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BLOT: (24 Apr 2016 - 09:26:50 PM)

Three Poems of the Day, April 24: "The Stars During the Day", "Grin", and "Doors"

It has been a couple of days since I have last written a poem. I've taken a few stabs at it, and what you see below is the result, though each of them was actually committed to the "page" tonight. The first two are too rough, and were close to not even being included, but the third is one that I do actually kind of like. And for those paying attention at all to the weird graphics accompanying the poetry, the final form is starting to show up. I'm definitely starting looking forward to May, when I will go back and edit and tweak all of these poems into something more like their final shape.

"The Stars During the Day"

The stars during the day are not sleeping giants
Romantically watching from around the corners of sunlight,
They are hidden in the depths of blue, burning and bright,
The great constant kings always on immaculate fire,
And the sing down to us like we talk to corpses in the grave.

Skulls of hydrogen into helium, iron building in their marrow,
Those gods creak and moan with the song of bones and time,
Passing overhead ignored in their ocean of blackest rhyme,
Their faces are years behind their slow walk, their eyes open
Wide and eternity trembles in their very passing, their ire.

Look not for stars in the daytime, the jealous sun will frown,
Let them have their secret ways, their tedious sabbaticals.
Seasons change, people die, and leaves pass green to brown.
As the stars pour out into the sky, others drown in day,
And another song is sung, another horrible dawn awakes.

"Grin"

I grin when I think
I laugh when I hurt
I smile when I am confused
I crackle cackle giggle guffaw when all the pains of understanding break upon me and smite my brain and I am left choking and burning and lost again inside of the

Let me tell you a joke of lust and joy
Let me tell you a joke of day and night
Let me tell you a joke of death and loss
Let me tell you a joke of finding, the gentle joy of finding, of finding whatever it is you are looking for and knowing, having found it, that you can only hold it for such a little time

A clown I am
A fool I am
A jester with a head of feathers and twine

But I see
But I see
I see, but for a little while
So laugh with me, and smile with me, and grin with me, guffaw and teeth
And let us tell these jokes and riddles to the face of life, so messy and yet so complete

"Doors"

Doors are not always rectangular in nature,
And hearts are not always beats and blood,
Dreams are not always stains upon thoughts.

I have noticed without paying too much attention
To anything of the sort. I have noticed without noticing.

Trees are not always bark and swings and leaves,
And roads are not always avenues or paths or streets,
And horizons are not always the sky's final edge.

Makes sense, on deeper introspection,
That my soul MIGHT be shaped like that,
Shaped like something it is not while also
Just maybe, shaped exactly like it is.

Oceans sometimes flow like shadows,
River sometimes dry to dust and flame,
And the rain sometimes dies without ever
Finding a single spot upon the ground.

Casting shapes upon the wall, I wish
I could see the bigger picture;
But blinder than a moment of joy
In a world full of pain and misunderstanding,
Blinder than a moment of crying
In a world full of love and happiness,
I wait, and in the morning (as dew) I fall.

OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


BLOT: (21 Apr 2016 - 10:11:43 PM)

Poem of the Day, April 21: "Goodbye Is a Song I've Sung", for E Marie

One of my most personal lines of poetry is from "8 Space", when I say that "No one calls Huntsville home" as an indictment to all the times I've stayed here while my friends have gone off into other lives. As the spring semester winds down, several of my friends are getting ready to go again. This my 10-minute attempt to capture that mood.

"Goodbye Is a Song I've Sung", for E Marie

Goodbye is a song I've sung, many times, played upon the heart
And in the sunrises when the deep quiet refuses to steal my thoughts
And am forced to live myself as I am, facing the gray and the blue
And the scent of grass yearning to grow in the coming in the day.

Goodbye, oh how I've sung you,
Though you have no rhythm
Though you have no rhyme
Though you have no melody nor harmony just a beat and a time and a
Salty sweet bitter lyricism about your teeth

Goodbye, oh goodbye, your name I can barely speak,
Given to you by circumstances, the chance of knowing
But for a time and then it collapses into the shape it was
Which is the shape it will be again, the great unknowing
After the such short knowing, the silence after a brief shout

Goodbye is a lonesome valley we all get to walk
Goodbye is a lonesome valley, we never go by ourselves
Hark the void of goodbye, come and sing her face,
And then let it die on your lips, just another forgotten taste
Until it is sung again and again until it is meaningless
Rain drops off a window down to the ground,
Drying as they fell

OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


BLOT: (20 Apr 2016 - 09:44:47 PM)

Some Behind the Scenes Notes for the "Flowers Aflame" Photoshoot

Maryam holding burning yellow flowers

Maryam had an interesting idea not terribly long ago, she wanted a set of photos taken where she was holding a flaming flower. She got the idea from an Avril Lavigne music video [skip to about 40 seconds in], with the added twist that Maryam wanted it shot against a fairly dark night. We spent a day or so thinking up the logistics, trying to look up some ideas about how to actually safely set flowers on fire without them being dried. This past Monday—the night before her birthday—we had enough of an idea to set the plan in motion. Since taking photos with flaming flowers seems like something other people might want to try, here is some notes about our experience.

