Thursday, November 30, 2006


There is a thick layer of ice everywhere,
and I, like Whitman,
am pouring out through the soles of my feet and freezing in puddles on the pavement.

The grass is still so soft and silent and
green, green, green
as it is preserved in a fragile tomb of ice
like stabbing knives of thick cold pain--
the ones that I thrust into myself

I must feel something!
I cannot feel, and I am frightened.

I am trapped inside my body, I am no longer alive
The smallest of my fingers no longer respond to my will
They are like corpses' fingers, cold and rubbery

I see the delicate beauty of the sparkling ice and I think,
"I should love this."
Last time there was ice, I could see as others could not
I could hear the movements of the tiniest molecules as they danced
I could feel light, I could taste sounds, I could smell temperature

Now I can sense nothing,
except as though through a fog of hazy, poisonous smoke.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Written Furiously During a Concert

I don’t want to do anything. I want to stop.
I want to sleep, to go away from here
To some safe place inside my head and outside my heart,
Where injuries will pepper my body and I will never have rest, only adventure,
Busy adventure to occupy my thoughts.
There, though my body lie wounded, my soul will be safe.
I will have no soul; I will be paper
Just paper, just a heroine, a doll.
There where there is no question, no sin—I must go,
But I can’t because I don’t know how to manufacture such a world.
How can there be pleasure without agony? Love without suffering? Heroics without morality?
And so my own imagination defeats me.


I need the boy who makes the plants grow.
He’s imaginary. You don’t know him.
If he were here, he could take care of everything.
I need him to stand between me and responsibility, to stave off hunger and deadlines and the creditors.
I need him to love me, adore me, assure me that I am not nothing, that my existence is justified,

Because I know that I am useless; I can do nothing for myself, and I get in the way of everyone else.
I need him to take me somewhere where there is no one else for me to bother—only he will be there, and I can never hurt him. He is protected by his endless patience, his adoring indulgence.
I can only create. But he believes I am beautiful, and that my creations are beautiful. Therefore, I may live.
I am not completely worthless if I can make beauty.


But to make beauty, I first must spend interminable time here.
Here, inside my stomach, in darkness. The pain here is unending.
It is this fear and shame that binds my hands, not allowing me to work, to find food and eat, to sleep without dreams, to think about anything except my self-hatred. I want someone to understand, to pity me. But no one except the one who loves patiently.
I could leave, I think. I think I may have found a way to shut this off, to function. I have only to seize my destiny with both hands, to ignore steadfastly the bitter bile that poisons my thoughts.
I do not pray, because I know what I ought. I have only to accept myself as the author of my own future. I have merely to force myself to work.
Thank you, esteemed philosopher, but I will not take your offer. I have been to that place, that place of sanity, responsibility, empowerment. It is a place with no fear and very little disappointment.
I refuse to go. There is only work there and no rest. There is never a realization of dreams there, only one goal after another. There is no beauty there—there is no communion, no ecstasy, no glorious pride of the elite!
Here at least I know that I am special, beautiful, better.
I don’t want your power, your success, your security, because it excludes creation!


This must be a mixed state—depression and mania together. I’m so unmotivated, yet I can still feel the shivers of overactive perception on my tongue.
I do this now: analyze.
Well, of course I analyzed before, but now I know the proper words to use.
Every morning I wake up and think, “mania” or “depression”.
Can this be self-induced?


They are playing Gabrieli’s Sonata pian’e forte, and I scold myself for writing during a concert.
What’s one more bad thing when I am already impossible to live with?
I force people to hate me. I attack them and poison them and then we all—everyone—die.
I hate and fear Him. He did this to me.
Or maybe I would have been like this without His help.


I absolutely must write something serious today. I must.
I can’t, though.
I’ve put it off for ages, and now it must be done.
I can’t do it.
I hate it. I want it to go away.
If I try to write, I’ll cry. I’ll go to sleep. Tomorrow will be shame, because it won’t be done, but I don’t care.
I can’t imagine caring ever again.


