Friday, April 17, 2009

Snapshots - San Diego Harbor, Coronado Island, Star of India

Poem - Where I come From

I come from a picture of my family
Twelve of us, together at once
Frozen in the animate language
Of laughter

I can etch out
The faces, trace their smiles
And say, she is me, second to the left
In the bottom row, between sister and mother
Yet I am not her.

I was once her
Dwarfed by my siblings
If not in size, but in sheer life
Caught between the states of impression
And self
Wondering who I was

Their faces are confident
Fleshed out, dimensional and whole
Whereas she is parchment paper
Transparent, flat, only an outline
A cartoon character
Not the lead heroine in her life

She is uncomfortable, uneasy
Uncertainty comes to life
In a black dress and high heels
Her face mirrors theirs, laughing,
But her eyes are pleading
For experience, for character

She does not yet identify
She does not yet embody
She does not know who she will emulate
Or follow, or become,
In her quest of self

And yet her body tilts
Aligns with her family
Surrounded by love and laughter,
And acceptance
And in the flash of a camera
She becomes me

I am from my family
I am the ninth, the sometimes overlooked
The always loved
But I,
I am myself
And myself comes from within me

Arizona Snapshot - Phoenix Zoo Lights

I went to Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo last Christmas and this was my favorite picture. They clothe the zoo in thousands of colorful lights, many of them around wires in shape of zoo animals. The best part is the line of lit palm trees set to music around the lake.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Creative Idea - Altered Book

An altered book was an assignment I had in creative writing. You take any book and paste your poems, stories, and other creative things into it. My theme was "Childhood", so my short stories and poems revolved around childhood, as did my decorations. The book I used was one on the Everglades, which I chose because it had nature themes, and I knew I had poems that fit into the nature scheme. I sewed many of the excess pages together and used fabric, fake flowers, pictures, ribbon, and painting to add more dimension to my poems. The pictures go from the last page towards the first.

Short Story - Still

Short story I wrote a couple of years ago.

It was a sweltering afternoon, the kind of day when the earth seems to drift closer to the sun, enveloping the country in a heat wave. She lay on the cool tiled floor of the kitchen, clad only in a thin, stretched underwear and sports bra set that had seen the inside of the washer one too many times. A rivulet of sweat dripped down her face and clung to the tiny follicles on her upper lip, as the heat covered her body unrelentlessly, like a fleece blanket, suffocating her in its folds. The stillness of the air was broken only by the whir of the window fan that occasionally spat out a column of stale air that danced mischievously across her sweat-stained skin, taunting her with its promise of relief.

She remembered the last time the earth had grown angry and hot. She was eleven, the year her normality and stability was ripped away, leaving her broken and unsettled. She had run out of the house into the inferno, to escape the voices in her head. All afternoon, she lay in the welcoming shade of the maple tree, the drone of the grasshoppers’ audible in the distance, gazing at the patches of sunlight visible through her eyelids. In her mind she was a thousand miles away, basking in the cool waters of a sea, free from all thoughts. The folds of her dress billowed around her legs, and she heard the stillness, the utter vacuum of the sea. The ripples of the sea caressed her skin, leaving her cleansed and purified. She exulted in the weightlessness, and the knowledge that if she let go, the water would catch her, suspend her forever in its hushed embrace.

She opened her eyes, and the crack on the ceiling faded into sight. She breathed in deeply, conscious of the fact that a weight had dissolved off her chest. A cacophony of voices sounded above her, seemingly at a great distance away. A low pitched purr mixed reassuringly with a shrill desperation. She turned her head away from the noise and noted with interests small details about the kitchen that had escaped her until this moment. For the first time, she slammed the door shut on the voices, locking them away from her thoughts. The ever increasing din in her head had subsided, leaving her to gaze on common place items with child like wonder. There was a jagged edge cut savagely out of the cabinet, a piece of tile pulled away from the others, and a clear orange bottle lying just beyond her fingers, its hard contents spilling out, the child-proof cap forever broken. She noted with surprise that that was her pale, limp hand being clutched as trembling fingers tried to beat out a rhythm on her wrist. She pulled her arm away and rose up. She wavered between the doorways for a moment, before stepping into the lulling surf. A sigh passed her lips as she once more closed her eyes, letting the water wash over her in a welcoming wave of open arms.

Arizona Snapshot - Canyon Lake

These pictures are from Canyon Lake, part of a system of lakes including Saguaro and Roosevelt in the Superstition Mountains, northeast of Apache Junction in the Phoenix Valley.

Poem - This is Me

I wrote this in Creative Writing for the assignment of Poetic Portrait- basically, a passel of poems about ourselves.