One of our first concerns was definitely safety. We weren't sure how safe it would be to hold a flower that was burning, and we definitely did not want to risk her catching her hair on fire, or burning her hand. I was pretty sure that Zippo lighter fluid would work just fine, and would be something we could fairly control by adding a small amount at a time until we got the hang of how long and how hot it would burn. We rigged up a tall glass jar with aluminum foil wrapped in several layers across the top, with a hole big enough to hold the flower, that way if the test shots decided to burn down the stem, it would hit the foil and not cause any damage to use or the area around us. We also used one of those longer lighters you light barbecue grills with. And shot the thing close to water so just in case it went pear-shaped, we could basically dump the burning flower (or ourselves) to put out the fire. we picked up a bouquet from Publix that had a mix of flower types, so we had variety, and got to experimenting.

Maryam sitting behind the bench as we try for initial test shots

Our first attempt was a fair success, though it burned fast. What we found is that the flowers burned better a second time after they had been slightly dried by the initial heat, so we took the rest of the flowers out of the bouquet and let them dry out just slightly—had to recharge my camera, anyhow, so that hour or so downtime of getting the charger and the tripod equipment and letting it charge gave the flowers more time to dry and the night to get darker. We also discovered that you need to use more lighter fluid than feels like a reasonable amount, but the natural shape of the flowers does a good job of holding the fluid in. Around this time, I did a lot of test shots in the dark testing with and without flash, longer and shorter shutter speeds, further and closer shots. Got the hang of what it would look like as I went.

Maryam up close and blurry while the background is better lit and in focus

Then we basically just got to work. We would light the flowers one by one, take a number of photos, then restage for the next shot. After the first couple in the jar were deemed safe, we moved on to holding the flowers. I did the initial test of this, but once we found out that it was perfectly safe as long as you used caution and were aware of wind blowing the flame around, we let her do the holding from then on out. All told, we took 170 or so photos that night, and then I chose 70 I thought would work, and she chose about 25 from that list with some notes about what sort of edits she would like [I did things like cropping and some mild touch ups to color to help her and the flowers pop from the dark background]. I've included four of her choices, the top one and three below, and then added a couple of behind the scenes shots and one, the last one, where I digitally isolated the flame and tweaked it so that it sort of shows the intensity of the flame at any given spot [the darker the color, the bright the flame was] to this post. This is a sample, and some of the more impressive pictures from the night, but we might find a way to make the rest more public as we go.

Enjoy.

Maryam's face lit by a burning rose while she sits

An orange daisy on fire

Maryam standing, holding a burning rose

Digital isolation of flame

OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


BLOT: (19 Apr 2016 - 09:53:39 PM)

Two Poems of the Day, April 19: "Paint" and "Burn"

On the 17th, I attempted to write a poem way too complicated for the 10-minute rule—it featured an old man losing his wedding ring and footnotes that explained the situation and made up the actual poem part—so it never got anywhere near finished in the 10 minutes I worked on it, and then I was too tired to do much on the 18th, so I wrote two tonight in a total of about 16 minutes. With both, I started with a single word and just jammed out some quick thoughts and let them go where they would. The first, "Paint", is broadly in that "is Doug talking about sex?" category, and the answer is, "maybe". The second, "Burn", ended up being about a man watching his life come crashing down in a house fire, though there are a couple of hints that it had already been crashing down. Recommended listening for it is Uncle Tupelo's cover of "Effigy" [which gets a shout out in the poem].