I don’t want to get better.
But that means I’ll have to find someone to care for me and my affairs.
Where can I find someone who will marry me for nothing in return? (Nothing but poisoned words and strange screaming.)
I need someone just as crazy as I am, someone dependent, loyal, compliant, someone who serves unquestioningly, someone who feels deep jealousy but truly believes it is not his place to possess me exclusively, someone who supports and enables my strange relationship with fickle Art, someone who stays no matter how many ways I find to hurt him.
There is no love like this among the healthy, and so I search for him in the ranks of the ill.
I will know him by the desperation in his hands, by the fervent oaths on his lips.
He will faint when I touch him.


I hate music. It hurts.
I hate how I listen, how I hear.
I don’t want that liquid meaning in my womb
I’m not wonderful or beautiful; I’m just strange.
How many others here are tormented by the sounds that tease the body and taunt the mind?
Today I am tired and boring; another day I am angry and bold.
I will twist your soul with my hands and teeth, like a growling animal.
Perhaps I will live with animals. I am like them.
I can find my true mate—the only thing that satisfies—Art, Music, the Moon.
He has so many others, but he calls for me, too.
I obey and follow; I live now for the taste of his ambrosia, and I suffer also at his whim.
Oh, stars, I thank you for aligning to create my misery!
The sanguine melancholy that pursues me, the blood and the bile, oh!
You, Reader, may think this is mere poetry, but it is Truth!


How can the world be so ever-new and so ever-old at once?
Ceaseless re-creation and endless monotony—
There is nothing new, and nothing that is old.
Here is Brahms—he knows—
Schumann—he knows, too—
Why are we trapped here?
A timid voice asks, Would it be possible to love without anguish, to see and hear as we do without knowing the fear of darkness, to understand the inner workings of the universe without also comprehending the depths of sin?
Oh, little voice—that must be Heaven.
I know, I believe I will see that place,
But I can’t now imagine it, and I can’t make myself want to go.
Here is a Canadian folk song.
To me, it is better than Ewazen or Rachmaninoff.
Only I can’t find how to applaud with sincerity.


I feel the need to write, but I think I have nothing to say.
Shall I then write about nothing?
People here are happy.
I don’t hate them.
I just want them to leave.
Or I could leave. Either way.
I feel like a character in a televised sitcom.


Red. It breaks through the black and white.
We are supposed to feel joy.
There is glory coming, the program says.
The synthesized organ tunes the brass.
Glory to God in the highest, have mercy on us.
These chords are overdramatic for me today.
Have mercy on us; receive our prayer.
For you alone are holy.
That’s for sure.


I expect you think it arrogant to me to believe that you don’t understand what I understand.
I don’t believe it’s arrogant, because such a thing is true.
It has been given to me to know many things.
They are as varied and as many-faceted as thousands of carved emeralds in an endless sea of obsidian water.
These gems come from a land of light and warmth that your senses cannot perceive,
Just as we cannot see the ultraviolet colors that seduce the bee or hear the high and tiny pitches that guide the bat.
I want to bring you there with me, and I want to keep it all to myself.
Oh to meet another there! What things we could say and do then!
I have never met another living soul on those beaches, though I know that others have been there.
I have read their guidebooks and their maps. I have seen their footprints. The seeds they planted here have grown into thick vines with heart-shaped leaves. The dew that was on their hands is left sparkling on the black rocks in lingering fingerprints.
I, too, hope to leave something lasting here.
But my hands are bound by despair, by fear, and by knowledge.
You will not feel sorry for me, but will instead live through a cataract of fog.
You are happier than I; this is clear.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Criticism: Paolini's Eldest

Apparently, they are making a movie of Eragon. This is a travesty.

In case any of you are unaware of this wretched novel, it is a truly sickening piece of trash by a pompous teenager named Christopher Paolini.

All right, this is not true. Eragon is not a terrifying example of pretentious post-modern excrement. However, its sequel, Eldest, is the sort of insignificant rubbish that makes one want to shove knives down one’s throat.

Here is commentary by my friend Clay on Eldest.

So, I finally finished it. I just took a day and sat down and forced myself to read the whole thing.