This is me
This empty sheet of paper
Slowly filling
with words, with emotions,
and I am relieved
Inspiration has beckoned
And I will not fail to complete
Because that is me
Anxious, stressed, nervous,
for nothing and everything
For anything I glimpse
For the challenges
not yet issued
For the failures
I have not committed
And yet, this is me
This lazy scrawl of words
This glimpse of greatness
And maybe, maybe
Hope still beats
Echoing my heart
Filling the void
that achievement left behind
This hole in myself
Fixed not by my accomplishments
But by creativity
This is me

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arizona Snapshots - Goldfield Ghost Town

Goldfield Ghost Town is a little tourist town located outside of Apache Junction on the road to Canyon Lake, at the base of the Superstition Mountains. It's pretty much a tourist trap, but it sits on the land of a genuine gold mining town that disappeared. I dragged my little brother to it with me, because I love cheesy photo ops like this. Still, it was interesting, particularly since I grew up in an area that is filled with old mining ghost towns- only that was copper, not gold.

Poem - The Lines of my Hand

The Lines of My Hand
From a smile
Comes a laugh
From a laugh
Comes a secret
From a secret
Comes a friendship
Which eventually
Leads to love
Which begets
Trust and forgiveness
Which begets
Which leads to
Lines that show fatigue
That melts into age, and wisdom
From which comes a smile
And every part is linked
And drawn
Into the lines of my hand

Poem - Shadowed Sky of Beauty

A poem I wrote using only the words you find in those magnetic word packs.

Shadowed sky of beauty
Whispers of frantic symphony
In the flood
Drunken men rob you
Of a thousand visions

Saturday, April 11, 2009

DC Photos- Library of Congress

I visited Washington DC last month and spent some time at the Library of Congress. It was gorgeous. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

Arizona Snapshot - Peeling Palm

This is a photo I took Christmas Day 2007 of a palm tree in my backyard. Pieces of the palm had been flaking off, leaving a greenish tint to it. I saturated the picture just a hint (you can tell on the lights) but other than that, it's actually that color.

Poem: Macbeth

I wrote this poem from a prompt starting out with "In rooms of selfhood where we woke". It seemed to fit the theme of Macbeth very well- this pretty much summarizes the events of the play.

In rooms of selfhood where he woke

And someone’s sleeping slumber took

A room that fought to take our own

Wherein a battle to take a throne

Where whence a coward had hatched a plot

Where evil is found and good is not

Wherein ambition clouds the mind

And forces the slaughter of ones own kind

Where once two brothers in pride did stand

Now one is dead by the others bold hand

And where one lies in peaceful rest

The others bravery is put to the test

For where three witches did cast a spell

And three apparitions did prophesize well

Macbeth sought cunning in his greed

To stop the lines of Banquo’s seed

To seize the throne, to take the crown

For Duncan and Banquo now look down

And now the tale must take a turn

The rightful king Macbeth did spurn

Now Malcolm must return to take

The sovereignty, Macbeth must break

He’s not alone, with Macduffs bold help

Together and apart they will kill the whelp

To save blessed Scotland, their country fair

To once again sink to knees in prayer

Two in one to seek revenge

Those crying souls they will avenge

Macbeth is assured, he will not die

But in the battle his end draws nigh

For Macduff was not of a woman born

And does Macbeth’s bold statement scorn

He draws his sword and cuts him deep

For all eternity Macbeth will sleep

Amongst the demons his soul in hell

Will cry in the agony Shakespeare did tell

Lyrics I love - The Call

The Call by Regina Spektor is at the very end of Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
Song: The Call
Artist: Regina Spektor

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word

And then that word grew louder and louder
'Til it was a battle cry
I'll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye

Just because everything's changing
Doesn't mean it's never been this way before
All you can do is try to know who your friends are
As you head off to the war

Pick a star on the dark horizon
And follow the light
You'll come back when it's over
No need to say goodbye

You'll come back when it's over
No need to say goodbye

Now we're back to the beginning
It's just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can't feel it too
Doesn't mean that you have to forget

Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
'Til they're before your eyes
You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say goodbye

You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say goodbye

Friday, April 10, 2009

Video of I'll Follow you Into the Dark

This is a great cover version of "I'll follow you into the dark", which I talked about earlier. It's by Geoff Andersen.

Lyrics of the Day - I'll Follow You into the Dark

I heard this song played at a Coffeehouse performance, using a ukele, and a I remembered how much I love the lyrics.

Artist: Death Cab for Cutie
Song: I'll Follow You Into the Dark
Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
"Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
'cause we'll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark