It’s almost naked now.
The days have grown shorter and the temperatures cooler.
My world has shrunk to the size of my heated
1000 square feet apartment. Maple leaves have covered
the footpath in a mosaic of yellow,
orange, red and brown.
It saddens me to think how the maple tree must ache for its loss.
To shed the very leaves it nurtured all year and then to do it over
and over again each year?
How hard it must be for the maple to detach so completely that it
has nothing left but it’s own trunk to pine for?
And the leaves that scuttle at its feet like red and brown rabbits.
So far removed from their binding truth, fallen from the
heights; unable to churn the green juice of life. Do they
beckon out to him like children to a father? And in punishing them
thus, does the maple punish itself?
But then I remind myself that come Spring this very Maple shall be full again;
thick with its vibrant foliage. Once more it
shall bleed its rich nectar, and the young leaves will cover the
length of its skeleton; embalming the pain. Life will find a way.
For now, I must liberate myself of your memories;
stand belly-naked from your binding thoughts. So that one day
I too can feel full again.
Abbott Kinney (situated between Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey) is famous for its Avante garde style, and it’s cool, hip vibe. Named after the famous developer who built the Venice Canals in 1905, the main strip boasts of some of the finest restaurants, artsy shops, wine galleries and fun to meet local artists. There is enough here to satisfy a tourist or a local for hours and a definite stop-over if you are visiting Los Angeles. Here are some pictures, Enjoy!
“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth”
Eating Poetry by Mark Strand
The market for poetry is probably smaller than the number of poets in the world. Yet more and more people gladly join the ranks every year, spending their precious time penning a musical verse. To some there is no greater pleasure than the joy of reading and writing an ecstatic poem. There is something so deeply edifying about poetry that it makes up for all the troubles and the poor monetary rewards it offers.
Reading a good poem can be equally rewarding; it is like feeling every little cell in your body vibrate and respond to the import of the words. Emily Dickinson herself described reading a good poem as, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?” (Emily Dickinson: An Overview)
But Poetry is less about “What” and more about “How”. Often a good poem is not about what it says but how it says it. Take for example Ted Kooser’s, “Four civil war paintings by Winslow Homer”. It is not the subject matter of the poems but the way that Ted Kooser describes the paintings that makes all the difference. He could very well be actually painting the picture himself in front of your eyes with his masterful brush. For instance in the poem, “Sharpshooter” which is the first of the series of four poems, Ted talks about the shooter “waiting” with his “finger as light as a breath” on the trigger ready to shoot. The poem starts with, “Some part of art is the art of waiting”, clearly making an analogy between the poetry and the art of shooting. The shooter waiting for the perfect aim is in direct comparison to the poet waiting for the inspiration to pen his poem. It is within these precious few moments of waiting; that the poet concludes a journey of creation and the shooter makes a perfect kill.
Is the fulfillment derived from this short albeit soul searching journey that makes most poets go back to the tedious task of writing poetry?
Poetry like all forms of writing requires a certain element of pride and stubbornness. Pride because as a writer you want to believe that what you have to say matters and that nobody else in this world has said exactly what you are going to say in precisely the same way. It also requires a certain level of stubbornness. Stubbornness because you need to continue writing, no matter how little recognition or approbation you may receive. It requires an almost die-hard resilience to want to wake up early or stay up late to dip the nib of your brain in the ink of poetry.
Take for instance Emily Dickinson; one of the most celebrated American poets of all times only published about less than a dozen poems during her lifetime. And yet she composed nearly 1800 poems. Likewise Henry David Thoreau, Allen Edgar Poe and many others did not receive much acclaim and recognition until after their death. Not receiving acclaim did not prevent them from being true to their work. And what if they did get credit for their work? Would it truly have made any difference to their work? Poetry even today is not a well-paid art. It is one of those forms of arts that must be undertaken simply as a labor of love.
The thing about poetry is that there is no “right” way to writing poetry, although there are some rather easy to follow “wrong” ways. Poetry much like all other arts has its techniques that you can follow or chose to ignore and still write extremely good or bad poems. And although practitioners claim it is an art that can be learned, the end result can only depend upon one’s inherent talent and the time one is able to invest.
Poetry is all about honesty. The best poems may not be autobiographical or the absolute truth, or even convey a novel idea, but they almost always convey the subject matter in the most beautiful, musical and honest fashion. Emily Dickinson, once said,
“Tell all the truth but tell it slant.”
Tea leaves settled at the bottom of a crystal glass
portending uncertain future with certainty.
To believe or not to believe
was never the question.
For is it not against the grain of faith to question?
Symbols of pilgrimage strewn like dried bougainvillea
in my garden. An oracle worth of signs on every junction.
Some that we missed, some that led us back home,
and some that are calling our names with their plump siren lips.
Mirror; is the soul of the world.
Why else would it bring the best in us all?
Your sexiest smile, the twinkle in your eye, the boyish grin
that gets people to let their guards down.
Even the old freckled librarian who deals with books all day
but never finds time to read them,
Or the driver who drives his yellow taxi all over town
and then takes his 1990 Chevy back home,
Or the old balding meat seller who carves the finest slices of turkey
and then goes home to his mother’s basement
for mashed potatoes and green beans,
They all find time to practice their finest smiles in front of the
souls hanging over their medicine cabinets.
Faith is a glass of warm milk
that never lets you sleep empty stomach.
It’s the promise that never fails;
the regal lager yet to be uncorked.
No monocled palmist settled into a chair for $10 a reading on Venice beach
can foretell a future more glowing than the one that brews in your heart.
You know tomorrow is the day you have waited for since yesterday.
Yet once more, the tea leaves have settled
into a mosaic of promise to a world made up of smoke and mirrors.