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The Mind as Haiku

The Mind as Haiku

For November, Spinozablue welcomes the poetry of Virginie Colline, Joshua Bocher, Greg Mackie and Kyle Hemmings.

 

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Making poetry, making art, comes naturally to humans. For all we know, we’ve been doing this since the dawn of time. It probably brought immense pleasure to the first Neanderthal and his or her tribe when they made speech rhythmic, flow, condense the life around them into a proto-song. I can imagine them delighting in the sounds of brand new lyrics, forcing them to dance, and then delighting in these new movements they had never encountered in themselves or others before.
 
Laughing. Grunting with joy. Perhaps mocking the less adept. Though, perhaps mockery came later and had not yet been discovered. Perhaps it took the first satirical poet to bring us that Dance, as the physical manifestation of their extraordinary surprise.
 
Dance, as the first physical manifestation of ordering the body to be at one with the heavens.
 
It is likely that we are pre-wired to want to do this, to want to construct images in words, stone, paint, sound and motion. It is likely that our hard-wiring provokes us into this maddening quest to make sense and order out of the chaos of our surroundings — and our inner lives.
 
It is very difficult to escape from this. It takes incredible practice to stop ordering and reordering our surroundings and internal flow. And even then, the practice itself is a form of ordering and reordering, a negative image imposed on the sunlit one we can’t avoid.
 
The mind itself is a Haiku, or so the mind believes, if we could but see from outside its structure. If we could but gaze upon it from the safety of the structures surrounding it — the order and context it must create.

 

Kyle Hemmings: Manga Girls Need Love (Fireball)

Kyle Hemmings: Manga Girls Need Love (Fireball)

 
Manga Girls Need Love! {Fireball}
 
The scientists say that a giant fireball is aiming towards our little island city and will kill all of us in approximately 72 hours and 42 minutes. When it hits, it will have three times the destructiveness of the Nagasaki bomb. Plans at evacuations have been made, but many of us are refusing to leave. Maybe because we are so far from everything and we have grown too accustomed to our small and busy city island. Maybe because we feel that after surviving storms and radiations from foreign wars, a radiation that has drifted here—death would not be the worst thing. Many of us have grown apathetic to loss and pain. I know I have. My girlfriend committed suicide.
Her name was Matsuko. Her name is Matsuko.
She still lives inside my head.
Before Matsuko took her life, her life as a flimsy girl falling out of windows just to see who would catch her—-she said the moon was falling.
I said that was impossible.
No, she said, she kept seeing a trailing light at night from very far away. She said it was having an effect on her co-workers at the office. Many, she said, handed in assignments late, or called in sick. She said if you drive to the sea you will see how much higher the waves are. She said lovers are taking risks, are not using protection. She said fathers are becoming bipolar. Sons are not returning home. Mothers cry at the slightest annoyance.
Don’t you see? Shogo, she said, the moon will soon flatten us.
Several days later, Matsuko jumped head-first from the highest floor of the building she worked at. One witness said it was one of the most beautiful dives he ever saw.
I look up at the night sky. I imagine a distant trail of what must be gases—-orange, copper, blue, yellow, red, and purple. The fireball.
Taken together, the colors are what I feel about Matsuko.

*
We all have ways of dealing with the end. Some of us have escaped. Some of us have quit our jobs and do nothing but skateboard down steep streets. Some of us return to our first passions: stamp collecting, finger painting, building sandcastles. Some of us stretch our arms, jump from roofs, and pretend we can hang glide. Some of us do nothing but watch the sky.
I go to the clubs. I love to dance. When the fireball hits, I will be dancing.
My favorite club is the one Matsuko loved, dancing to Techno and EuroBeat until dawn. It’s called Toto’s Wish. The dance floor is always dark and in the long mirror that lines the walls, under the flash of strobe lights, you can see yourself as a fireball.
Some of us dress as drum-playing clowns, or as schoolgirls, or as the latest movie stars in rehab. Some of us wear gas masks and carry false grenades.
I know most of the faces here. I know so little about the lives. They are all young and lost and in and out of love the way Mitsuko and I were. Mitsuko used to joke that as a couple–we are half-formed.
And lately, I’ve been seeing a Ghost-Girl dancing, swerving, gyrating between couples. She’s always alone. Sometimes she smiles at me or taunts me with her svelte pale figure.
Whenever I approach, she either dances away or disappears. I ask some of the clubbers about her. A girl who dresses like Britney Spears says she is the ghost of an old friend of hers who died from a brain tumor. The radiation, you know?
A punk with spiked hair, dressed in black leather and holed sneakers says it’s the ghost of a girl who died in the accident. He was driving drunk. He says he will keep walking great distances and dancing all night, as if any of this will bring her back.
As for me, whenever I see Ghost-Girl, I think—-Matsuko, You’ve come back to dance with me.
I imagine it’s a full moon coming closer.

