I believe poetry is dead.
I wish that someone would prove me wrong.
This is how I feel:
I am tired of pretension and ego.
I’ve seen too many people trying to be something GREAT instead of something…….meaningful.

That is all.

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What is, and what isn’t

I hear the rain pour down from the dark January sky,
but I haven’t felt the rain, I have only heard her echoes through the walls
And I’m writing without connection to the world,
I am lost, but not quite gone

I think of the people who are outside,
some are wet, while others have umbrellas.

I am not wet, because I stay indoors
I don’t own an umbrella, because I plan to stay indoors.

I hear cars roar past my house as they splash the puddles,
The water drenches a passer-by, he curses and pulls out his middle finger,
It’s like poetry, but poetry with intent and not some bleeding heart bullshit,
I’ve heard the song that says, “anger is an energy”.

And I agree with that statement.

Ball busters

Today I learned that we live in a culture of ball busting. Everybody gets out of bed with the intention of busting at least someone’s nads. It’s as if the more you squeeze the more points are racked up.

It’s beautiful.

Gil Scott-Heron’s Revolution

Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron in studio, 1973

Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron in studio, 1973 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is one thing that grinds me up the wall, and that is when people just go around saying: “The revolution will be televised!”
Sure, it sounds all cool n’ it sounds all “we’ll turn the cameras on you”, but for some reason it doesn’t do justice to the original coined by Gil Scott-Heron.

“The revolution will not be televised”, and you can’t plug in, turn on, and cop out. It’s all right there.
Now I ask you, why would the revolution be televised? Would it be televised on FOX, MSNBC, ABC, HBO, or on MTV?
Would it be televised so you can just watch it happen, comfortable from your own home eating a sandwich saying to yourself:
“Mmhm, yeah I guess I could agree with this change.”

“That song was about your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move…The thing that’s going to change people will be something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It will just be something you see and all of a sudden you realize ‘I’m on the wrong page.'”
Gil Scott-Heron on the catchphrase

Now, of course back in the day when Gil Scott-Heron coined the term, it was mostly aimed at the black American.
The American who was born American, but still had to fight for his right to be what he was born to be. I still think that the message he has can be seen as rather universal, it can be expanded and taken to any part of the world, to any culture and to any kind of revolution. Be it of the mind, or another kind.

Maybe some artist prefer to re-invent and televise their revolution, but I find it disrespectful to the original.
In the end that’s just my opinion and I decided to go for a rant blog.
And if you don’t know who Gil Scott-Heron is, shame on you…

Could a Poem Claim a Nationality

English: The Poem

The Poem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For quite some while I have been playing with a certain thought. It struck me when I was thinking of writing a poem in Finnish after being in a short and uninteresting exchange of thoughts on Twitter. A journalist was trying to find Finnish government-funded artists on the social media. I was of no help.

Even if I was to successfully publish a collection of stashed poetry before applying for a government grant, I know for sure that I would never be allowed to have that money, at least not if I applied for it with creative writing in mind. The problem is language, there is no readership for someone who writes in English in a country like Finland.

In Finland everyone learns to speak and read English from a fairly tender age, but only the few odd ones in the bunch go to such lengths that they would want to use the language actively. The only Finnish journals that come out regularly in English are The Helsinki Times and Six Degrees –at least to my knowledge. I am not taking into account the free journals that exist.

Now, the government grant is there to promote Finnish art and literature. Socialism at its best I care say –ha ha. But here is where the thought came to me, what is Finnish art and literature to begin with? How does a poem claim a certain nationality? Or does a poem even have to claim a certain nationality to promote the arts in said nationality?

There were two things that came to mind first, language and setting. I’d like you, my dear reader to take a moment to reflect on what kind of a story or poem would be local to you, in a way that it would bring the tears or cheer of growing up. Once you have thought of a setting, imagine it being described in another language (let’s assume we know all the languages in the world). Does the the setting change, or does it retain the same feeling as it did in your mother tongue?

Personally I couldn’t extract Catalonia out of a poem set in Tarragona if it was in English, Catalan, Finnish, or even Spanish. If an English poem describes a Spanish festival, catching the feelings in the air or bringing out the deeply intimate scene of the locals into life then I could even call it a Spanish poem written in English.

Ernest Hemingway wrote a lot about Spain as everyone familiar with the man knows. Of course he wrote them in English as he was American, but wouldn’t the short stories of the Spanish Civil War be as much Spanish as they are American when he captures the broken toreador? I don’t know how he would have seen it.

The winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 1956, Juan Ramón Jiménez wrote one of my all-time favorite books Platero y Yo (Spanish for Platero and I). When I first read that great book it was a Finnish translation and it didn’t stop the early 20th Century Spain from coming to life. Even in Finnish that book remained very Spanish. As I am writing this I can only question how would it have turned out if Mr. Jiménez had planned the book to be in Finnish to begin with, would it have changed into a Finnish poem by a Spanish poet? Who knows.

When I write a poem or a story I somehow do see them being Finnish as I cannot escape my heritage even when I could be considered an international. I don’t really ever see having a Finnish readership and I see it even less likely that other Finns would consider my writing Finnish.

Before I began writing this blog post, I wrote a micropoem, once in Finnish, once in Spanish, and once in English. I tried to avoid making an interconnected translation. I did do my best to emulate a kind of typical Finnish styled poem, especially when it comes to the mood. Here it is first in Finnish, then Spanish, and finally in English.

Finnish:
Pihan halkeileva puu kuoriutuu uuteen elämään,
silmissäsi on kyyneliä.
ne leijuvat puun luokse ja yhdistyvät
aamukasteeseen.

Spanish:
El árbol hendido del jardín ha nacido de nuevo,
en tus ojos cerrados veo lágrimas
uniendo con las gotas de rocío
en la mañana –húmeda.

English:
The tree in the yard that was split in half
hatches into existence anew.
the dew tears in your eyes,
float off to join the wet morning.


I don’t know what to make of it. Could I consider that a Finnish poem in three different languages? I’d love to hear what you, the reader, thinks.

God has no Common Decency

If a god would be true and he would reign over his kingdom in heaven.
I say, let him rule over the afterlife and the dead. For no matter how fervently someone believes in divine rule, god should stay out from the governments and our laws. For if he god forbid exists then he has no say or clue of matters pertaining to ethics, or human civility for that matter.

So let him damn me for all I care, as I would rather keep my self-respect than sell-out to fear. I will do my best to cherish this life I have and love the people around me. If I deserve to go to hell in the opinion of god or his flock after my death, then so be it. Let my soul take that punishment.

As long as there is no evidence for a creator, there should be no glory to be shared with ignorance. No amen for theocracies, no hallelujah for those who indoctrinate. I will never agree with them who damn differing opinions, curiosity, and creativity.

Tolerance of intolerance is not a virtue. Heck.

A little story about Finland (and me)

Let me tell you guys about Finland and how it’s such a great country. I mean, we can talk all day about the great sights around Helsinki or the magical woods full of trance music and kids on drugs, but since it is a borderline communist country with bureaucracy as the great leader we have civic duties. I happened to be born a potato nosed, stumped ass citizen –or so I have been lead to believe by the mirror and my passport. Also my drinking habits are as awful as they get.

Now here’s the deal, I need to attend these civic duties and I’ve been thinking what the hell will I do with that time. I will be sent to a concentration camp in the middle of nowhere, the place used to be slaughterhouse where all the hippies that didn’t want to shoot with a gun were shot by a gun as the story goes. These days they just send young men during the best years of their life there to waste away their natural beauty (or what they have left of it) and time that could be spent earning or learning.

I have to be honest here, I’m fucking scared that there will be some love and peace type indoctrination, like how to give first aid and how to mediate arguments or something. I think it’s all bull, just like the military service. Yet, duties are duties my friend and since I was kicked out of the army because I was a spokesperson of cannibalism and rampant homosexuality, I have to go to the civil service.

The worst part about it is that I need to find a job. I already have a job and I’ve been searching for a full-time job, but unemployment is high and it’s hard to land work, especially in a country that hates English speakers more than the Swedes or Russians. Truth be told, Finns hate everything that walks on two legs that they can’t shoot or drink. Hence they live in Finland.

So, I need a job that won’t pay me squat. A job that I should do to honor my birth and my ancestors that fell to Soviet bullets. Now I believe just doing that isn’t enough, but I should really come up with something fucking amazing and capitalistic. I need to think like a fat pig, which I’m not, but I will do so to go the distance.

I could start a project:

  • Like writing a poem for each day of service, like a Diary of “Hello this is Slave”.
  • Or a leap into photojournalism with a picture everyday about something pointless that you never wanted to see and now you can never get your time back, so you just click fucking ‘Like’ because of touché.
  • Draw a picture everyday and work on getting that portfolio done, because you’re going to need it if you want to enter an art school someday to follow Uncle Adolf’s footsteps in the fight against Social Democrats.
  • Give up.

 

I don’t know, but maybe one of you will know. I hope to come up with something that I could be more active on this site and this blog. I started this blog to make entries in it and not to let it rot somewhere in the internet. It’s time to step up!

Your’s truly,
takeitwithagrainofsalt.wordpress.com