Reaction to House of Cards (no spoilers)

Author’s note: While this is technically a reaction to House of Cards, it is more a reaction to the feeling I had while watching it than to anything in the actual story. Also, I never thought of rhyming as really my thing, but since this is the second rhyming poem I did this month I guess I’m doing a bit of an experiment.

Compounded Interest

A knight in rusty armor slowly grinding to a halt
A king of broken castles with his thrones now made of salt
A sword of rubber wielded by a child still on milk
A bed of weeds and plastic instead of down and silk

Where you’ve been is where you’re going, never doubt it’s true
All the power in the world won’t stop you from being you
You’ve buried all your treasures just to keep them far away
But when you dig them up all you find is dust and clay

Every cry of pain that’s uttered falls on your deaf ears
You dry the moisture off your shoulder like its water and not tears
You go on living as you are, as if you’ve never loved at all
As if you never reached for me to save you from this fall

But how can I hate you, though you’ve now become this way
Though all your promises are cracked and your words full of decay
You’ve left one standing, shining truth I never can deny
You’ve sold your soul for apathy, and I’m the reason why



Reaction to selections from the ePhoenix Art Gallery

Today’s post comes in two poems that showcase my reaction to several paintings from the Phoenix Art Museum‘s online gallery. I know its a lot of links, but the poems read better if you’ve seen the paintings.

1. Stretch

Kelly Mclane
Big Gen X, 2004

We are stark (two-toned/ a tympani)
Not what you think (forget the black and white)
Balance high over our world (we made it/ too small)
We’re torn (we can only hear to one side)
Between the spaces of our youth (falling)
And the spaces of our wire frame (it can’t hold water)
Take a minute (it’s all we have)
To count the smudges (we’ll wait/ we’ve learned that much)
That have become our life

2. The Spaces Between

Philip C. Curtis

The Concert, 1960 / The Game, 1976

Stand apart
separate focus
ostensibly identical goals
rule of polite people
above all

After Dinner Speakers, 1974

Now remain apart
an idea per table
breaches the rule
to be heard
above all

The Fight, 1961

Impractically apart
new rule of anger
handed down
polite string master
from above all

The Lift, 1972

Lost apart
can’t find it
hold on to separate focuses
before we become human
riding here
above all

Rose Tinted Glasses

Deep Blue was just a computer
Red, a Party of incomprehensible thinkers
I only saw yellow in my own fear
The need for everything was green’s solitary use
White was the race I was born into
Black and brown, the ones I was taught to judge

Every color of the rainbow
Useless blotches on a wooden palate
Rubbish dumped to the floor
About to be trodden on when your hand slipped underneath

Caught my sole, robbed my balance and breath
With violets that sank me, drowned me with royalty
Stars that burst orange and gold behind my eyes
Blinding me with shades of colors
I have no meanings for.


Author’s Note: While there are several paintings and artists who inspired this poem, it is more of a reaction to art itself. It can also have other meanings and connotations depending on the readers’ personality, state of mind, emotions, ect. As I have said before in this blog, this is one thing I love about art in general and poetry specifically.

I do, however, want to highlight some of the artists. One of them, Thomas Kinkade, most people have heard of. The others are great, but relatively unknown. Most of them I found by searching sites like Redbubble, fineartamerica, and Etsy.

One thing I love about the WordPress poetry community is that many of the poets seek out and support one another. I think checking out art sites, like the one listed above, shows this same solidarity to fellow artists.Several of my favorite finds from these searches (in alphabetical order) are Larisa Aukon, Megan Duncanson, Johnathan Harris, Devika Keskar, Christopher Pottruff, and Jane Small.

I encourage you to check out some or all of the links above. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments: people who help you trade your rose-tinted glasses for rainbow-saturated ones.

