My Poetry: #9

Today I’m sharing a poem with you that’s the 9th in a collection I’m currently working on (hence the title).  As usual, this poem is pretty open to interpretation, so feel free to reflect and come to your own conclusions.  I would love to hear them in the comments! Enjoy.

9

I am a dark child

Wolves teeth, steel heart, black eyes, lightning breath, hair that hangs

like weeping willow tears –

all wrapped up in paper skin

not porcelain (like those other girls who live in mirrors)

but paper.  All the words lay waiting on my skin.

Some have been beaten in.

All the words are breathing on my skin.

Some have been beaten in.

And me – dark child, child of night, child of the lights that burn

when they sky has closed its eyes –

me – with words that breathe and wait, that paint my body with

vowels and consonants, nouns and pronouns, verbs, and all their

commanding action –

most often can find nothing to say.

 

Thanks for reading.

– Julia

 

My Poetry: Dreams Piled On Dreams

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow? Hmm.  I’m writing poetry instead! Please enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments!

“Dreams Piled On Dreams”

Dreams pile on dreams

all silver and grey

like stars in the night

a lifetime away

Some burn and die

while others hold on

they cling to the vine

and forget to be gone

But people remember

They stop raising their eyes

They only look down

They abandon their skies

But when time’s at its end

The silvery beams

Will still last undying

Dreams piled on dreams

My Poetry: “Roots” and “Your Gift”

I’ve got not one poem for you today, but two! The first one is called “Roots” and the second is titled, “Your Gift”.  As usual, feel free to interpret in anyway you like and let me know what you come up with in the comments! I would love to discuss these and my other poetry with you.  Enjoy!

“Roots”

You’re never going to see this tired bind of flower dreams

Blossoming inside my head

and behind my eyes

and between my lashes

That spread their grasping roots through every nerve

so even my fingertips are thirsting for your rainfall

 

Alright, after you’ve gelled with that one for a second, here’s the second one.

“Your Gift”

everything that’s ever made you break

and anything that’s made you come undone

all the pieces torn up in your hands

and all the threads that ever came unraveled

 

I don’t just want your sunny day

and I don’t just want the easy smiles

the way you laugh and look at me

and when your heartbeat matches mine

 

I want everything you have

give every joy and pain and last goodbye

it’s not a pretty present

but it’s beautiful to me

 

So what did you think? All writers need feedback.  Let me know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading!

– Julia

 

 

 

A Creepy Halloween Poem By Yours Truly

Ohmigosh, Halloween is only a day away!

In the wake of my insane excitement for one of my favorite holidays, I’ve written a creepy, gothic poem that I hope you guys enjoy! I also hope it freaks you out a bit.

Just to reiterate what I’ve said before, I’m not goth! To quote Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice, I myself am strange and unusual and this is reflected in my writing.  So in case you’re picturing me like this:

STAHP.

Here’s the poem.

“Flesh and Steel”

The day I tried to laugh

And blood fell off my lips from the effort

Was when I knew I wasn’t right

So I looked inside and saw the machine

 

It whirred and smoked and roared and hissed

Greased by blood that was not red

— but black — black like oil coursing through my veins

 

And then I saw my heart hanged on a chain

One side was beating crimson, while the other

— I almost could not bear to look —

was cold and steel

Draining all my light away, choking it

with what I could not feel

 

I know, I know, it’s dark.  But I like creepy stuff and it’s almost Halloween! I’ll give you a poem about unicorns next time.

Thanks for reading and have a happy and safe Halloween! Let me know what you think about the poem in the comments below!

 

A Poem For Writer’s Block By Sir Philip Sydney

The Daily Suck

It’s been one of those days.  Those inevitable days when absolutely nothing comes to mind as a writer.  Frustrating? Unbelievably so.  As I sat here searching for something halfway decent to write, I remembered a poem I had read in my poetry class last semester (in case you haven’t been able to tell so far, I really liked that class).  Written by Sir Philip Sydney, the poem is about someone trying to write a love letter but is unable to do so because of writer’s block.  It’s one of the most relatable poems as a writer and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!

“Loving In Truth”

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,

That she (dear she) might take some pleasure of my pain,

Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,

Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,

I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe:

Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,

Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow

Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain.

But words came halting forth, wanting Invention’s stay;

Invention, Nature’s child, fled stepdame Study’s blows;

And others’ feet still seemed but strangers in my way.

Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,

Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:

“Fool,” said my Muse to me, “look in thy heart, and write.”