*
Over the radio, a scientist announces that the fireball will wipe us out in approximately 42 hours and 17 minutes.

*
We have this little routine we do at Toto’s Wish. Sometime past midnight, when we are all hot and sweaty and drunk on our fourth or fifth Fuzzy Eyeball, the DJ, whose face no one ever sees, stops the music. We all freeze with eyes closed. I can hear some giggle. We are all supposed to make a wish. Tonight, my wish is for the lights to go back on. And they do.
The DJ plays more mixes of Trance and old Hip Hop, and Ghost-Girl is performing perfect spins, lizard lunges and moon walks. Dance with me, I cry out to her. She smiles, opens her arms, and dances through me.

*
The Fireball will annihilate us in approximately 15 minutes and 20 seconds.

*
In my room of old walls, of fading posters of rock stars, of red and orange shag carpets, of unwashed jeans folded over chairs, Matsuko is telling me how empty she’s been feeling lately. She says she feels so sorry for this little island-city of people. She says she dreams in white flash. She says she wants a dog or cat, but can’t afford the closeness. She says the best way to die is to melt while holding hands.
She says she is going to fall out of my window.
I tell her that I’m tired of catching her.

*
The fireball will land in approximately 20 seconds.

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I’m dancing with Ghost-Girl. We are alive in each other’s eyes. She’s a reckless spinner. I’m so giddy to dub-step. The lights are flashing yellow, blue, orange, red, and copper versions of us. Then, they go out.
We stand still. I keep my eyes open.
Ghost-Girl smiles, turns into a solid girl, then, goes up in flames.
I touch the fire.
Matsuko, I say, we are fireballs.
 
 
Copyright ©2012, by Kyle Hemmings. All Rights Reserved.
 
Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. He lives and writes in New Jersey.
 
 

The Way of the Harvest

The Way of the Harvest

Spinozablue welcomes in the month of October with new poetry from Alessio Zanelli, Kyle Hemmings and Joshua Bocher.  

 

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Hilary Sideris, one of our contributors, has a new book of poems out. It’s called Sweet Flag, and you can purchase it through Finishing Line Press. Congratulations, Hilary!

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Kyle Hemmings: Manga Girls Still Need Love

Kyle Hemmings: Manga Girls Still Need Love

Manga Girls Need Love! {Under Distant Microscopes}

 

It’s a season of love & odd numbered pairings. At night, the crickets forget the B-side of their songs. You work hard to decode the gravelly voice of the radio DJ, a survivor of throat cancer & his own second-hand smog. The song he plays: The Moon Is Down. It’s the truth, you think. That night, in the stolen warmth of a car’s front seat, your boyfriend remarks that there is no moon, only a shade of blue different from day and some dirty hands. His hands are great deceivers. The back of his tee-shirt reads: Rebels With Lost Teeth. You remind him in your sweet-grungy Lolita voice that you are both under the stars. And the stars are really microscopes and the microscopes are the eyes of jealous trekkers who never found a way back to Planet Tokyo. From the slip of your eye, you notice a white-silver sailboat floating in the sky. You smile and know that some things are never lost. As you and he sink deeper into the comatose of the night, the belly of a fog that is cut open but does not bleed.

 

Everywhere You Are

 

I wake up next to Everywhere Girl. A thin shaft of light is streaming through a side window. It threatens to separate us. Everywhere Girl & I have woken next to each other before, it’s just that we can’t remember which parts belong to whom & we wind up leaving with a hangover of otherness. At the club last night, Storm Warning II, we danced as if we left our bodies. Strangers ogled us from their stilted life-frames. We listened to their stories of cut & drag, copy & paste. We dress in vogue–mawkish schoolboy & lanky drift-eye schoolgirl. We often improvise our own dance steps. Like the one where we laugh & pretend to look for keys. People often mistake us for brother & sister. There might be some kind of truth. The first time I met Everywhere Girl, she was very drunk, her father having been lost at sea for a whole three weeks. We danced to techno & held hands as if we could mean something. Later, she told me she could be my muck-doll. At an all-night diner, I said my real name was Nowhere Boy. I was not a survivor of childhood drownings. & even though after a night out, we wind up sleeping together as ones or zeroes, always at her place on a hard mat, we’ve made love only twice. Three is an unlucky number she says. Whenever I sleep next to Everywhere Girl, I feel lost at sea, imagining nameless fish, until I sink under slow, gentle waves.

