A Haiku and Other Poems

Here follows a few poems I wrote over the summer, just for fun.

The first two poems I wrote while in traffic on my way to my summer job. I composed them in my head from a few images that came to me as I merged my way to my exit and wrote them down once I had safely parked. Of those two, the first is about a supercar in traffic, a concept I find endlessly amusing and a little bit sad, like a caged animal that deserves to be running free. I give you

Pent Up Rage

TwelV horses
Nowhere to race
Supercar in traffic

The second is a proper haiku about brake lights. For your consideration

Brakelite Haiku

Blinky red asses
Off and on the grey freeway
Little metal ‘flys

Next comes a poem that I wrote while in a local coffee shop called The White Rhino. I was struck by the seeming hipster-ness of it all, and was also contemplating the social justice warrior movement. Included herein are a play-on-lyrics, a reference to a video game, and well, here is

SJWs

The White Rhino watches
Over mocha choca lattes
And lonely hipsters who first
Saw the waves breaking over Dawn
Rifles clutched tightly
Ready to battle the better beasts
Of industry and backward progress
As if they themselves had come
From another era, man buns
Wound tight to ward off the right
A new wave
Of social justice warriors

And last, but not least, a baseball poem based on a William Carlos Williams poem about some rainwater, chickens, and a red wheelbarrow. There is, above the infield, a

Pop up

So much depends upon a white baseball
In the blue, blue sky
Plopping into
brown

leather

So there you have a few poems. I love them, like fragile little butterfly children that I release into the harsh winter air. Be kind to them.

The Hope

I just left my local cinema, having seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for the second time and I loved it just as much the second viewing. This was the first Star Wars film not to be an official episode, that is, an installment in the saga of the Skywalker family, and thus is a stand-alone film, however, it flows into Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope so well it may as well be an extended prologue to that legacy film. If you wish to avoid spoilers, you can stop reading now. Otherwise…venture once again into that galaxy far, far away…

rogueone-banner

Rogue One begins without an opening crawl, which is a bit jarring, since that is the Star Wars to which we have grown accustomed. However, the beautiful shots of space and Director Krennic’s shuttle quickly take hold and the film is begun and it hardly seems to matter. Small title screens give the location at which each bit of action takes place, so the viewer is never lost in space, however, just a little context would have been welcome to begin the film. I admit that this is a small criticism.

The film follows the journey of young Jyn Erso, left abandoned by her family at a young age and raised by a Rebel zealot. She eventually becomes useful to the larger Rebel Alliance, and is asked to make contact with her surrogate father in order to authenticate a message from her real father. That message is true, and it seems the Empire has built a super weapon, code name: Death Star, that can destroy entire planets, however the elder Erso, a secret Rebel, built within it a fatal flaw that only a thorough examination of the technical plans will reveal. Those plans must be stolen from an Imperial archive at all costs to prevent the reign of terror the Emperor is eager to unleash.

The characters in this Star Wars story are compelling, real, and interesting, from Captain Andor, his sassy K-2S0 droid, and a rag-tag group of Rebel agents that include a semi-Force aware Guardian of the Whills. So diverse and different is this group that it is amazing that they even work together, much less pull off the greatest heist in the history of the Star Wars galaxy, but succeed they do. Sort of. I mean, they win the day, but they all die. Every last one of them.

That is part of what makes this film special. Not a single one of these characters is to be heard from again, so their fate is ambiguous from the very beginning. Darth Vader makes an off-hand remark as to their deaths in the Star Wars novelization, but in the films proper there is no mention as to the brave Rebels who stole the Death Star plans, just that they were “provided by Princess Leia” which is at once true and inaccurate. Therefore, the tension mounts for each and every one as their deaths are perhaps certain, but not predictable. How they die is as important as how they live, and is a culmination of their own personal journeys.