It did get a little better as it went on, but it was still really bad. And, even then, it had rough patches. Did you notice whenever Eragon had to learn something he always had like a day to learn it and they only went over it once and then he all-of-a-sudden knew it! For example: the Dwarven Gods, The Elves' hand gestures and proper titles (all that -elda crap that I still don't understand and was never explained), and large groups of peoples' names ('He worked at memorizing every one's name' WHEN?! Maybe when they were being CONSTANTLY ATTACKED). Also, everyone has 7,000 names because every sect of every race calls everyone something different. (Nusualda or whoever had several, one I remember from the Krull) Plus when you add on all the elven endings to every ones' names...)

Anyway, besides getting slightly better as it went on, it has very very very bad rough patches. Especially during his training with the elf, where it seemed to get kind of preachy about life and religion and anything else I have a firm belief that the author feels strongly about. Did you feel like this? Do you think Eragon still believes in the Dwarf Gods? What's he going to do about that? If I were him I'd still observe the traditions. I mean he can't defy a races religion (especially when he, ceremoniously[wrong word?], IS a dwarf).

I was rather upset that his system of magic wasn't explained in more detail, but I have a feeling I'd be even angrier if he had, because he'd probably screw it up for me. When I read Eragon I thought 'this is a really cool magic system, I've never seen or heard of anything like this!' (have you? I think it's strangely unique. Think he stole it from something else?) But when it is mentioned in Eldest it feels less cool and more impossible. You can either just say the word 'fire' and hope your own scalp doesn't catch on fire, or you can say 'fire arrow' and hope your arrow doesn't explode, or you can say 'light my arrow on fire', which is a complex sentence needing grammar, which is slightly upsetting.

The descriptions... I ended up, at one point, just reading the first line of every paragraph and anything in quotes and I still understood what was going on. I like books that just give me the meat. I can imagine what the lace on the chair looks like in my own head, I don't need the author to go on about it for paragraphs on end. In fact everything was described in such extremes I had difficulty telling when something was actually going to be difficult. Such as in the last battle. Every other paragraph was 'Eragon's power was completely and utterly, uselessly, drained as that of a large brown funnel after all the golden syrup has drained out of it slowly, like molasses, back into the lack-luster bottle that held it in tact with the utmost grace.' Yet Eragon kept casting and was, decidedly, not 'completely and utterly, uselessly, drained'.

I'm definitely not reading the third one. I'll just make it up in my head. I didn't like the ending at all. I didn't even REMEMBER who Murtagh (something like that) was, it had been so long. If you recount most of the book almost NOTHING HAPPENED AT ALL. He goes on at length with his stupid adverbial (adjectivial didn't sound right) descriptions so often the book is mostly description (in detail, I might add). I felt empty inside, really. It had very little plot (Arya) except what happened at the end and even that was stupid and anyone could have written that. 'omg he's your brother!!! DUN DUN DUN!!'. So stupid. I was really upset about that. And how the hell is Murtagh more powerful than Eragon? WHEN did he train? Besides not having time to train, even if he did have someone really powerful training him, he's not blessed or whatever (elven looking, you know?) so, WHERE is he drawing his power from? Is the freakishly old elven-blacksmith going to end up making a new weapon for Eragon? This is the author's style...

Let’s go over some of Clay’s points.

1. Eragon’s amazing ability to be awesome—This is because Eragon is a Mary Sue. In case anyone does not know what Mary Sues are, here you go: a Mary Sue is a character created for the author (and sometimes the reader) to use for the sole purpose of self-insertion. Mary Sues have very few faults, and the faults that they do have usually turn out to be virtue. (Examples: “I love my friends too much”, “I’m too generous with my money”, “I steal from the rich to feed orphaned kittens”.) If you do not believe that Eragon is a Mary Sue, just read the description of Eragon in the beginning of the first book. Then flip to the back and take a look at the author’s photograph. Ha!

