The Haiku Mixtape– Deconstructed (Part 1)

Deconstruct1I’m nearing the end of the Haiku Mixtape project, so I thought that it would be a good idea if I put down the notes on each  haiku. This idea came up partly as a way to see how an explanation would look like in writing, and as a way to show people how the sausage is made to those whose who are working on poetry of their own. I just wanna cover ten from the first eleven haiku ( I already deconstructed one in a previous post).

Ziggy Stardust  It took me a few weeks of figuring out what song would start the project. Any mixtape has to start strong, and I decided the late great David Bowie was the best choice.The inspiration primarily came from the image of Ziggy, of course, and part of the lyrics (“when the kids killed the man…”)

Austere  The Joy Formidable is a Welsh indie rock band. I heard about them years ago through an incredibly-ancient Idolator blog post, and I like that, despite their overall pop sound, they still had a kick to them. Hence why I ended it with the word roar.

Pearls Girl – I had some words to a longer free-verse poem inspired by this Underworld song – I never finished it, and I didn’t like it. I played around with it this time for the mixtape, and made this instead. I think I might go back to the original, who knows.

I Don’t Care (I Love It) – There’s a personal story to why I chose this song that I won’t get into unless we’re friends. The narrative in the haiku give a general idea of what happened, and added a bit of flair ( the smashing/crashed internal rhyme).

She’s Lost Control – Fun fact: Ian Curtis had epilepsy, which affected his dancing on-stage. This haiku goes straight to the point, to the lyrics, because, hey, I gotta deal with it too. And it would feel really cheap if I’d do it any other way.

Flight Of The Feathered Serpent – The imagery of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind and learning, is very cool. I kept to that, and so does the song in my

Beetlebum – I saw Blur live that week with friends at Madison Square Garden that week. This is my favorite song by the band, and the lyrics just hit me. Used the word Britannia to do a syllabic extension to Britpop, so to speak.

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – The Halloween haiku, obviously. There is no way I won’t say no to a good goth song as my choice for this, my favorite of holidays. Imagery of people wearing black and vampires stuck in my head when I started the writing process.

Teenage Crime – I found this Adrian Lux song on Spotify, and I quite liked it. Nice simple house beat, a coy voice with sparse lyrics that fit. Brought out memories to a lot of old clubbing days that lasted ’til morning.

Her Fantasy – This one is slightly inspired by the music video and combined it with inspiration born from the lyrics in Dear’s baritone delivery. I also used the album cover for the mixtape background. After I finished it I spent a night of watching Kenneth Anger movies.

Pull The Sheets

Early morning, pain
but it excites me,
recalls the ultra
violence, dancing
between the lanes
the night before  –

 

I pulled away from
you, the neon and
the diseased fun
all over my body.
God, this peep
show creeps into
a drugged slumber.

Pull the sheets
go, blindfold me
until the afternoon

 

[originally from my Tumblr]

Poem 6/7/16

New tricks and light strobes seize me,

drag me far but keep me in a fugue state –

I want to keep lying, trust me, this is what

I am meant to be – protean in the club,

the last human dancing on a barren floor,

uncompromising – my feet never stay bored

and my mind slides, spins along with yours

Girl Band, Part 1

Note: I was published in a poetry book by Saul Williams years ago. The title of the poem is Girl Band, and I decided to write a four-part flash fic piece from each stanza.

Little maiden blue, burqa blessed,
she holds monstrous stories told
in the spaces of her lyre; infantile,
how her voice is muffled by the cloth

It didn’t surprise her fans that tickets to her shows sell out in ten minutes or less. She liked choosing small venues – this time a considerably-sized lounge – and a place where protesters would not be an issue.

The fear in her mind left years ago when she escaped the terrorist camps, so she had her dark gray tour bus park in front of the lounge and the few protesters that had made it outside on that cold December night. The shouting were a cacophony of Arabic, Urdu, Farsi while the police shouted in English. She remained silent, her mouth hidden beneath a black burqa adorned with a bronze grille. Her blue eyeliner gave the looks she made at her opponents the more menacing while she walked inside the lounge.

The techs set up the stage quickly – all that was needed was a rug to cover the  stage’s wooden flooring, a comfortable and stylish seat, and a table at the proper height for her instrument. She had been using a three-foot tall lyre, gilded and Sumerian designed for the better part of a decade.