Darth Vader appears, as do several characters from A New Hope, and none unnecessarily. Half recast (James Earl Jones again provides the voice of Vader) the Sith Lord intimidates Krennic at a crucial point, also motivating him to fulfill his villainous role in the film. Vader also reappears at the end to mop up the Rebel fleet and almost reclaim the Death Star plans before a brave Rebel soldier is there to stop him from doing so. Much less than the absurd Yoda fight in Attack of the Clones, Vader here does fight, but in a controlled and subdued manner that doesn’t conflict with anything he is shown doing in the original trilogy in tone or manner. He is devastating and unstoppable both with lightsaber and the Force.

The other characters from A New Home are Red and Gold Leaders, resurrected via found film footage cleverly spliced into the Rogue One footage, and Governor Tarkin and Princess Leia herself.* Tarkin is brought to life via body-double CGI and while the uncanny valley is alive and well, the effect is successful as a cold and calculating villain to Director Krennic and the Rebel beyond. Leia appears in less than 30 seconds or so at the end in the same way, and as such is much less jarring. Only because we see Tarkin walk and talk and intimidate are we able to see through the digital facade and realize that what we are seeing isn’t real.

I appreciated the level of detail that was brought to this film, through hair and makeup, wardrobe and costuming, and set design to emulate the look of the original trilogy and the time period in which it was created. 70’s styling and color pallets are evident, as is practical effects work and location scouting to match or even duplicate locations from the first film. So many little details are there to be found and enjoyed, but my favorite is two ill-fated stormtroopers on Scarif talking about a new model of speeder that was released, nearly identical dialogue to two troopers on the Death Star when Kenobi is tinkering with the tractor beam that holds the Millennium Falcon hostage. At once a call-back, foreshadowing, and a simply fantastic bit of universe appropriate dialogue. (Those must have been some exciting speeders to get multiple troops excited.)

Lastly, the music is majestic, being the first score not composed by John Williams (done instead by Michael Giacchino) but quoting and referencing Williams’ scores when thematically necessary and sonically appropriate.

I completely enjoyed the spectacle that is a Star Wars space opera, a heist film, a war picture, and a hero’s journey all rolled into one. Existing as it does apart from and kin to the first ever Star Wars film makes Rogue One no less compelling or able to stand on its own.

 

*Two other characters from A New Hope appear, via creature makeup, and that is the twisted human and unintelligible alien that accost Luke Skywalker in a cantina on Tatooine only to be mutilated by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Fan service much? While Tarkin, Rebel pilots, and even Leia are important to the plot, these two are pure cameo. Nice, but why those two? It cracked me up, but also took me out of the story for a minute. Ultimate reaction: a shrug and a smile.

A Tale of Two Parts

Part the First

This is difficult for me to write. Yesterday, January 3rd, would have been my seventh wedding anniversary had I not been divorced. Unlike a spouse who died and is no longer upon the planet Earth, I am dealing with a different kind of loneliness. It is the loneliness of no longer being wanted. I know, approximately, where my ex-wife is, and approximately, what she is doing. And that hurts, because she isn’t here, and she isn’t with me. Once upon a fairy tale time, she was right by my side doing what I was doing, or I was by her side, doing what she was doing. We were together. But now she is beside someone else, and they are doing things together. And that hurts spectacularly.

I don’t know what the time period is supposed to be for getting over a spousal rejection, but I am apparently not there yet as I still memorialize a coupling that has uncoupled. I am sure I will get there at some point, but in the meantime, I am stumped by a simple question: now that she has moved on and put me behind her and someone else beside her, I am a free man. I am as if I was never married. That thought gives me some release, some comfort, but what do I do now to anchor that thought in reality? Do I burn all her love letters in a massive bonfire of dead desire? Do I delete all our pictures and digital memories as if scorching cyberspace? Do I forget her name and erase her influence from my life? Is such a thing even possible? I signed up for eternity. I was hers forever…until I wasn’t. I don’t know what to do.

Except, maybe I do know. I will do what I have done since the first noniversary rolled around: keep moving forward.

