Colton: A Hologram of Sound

I know a boy who is trying to keep himself together, trying to make a man of himself, trying to keep his band together, but I already said that: I said he was trying to keep himself together. When I say keep his band together, you should’ve read “he’s trying to keep himself together” for the second time. It’s a rock band, and he’s jazz, the best you’ve ever heard because it’s so desperate (don’t misconstrue: he isn’t desperate, his music is).

This one is a martyr, like all artists are, not the triers, the doers, the ones on pursuit, the ones with no Plan B, the ones whose core is not a heart, and lungs, and liver, but everyone’s suffering and you wonder: “How can his body endure it; how can one body store so much suffering?”

It becomes transformed, maybe, in its expulsion into sonic sorrow, and when the sound fades, sorrow with it. Remember the dying note. Remember its final axis: the very exact second sound meets silence. I want to live there; I’ve never known so much peace as the peace of that exact moment. Continue reading “Colton: A Hologram of Sound”

The Mythology of Sexes: Secrets, Lies, and Doubt in Atwood’s “Happy Endings”

The first three sentences of “Happy Endings”:

“John and Mary meet.
What happens next?
If you want a happy ending, try A”

Readers, I did not read A. This essay is on the secrets, lies, and mythologies between the sexes and on what makes up the “good stuff” of writing.

Happy endings don’t make good stories. If life was a story, I’d want a good story, not a plain one, and a story in which all goes well isn’t any good, and quite short, to be frank. When I finally read “Ending A”, Atwood gathered all sources of happiness together into a basket–love, marriage, sex, great friends, great jobs, vacation, kids with help, retirement, and stimulating hobbies—and it wasn’t enough. It isn’t a story you’d read or a movie you’d watch, so how can that be considered a life worth living?  Continue reading “The Mythology of Sexes: Secrets, Lies, and Doubt in Atwood’s “Happy Endings””

Color as Words, Anderson’s Brand in “Hands”

This essay first sheds light on how Anderson’s background in advertising influenced the climax of “Hands” and secondly, analyzes art’s influence in the shape of the writing. I’ll share how Stein (poetry) and Russman (painting) influenced Anderson, as written in “Words Not Plot Give Form to the Short Story”

Let us acknowledge that Anderson  spent fourteen years of his life as an advertising copywriter. Before we get the chance to start the first sentence, the title commands us to leap into the rabbit hole of associations. What comes to mind when we think of hands? Labor. Craftsmanship. Perhaps something precious, like touching a baby’s head, or carefully performing surgery, or pressing the keys of a piano to create a nocturne.

What of their gestures? To what extent do we realize or attend to the good or evil of our hands? (Lady Macbeth comes to mind). In “Hands”, Wing Biddlebaum is the “angel” and Adolph Myers (Biddlebaum’s previous name) is the “devil”. For Wing, his hands flutter. For Adolph, they touch little boys. For Wing-Adolph, they are horror.

Anderson repeated the word “hands” ad nauseum: the word appears in all paragraphs except three. Anderson uses the word eight times in a single page: HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! HANDS! (which left me thinking to myself: WHAT ABOUT THEM, ANDERSON? TELL ME!) If this isn’t advertising strategy, I don’t know what is.  Continue reading “Color as Words, Anderson’s Brand in “Hands””

Dialectics and Radical Acceptance in Achebe’s “Dead Man’s Path” and “Modern Africa as the Crossroads of Culture”

Achebe writes “Dead Man’s Path” to illustrate the folly of foreign intrusion: whether that is the white against black, the new against the old, or rather a clash in cultures. The protagonist, Michael Obi is a young, unimpressive man who has large ideas to beautify and renew the local, traditional school. He held rule over the teachers and buildings; his wife, Nancy, was concerned with her version of authority: she held dominion over the wives of the teachers and the beauty of the place (flowers, fauna, etc.,).

The conflict arises when an elderly Ani village-woman crosses the modernized campus. After denigrating the woman and casting her away, Obi obstructs the path with thick wooden beams and barbed wire to prevent further crossings. The villagers’ priest warns him and tells him to clear the path of the shrine to the burial grounds. Obi laughs and rejects the old man three times, though the priest only spoke twice, and held himself in silence for the third time: “I have no more words to say.” Obi could not let the white Supervisor see such silly rituals upon inspection, and so disregarded the omen.

The next day, Continue reading “Dialectics and Radical Acceptance in Achebe’s “Dead Man’s Path” and “Modern Africa as the Crossroads of Culture””

Sorry to Bother You, White Isn’t Right

I saw this film with my political and “woke” boyfriend who still couldn’t seem to understand what this movie was about. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be understood. Maybe it’s something that defies logic purposefully. My response to his search for meaning: maybe, this movie is about Cassius Green (Lekeith Stanfield) and Detroit (Tessa Thomson) navigating a world not built for them.

Cassius feels as if his life has no meaning and feels inadequate compared to his girlfriend, Detroit: an emerging performance visual artist and sculptor. She sleeps, eats, and breathes political resistance (even down to her fashion: she wears different earrings the size of my palm, sporting different messages like “Murder, Murder, Murder,” and “Kill,Kill,Kill”). She loves Cassius because he’s “real” and has a keen moral compass (which he doesn’t seem to understand)………..at least until he starts working at the tele-marketing company. Continue reading “Sorry to Bother You, White Isn’t Right”

Forbidden

I could never stop looking at you from different directions. You never stop long enough for me to hold you and I know once in a while it’s stolen—is this even real? do you think of me? does the thought comfort you, or are you torn between the shouldn’t and couldn’t, won’t and will it? Could it?—It’s already happening in the imagination. I’ll meet you there.