The red and purple stage lights came down on stage, and she came in, draped in a long, light blue burqa with a golden mesh. It looked as if she was floating towards her lyre. She sat down on the seat and pulled her arms out from under the burqa. Both her arms, covered in full-sleeve tattoos, depicted images of the bloodshed she witnessed at home, like a dark tapestry of sorrow and violence. She plucked at the strings with her right hand, whose arm had images of AK-47s and beheaded infidels.

“We born from the earth leave buckets of blood,” she sang, her voice the exquisite mix of the child and pixie, “my clit is gone…”

She commenced with her left hand, the one with an arm draped with buildings in ruin and explosions. The complexity of the melody was beautiful, making her lyrics and odd juxtaposition.

“I’ve run thousands of miles in the woods and the mud, but my clit is gone…”

The crowd could not make it if she was in pain or or if she was detached as she sang. There was a whimsy in her movement, swaying her head side to side and tapping her feet in black leather boots that seemed impossible to think she could be enjoying singing what was coming out of her mouth.

“My family is under the sand with the rest of the town,

The killers blessed my neck with knives, and I lied down… now my clit is gone.”

Her die-hard fans soaked into every word – some knew the lyrics and whispered it to friends and lovers. Others in the crowd simply walked out in discomfort or repulsion.

The song ended with a complex arpeggio. Afterwards, she spoke softly on the microphone.

“Thank you that was the easiest song on the set list. Let’s continue.’

With that, she removed her burqa, revealing an Afghani woman wearing a Rancid t-shirt and ripped jeans. The scars on her face mapped her life’s pain, but she maintained a genuine smile as she moved onto the next transgression.

The Black Hole Disco (Flash Fic)

I wasn’t planning on going to the Black Hole Disco, but having forty percent DNA of dance music makes a person weak for opportunities such as those. In the spirit of “fuck it why not,” I bought a ticket from a junkie days prior and made my way to the 8th Palace.

It was near midnight, and people of all sexes and genders stood outside, smoking. Women wore black shirts with ragged multicolored sigil, denoting their favorite band or god, who knows. Men wore light-colored tank-tops and caps. They all looked equally disaffected.

I passed through the sliding glass doors, into a hallway of shops that were completely locked down. Before I passed the particle-screen security gates leading to the shut-down escalators, I noticed that the floor above me was shaking from a thumping bass.

The Palace used to be a family restaurant and gateway for immigrants looking for cheap breakfast. It shut down two years ago and is still remains a gateway, to an extent. The floors still have their red carpets and foreign decorations, but at the far left is the Black Hole rig. Four speakers strategically placed, two turntables, a sound mixer and two laptops, one connected to an empty metallic ring over the dance floor.

There were two blackouts before the main event came on stage. Each time the ring hummed when it shouldn’t have in the middle of a deep house cut, or in the staccato of a trap jam. I slipped into the crowd and stared at how the pulsing lights from behind the stage bounced from the wallpaper. Such an odd juxtaposition, but I love it.

And then, the dark princess came. Everyone expected the first songs playing were to be her well-known harsh industrial-electro cuts, but she surprised us. She switched heavily between deep bass, southern underground rap, and then to 90s pop anthems. It was interesting, seeing this pallid, black-haired woman playing this kind of set, but we all wanted more of it regardless. Out of nowhere, in our drug-and-euphoria giddiness, she pressed a button on the second laptop and then jumped over the rig on on top of the crowd. She used a party-goer’s hand for balance, and walked to the center on a path made by the hands of others.

This was when I finally learned why it was called the Black Hole Disco. There was another blackout, but the music kept playing. The ring above us burst with a blue light, and I felt a slight pull coming from its direction. My instincts from years of illegal rave escapes kicked in and I ran away as I heard the screams from behind. It took only the length of one song, the DJ’s own from her recent album, for the crowd to get sucked into the dance-singularity. I’m confident those ravers will never be seen again.

I stumbled out of 8th Palace, and in the few minutes I had run from the chaos I found it was now the morning two days later, thanks to time dilation. I could have been sucked into the beyond of wherever that ring took the DJ and the crowd. I should have been on my knees, traumatized. But I did not. I walked for blocks and blocks of damp post-rain city, enjoying the warmth, smiling. Hoping I get another chance to cheat death, someday.

