for signs of human and their wares. Ariel seeks the other–the humans that mermaids/men, and underwater life fear. Indeed, humans are seen as a chaotic and harmful force to the water’s ecosystem. Their waste is worrisome to Triton, and that his youngest and dearest daughter collects the detritus completely unnerves him. Instead of explaining himself to us or Ariel, he finds his daughter worshipping the idol of Prince Eric and destroys it all. HUMANS?! BADDIES! (Thanks Triton) But Ursula is willing to transgress the boundaries between land and water, human and not-human. Ursula sends Ariel into the human world after she sacrificed her voice in exchange for the legs. Ariel is, thus, still tied to the underwater world because her voice is trapped under water in a legally binding contract with Ursula. Moreover, Ursula’s contracts do pull Ariel back into the water and even has the power to unravel Triton’s power. So, instead of simply seeing the patriarchal forces of the film play out, we must note that Ursula’s contracts are more powerful than Triton. This is why she is scary. She can overpower Triton. It is when she starts to use Triton’s triton (phallus?) that she is undone and defeated by Eric. Triumphing not only over Ursula, at her death, but also over Triton’s waters. Ariel and Eric do, indeed, get married on a boat and Triton has to concede to Ariel and Eric’s love. Ursula’s disruption to Triton’s authority forever changes the relationship between land and water.

Before I discuss the presence of consent in the film, I discuss the othering of Ursula’s body. We’ve already touched on the divisive quality of man and nature in the film—this divisiveness is a type of othering. The human world is othered because it is different from the underwater world over which Triton reigns. It is seen as a negative place because it is not known, and it is inhabited by difference. See the song “Under The Sea” to drive this point home. Now, the othering of Ursula body is similar in idea. Ursula is immediately identified as a villain in the film. Is it the darkness with which she is associated? She does not look like the white, pristine mermaids/men. Is it that she is not white? Is is that her sexuality is overt, where the barely clad mermaids are somehow innocent and chaste? She is also a woman with, seemingly, unnatural powers. But, where Triton uses his triton to ‘magic’ events, Ursula actually relies on contracts for power. She relies on an enlightenment-based principle of contract and law to make agreements and settle debts. The results of unpaid debts are, indeed, ghastly. Who really wants to look like a slug or a piece of old sea kelp? The questions raised show that Ursula’s legal actions are blurred and convoluted by the fact that she is a non-white, not skinny, woman. Ursula’s marginalization should keep her oppressed, but she has power.

I remember, as a child, watching Ursula and knowing right away that she was meant to be recognized as the baddie. Ariel’s innocence was so starkly contrasted in Ursula’s knowledge of being sexy and what men want. Not mermen…real men. For example: 

Disney // Giphy

Yes, Ursula has curves. Yes, Ursula is sexy. She knows the importance of body language. Look at that butt. DAYAMM. Also, those red lips. You can see that she is aware she is sexy. But there is also this discomfort present. Why should she feel sexy? She doesn’t look like Ariel. She is not skinny. She is not doe-eyed. She is not the daughter of the King. She is not… But her sexuality and knowledge of sexuality is unmistakeable. Her own self-awareness is lost on children as a negative inference, but Ursula’s character should be seen as an empowered female character. A character who has to fight and play dirty for what she wants. Is it only dirty because she is a woman? Negative adjectives are attached to women’s actions, whereas a male character would be considered a hero–trying to claim power from Triton, a king who creates margins and alienation. Ursula has made her own spaces to assert her power. Ursula certainly does not hold her tongue. She even wields Ariel’s voice in the film.

Disney / GIPHY

Ursula’s assertion of power is captured in her claim: “It’s she who holds her tongue who gets her man.” Whose tongue? Ariels! Ursula has her voice and Ariel’s voice. With it, she is able to manipulate Eric into falling in love with her. Note that when Ariel regains her voice after the sea-creature shenanigans at the wedding, Eric immediately races to Ariel. It is not female submissiveness, but the assertion of power and authority that negotiates power relations in the water and out–the voice.

Disney / GIPHY

Ursula’s character is sexy. That is undeniable. Eight (ten) arms are better than two? Anyway, Ariel’s character is understood as an unaware, innocent, young girl seeking her true love. Prince Eric. *swoons* But Ariel’s character should not be understood as an non-sexual being. Ariel is experiencing a sexual awakening in the film. Ariel is crushing on Eric like no other crush before. Haha. Lies. We’ve all been there. But Ariel is awakened, and she wants to be part of Eric’s world. Although Ariel’s character is chastised as a child and she is very childlike, it is undeniable that she is older than these characteristics. She is portrayed as naive and chaste, but she makes the contract with Ursula. She knows she wants to leave the water to find Eric.

Disney / GIPHY

Disney / GIPHY

Although, Ariel’s character appeals to children, the film, even unknowingly, expresses the sexual awakening of a young woman. Perhaps, that she metamorphoses into a human with legs—literally, becoming a woman, her sexual awakening is complete.