"Paint"

The paint on the floor and the paint in my eyes
Runs the world into watery tears and the canvas tears
Into half sheets and quarter sheets and butterflies fluttering
To
The
Floor

I scream acrylic coughs and oil upon my mind and fail
To express much more than my lack of talent as my
Still lives are grotesques and my portraits are fruits and flowers
But I paint and I paint and I paint and I mind thoughtfully

Fingers over brush and strokes upon touch and gentle caress
Lines down into the valleys where secret thoughts
Breathe in the whole process with a smile and a quiet
Look away from the strings and thin hairs and the things tangled
In its hair and upon it skin made to look like other wheres

All this paint upon my hands and all these holes in my head
And all this color and vibrancy and imagery upon your breast
Like some old sailor's tattoo fading into a once significance
And it's all another beautiful failure, a trainwreck of bright
And wet and it's all just exactly as it needs to be

Hanging the frame to dry, the studio goes dark, and
All the work inside this small space, outside the everyday
Sleeps peacefully in the cocoon of its dreams,
Only the gentlest of murmurs on its lips

"Burn"

The grass burns and the house burns and the windows burn
And the fire is beautiful in the way it turns hope into living memory
And the fire is beautiful in the way it burns orange and yellow red
Words like black smoke rise and the stench is atrocious, all those
Moments lost to smell and odor and all the neighbors watch
With faces of sympathy and all the towels burn and all the spoons
Melt and all the photos melt and all the little things lost and ash

For the first time we have not spoken in four days and for the first time
We watch disaster not side by side and for the first time I realize
You never made out and for the first time in a long time I am silent
And the fire is beautiful the way it is shadows on children's faces
And the fire is beautiful the way it shapes the skull of night
The stars like teeth bite the cold against the neck despite the heat
And the water from the hoses is nothing but a symbolic nod

To the inevitable blindness that comes from staring into the abyss
While the man says nice words and the woman screams your name
And I light a cigarette in something like irony and let it hang there
In my hand as smoke joins smoke and a tongue of flame flicks
The tree we planted together when this home was new and its
Just another grave that I will have to dig and another name
I will bury alongside all those effigies I've swallowed over time

And the fire is beautiful because it burns down, burns away
And the fire is beautiful because it is no more, just an anecdote
And the pain in my feet is atrocious because I cannot move
Rooted like thorns growing wild in a garden a scream of green
Topped with red roses and blackberries and the dawn is hours
Upon hours and the dawn is ugly and bright and homes down
And the street is just a place marking where this life had been

OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


BLOT: (16 Apr 2016 - 10:44:06 PM)

Poem of the Day, April 16: "Grotto"

Really don't have much to say about this one that isn't said in the poem itself. At first wanted to try and work with haiku, and then decided to mostly take that as a suggestion.

"Grotto"

Footprints in the dust
Dry into the shape of clouds.
Wind cools the day.

Grotto casts shadows
Into long evenings.
Blossoms fall to sighs.

The boy in black stands
Back to the world, whistles.
Coughs twice.

Hand touches bark,
Eyes to the ground
Cut a path of impatience.

Anger and pain
Tattoo skin, the happy dawn
Was sad days ago.

Loses himself in the trees,
A pond in front of him.
Catfish and frog souls dance.

He longs to grow, longs to know,
Fears he is marked to fail.
Confusion opens his heart,

Closes his mouth,
Grits teeth into sounds.
He pours into rain drops.

Footprints in dirt
Track mud up the road.
Night storms drink the light.

The man in brown watches
The grotto in his memory,
Forgets his new name.

As he once was, he still is,
And he wonders the point.
Turns, dawns a new spring.

OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


BLOT: (15 Apr 2016 - 09:56:22 PM)

Poem of the Day, April 15: "Language Is a Fence"

Inspired by a) a conversation about understanding others, b) making fun of Ezra Pound's "Cantos", and c) an actual fence, this poem harkens back to a theme I've talked about before: that language forces us to approximate ourselves, but only in approximation can we communicate. Written in 10 minutes, like the others, this one required me to do some very rapid Google translating, and enlist the help of one friend, as well as remember every little bit of other languages I could drudge up. Note, posted as a picture because the non-roman characters would require me to unicode them, and I am in a rush to get this posted before midnight.

Language is a fence cast iron black and gate swings with squeaks    et	    Language is a fence surrounding cemeteries and arbitraries	        y		Language is the claustrophobia of expressions and the closet door		    e		    The books are closed but how would they be open without language		        og			Without the fence holding all the graves of expression together in			Such a nice little clump of plots, all the heart strings spoken in			Tiny little tombstones approximating the big things 			    en			    Those mediocre things like eu te amo and از این متنفرم 			        na				Ergo sum frigus, but what does it matter, for language is a tongue				And it roams in the brain, finding those pure thoughts, stretching 				Them into place, but giving them shape, and all the souls in the world				Matter not if all the other souls in the world cannot taste				    または				    Contemplate the Spring full of flowers, growing there in its own				    Field, unseen, as the lake births a breeze, and the day crashes				    Down into its own sense of general well being, unloved 				    but 				    a(language is a sacrifice of words so others may)live

OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


BLOT: (14 Apr 2016 - 09:04:37 PM)

[Two] Poem[s] of the Day, April 14: "Eyes Wave" and "The Elven King"

Because I was away at the ALLA 2016 Conference in Gadsden, AL, I did not get a chance to post a poem-of-the-day last night. Tonight I make up for it by posting two. As following the rules, both were entirely written and edited in 10 minutes. Both touch upon horror themes, though I think I will leave that for now and then try something different tomorrow.

