Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

False Starts #70

It occurs to me that a proper education should fundamentally do two things: 1) help you figure out the life you want to live and 2) give you the knowledge you need to live that life.

I’m not really sure any institution can do all of this, or if there is any one that really wants to.

posted by ferret at 10:48 pm  

Friday, April 11, 2014

False Start #69

I’ve tried many times to tell myself what poetry is, but perhaps it’s a momentary possession of the mind. I’ve gotten to this point when I can feel a poem coming on, the way some epileptics talk about seeing coronas, or neurotics sense waves of panic building. My thoughts ramp up a notch and words begin forming in my mind, ideas and words together. I see structures, contours of the poem forming. Next thing I know, I’m already writing the poem in my head. It’s then I know I need to find a notebook, a computer, anything that will let me get it all down. It’s like the way someone having a fit reaches for their medication.

Of course the analogy doesn’t quite fit. I choose to engage with these sudden fits. I try to get them to happen more. I’ll sit quietly over a cup of coffee waiting for them to happen. And when they do I’ll pursue them to the end. Then nothing gives me more pleasure. In this sense, the whole process is more like having an orgasm.

Still, poetry isn’t as productive as sex and most poets I’ve met would agree that a good lay is way better than writing a good poem. (Although they might say otherwise in certain company.)

The thing about poetry is that it wastes time. It is the ultimate waste of time. At least with screwing you have the potential to get more people, fall in love, whatever. With poetry all you get is more poetry. More words to make more words. And don’t tell me that poetry is made to inspire. Perhaps it does for people who are non-poets: scientists, politicians, business moguls. You know, people who actually do something. But let’s be clear. For poets, if poetry is inspiring, it’s just the inspiration to write more poetry. We continue to make poetry because we just like doing it. It’s our way. Inspiration for inspiration’s sake. Fits for the sake of fits.

posted by ferret at 5:00 pm  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

False Start #68

I’m in a terrible dream. Undifferentiated, pale faces are pursuing me. These men and women turn into devils with dark raspy voices and eyes of burning fire. Unidentified hounds of my past call out: Failure! Nothing! Pathetic nothing!

They are coming. They are coming for me.

I wake up in my darkened room, lit only by the low lights of the electronics charging around me. The lilt of the rain outside enters into the silence.  My heart is pounding. I’m gasping for breath. For a moment, I’m not sure whether the devils are real or not. I look around my room in panic.

Then I tell myself that the real devils don’t appear in dreams. They aren’t mystical beings. They aren’t even figments of the imagination. They’re daywalkers, smiling widely, shaking hands, kissing babies, supposedly saving us all. But deep down they know, and we do too, that they’re only out to save themselves. And we let them betray us.

They aren’t here, I think. They aren’t here.

I fall back asleep.

posted by ferret at 4:14 pm  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

False Start #67

These languages are homes for my spirit.

My Chinese? An apartment in a great highrise of thousands. The doors are new but flimsy. The floors are half finished (the name for them often escapes me). The scrolls of ancient poems line the walls, most of them tattered and ripped in half. It’s cold, but there’s a heater in the corner. It’s broken a lot of the time. I should get someone to fix it, but a lot of times I don’t want to.

My Latin? A faded postcard of a house that looks like hundreds of houses that I see everywhere. What knowledge of this house I have from the picture gives me the feeling that I know hundreds of houses intimately. I feel myself to be veritable architect. I make wild assertions when I am in other homes and occasionally I am correct. I stun others. Most of the time I’m wrong.

My Greek? A foggy island lost on a foggy sea.

My Spanish? A decaying treehouse in the forest built by children. It’s shoddily built. I don’t dare to climb up into it.

My English? A worn-in rambler. I think I know every inch of it and every corner. I feel as if I can remember the day every piece of furniture was placed inside it. Still, every once in a while I’m intrigued. That air vent! Was it always there? That hole in the corner near the closet! How did that come about? That trap door in the cellar! I swear it leads to other worlds…

posted by ferret at 1:51 pm  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

False Start #66

Inspiration is not a bolt of lightening or an angel appearing on the doorstep of your mind. It’s a bit of shelter in the pouring rain when the world is dark and gray. To get there, you must be willing to fight your way to it.

posted by ferret at 1:38 am  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

False Start #65

I am tired of loud revolutionaries. I’m sick of bullhorns and shanytowns with pizza deliveries. I’m tired of movements, of seasons of change. The world that is growing needs them; in fact, it cannot exist without them. This is why I am sick of them.