Proper Reality

Never so terrible and long
The wait for metro hosts to tell
Whether your vote has found its voice
Or your favorite idol fell

On seat’s edge with bitten nails
Though every good and worthwhile thing
Have already in your brain been seared
By “Coming up” and “Next week” scenes

When racers set to never stop
Till an unheard voice demands better skins
You’ll be inspired to see the world
As long as you don’t miss who wins

While you watch, you celebrate
That those who triumph in the end
To a man, are just like you
Liars, cheats, and betrayers of friends

$99,969.50

Excuses
No money, no time
Overwhelmed by “Poverty Porn”
Exploiting the very people they’re “helping”
Giving to charity is complicated

Advertisements
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. All free
Makes money you don’t see being taken
Nothing new. Television, radio, newspaper
Look at Super Bowl commercials

Tabs
Use a computer, open a tab
Easiest way to get it done
Probably have five open now
No cost, no thought

Cause
Believe in something
Give it your heart, or hearts
Money you don’t see being given
Goes to where it’s needed

Beauty
Bonus gift for so little effort
Our world, seen through active lenses
Smiling faces of changed lives
Peaceful transitions between every next step

$99,969.50
Start of this poem, amount raised
No excuses, just advertisements
Furnished by Tab for a Cause
To create beauty that by poem’s end

Is now $101,498.64


Tab for a Cause is a wonderfully brilliant way to give to charities you care about without actually spending any money. It harnesses the current big money maker of the internet- advertisements, without being intrusive about it.

You install it one time and then every time you open a new tab you are shown a picture (usually a beauty shot of our world, the environment, or the people being helped by TfaC charities). Each tab generates money for these charities.

You earn hearts by opening tabs, and can donate them to the charities of your choice, ensuring the money you generate goes to causes you care about.

It’s an amazing program and I can’t think of much reason not to do it. Check it out here. If you want to see where the money is going, they provide quarterly reports (like this one for the end of 2014).

To the Man I Met Yesterday

I apologize for the title
Because, though it refers to you as you choose to be,
It does not take into consideration the complexity
Of a life not lived on the edge, not measured by the boxes
But by the contents, an infinite number of definitions
Which, while better for us as humans, makes more trouble
For writers than it does for casual conversationalists
Because it is nowhere near as hard
To say “Your friend asked me to go to the store, but I
forgot what they wanted” as it is
To write a poem
Titled
“To the biologically female
physiologically transitioned, sociologically male
psychologically comfortable, spiritually
aware, fashionally uninhibited, Patriot-accented
beautiful-hearted, horror-surviving
unapologetic apologist soul
I had the pleasure of glimpsing
yesterday.”

Hypnogogic Jerk

This evening’s lullaby
Everyone’s a critic
X for x’s sake

Sleep with one eye open
Memorize the patterns, sounds in the metal walls
Bang, ba-bang, clank: guard making his rounds
Bang, boom, scuffle: a new resident, learning the way of things
Schiff, bang, thunk: an old hand, giving up
So long as it’s not… Clang, clank, slam
You can still sleep with one eye open

Dream with one hand in the cookie jar
Learn the language of subtext, meaning behind the lies
We really want to work with you: you are good for our reputation
You have a real talent: as long as people keep buying, we’ll keep selling
What’s your vision for this project: we need you to think you matter
So long as it’s not… Let’s try a new direction
You can still dream with one hand in the cookie jar

Create with one foot on the ground
Recognize the warning thoughts, signs you’re losing you
It’s hard to explain: you don’t see all the hard work
I want to be true to my passion: I don’t know what is inside, but it needs to come out
No one knows who I am: I’m not sure I’m showing my true self
So long as it’s not… I deserve to be known
You can still create with one foot on the ground

This morning’s wake up song
Let’s try a new direction
Clang, clank, slam

Note: While I didn’t want to say so before the poem, this piece is a reaction to some great advice about the writing and the creative process that I have picked up from people like Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Chuck Wendig, and Maureen Johnson.

I like to show all my poems to someone who is not a big fan of poetry to get their thoughts. This time, the reaction was “I have a feeling this is depressing but I don’t know why.” I think this is an excellent way to sum up something all artists and creators go through in regard to their own work.

I pointed out that the poem is depressing because it’s about trying to create in a world, a context, that’s not always conducive to creativity. But, I continued, it’s also hopeful. Each scenario has a “So long as it’s not”: a thing that makes it less survivable. The hope of the poem lies in which of these lines is missing from the last verse.

The only one of these “So long as it’s not”s that can truly stop you is an internal one.

It’s something you can control.