2. General preachiness about life and religion—This is the preachiest book I have ever read. Now, I have no objection to authors who include their philosophical views in their books, even when I disagree with them. For example, Sartre and Dostoyevsky are two of my favorite writers. And Camus, although he frightens me, is a master craftsman. However, these authors deftly weave their points into the plotline, so that at the end of the novel, the reader is left thinking, “Aha! I understand! The writer is trying to make Point X! And it makes sense from the story!” In Eldest, however, the reader is stuck in the middle of the book, reading a tedious “narrative” in which the Wise Old Man Archetype lectures Eragon on How There Is No God and How People Who Believe In God Are Stupid. Word. For. Word. Hello? Mr. Paolini? Can you at least learn subtlety? I have no doubt that in the third book in the trilogy, Eragon will make his break with religion, although if the author is feeling particularly magnanimous, Eragon may come to accept that other people, who are not wise enough to be Wise Old Man Archetypes, are stupid enough to need religion. (Like in Marx, right?) If the author isn’t feeling high-minded, I predict that Eragon will single-handedly convert the entire world into a religion of Post-Modern Vegetarianism. Mr. Paolini writes as though he has just taken an Introduction to Philosophy course and gotten much too excited. He is the proverbial kid in a candy store. (I am tempted to take this metaphor too far. Let’s say that Kant is represented by gummy worms, and that Aquinas is the Tootsie Pops…)

3. Superfluous Verbosity—and long-winded wordiness.

I have some of my own to add.

4. Inane Clichés—The series is filled with them. Like every other stupid fantasy novel, the main character (Eragon Everyman) is in every way normal and average but at the same time inexplicably different and slightly uncomfortable with his provincial neighbors. But THEN—surprise!!!—a magical being drops into his lap and announces “Only you, Mr. Everyman, have the power to SAVE THE WORLD!” Of course there is an aloof and beautiful princess who is ridiculously far above him, but we have no doubt he’ll eventually rise to her level. She is an elf, naturally. All of the elves are better than all of the other characters, and everything they say can be taken as straight from the author’s mouth. The plot deals with the typically dull themes of Respect for All Life, Responsibility Comes with Power, etc. (It’s as if Post-Modernism was a big rock that was slammed down on Mr. Paolini’s head and melded with his brain.) This is not to mention the equally mundane plot devices such as The Magic Sword, The Journey on Which We Meet Lots of New Cultures, and The Main Character’s Personal Journey of Growing-Up-Ness. Naturally, the Evil Villain is a Dark Dictator that wants to TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Shockingly, the mysterious character Murtagh turns out to be Eragon’s BROTHER! I’m gonna go out on a limb and bet that the EVIL VILLAIN turns out to be Eragon’s FATHER! (I know! You are shocked!)

5. Appalling Use of English—Who edited this book? Here is an actual quote: "Keep thine back to a wall, Shadeslayer. Capricious, they are... What will you do with thine horse?... On mine honor, you will return to find him fat and sleek." And I couldn't even find the part where they use "thou" as a direct object. At first I thought the author was ineffectively trying to establish a cultural variation of speech, but then I noticed that this use of English is pervasive throughout all cultures in the book, including the Almighty-Elves-Are-The-Best Culture (which is treated as the author’s own personal voice). Now I think that Mr. Paolini was just trying to sound “archaic” and “urbane”, so he just threw in some obsolete words, assuming that since he didn’t know how to use them properly, none of his readers would, either. Let’s review, Mr. Paolini. Thine and mine before vowel sounds, thy and my before consonants. Thou is a subject, thee is an object. It is NOT acceptable to simply add “-est” and “-eth” indiscriminately to the end of verbs (or, I add with a shudder of horror, other parts of speech); they are conjugations that accompany the pronouns “thou” and “he/she/it”. In short, Mr. Paolini, when you try to look smarter by using words you don’t understand, you end up looking STUPID.

The worst part of this fiasco is that I am afraid that I will have to read the third book, simply because I have read the first two. It also seems wrong somehow to own two books of a trilogy and not the third. Only… how else can I punish the author for his infantile posturing without boycotting his book? This is a mystery that must be pondered.

My only recourse is to spread the news about the atrociousness of this book, and to beg responsible guardians to protect their children from Mr. Paolini’s blatant philosophical proselytizing, his tiresome clichés, and his unforgivable grammar.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Janus sees the world from both sides.
But how can he pretend to be two people
when he is only one?

He has one face today.
He has another tomorrow.
And his face today is his face.
And his face tomorrow is his face.
He has only one face,
one at a time.