 

– Julia

My Poetry: The Lonely

The Daily Suck

I thought that I would share another of my poems with you guys today.  Yay for you! Just kidding.  Anyways, it’s called “The Lonely” and it’s one of my favorite poems that I’ve written.  It’s a bit on the depressing side, but before you suggest that I be heavily medicated, relax.  It’s not written from my point of view.  I’m not sure why, but my poems usually tend to not be about me.  Maybe I need to get the whole “tortured artist” thing going on before I can be interesting enough to base a poem off of? Whatever the reason, here is “The Lonely” and I hope that I can hear the sound of your virtual snapping once you’re finished. 

“The Lonely”

In his house
my tiny house
on my street
this broken song
goes through my head again and again
starting over
just like me
but both of us play out the same
and all I’ve ever known and am
repeats
a tired encore that never ends

– Julia

My First Writing Assignment For Class: My Favorite Book

The Daily Suck

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I’ve said before that I’m taking a college English class, and yesterday I received my first writing assignment: What is your favorite book and why? Not to be a school nerd or anything (book nerd would be more accurate), but that’s a fun assignment right there.  But how did I possibly pick my favorite book of all time? It was impossible to choose, so I just went with one of my favorites.  After considering Darth Bane: Path Of Destruction by former BioWare writer and genius behind Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic and Mass Effect Drew Karpyshyn, I went with a classic that I read for the first time in the spring.  It was The Great Gatsby, old sport! Here’s what I came up with, and hopefully it’s good!

Chasing The Green Light: Why The Great Gatsby Is One Of My Favorite Books

There are many books that have to do with the chasing of a dream, but none other have hit me as powerfully as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby always comes first to mind when I’m asked which book is my favorite and, as a writer, I have rarely seen any other writing that I find more striking than Fitzgerald’s in the novel. I am continuously blown away with lines like, “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars”, “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart”, and “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God”. These grand descriptions create powerful imagery in my mind, and add to the dreamy quality of the novel. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s equally powerful usage of metaphors like the green light that symbolizes Gatsby’s dreams, and the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg painted on a billboard that penetrate through the facades the characters build around themselves, give depth to the novel that made me think about it long after I had turned the last page. Aside from the masterful word choices, imagery, and metaphors, however, is the story of a man with a dream: Jay Gatsby himself, who quickly became one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Never before in literature has there been a hero with such corrupt methods or a villain with such pure ideals. Gatsby is enigmatic, ruthless, child-like, optimistic, and utterly compelling, and it is his story that serves as the beating heart of the novel. One of the most interesting parts of his character is that, while everything he does to obtain his dream is corrupt and immoral, the dream itself that drives him to take those actions is poignantly innocent. Gatsby desires a life with the woman he loves passionately and to the point of obsession, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is a poor soldier from a poor background when he first meets Daisy, a wealthy, upper-class girl, and after falling in love with her, makes it his life goal to become rich so that he can marry Daisy and give her a life of happiness and comfort. Unfortunately, Gatsby is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, and becomes fabulously wealthy through the business of bootlegging, or illegally selling alcohol, during the American Prohibition era. When rereading the novel, I realized and found intriguing the fact that Gatsby’s corruption does not bring about his downfall. Rather, it is Daisy. When she accidentally kills her husband, Tom’s, mistress, Myrtle, while driving Gatsby’s car, Myrtle’s husband takes revenge and murders Gatsby at the end of the novel. By using Daisy as the instrument of Gatsby’s death instead of his corruption, Fitzgerald manages to make him a tragic character who is destroyed by his greatest dream. Even more tragically, however, is the fact that Daisy herself is not deserving of Gatsby’s love. Though beautiful and charming, Daisy is also selfish, shallow, and cynical, thus rendering her incapable of truly committing herself to anyone. F. Scott Fitzgerald describes her and her husband, Tom, best in this quotation from the novel: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” Daisy, the one person Gatsby loved more than anything in the world, leaves town at the end of the novel without even attending Gatsby’s funeral, proving her true nature to everyone except Gatsby, who dies with his dream optimistically intact. If Daisy has one redeeming quality by the end of the book, however, it is that Gatsby’s vision of her, while pure, is unrealistic and impossible for anyone to fulfill. Gatsby is so obsessed with his perfect vision of Daisy that he is unable to see her flaws or accept the person that she really is. Gatsby has an idealistic dream of what his and Daisy’s life should be, and even when he sees his life’s work crumble around him after Daisy admits that she loves Tom as well, Gatsby cannot let go of that vision. His relentless optimism makes him child-like both in his innocence and his sad naivete. When looking for a new book to read, I am always attracted to incredible characters, and The Great Gatsby delivers in the fullest possible way. Its story and characters are vibrant, tragic, and poignantly portrayed with larger-than-life descriptions that make them appear both grand in their importance and shattered in their personal lives. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels of all time, and leaves me with the hope of preserving my own dreams in a world of corruption and “vast carelessness”.