Now, speaking of sexual awakenings and our massive crush on Prince Eric. So dreamy. *giggles* It is all so sudden. Oh yes, where was I? Let us move to our final discussion, that of consent. Ursula told Ariel that she had three days to make her humanness permanent by having true love’s kiss—can it be true love if both parties cannot communicate openly with one another? No! So, perhaps Ursula’s contract was always filled with clauses and impossible loopholes in her favour. But, I digress. The song “Kiss the Girl” has often been read as a moment where the kiss is meant to happen to the girl, but, arguably, Ariel’s friends are her voice in this scene. She WANTS to kiss Eric and for Eric to want to kiss her. Alas, the boat is upturned at the end of the scene, and maybe we can consider Ursula to be a bastion of consent, rather than trying to stop all possible kissing moments [cock block]. [Of course, Ursula’s attempt to marry Eric is an example of consent gone to pooh]. But even if Eric does kiss Ariel, consent is not present. Eric does not know who Ariel is, and Ariel is using him to become human.

Disney / GIPHY

Ariel and Eric cannot kiss until both parties can communicate. The kiss is not consensual until communication is present. And while Ursula has Ariel’s voice, communication is impossible and so, too, is consent. Writing or sign language are not necessarily options because of the premise of the contract; indeed, there is a scene where Ariel attempts to communicate by signing, but Eric cannot understand her signs. Finally, it is when Ariel speaks, Eric recognizes her and they both go to kiss. But they are stopped as Ariel changes back into a mermaid. The contract to kiss him was not known by both parties; communication has failed. When the contracts binding Ariel to Ursula are resolved, Triton signs a contract to release her, Eric fights to save Ariel. This happens in very quick succession, but the events that unravel show the necessity of consent.

In conclusion: 

Disney / GIPHY


Yes, The Little Mermaid has its issues that many feminists have discussed more eloquently than I, but I think that there are also instances where women are shown to have power, sexual awareness, and consent. Indeed, Ursula’s knowledge of contracts is an area that could, perhaps, be explored. Octopi Law School; Under the Sea Academy of Law; The Eight Balancing Arms of Justice….I could go on.

EDIT: URSULAW SCHOOL

Clasp at the moon and drink in the stars

Source: Buzzfeed

Recall the words you’ve read, well and true,
For, one day, they’ll be asked of you,
Chime them back with zeal and truth,
Memory is a frivolous quality of youth,

She enchanted lines and sang with grace,
In her, words sweetly dance and deeply embrace,
To memorize the words of those before,
Was something she had little, anymore,

She hid in fear of being found out,
Imagining they’d wonder just what she was about,
But, to her, phrases were not so easily memorised, 
For, they oft took on many a subtle disguise,

And phrases are not just words stacked together,
There are letters that are joined and tethered,
Sounds and magic combine to depict,
Those rascally words that you’ve picked.

Beneath those letters matter is revealed,
Elemental truths, spiraled and congealed,
Sup at the table of earthly delights,
There you’ll find words oft lost in the night,

Like stars appear bland in the sky full of clouds,
Words seem silent until they are shouted out loud,
Swirling in murky desires and forgotten wars,
Droned and confused by many a chauvinistic bore,

Beguiled by journey and distant arrivals,
Penning words to challenge and surreptitiously rival, 
Climbing over letters only to stumble in brambles,
Choosing slow contrition over which we amble,

Blow away the fog before your eyes,
Reach and look towards the night skies,
Clasp at the moon and drink in the stars,
For these particular words are ours.

Love Heirs

Source: 20th C Fox

Words slipped, carelessly leafing in the wind,
Falling hard, grazing a hand and a knee skinned,
It was a midday, midyear type of feeling,
Sweet air that is unromantically appealing,

Sipping bitter cider, musty airs losing speed,
Seeing through lashes, many words to read,
Sweaty palms soiling pages and marking progresses,
Breezes fluttering hearts, just as they flutter dresses,

The sun creeps through rafters, dust dancing ballet,
Much is felt, but words leave little to say,
Escape into metaphor and slip into allegory,
Not so much a retreat but a decisive foray,

Long sighs accompany afternoon highs,
Rich eyes crumple souls to their demise,
Adolescent dreams sour and dissolve,
Somewhere worms were involved,

Flesh and flowers, sourced from the same soils,
Genetically intwined, entwines and coils,
Piercing the decaying atmosphere, 
Sharp and cold, a pointed spear,

A deep voice clears the air, 
Like a long-forgotten ode or prayer,
Peacefulness fills the soul–
‘For whom the bell tolls.’

Opulence clinks the ice drowning in gin,
Reminding the youth of what had been,
Stretching arms like history’s twin,
Posterity watching, a scurrilous grin. 

Oh, what sweet sorrow
from past loves we borrow.
Two young hearts defy their genesis,
For a long-lasting, far-reaching kiss.

