on thelovesongofjalfredprufrock

some intense meta here

I just finished annotating TS Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and it was a great joy. There’s no one to whom I can really vent this joy (my friends and classmates would accuse me of arrogance, my teacher would be jaded and unimpressed, my parents require too much explaining, and my brother wouldn’t be interested), so I have come here to capture this great feeling before it fades away.

I can say with confidence that many of my classmates forgo actually annotating a piece and search up texts on schmoop or other literary analysis sites dedicated to thinking for you. I didn’t use any of that (besides Googling the epigraph to find out that it came from Dante’s Inferno).

The poem is a culmination of some dreary and dry reading on existentialism (which I still don’t have a clear understanding of). I used a robin’s egg blue Uni Ball Signo dx 0.38mm to annotate, and the ink flows beautifully- it’s smooth with no skips and pools just a little when the tip lingers on the page.

When I began reading the poem I had no idea where it was going, who it was about, and how the title (“Love Song”) had anything to do with it. I couldn’t figure out why “the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo” or the repetition of “‘that is not what I mean at all.'”

The first connections I made were between the “hundred indecisions… visions and revisions,” “I am formulated,” to prepare a face.” After deciphering those references to creating a persona (a concept I’m used to seeing in literature now), I was at a loss. Had he realized his freedom as an individual and is now “afraid” of the isolation of existence? (This was probably inspired by those existentialism readings.)

A few random filler comments later, it came to me: the Love Song, “after tea and cakes and rice,” “Should I… have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?” And that is why he is afraid- because he knows he “is no prophet,” and could very well be rejected should he force the crisis. He is afraid, yet he knows that he cannot back down. And all that stuff about creating a person? He was creating a persona to present to the lady, filtering his words and actions, thinking and overthinking (the bald spot?). And he resigns himself to his true self with “I am not Prince Hamlet.” However I can’t tell if the rest of the stanza refers to what he is or what he is not. Is he a fool or not?

And then, because we are in the middle of reading The Great Gatsby, I thought of Gatsby. Gatsby, who spent five years building an entire world on top of an over-the-top persona to woo Daisy, the not-so-object of his interests.

Obviously, I’m far from a complete understanding. I still don’t know what mermaids have to do with anything. And what explanation is there for the fixation on his bald spot? What does growing old have to do with anything? What about the yellow smoke, and the etherized patient? Lonely men leaning out windows? What does having “known them all already” mean?

The pride I feel is rueful, however. Is it too much, is it deserved? Maybe everyone else in the class was able to get it right away, it wasn’t exactly hard. It was just a really nice feeling. Will I be able to prove to myself later on that I really do have a better understanding of the poem? Will I be able to explain it to other people? Look at me, a hundred indecisions and visions and revisions. I guess people really are the same after all.

sometimes i wonder

sometimes i wonder

how many layers of gauze i have to be wrapped in
to feel the way i do.
sluggish, cumbersome, aloof, gooey, fluffy. 
numb. 
sometimes i wonder

if the edge of a blade could slice it all through
and what it would be like to feel things
on bare skin.
sometimes i wonder

what it is that is stuffed inside me 
that refuses to come out 
that stops my breath and holds my tongue
sometimes i wonder

how many times a thought has to reverberate inside my skull 
before it gives up and falls 
into a growing pile of garbage
sometimes i wonder

if this all is a defense
if i am really so weak as to need such a thick layer of gauze
to protect me from the world

avery

[Insert makeshift title here].

a poem about egocentrism

The greeks thought that

They were the center of the earth, that

the earth was the center of the solar system, that

the solar system revolved around Themselves, that

the universe was greek-centric

geocentric

egocentric

so much so that all who dared propose the opposite were shunned

because it seemed only right that all heavenly bodies

as high as They could see

revolved around themselves;

but that was an illusion-

in fact,

the solar system is heliocentric We

revolve around something trillions of times larger than Ourselves

larger than life. The universe,

it has no center, at least

that’s what our science tells us

and Science is our truth

 

And You, you say you know science but you

live an illusioned disillusion you

pretend to know better you

think you’re not selfish

selfishness is the stepsister, not

you-

but you are wrong.

how can it be possible for anything, anybody else to be the center of Your universe

when You’re the only one that’s been present in all of it, in

Every last moment of your life, when you

think and talk in the first person by default.

so maybe

The solar system is heliocentric

but humanity is not

We are egocentric

geocentric

Greek-centric (that’s a stretch)

and I am no different.

the sun may be a hundred times bigger than my world

but it’s a billion miles away

such an unfathomable difference that it is naught

but a star in the distance.

and beyond that,

there is nothing

life in a factory

Once I begin the march, there is nothing to do but finish it, lest some unbalanced force push me off. 