"Eyes Wave"

The last I see of your eyes are in the waves,
In the brine, bathed in the salt teeth eating them,
Chewing them under and washing them away,
And then the waves blink and you go down,
Down into memory, down into the lack of regret.

The last words I heard from you hurt my heart,
The scar tissue barely stitching up the wounds,
The pain dripping down into the silence of my worry.
"I love you," and, "There is no one like you,"
Echoes in my head like a migraine given wings.

Did you fall? Did you trip? Did I push you in?
I forget. Only now that I cannot see your eyes,
I miss you, but I am glad that you have ceased.
I could barely bear you, you stripped my skin open,
And forced me to feel, this pitiable humanity thing.

The waves are clouds, the waves are streets,
The waves are red in the sunset chill, lightning strikes.
In the distance, a bird calls. The night falls deep.
I see my face reflected in the afterbirth of stars,
I feel my heart beat, a song of sodden chords.

I will heal, now, I will finally be complete, I will gladly
Walk alone through this life in front of me, a tale
Of woe and circumstance. If you only you knew
Just what your words would do to me, if only you
Knew just what such syllables might mean.

The last you saw of my eyes was in the waves,
Reflecting back at you with a mirror of time.
The gentle roar, a soothing soul of sounds.
And then I went up and you drowned, finally,
Down into the dark cracks at the bottom of depth.

"The Elven King"

My son, do you know of the elven king?
Do you know of the terrible dawn he brings?
Have you seen the horror of his perfect face?
Have you looked deep into his eyes of space?

My son, have heard the stories of his tyranny,
Of the way he brought our kind such misery?
Have you heard the way he laughs and maims?
Have you ever been tempted to play his games?

My son, flee from the gaze of that elven lord!
In the mask of man he walks and breaks the world!
Miles high, a storm of torment on the horizon,
Let us all quake and fear that he is once more risen!

My son, my son, why do you laugh so ruthlessly?
I am your father, please do not, for him, forsake me!
Turn your back upon these games he makes you play.
Put down the knife, there is another way.

My son, have you become the elven king?
Are you now this forsaken, eldritch thing?
Where is your heart, have you thrown it away?
Please do not devour me with your eyes of space.

Such pain, such pain, the elven king has come.
May the world know what he has done.
He has taken my son, he has taken my life.
Across all the world, the elven king strides.

How about you, do you know the elven king,
Across the night into the day, the song he sings?
Or do you think of him as only childish tale?
I pray for you to never see his crown so pale.


OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


BLOT: (12 Apr 2016 - 09:42:55 PM)

Poem of the Day, April 12: "Dice Roll Round the Heart"

Another day, another poem. Wasn't sure what I was going to write until I sat down and the phrase, "dice roll around the heart," came to me, and then I tried to think how to turn that into a horror concept. Not 100% satisfied by this one, but I will keep to the rule and not edit it until the beginning of May. And sure, maybe this is all a metaphor...you know.

"Dice Roll Around the Heart"

Dice roll around the heart - pips and beats and blood -
And this random chance feels like mandate's expression,
A choice made, either way, by destiny's own hand.
Should she be free, or contained, like a prized possession,
For such a short time, like a rose wilting in a vase?
Should she have her own name, her own fate, her own face
To wear with her eyes and teeth and nose and smile?
Or should she be forced, like clay into a potter's kiln,
To bake into a shape fit for pouring water in?
Boxcars or snake eyes, these games the heart plays
As it decides which approach to take with her,
Should she live, or should she die? In pleasure or in fright?
She runs, faster now, but never fast enough. Turns corners,
Hoping to flee, my shadow finds her wherever she hides.
She strikes out at me, a feeble blow, I take her hand
And crack her thumb. She screams out my name,
"Oh, God, please!?" And it is true, I am for a moment
Satiated standing there, holding her, gripping her weakness,
And wondering what to do with it, but those dice roll,
They roll and roll, and eventually they find a spot.
I look her in the soul, smile my own while,
The dice have removed any of my worrisome doubt.
When her own dice have ceased to play, I lay her
Like clothes on the street. She drinks me in, finally complete.
The moonlight burns a hole in the skin of the night.
Maybe there was a third option, but I know it not,
I wonder what it could have been. Another notch,
Another choice. I go off to find another, to choose again.

OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: April 2016


Written by Doug Bolden

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