 

Manga Girls Need Love! {If I Were Jimmy Stewart}

 

On some days I walk on Tokyo mist. On some days, we slip through the other’s grasp like irascible fish. Or if we meet in San Francisco & I catch you watching me from a distance of UP & behind a Knob Hill window, your face, my inward tilt, my dreams of vertigo-drop, still unravel me. On some days I am the private eye tailing clones of confiscated you’s. For days, I remain introverted & sulking. When I do find the You in my mug of wax, you start to melt. And I spend the rest of the day trying to gather what burns.

 

 

— by Kyle Hemmings

 

Copyright ©2012, by Kyle Hemmings. All Rights Reserved.

 

Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. He lives and writes in New Jersey.

 

 

There is no Difference

There is no Difference

Composition VII, by Kandinsky. 1913
Composition VII, by Kandinsky. 1913

New additions to Spinozablue include poems from Kyle Hemmings and Howie Good. Both bring the uncanny and the marvelous to the fore in unique ways. Two things sorely lacking in Art, to our great sadness.

 

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A few days ago I mused about The Other and difference. The foreignness of things, of certain subjects for Art, of their magnetism. In a sense, that could be a sign of my backsliding from the Zennish path, because Zen teaches the overcoming, the transcendence of difference. It teaches mastery over the process of discrimination and segregation, two of our biggest delusions:

That we are essentially different from one another.
That we are not one with the All.

Aside from the magnetic draw of the Other, there is an equally strong temptation to dwell inside that zone as if it is not an illusion. To feel a sort of comfort, and a sense of pride, in our ability to celebrate and elevate the difference in others, especially in light of negative, even virulent prejudice and xenophobia. To raise up is greater than its opposite. But in Buddhism, killing those opposites in our minds, ending opposition itself, is the higher goal.

There are, of course, a myriad paradoxes to sort our way through. For instance, in Buddhism, form is emptiness and emptiness is form, and no-thing is anything without all of the rest of existence. Nothing is anything in and of itself. We are all necessarily relational beings, connected, entwined, within and without, a democracy of forms holistically dependent upon each other. But the creation of Art involves choices. It involves composition. It entails leaving this or that out, because the universe is too vast. At least on the surface, it involves discrimination.

There is no form, there is nothing in the world which says nothing. Often – it is true – the message does not reach our soul, either because it has no meaning in and for itself, or – as is more likely – because it has not been conveyed to the right place.. ..Every serious work rings inwardly, like the calm and dignified words: ‘Here I am!’ — Wassily Kandinsky. 1913

We favor the simple expression of complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.  — Mark Rothko. 1943

So, how to overcome the limitations of composition to go beyond mere choice? Is it possible to transcend Otherness, Difference, avoid hierarchies and the privileging of one cultural frame over another? Is it possible to make Art that does not separate or subjugate?

In short, is it possible to free oneself from everything but mystery and miracle?

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

The Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu. Translated by Stephen Mitchell.

 

The Mystery of the Manga Girls

The Mystery of the Manga Girls

 

Manga Girls Need Love: Rebel Little Rebel

 

 
Little Rebel in denim shorts, a Tee-shirt that reads Potter Got Punk’d. Her room. I’m stranded on some outpost of love, hoping it doesn’t get nuked by mutant minds. Her face is all about innocent sex pot vengeance, her eyes of some dark artificial intelligence. On the radio, a techno beat, then gothic metal w/ screech & growl. Little Rebel flipping through the pages of Egg magazine. I’m not exactly a fan of Ganguro. “The world is ending,” she says, chewing gum, her eyes, flashes of intensity, as if scanning secret codes from page to page. “People never talk to each other. They just want & destroy. The only ones remaining will be a few punk skull autistics like me.” She throws down the magazine. We stare at each other as if one could be made marble and the other could crumble. We make love with trapped animal longing & despair. We dress like cyborgs with detailed instruction sets. At the door, I turn & say “I love you.” She says she still wants me. Her eyes are glassy. Her voice is broken glass.

 

 

— by Kyle Hemmings

 

 

Copyright© 2012, by Kyle Hemmings. All Rights Reserved.

 
 
Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poems: Avenue C (Scars Publications), Cat People (Scars), Fuzzy Logic (Punkin Press), and Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction (NAP). His latest ebook is Moon Down Girl from Trestle Press. He blogs at http://upatberggasse19.blogspot.com/