(Slightly inspired by events I witnessed at an Alice Glass DJ set years ago.)

The Absence Epic, 4

23.

 

“You feel weak, but I still think

you’re the strongest man I’ve –“

it’s dark and I am sitting in bed,

three attacks in two hours

“You’re the bravest –“Shut up,

shut up. This is no daring here

this is primal survival, walking

in the woods of the city making

sure the cars don’t run me over.

“You can do this, you have me – “

no one is enough to fight this,

just me and the absence, anger

the desperation, and my tears

 

24.

 

This is not genetic, there is no curse

tied to the ATCG worth passing on

to a child, in my future, I will hold

scared to death the seizure drops

 

 

The fluids show it is not cancer, no

panic then, you are healthy (sort of)

keep true to your smiles no matter

how you hide them, or slip away

 

 

Photosensitivity free, lucky for you

there is a light at the end of this

tunnel unlike for the rest, but recall

the absence, when it hits, breaks you

 

25.

 

I walk out the building, hood up, monstrous

The homeless of the Tenderloin and I share

a certain shame and resiliency this morning

These streets know not the steps or pattern

of the brain waves hunted by the sensors

married to my head, held in holy bandage

There is no consummation – humiliation,

perhaps — but I want to lay in bed, alone

my head held high in hope of the sign

from on right-brain glitch to nodes,

the heavenly disconnect of my senses

to the tech – one cord, from monitor

to temporal lobe, temporary, lonely

 

26.

 

The talismans are wrapped on

a string around my arm, wrist first,

penitent. Why did this happen?

What ties did I break that made

this condition my faith, my body

its sole temple and priest?

 

To the forearm, and the threads

become tenuous, protective

to the shivers in a blind animism

where all my will would rather

stay with frayed elder strings

than unbound to the seizures

 

The bicep, where there rests icons

misused saints I used to pray to

but stopped – now, I whisper

small phrases to them as auras

move past the shoulder towards

a flux – divine, wicked, unknown

 

27.

 

I will remain the man shaking violently

Even at 90 and the last flicker of light

When my daughter stops calling me

As I see my wife go into the ground

After I see my child’s eye for the first time

Before “I do” leaves my mouth in May

The last time I’m allowed to go to a festival

Tonight, writing this in fear of my future

Despite all the control and safety from pills

 

28.

There is one maxim to learn, after all these battles

when I have hyperventilated into angel’s trumpets

refusing the touches of careful women saving me

from the midnight fear and morning complications

finally facing complexity, embracing my absence

until my body turns into the predictable maelstrom –

Breathe, Just

                         Breathe. You

                                                  Will Weather

                                                                                This Storm

 

29.

 

Yes, there is no particular ending to a seizure

The waking up, the consciousness resumes

and we are once again left in this universe

on fire, white hot or slowly burning lethargic

 

But we will not let the black and blues define

us, we will take the bruises and the pain

as signs that, yes, we are still here, fighting

the ghosts that refuse to let go of our brain

 

And we will push our bodies, just as they do,

until we become heavenly, orbiting, unlimited,

drifting with hope that we will meet each other

 

And I will finally remember all of our names

The Absence Epic, 3

16.

 

No rest for loud thoughts.
Stay up alone? No, savage
fits destroy my words

 

17.

 

Roses and fire that prick
my fingers and arms

Sight is a luxury slipping
into my ruin on repeat

The ashes, I will not let
them choke me down

It does not have the right
to leave me here, alone

And nobody truly aware
that I am hurting inside,

dragged into a spiral
of thorns and flames
I feel but cannot see

 

18.

 

Let’s go far away where the shivers won’t scare me,

my body reacts at the contact from phantom winds

 

I want to see the bay and the dark sky, the stolen

mix of highways and comfort in masking absence

 

This may be the only road I see out of this trip

where my world is lost when lights become auras

 

19.

 

Triggers create threats, a stream of scattered havoc
springing out from the ether and breaks of emptiness

Triggers bring flames and flames on the walls my hands
are banging against – no burns, only wide-eyed fear

Triggers create memories, displays and a pageant
of frenzies I portray in front of you, my dear

Triggers sit tight, for they live inside and around me
watching for a time and place to grab my hands

 

20.