The First Entry In My Commonplace Book Makes Me Sound Like A Goth (I’m Not)

The Daily Suck

I recently started taking a freshman english college course at Franciscan University, and my teacher made our class start keeping a commonplace book.  For those of you who don’t know, a commonplace book is a personal journal that you fill with any writings that speak to you; whether they’re from books, poetry, movies, or even your own writing.  Pretty cool right? Totally up my alley.  I started filling up my commonplace book right away with some of my favorite writings, but then I realized the very first one I wrote down is totally goth. 

Now I’m not goth, but I appreciate depth in writing and it just so happens that lots of deep writing is…well, dark and grim.  I.e., possibly my favorite Shakespeare tragedy, Macbeth.  Here’s what I wrote down:

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Yeah.  Pretty dark, huh? If you need to go watch cat videos now until you feel better, I won’t blame you.  So why did I pick this horribly depressing and hopeless quotation to jot down as my very first entry? Well it’s not because I’m goth, or because I identify with Macbeth’s perspective on life.  The answer is simple.  I wrote it down because it’s beautiful. 

Macbeth gives this famous monologue late in the play after he hears of the death of his wife, Lady Macbeth.  The audience would think that he would react a little more strongly to this news (although Lady Macbeth is one seriously messed-up chick), but that’s where we’re wrong.  Macbeth has already sacrificed most of his humanity to get to where he is at this point, starting with the murder of the old king and the usurping of his throne, which only leads Macbeth to order the murder of anyone who threatens his new position: even his closest friend and advisor.  At this time in the play, Macbeth is getting ready to defend his kingdom from the vengeance-driven Macduff, who is prophesied to the be the only person who can kill Macbeth and put an end to his reign.  Macbeth has stripped away all of his humanity and capacity for love in his quest for power and now it is the only thing he has left, and that’s why he not only doesn’t care about Lady Macbeth’s death, he is no longer able to care about anyone. 

If you’re familiar with the play, then you know what atrocities Macbeth has committed up to this point.  Nobody except the craziest, most diabolical villians could go walking around with a smile on their face anymore.  Which leads me to a question that goes along with the quotation: is Macbeth sane? Yes, he’s paranoid, power-hungry, and commits some undeniably evil acts.  Also, he sees ghosts and floating daggers, but the play does have supernatural elements to it.  Case in point: the three weird sisters, witches who dabble in black magic, and their goddess, Hecate.  Now all of this may seem off the point of the whole commonplace entry thing, but context is everything with this one, and key to appreciating the monologue.  Just bear with me for a little bit longer!

I’m not really arguing either way in the debate of Macbeth’s sanity, but it’s important to keep in mind while reading the quote.  I guess what I’m saying is that a sane person would not love their life if they were Macbeth.  And although many of Macbeth’s actions in the play seem to stem from madness, this speech almost sounds like a moment of fleeting clarity where he looks back on it all and sees it for what it is: empty, and in the end, meaningless. 

For a man who’s existence is entirely devoid of love and happiness, life really is a walking shadow, a forgettable actor who “struts and frets his hour upon the stage”, and then fades from memory, unremembered and unimportant.  The only promise tomorrow holds is exactly what it is: another tomorrow that only leads to the next one and the next one until death, which Macbeth does not even seem to see as an escape.  We can make all the sound and fury in life that we want, but in the corrupt king’s eyes that’s all they are: hollow noise and meaningless actions.  Which leads me to my favorite part of the quote.  The entire monologue is incredibly deep with beautiful metaphors and imagery, but old Billy Shakes (as my poetry teacher says) ends it pretty bluntly.  After all the walking shadows, brief candles, and poor players, he ends with “Signifying nothing”.  And that’s his genius.  By ending this gorgeous speech in such a blunt and brutal way, he parallels the entire essence of the speech.  Macbeth gives his sound, fury, and eloquence throughout the entire monologue, but when he comes to his main point – that life is meaningless – he conveys exactly that in just two words.  He plays up the drama up until the “signifying” (life signifies what, Macbeth? What?) and then brings it crashing down with the simple “nothing”.  Just nothing.  Everything he’s said, everything he’s done amounts to just — nothing.  It’s a deflated, hollow word to end with, but it hits us like a sledgehammer and it’s utter brilliance. 