From every side, it is beautifully flawed. There are too many jagged corners.
Only a diamond can cut a diamond

Interior Ocean

In the yoga studio, the fifteen of us lie still, at the end, and our breaths are in unison; our breaths resemble the sound of waves. I’m rocked back into my memories.

The darkness behind my eyelids is softened by the low lit screens all around us. Though I’m perfectly still on the ground, my body lightens and begins to feel as if it is swaying.

My breathing channels through my body like waves and I feel layers of me shifting surfaces, moving forward and backward, forward and backward, swinging. The breaths of others around me are the waves gently lapping the coast, the distant waves folding into themselves; they are the waves molding over my skin, like an aqueous shield, but soon breaking in foam all around me. Continue reading “Interior Ocean”

Home Thoughts

When I see your pale face and black hair I ask myself if you could be Hispanic. In fact, I think of my childhood doctor Dr.Bengochea.

I see a woman’s printed pants: black, white, and blue, and it reminds me of the tiles in Sevilla, Spain.

It makes me yearn for home and I wonder why I’m not home. But then I remember I don’t belong there. I don’t belong here either.

I’m in between and never really comfortable anywhere .

I thought of the essay “Elsewhere”, by Kundera. I thought about self-exiles and displacement: it isn’t very much a tragedy, so much as an acceptance that nowhere will ever be just right.

Some people are born with their homes on their back

The Landscape of a Woman’s Body

I looked at her legs and they reminded me of mountains

I realized that my disgust or aversion was related to my appraisal and desire, as if her body were mine or soon to be mine. but that fell away when I remembered that even if I was a man, her body was not for my pleasure or approval, but for her existence. I looked on her body as a landscape, as a of nature: glory, miracle, creation.

I saw Continue reading “The Landscape of a Woman’s Body”

Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Tattoos

My best friend Basak is getting a tattoo, of a skull, on her right ankle. I said I’d get a matching one. Surprised and touched, she yelled in excitement and curiosity “Baby!” . She didn’t question me “Are you sure?” She already knew that there was something deeper. I’m not the type of woman to follow just to follow. I’m not silly enough to get a permanent mark on my body just to fit in. I’m not that whimsical. So…. why?

Life is surprising, that is why. Unpack that: Continue reading “Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Tattoos”

Jonathan, A Complex Question

Cast: Ansel Elgort, Suki Waterhouse, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Bill Oliver
Screenwriters: Peter Nickowitz, Bill Oliver, Gregory Davis
Venue: Tribeca Film Festival (Spotlight Narrative)
100 minutes, Science-Fiction

Jonathon was introduced as a movie that should have no introductions. The only insight to this Tribeca Film Festival feature before watching it, was that it belonged to a science-fiction genre. “Great”, I thought, “I hate sci-fi.” If you’re anything like me, sit tight; it isn’t what you think.  I warmed up to the film when the facilitator announced that like me, he jumped into the movie with two feet blindly, not knowing at all what it was about. “Keep going,” I thought. Though it was technically a science fiction movie, it lived in a common and familiar setting that makes it feel all too real. He was right. It was defyingly relatable and as one who struggles with the duality of mind and passion, it hit unforvingly close to home. Continue reading “Jonathan, A Complex Question”

Bluebird

Bluebird,

Where will you perch for the last time?

You flutter from here to there and everyone admires you for your distinct color.

Everyone knows you by name.

Everyone can see you in the crowd of other brown birds, thickets of brown branches, and leaves.

There’s no mistaking you.

Bluebird, you’re one of a kind.
Bluebird, you’re not rare.
Bluebird, you’re uncommon.
Bluebird, you’re a delight.

Bluebird, tell me,
When is your last flight?

Watching Ballet

For a moment, I saw my humanity lying on the floor on a stage during a ballet performance. He laid there with his eyes dutifully glued to the ceiling. I could see him because my ticket said A24. Only once he tried to roll his eyes back to see his colleague dancing. How difficult it must be to lay there with everyone dancing behind you, just out of reach. Right now, it’s not my turn dance but to quiet catch my breath, looking dutifully where I’m supposed to, because it’s a part of my performance.

I started to cry and directed all my concentration on him. I hope he could feel it: the human extension.

The second time I felt my worth, was during the duet. This time I felt myself on Earth, as a part of a whole. I felt all the tenderness of touch . Most importantly, it reminded me that I was full of love and emotion. It seemed that there (in that moment), I had no more hate to give. How could I let this (my will) expire? No, this (feeling) could not be wrong. No, this should not be snuffed. There was no man, no woman, no black, no what; there wasn’t a thing as power. It was me, the world, the world within and without me.

How beautiful a thing that as humans, we dance for each other. We play music for each other. We give each other these gifts. It made me feel very hopeful and glad to be alive.

If art is not your most valuable currency, then I am a pauper. 

Watching 21st Century Choreographers at the New York City Ballet, May 1, 2018.
                   Dance Odyssey 
                   Pictures at an Exhibition
                   Year of the Rabbit 

Clarity

In a moment if clarity

I realized he was no good for me

It was a moment of futility

He’s just some guy

The special was the movie in My head

An ideology a dream I had for myself and thought could not be replaced or replicated

But in Fact he’s just a man

Full of insignificant details and redundancy

Never took the time to know the real me

Mostly interested in my body

Once he had it as his territory

He deposited it back to where it could be reclaimed

For sale the sign says

So

When is the right time to refuse this misappropriated designation of property

Fool I don’t know who is the greater fool

Him, for selling what isn’t his or

Me for allowing it

But at ease I realize in the moment of clarity that all he ever did was Want And welcome fight but now I see that love is not flawed or tolerated or broken

Good company is not guilt ridden

Imperfections are perfect for a good cause because

Imperfect people are the best people

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