 

There you are, taking off your dress, a smile
slight yet bit-lip enough it washes cautions
held every time you saw me fall into space
and caressed me in the post-seizure haze

This is the moment I hold you down, hard
onto the sheets and say “Fuck the fear.”
I have touched you there before and loved it
My thoughts, I shut down with a tongue –
a flurry of strokes and moans and I am free

But, in the sex and switched postions It returns.
The damn thing was hidden between the thrusts
and the command “Keep going, don’t stop,”
I follow the wrong gypsy, the cursed one
who puts her spell on me, the impossibility
of an orgasm when my body forgets its place

 

21.

 

All these mind-fires burn what was the old me,
a blaze in the last bonfires of a cold beach

I see, in the inner effigy there is hope left
If I use the ocean – I see it there, the waves
of the new coast calling to me in a new tongue

What is there left to do but to lean back,
let it crash over me, wash the flames away
and ready my mind for the new self, waiting?

 

22.

 

Hi, I am your lungs contracting at rates of complexity
per seconds, blinking faster, your words on remix
Ven aqui, compadre mio this won’t end ‘til you chill,
til you die, ‘til the shivers go away happy once they
ate away at all the quiet air you had left in the day

The Absence Epic, 2

9.

 

The zephyr came, blew the breeze into the flame,

the searing halo I cannot put out – it knows me,

how my wrist is held by the hands of petit mal dames

playing tricks, sprinkling embers on my ear and nape

The wind and the fire crown made me a wicker man

made from sticks of an origin that, had I known existed,

I would have thrown into the sea, along with my body,

but the omens never help – they always want a sacrifice

 

10.

 

Too small, the pills fall away under the stove,

My stomach numb, it gnaws and churns

But all I feel are my knees scraping on the tiles,

My arm reaching – clean, dirty, depending on

How my skin reacts, or if my arm will light on fire

I sense them and let the panic subside

They are in my hands and I am safe for now

The slow damage is eating away at me already

The pills are on my desk now – they are already gone

 

 

 

11.

 

An instruction manual –

First, let me go, you know

my struggle and need

no obstacle for the writhing

Second, when I am turned

to the side, hope to god

I remember I can make it

through the next few hours

Third, my heart is a knot

tightening from the absence –

I will loosen it, do not worry,

She will come eventually

 

 

 

 

 

12.

 

There is no water here and I am still drowning,

sound of voices muffled in and out by the wake

I am passing through choppy consciousness

treading thoughts, barely, lying and floating

words between polite dinner and brief liquor

My lungs are filled with panic and swimming

to sure smiles and standing, what my legs

refuse to do, are meters away from rest

 

 

13.

 

I fell on the subway on route to a party

chatting with a woman against a pole

The aura formed the swell in my head,

my body is surfing on the turns of the train

The idea of my location is irrelevant now,

the direction is a hope I do not pass out

She keeps talking, I stammer, I-

-I-

-I-

Wipe out

Here comes the EMTs

 

14.

 

I sank and felt the mind blast

Maybe this would be the last,

Or not, who knows – the tank

Is empty, where I think, grow

fantasies and the average shrinks

 

This crash of faulty brain staggers,

A battle of flash fires on grey matter,

Home to silent pains while I assault the

Absence, until I tire, barely breathing

And then, seething, return to the fray

 

15.

My sick head spills out the boundless ambitions in my dreams

face down, profound and abstract, a thousand years a second

shattered when I am awakened by your attacks. I need sleep,

take in Nyx’s breath and whirl in the night’s missing pieces.

 

I am not alone in the bed – the absence, the complexity

make a trio of nightmares and verges of night terrors

so predictable, I want to snuff them with all my pillows

but they leave, as always, lying to me they won’t come back.

 

I want my dreams unending, and to this day miss its haze.

The Absence Epic, 1

I decided that, this year I would make the attempt of running the National Poetry Writing Month gauntlet. I have something that is helping the journey – my seizures.

Short story: I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder in early 2009. I have it under control luckily, but I do have the occasional bouts of absence seizures. When those started coming, sometimes I’d jot down  whatever the hell my clearly messed-up brain was coming up with.

