“Death of a Revolutionary.” Susan Faludi, The New Yorker.
Challenge: write a sea shanty (or shantey, or chanty, or chantey — there’s a good deal of disagreement regarding the spelling!). Anyway, these are poems in the forms of songs, strongly rhymed and rhythmic, that sailors might sing while hauling on ropes and performing other sea-going labors. Probably the two most famous sea shanties are What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor? and Blow the Man Down.
Up and loaded this poem must go
To my Tumblr account for NaPoWriMo
Here I aim to be finished before the rise of the sun
Because I’m in a hurry to get things done.
Type-o Type-o Type-o Type-0
It’s a pity this poem will get me no dough.
I sat at my computer with keys at ready
But my poem set anchor wouldn’t budge any.
I coaxed and wailed a verse to the air
But still no poem would climb out of my hair.
Type-o Type-o Type-o Typeo
It’s a pity this poem will get me no dough.
Author’s Note: I love sea shanties! I remember learning “Whatcha Going to Do with A Drunken Sailor” and “Shenandoah” when I was in gradeschool. Anyway, it was near midnight on the west coast and Day 3 NaPoWriMo was about to end. It might not be pretty, but it got me through it. :-D
Here’s what I understand of Nirvana: People fight to attain it. Achieve it. Then fall out of it. The place is more of a purpose. The purpose is to always find your way back to it.
I try to repeat that night. I try to find that night again and again. Sometimes, I slip back through small things—a red veined leaf pressed to flat to the bed of a shallow stream. Sometimes, I slip through unintentionally—a round table filled with friends at the Cheesecake factory. And sometimes, it happens just when it must—a walk philosophic on an evening when the moon peaks through a palm frond at me.
But never it exactly. Never what I remember. And I understand how time moves forward and all the science behind that. But I still try to realchemize the pieces, which include you, together. Hoping to get back to that night so I can write with all the skill I now possess the poem I never did.
You’ll notice a theme in my NaPoWriMo submissions—about a memory of mine. It’s because I actually am trying to write about this memory so I’m using NaPoWriMo as an opportunity to brainstorm how to best express it.
Prompt: Write a poem that has the same first line as another poem.
Because it burned, I kept returning.
My ember: a memory of dark
juniper trees en pointe and a
beardless moon, its naked chin
pierced with a grin. And I didn’t recall
the salad. I replaced that ashy
part with a coffee because steam
rises with more nostalgic
clarity than lettuce leaves in a
plastic container that I chewed
before juniper trees who
danced nimbly in a way that I
knew for that midnight exactly
who and how I was supposed to be.
My first line comes from the poem “Eurydice’s Refrain” by Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut in her book “Magnetic Refrain.”
Because it burned, I kept returning.
It was the same house, a desert white
with gaping windows and trees within.
Amd from inside, an alluring music that turned
sleepy, then strong. And when he
strummed, his fingers seemed strangely familiar
though his notes were old and slightly strained,
as if he’d been away for too long.
And from inside my throat, the flames
began to uncoil and recoil
in bursts of song.
And even though it hurt to always follow,
to always echo, I loved being
a shadow that grew larger and radiant
as he skipped across stage, bringing
me with him out into the open.
And when he laughed, I cracked
a smile of relief. And when he ached
I made it storm with violent rain,
and when he wandered back
to save the city from burning down,
I didn’t hesitate to follow
and spread myself into a salty wave
crushing, soundlessly, in his wake.
For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.
And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.
What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
1. How much Conquering is too much Conquering?
- One hundred square miles
- Girl please that’s like askin’ how much chocolate is too much chocolate
- You can’t contain that stuff man, you gotta roll with it
- Trick question!! Now I’ve burnt down your house.
2. The Battle of Stamford Bridge?
- Mel Gibson was terrible as Harald Hardrada and there wasn’t even a bridge in the movie
- Historians agree, good use of tanks
- Tostig is all like, the pridelands are mine, Mufasa
- At least it’s not Sweyn
3. What was the relic of St Peter that William wore around his neck?
- A lock of hair tied in a ribbon inside a valentine
- Eyeball of Destiny (disputed)
- Genuine fart, captured in a vial, sealed in wax
- Geode, from that time the disciples visited Jesus’ bedroom in Nazareth and divided up all his stuff (Gospel of Mark)
4. When William’s horse died:
- All the other horses died too because: science
- Everyone was like it’s over but then William was like no way and they were like way but he was like no way and it ruled
- He used it as a weapon and slew many a Saxon!
- Han Solo had to open it up with a lightsaber to keep William warm and Rob Roy hid in it
5. How does one remove an arrow from the eye?
- Push it out the other side (recommended)
- Push it out the other side (not recommended)
- Doesn’t matter how you do it to a dead person
- Keep it bro! Chicks dig it.