Fear; A Love Story

Source: Tumblr

Our feet moved slowly through the centre of the road,
Our eyes stared star-ward, we watched as they glowed,
The moon hung, suspended in our deepest belief,
As the signs of autumn wore away with the last falling leaf,

Darkness engendered the fear that tugged us to stop and glance.
Wondering, if, in the face of danger, we stood a fair chance,
Apart, but together, our minds crawled doggedly on,
Inwardly guessing how long those stars actually shone,

A stalemate of stillness awaits the mallet to sound,
Withal, reticence persisted as, in silence, we drowned,
Onwards and inwards we search for nourishment, 
Sought after dreams of smiles and encouragement,

I cite history as the source of my displeasure,
Awaiting the sign, which, of course, is your leisure,
Recall, that time flees the scene of the crime, 
Just as the poet chimes perfectly posed rhymes,

Intellectualize and sexualize the words on the page,
More often than not, this is our calamitous plague,
Equilibrium vets the provocateur and jets the esoteric, 
Monotonous ages of desire, thus, eclipsed by a titillating philosophic,

The brightest body we see is a reflecting body, mostly cast in shadow,
Reminding us of fairy stories told oft once, long, long ago,
Truth is obscure, abstracted, and loftily denied,
Morals are clear and craftily contrived.

Once upon a time, they reached their happily ever after,
The crowd cheered, resonating their lust to the rafters,
Fairy stories make-believe the love we wish to be,
For, only young artists sing songs of such courage and bravery.

Scenes laid before the humble philosopher-queen,
The jouissance of questioning what it is to have been,
To be, to we, we are, I am–the syntax, the grammar, the allegory,
Couplet and Capulet, troubled and toiled, tell this duel-householder story,

The visions collapse as sisters disperse to quaff coveted goblets of brine,
Whilst, above, the suspended apparition of the sandman shines,
Reminded of the laboured movements that idle our hearts,
Wondering, still, if it is us, who Eros eternally thwarts,

The noise in the shadows leaps forth from our throats,
Equal in horror to no other sound this author had wrote,
Fretted in terror by things of the hoary night,
Reminded, in banality, that this fear, I did write.

My Freedom on Wings

<<Read here>> (click here to hear me read it)

I used to sing out loud, waiting for you to hear, 
I used to write sweet words, to draw you near,
I sang a song that only your soul should have heard,
Even so, I was lost in myself, gravely self-interred.

It took me time to push the daisies from this earthy burrow,
Rising stiffly, just under the surface, from six feet below, 
I stretch and groan, a song to salute the sun and skies,
Slowly opening long-closed and sight-forgotten eyes,

The world is new and full of rich abstract colour, 
Awoken from a deep slumber, where senses were duller,
Apprehension and anxiety that once burbled steadily,
Dissipates as my mind eases to the calm of the slow sea,

Infinity may not be compromised from the mortal abode,
Endlessness consumed as digesting time slowed, 
You delicious curls rivalled the Odysseus’s godlike brow, 
And you snarled and hissed, face resting in scowl,

The tears that flowed from your eyes were laced with hate,
For a many an age, I deluded myself to lust after fate,
When we danced, my hand met your hand, your hand on my waist,
Always expecting, always demanding my smile remained chaste, 

The years past us by, dust settling like snow on those curls,
Tears dropped from my eyes, more precious than pearls,
You pushed me and pulled me, I was a doll on a string, 
But I’ve finally grown them, my freedom on wings,

In, I breathe, Out, I breathe. Snow melts at my pyre, 
Spring suspires life from the putrid, festering mire,
Towards the depths, I feel my body contract and inflate,
This is the choice of a lifetime—a pearl or fiery gate.

I am free now, after all of this time; 
Saddled to lyric and many a rhyme;
I bellow the fires that alight from within,
And cradle the pearls as I begin again. 

He said; She will reveal the artist

‘Beautiful things,’ he said, ‘are the only things.’
‘You love the one to your soul he will sing.’
‘Stars in the sky; we stand in the gutter to see.’
‘A book is not good; just written well or poorly.’

These words pulse throughout my soul,
Like the music vibrates throughout my body,
I feel wordless and senseless;
How can I cure my soul by my senses,
If sensuousness seems to drip
like a broken faucet crashing down
one million times broken.

Once it was bacchus’s delight,
But I’ve seem to have lost this fight,
No more does sweet, delicious ambrosia
trickle past rosy lips to quench a thirsty quaff.

A heart breaks.
Does it make a sound?
A mind shatters,
Does it leave shards?

Voiceless.  Senseless.  Absurdity.

Just let the words be felt.
Let them flow like a stream ready to burst.
Burst from me.

Be free.
Fly.
Burst from me.

Away.
Closer.
Burst from me.

I feel the wind rage below.
Which witch?
Burst from me.

I am sticky.
I am fluid.
I am not sheen.
I am not a reflective surface.

I absorb.
I feel.
I AM.

Through pain, I have become.
Sartre says this is true.
As one is stabbed by the pen-knife, blood flows…
Creativity is alike.
As one is stabbed by the pen, ideas flow….

I am.
I feel.
I ABSORB.

I am sticky. I am not sheen.  I am complex.

I am lost.

I need to be found.
Only I can find myself.

I need to search.
I need to choose this adventure wisely.
I have been to Mordor.
I have been to the crux of it all.
I have destroyed the ring.
I have.

Now, it is time to will.
I will.
I am brave.

I am breathing.
I am breathing fire; power; stability.

I have words.
I can hear them rushing forth; ready to be purged.

He once said…the artist hides himself.
I will not hide herself.

This artist will not.