The loud mouth wailers and those intoxicated with self-righteousness are essential in the game of liberal democracy. They are the pawns in the great game – easily sacrificed. Rarely do they rise to greatness, and when they do, the end is near.

The revolutionaries I admire stay away from rallies. They avoid them altogether. They see the whole thing for the game it is. And, besides, they are too busy designing new games.

posted by ferret at 11:20 pm  

Friday, February 10, 2012

False Start #64

A friend of mine slings a new rap record over to me, Drake’s Take Care.  “Over My Dead Body” rattles around in my head while I’m in the shower.

Rappers. Every single record it’s the same, gloating about the money, the fame, the life. Bling blingin’ and shit. Show boatin’, ego affirming drivel. And still, I never get tired of hearing about it. “Why?” I’ll ask myself.

Then I realize, that deep down, deep down in the lonely vault of the heart we see our lives as great productions with booming synthesizers in the background, productions worthy of projecting into the minds of others, billboard productions to spring others to life… if only we had the words.


Like feeling my power, steppin’ in my shower, soakin’ down my hair with pert plus, man it’s the bes’,  don’t make a fuss.  Jumpin’ out an dryin’ off in the freezin’ cold,  see my face in the mirror, man I’m gettin’ old. I’m almost 30 and I got less than 30 g’s, sing it wit’ me, man, if you feel me, please.


People keep asking me where I’m going. If I’m really hitting my stride. What the hell, man, you think I just do what I do for fun, turning down promotions just to keep myself alive? I’ve got projects on the pot, I’m waiting to set them live, I live my life in China land, sweet so sweet it ain’t a dive.  But you get distracted, man, pulled away from the things you think are right. Drank too much beer at my local pub last night man, lost everything I came with.


What you online bloggers? Silent scribblers in the midst? Think you’re livejournaling is the shit, man. You want to be a funny guy? I’ll crack my fingers and flick off something that you can’t handle, man. Leave you shame commented you can’t hold on to nothing, not even your pride, huh?

But yeah, it’s alright feelin’ stronger. Feelin’ better. Livin’ life alright. Gonna sleep tonight. You just keep goin’ on and on. And there’s crazy folks all want iPhones over here, out in China, man, and it’s alright.

posted by ferret at 4:25 pm  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

False Start #63

If I die in a plane crash, I want to crash in the middle of the Amazon, a churning pyre of hissing deep-growth trees, twisted metal, crackling wildlife and the wide-eyed stares of the natives.

I want the blaze to spread in a wild fire, engulfing a wide acreage of rainforest, lighting up all of Amazonia, seen even by sleepy babes from the swampy depths of Manaus. I want the satellites to relay pictures to squat, brilliant men in dilapidated security strongholds, making them gasp with stale breaths over toasted coffees. The fireball will be a phoenix testament to the world that, when analyzed properly, tells fortunes for the soothsayers of fantastic realms, cities of gold, looming on the horizon, beckoning wizened travelers from faraway lands to place their feet upon their scintillating pavements, casting gazes at the beautiful women who glimmer with metals swirled about them…

The dreamers will call this demise, this too-quick oxidation, this fiery explosion the end that caused the beginning.

posted by ferret at 5:05 pm  

Monday, October 24, 2011

False Start #62

There’s a truth about history that only lowly listings editors know. They know history in all of its elliptical savagery. They know the way the great dreams and aspirations of men and women are so easily reduced to a blurb of 50 words or less. Rich, pleonastic adjectives overflowing with life are squeezed until they become sparse and dessicated. Fertile, courageous verbs are left neutered and sickly, only perfunctorily conveying their messages. Style is sacrificed to the great gods of formatting and orthology.  Even legendary figures and the most proper of proper nouns must struggle for so much as a one-word epithet. In the end, all you are and all you wish to be is reduced to time, place and cost. History leaves you nothing else. Period.

posted by ferret at 6:29 pm  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

False Start #61

As one of those who dares to call himself poet, I’ve been writing abstractly about “the heart” for a long time. However, to tell the truth, I never knew what it was.

I’ve made up my mind.

The heart is you seeing yourself. It’s interchangable with “spirit” and “soul” as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t get deeper or more metaphysical than that.

But I’m surprised. Pursuing this alone proves to be about as deep and metaphysical as it gets.

posted by ferret at 9:57 pm  
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