Alright, if you’ve read this entire post then I applaud you and also apologize profusely for getting a little loquacious there.  Shakespeare just gets to me.  It goes hand in hand with the whole sucking at being a teenage girl thing.  But hopefully I’ve explained why this monologue from Macbeth got the very first spot in my commonplace book.  Not because I’m goth.  Not because I think that Macbeth’s got the right idea about life.  It’s because it blends heartbreaking beauty, tragedy, and the brutal ugliness of what evil can do to someone in the same breath.  As another famous Macbeth quote states, “Fair is foul and foul is fair”, and this monologue balances both of those qualities brilliantly.  Considering myself an avid reader and a writer, Macbeth’s speech never fails to take my breath away in its power, and that’s why it’s not only in my book, but the first entry.  

I’m going to have a tough time explaining all of this to my english teacher if she’s concerned for my sanity once she reads the quote in my book.  Did I mention I also have Poe in there as well? Yikes. Maybe I’ll try to litter in some My LIttle Pony: Friendship Is Magic in there, just to be safe.  Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this depressing post about a depressing play! It’s one of my favorites, and maybe after reading this you’ll add in a Macbeth quote or two in your own commonplace book.  Just make sure to start out with the quote “Don’t worry, be happy” on your first page. 

– Julia

My Poetry: “Caterina”

The Daily Suck

Almost two years ago, I was blessed with the most incredible gift: my little sister, Caterina.  With the 15-year gap between us, I treat her like my little baby and love her more than I ever thought I could love anyone.  She truly lights up my life and gives me so much happiness! That being said, on her first birthday last year, I knew I had to do something special.  I ended up with this poem.  Entitled simply “Caterina”, I’m very excited to share it with you so that you can get a sense of how special she is to me.  Enjoy!

  “Caterina”
If my joy and happiness and laughter are caged birds
Then you are the key
And in the shape of a smile you unlock my heart
And bring all the good to light

If I want to know of love and purity and grace
Then you are my teacher
With the quiet wisdom of a child you inspire
I am content to sit at your feet

If my soul craves a song full of beauty and truth
Then you are a symphony
And your music lifts my spirit to impossible heights
I want all the world to hear you

If I long to see Heaven or a glimpse of my God
Then you are a window
And your eyes radiate with the glory of Divine Light
In every act, a daughter of The King

So in my imperfection
I know my words are not enough
Sentimental,
and utterly inadequate
But maybe when days have turned to months and months to years
Maybe when you feel small and alone
You’ll read the words of a foolish girl
who loves you
to the stars and back

Spinning Jenny Songs: Suddenly

ImageToday I wanted to share with you one of my band, Spinning Jenny’s songs, “Suddenly”!

Check it out here: http://www.reverbnation.com/spinningjenny19/song/18152254-suddenly
Now that you’ve heard it (and hopefully liked it), I thought I’d give you a little insight on how it came together. 

I had never written a song before and I was fed up.  After several failed attempts, I was convinced that I couldn’t do it.  I didn’t have it in me, and I could never be as good as the songwriters I looked up to.  It started out as that annoying, hit-a-brick-wall, frustrated anger.  And then I was just sitting on the couch venting about it to my family when it was  like a switch turned on.  There’s just no way. I thought.  There’s no way that I can’t put at least one song together.  I gotta go do it.  So I grabbed my guitar and headed down to the basement.  Somehow my frustration came out on paper and around 45 minutes later, “Suddenly” was born.  But that wasn’t the end of it. 

It was the first song I ever wrote and I was happy about it for that reason, but I wasn’t 100% on it.  In fact, I woke up one day with it stuck in my head and declared that I hated that song.  I hated it and I never wanted to hear it again! That’s around when our other original, “Outside The Lines” was written (which I’ll talk about in a future post) and I was definitely not thinking about “Suddenly”.  But one day when I was trying to write a new song, I heard my dad playing guitar.  At first I didn’t really pay attention to what he was doing, but then he started playing a riff that I liked.  So I listened, and realized that it was “Suddenly”.  And it didn’t sound too shabby.  Eventually, after working on it and tweaking it until it was ready, we went to the studio and got it recorded.  The song that I hated became something that I’m now really proud of and excited to share with others and I hope you like it too!

The song, as you can probably guess, is all about that burst of joy and understanding when, after being empty and lost for so long, you find what you’ve been looking for in someone that’s been there the whole time.  It’s a powerful thing, and hopefully I’ve been able to capture it in the song with the help of my sister, Angelina’s, powerful singing.  Big shout-out to Dan and everyone at Aardvark Studios also for helping us make the song the best it could be! I really hope the song speaks to you and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it!

– Julia