I put one foot in front of the other, propelled forward only inertia. Once set in motion, there is naught to do but stay in motion, waiting for some unbalanced force to make me veer off course. (The force within died long ago.) The inertia began with the first day of school— no, before that. It began with the force that set me on my course as a student, whenever that was. After stepping on the carousel, I’ve entertained no serious thought of disembarking, though I’ve been feeling dizzy for a while now.  The dizziness is confusion, is pain, is the muffling of the world around me. I’m a puppet strewn about by the strings of routine, jerking my body about its daily motions; I’m one in a million marching along a path seemingly set in stone. Once I begin the march, there is nothing to do but finish it, lest some unbalanced force push me off. 

Did I choose this?

What lies at the end of the path?

What will I do without a path to follow?

I’m speeding over a wide, paved highway, on my way to higher education, higher paying jobs. A higher life. I’m one in a million on a conveyor belt of identical twins, not one of a kind. You see, the problem with mass production is that all the products were made to be the same. There is naught to do but to stay in motion, and cross these bridges when I come to them.

abstracts, pt III

I strongly encourage you to check out pt doux and the original as well!

click here for part II and part I !

Dull. Superfluous. Amorphous. I flow into a mold and set, emerging stiff misshapen, a new person but still the old one remains.

Higher and higher they rose, above the planes of existence and into the realm of dreams

I careened through the air, reaching for the curling tendrils of vapor that flew past my eyes

He wrapped himself up, tighter and tighter, until he could no longer feel his toes, no longer feel the outside world, could no longer feel

Phantoms accompanied my fears in a lullaby of insanity

A new word. An old one. A plain one, a fancy one.

Was there ever a place where you could just let go of everything but still keep control?

Hard silence melted by a warm smile

Look down, and see the world at your feet

A fly’s life is still a life

I dove off the board, plummeted, and never hit the water

Fast-fast-faster- but it was all over too quickly

The sunflower is the ultimate worshipper.

Ursa Major bounds toward me, Orion close behind

And when there are no roads, you are free

Ocean’s so big it nearly drowns out everything else

golden sunlight spills past the trees, streaking over a cold canvas of snow

The sunset is like fire, searing holes into the dark silhouettes of the trees.

Light pours over the rim of the pitcher

abstracts, pt. doux

these are a continuation of the post called “abstracts.” disclaimer: I wrote these really quickly, basically with the goal of ‘opening my mind.’ so I just went with any idea that popped into my head, like a falling person desperately grabbing at hanging ropes. 

these are a continuation of the post called “abstracts.” disclaimer: I wrote these really quickly, basically with the goal of ‘opening my mind.’ so I just went with any idea that popped into my head, like a falling person desperately grabbing at hanging ropes.   

The weight of the future pushed me down into the ground

He thought and thought but there came no spark

Time ran me over, leaving a heap of memories and thoughts strewn over the road

The wind picked my words up and carried them to faraway shores

As I overcame my fears I slayed monsters and moved mountains

I looked up at the stars and they looked down at me

I looked out the window into the white woods

don’t you find it strange that angiosperms shed their coats for the cold?

I fell into your eyes, overflowing with silence

A time came when the sun no longer rose

My little puddle of light shone bravely against the darkness

Thoughts, strung together like pearls on a silver chain

But what happens when you reach too high? You touch the sun. You burn.
Evolution is sort of like that. The evolution of intelligence. We all have different goals, and they often conflict with each other. Give all people power to do as they please, we get conflict. When intelligence evolves beyond the natural world and into that of the artificial, it gets dangerous. We’re getting too close to the sun.

abstracts

you will be surprised.

I’m quite aware that these have little to no meaning, but some actually work like word candy. 

The bird flew back in time and became a dinosaur

The snow fell quietly and I wondered why the wind whispers to nobody in particular

Trees danced to the whispers of the wind

I fell asleep in a bed of flowers and woke up a butterfly

Why couldn’t I hear what the little bird was telling me?

I reached out to the sun and touched it and I burned

The pencil bled not like a pen but like a person

The rain dripped into a pool of rainbows

The snowflake landed on the tip of my finger and I was still, watching it melt and disappear, and I didn’t feel a thing

Curled my toes in the warm spring air

When my bow touched the strings the sky fell down

Words poured out and the paper soaked it up like a sponge

And when night came they danced to the music of the spheres under twinkling lights and a sliver of the moon