As the years have passed, I’ve decided that one day I would write those pieces into something larger. At its current incarnation, I am calling it The Absence Epic. I’ve posted the first week-plus’ worth of poems (0- 8) on Instagram, Tumblr, even the old DeviantArt daily. However, I decided it would be here where I would put the poems weekly. So, here is the first week. I have no idea where this will go, and how many of these will actually stay in their current forms.

 

0.

In my dreams, forged from mother’s stories of that day,

I see pieces of the infinite, supernovae and flares,

Planets I did not know the names of at that time.

As a child, I gave them titles of my choosing.

Now, when I wake up, I know their true names,

Losing all memories of the ones I gave them.

 

I wish I could remember their names every morning.

 

1.

 

I am litter on the floor, eyes open,

Bent, twisted turned as a crumpled can.

The only thing that holds me are drunks

called friends and freaked out passersby.

 

There is no stopping the absence,

the fear of staying asleep in my mind

forever with the memory of a mind on fire,

a pain deep, rending me comatose.

 

2.

 

How do you give a voice to a silent rumble? Do you fall,

convulsing, attempt and hold it together, failing,

is it

…just…wait…

…stay here and grab my hand…

…this absence is all I have left.

This absence is all I can leave behind.

Please, let me leave it behind

Please –

3.

 

I spin out, wheels without,

feet on the ground

with no direction

 

I feel the pins from within

rip through the epidermis

harder than the sound

 

I walk in haze, mind ablaze

but stumbling is better

than giving up to delirium

 

4.

 

I met the complexity the follows me

Now that cold morning in Lima,

And it rested within me, patiently,

Waiting to be reborn, for decades

We did not shake hands, or kiss,

But I will tremble to its control

 

The maturing deformation,

The real pain? I feed it to this day,

As it is my new and everlasting muse –

Not the women, the anger, nor the drink,

Just the absence, and it will always be

At my side, eternal, until I blink into dust

 

5.

 

No activation response for my senses

my head is taking in cold breaths –

I cannot allow

disappointment,

a breaking point –

but the chill seeps in

and under red storefront lights, I align

my shame with growing suffocation

 

6.

I fear the sliver between

awareness and the great abandon

Within that crack lies a beast

that gnaws on my left arm, caressing

my head, anticipating a devouring

of my direction and spitting me out

into open neuroses, disintegrating me

I will fill that space between myself

and the crack, or the crumbling begins

 

7.

 

I should make it my muse,

its touch moving my fingers,

writing in its trembling diction

of stammers and repetition,

the quiet chant of reticence,

the hymn of failed resistance,

the melody of sweet absence

ascendant where disorder lingers,

and scattered divisions that it chooses

 

8.

 

No joy, just presence and memory,

a constant night breeding a will to drift

into the “what ifs” and “who’s to know”

that I am in persistent loss of control

and that my fears are fed powerfully

 

 

No New Ideas But In Tearing Everything Apart

I’ve been reading a lot of new poetry from a lot of new sources lately. There is one pervasive thought that’s gone through my head, the more I read the stanzas, digest their stanzas, flow.

“Fuck, I lost so much feeling, haven’t I?”

I am really not trying to throw shade at any poet, I know people are bleeding the words they need out of their hearts and there is some pieces that are divine in quality. , I think to some extent I have lost that connection. I feel bloodless, and read things in such a detached, almost clinical mind.

So I’ve gone back to the beginning, and opened my ancient Word files filled with stuff from almost a decade-plus ago. A good amount of it is terrible, of course, but I can see that in those words created by misplaced teenage crushes and unnecessary angst there was a flavor of me that was more raw. I need that taste again.

That’s what I’m trying to reclaim at the moment. I’m taking back the old poems and dismantling them. This time around I’m working under two simple rules.

  1. Remove all vestiges/instances of love. I don’t think about it at the moment, I see no point in talking about something that isn’t a part of me.
  2. Try to keep to the rules of Imagism – clear concise portrayal of the image. Or to quote William Carlos Williams, “No ideas but in things”

The idea may not be new, nor some of the ideas. But something can grow from an object if it is taken apart are built into a new piece of art. At least, that’s what I hope.

 

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