Four eyes see the intimate details of heaven and earth.
Two explore the molecular intricacies of every perfect, joyful motion,
glorying in the endless, striving creation
Two see none of this beauty,
piercing instead below the surface to know the truth:

All beauty is perverted,
No knowledge is certain,
No noble motive sincere.

There is no hope,
but only a future of despondency.

On the Nature of Femininity

I thought I would be happy with a better man,
but now I see that the nature of the man--
whether depraved or less depraved--
is irrelevant,

as I am doomed to misery with any man.

This is because I am irrational.

Colombine and Pierrot

Cruelly Colombine
is taunting sad Pierrot,
flaunting her carefree heart
before his pallid face.

Who can ask good Pierrot
not to cry?
Is it not his definition,
a most natural and honest
He cannot help but suffer,
so why take him away?

Desperately Pierrot
is grasping Colombine,
chaining his jealous heart
around her nimble feet.

Who can ask Colombine
not to stray?
Is it not her definition,
a most natural and honest
She cannot help but wander,
so why force her to stay?


I talk to Robert sometimes
I'm not in love with him
I am him.
And Fyodor, too, and Heinrich--
that bawdy knave--
He's completely unworthy of anything but scorn,
and yet he makes me laugh.
At night we commune like a coven of witches
in a place where sex and age are irrelevant.

What can I say in the presence of these giants?
I can add nothing--
for, "the more words, the less meaning",
and yet--
"How can I keep from singing?"

I must fall in adoration at the feet of my Dmitri,
worshipping the inexorably numinous
while breathing the same air as Aleksandr,
sharing a sisterly shiver with Edna and Alma,
as we watch the last flickers of the fire fade
into the frightening and arousing night.

Who is not angry here?
Who is not in pain?
Love and hatred are brought here
only as a vehicle to the outside,
for we cannot truly love or hate one another,
only blend our passions in a yearning for
the Numenon.

Some of us call it Truth,
others Beauty, others Love,
but we all pursue the same Force.
It leads through our own bodies and through the air.
It flutters the curtain,
taunting us with glimpses of green that is greener than green--

Why is it that we are given to see it,
while others see as through thin gauze, dry and dusty?
Are we chosen?
Is it some twist of biology or genetics?
Are we sick or crazy?
Are we victims of some great supernatural prankster?
Are we here because we chose to be,
praying and begging for this fervent enchantment?
Or did we choose, pray, and beg
because we were given to do so,
desiring that fever because we were given to desire it?

What is symbol and what is original?
Is there an answer to our Question?
Charles couldn't find one,
and neither can the rest of us.
But that is what brings us together.
It is the bread and wine of our Communion,
the nectar and ambrosia that make us gods.

If you think this is silly,
If you think this is overdramatic,
a mere ploy for undeserved attention,
If you think this is irrational,
and you admit it aloud,
You reveal yourself as Not Of Us--
a commoner in the midst of a thousand geniuses,
a Philistine, a grown-up,
a vulgar peasant in a crowd of glittering heroes,
unable to comprehend our vocabulary,
unable to empathize with our souls,
unworthy to judge us.

We are sick,
and you are healthy,
and we are better than you.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Excerpt from Act III of the New Libretto

It cannot be news to you!
…We have all known for a long time…
But several nights ago he himself confessed to me.
I wish you could have seen him—
Then, only then, could you understand.
His paling face, his yearning eyes,
The way his body leaned in closer,
As if to clasp you to his chest and hold you forever.
Were you there to see him,
I am sure your heart would break.
Isn’t it a pity
That you cannot return his love?
I wish you could have heard him—
Then, only then, could you understand.
His pleading words, his trembling voice,
The way he glowingly described you,
As if to call your memory into essence and life.
Were you there to hear him,
I am sure your heart would break.
Isn’t it a pity
That you cannot return his love?
I wish you could have felt him—
Then, only then, could you understand.
His shaking hands, his unsteady knees,
The way he struggled to take a breath,
As if to inhale your spirit from very far away.
Were you there to feel him,
I am sure your heart would break.
Isn’t it a pity
That you cannot return his love?
Oh, how painful it was to perceive his anguish.
It is good that you do not really understand me.
If you knew of his pain, it would break your heart.
You are lucky, little sister, to live in bliss, unknowing.