6. Was William a bastard?
- He was once but it was just a phase
- Ask the Northern Earls
- I see what you did there
- Yeah but I doubt he has a complex about it or anything
7. Is England French now?
- I can’t hear you through all these baguettes
- Only the parts with money/swords/power
- Who do we know that can conduct a census to find out?
- Oh Tish I love it when you speak French! *mwah mwah mwah*
8. What is the better way to die:
- Arrow through eye
- Horse incident w/ exploding corpse
- A combination of the two
- Anything but those two things
9. Was Harold a good king?
- He was good at catching sharp things with his face
- He was good at LOSING
- He was good at having the worst family
- He was alright
10. The Bayeux Tapestry is:
- a propaganda machine
- too big to hang in the dining room
- The worst issue of Batman I’ve ever read
- Harold dies?? Um, spoilers
Please circle all your answers and hand in your papers via Harold’s favorite falcon
Inside the life of Somali refugees in Nairobi, Kenya:
The heartland of that exodus is the vast refugee camp complex centered around Dadaab town in Kenya’s North Eastern Province—at 450,000 people and growing at the rate of over 1,000 people a day, the camp is Kenya’s third largest city, and the biggest refugee camp in the world. But many thousands of Somalis choose not to go to the camp and head straight to Nairobi to the neighborhood of Eastleigh, which Kenyans have nicknamed ‘Little Mogadishu.’ That’s where I was headed as I walked to the corner to catch a matatu, a dirt cheap minivan so crowded I had to hang out the doors. Eastleigh, Dadaab—over the past two years, they’ve been cardinal points on the compass of what K’naan, a Somali rapper, calls ‘a violent prone, poor people zone.’
But that’s only one part of the story: as Andy Needham, a deeply informed, canny, and humane Irish Aid press officer working with the UN, put it: ‘Journalists come to the camps because the story’s right in front of them. It makes for good photographs like, you can take one look and see the problems for yourself. But refugees in the city—and let’s be clear here, there are thousands of them, most of them undocumented, hard to trace, hard to reach out to—that’s a story that goes almost untold.’ And I could see what Andy meant: in Nairobi, there were no camps, no food distribution centers, and so the refugees disappeared into the city—for if you went to Nairobi rather than Dadaab, you had to make it on your own. There wasn’t a lot of obvious drama that would appeal to Western media, no ‘suffering chic’ to spice up your story.
“A Violent Prone, Poor People Zone.” — Tom Sleigh, VQR
More from VQR
For my birthday, a friend gifted me a collection of 60 movies that span from the 1930s to the 1990s. So here we go!
Based on the romance novel by Barbara Cartland, A Hazard of Hearts stars a very young Helena Bonham Carter as unfortunate Serena Staverly who is won in a gambling game by the mysterious and broody Lord Justin Vulcan. (I still cannot get over that our hero’s name is Vulcan! It’s such a romance novel name.)
Here’s the plot: Serena’s dad played by Christopher Plummer for the first 10 minutes of the movie has a gambling problem. At his usual game at his cousin the pastor’s house, Lord Staverly’s honor is impugned by the the evil Lord Wrotham. Staverly feels FORCED to put his house and daughter’s hand in the pot just so he can prove that Wrotham isn’t awesome. He loses then commits suicide. All the other gentlemen bystanders can’t help but feel something is wrong about gambling a young girl in a poker game, but no one does anything about it until the mysterious Lord Vulcan wins the pot from Wrotham.
Instead of just dissolving the terms, Vulcan goes to claim his house and check out this girl. (Don’t worry! We later find out the mysterious Vulcan is an honorable man just not obviously due to mysterious circumstances.)
“Gee, I bet she has a wooden leg,” his friends tease. But then they find out Serena is YOUNG and BEAUTIFUl and therefore to be PITIED. What else can they think when the girl comes to meet them in her nightie?
Like all period heroines, Serena doesn’t tell Vulcan to get the f@#$ out of her house. She recognizes that she must uphold her dishonorable father’s honor and submits to Justin’s command. The house is sold and she is off to live with his mummy at Mandrake Hall.
From there, viewers learn how Vulcan can up his brooding intensity to Level 30, how his mummy is the fashionable version of evil incarnate, how highwaymen can be timely, how Helena Bonham Carter never gets flushed even when swooning, and how men are only attractive when they’re manhandling the ladies, unless said man is the villain in which case it’s always unattractive.
Tangent: I recently skimmed through Michael Kimmel’s Guyland in which he discusses how the Guy Code encourages unmanly behaviors like gambling away young girls in a dice game at your cousin the priest’s house. There are three main cultures in the Guy Code: of entitlement, protection and silence, and all three were on full display in that gambling scene. Even Vulcan showers in it when he zips over to Serena’s house to claim her.
What would the movie industry do for plots without the Guy Code?