Part the Second

It is a brand new year, an entity I am calling twenty17. Thus far in my life I have mostly eschewed this whole idea of “New Year’s Resolutions” in which one is hereby resolved by the arbitrary Gregorian calendar to radically change one’s life in some way. It has seemed like so much hokum to think that just because some number has rolled over on a time keeping device, one is now able to change their life. In my nearly 30 years of experience, I haven’t seen that to be particularly possible. But here I am, about to resolve something on so public a forum as to not be ignored.

I resolve two things, first: to read more. I was a voracious reader in my youth. You would often find me curled up on the couch, or stretched out on a bed with book in hand, eagerly flipping pages, absorbing content like the proverbial sponge absorbs water. In the last few years, my reading has slackened pace to have almost stopped completely. The only reading ritual that continues is my annual reading of the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion. Even that reading has become less a pleasure and more a chore. But I want to regain the magic of reading, and that means actually reading again. Part and parcel with my goal of reading more is to actually find a local library and get a library card so that I might read to my heart’s contentment.

Secondly may it be resolved: to write more. I used to be a prolific writer, at least one who wrote semi often about current events or currently occurring thoughts. However, as can be seen from a perusal of the right hand column on this blog labeled “archives”, there is a gap from 2015 to 2017 in which I didn’t write anything. This I want to remedy. I won’t resolve to write every day, or even every week, but I do promise to write at least once a month. So far, I am doing spectacularly as this will be my second long form essay in this month alone. Go me!

Part the Epilogue

Hereby it can be seen that these two parts join together. In leaving behind one form of life, I pick up another, and move forward. And that perhaps is the answer. Hannah, I sincerely hope, will live a long and happy life, and thus we may even cross paths again in the future. The only way I live life with that knowledge and survive that eventuality with any semblance of me is to create a once and future life that is again mine own.

Excelsior!

As of Yet Untitled

I’m terrified. Honestly scared. I am frightened that I won’t be any good at this “writing” thing. It’s been over a year since I’ve written anything of note. Sure, I’ve penned a few poems in recent months, but the last time I wrote something longer form was just after The Force Awakens was released in theaters in 2015.

I have an image in my mind’s eye. I stand upon a precipice, about to fall over. One wrong step, and I plummet to my death. I should be staring at the setting sun, watching the moon rise and the stars appear, but instead my gaze is locked on the long dark below me. Inside my shoes, my toes are desperately curling, trying in vain to clamp on to the narrow ledge in front.

This image represents my fear of failure. It has been so strong it has kept me from writing for over a year. I don’t know where exactly it came from, what manifested it inside my brain, but it has been there: lurking.

I have many things I want to write about: Rogue One, Passengers, the untimely death of a princess turned general, my not-7th wedding anniversary, the passing of the most logical being in the galaxy, a few new year’s resolutions, all the death and gloom that was twenty16, and the list continues. But I have been afraid. Afraid that my opinion is not valid, afraid that I won’t have the words, afraid of what she will think, afraid to memorialize too late, afraid to say the wrong thing…afraid.

The abyss rises to grab me.

I had an interesting experience this evening. I am still not sure what it was I saw, but as I was locking my door, on my way out to pick up dinner, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, something dark and shadowy that disappeared behind the corner of the house as soon as I focused on it. I don’t put faith in ghosts or apparitions, though because of medication that I take I have been known to hallucinate from time to time, except only when I don’t take it. I thought about what I saw all during the drive out and back. Initially, I was spooked. I had no idea what I had I seen, if I had in fact seen anything, and that unknowning, that uncertainty scared me a little. I’m a grown man, almost 30, in fact, and I am not given to remaining afraid. Except…

Except I haven’t written in over a year out of sheer bloody panic.

In the end I decided, on my way home, that what I had seen was the coattail of my future time traveling self ducking out of the way so that I wouldn’t see myself and thereby destroy the space time continuum. (Or pass out from shock.) Instantly, I was unafraid.

And here I am writing. It still took me a few more hours of mindless mobile Scrabble and Ticket to Ride before I pulled myself off my bed and settled down in front of my laptop to actually put one word after another. And somewhere, in my head, in my heart, deep in the outer rim of my soul, I am still afraid. But I cannot let that fear stop me from doing what I love and that is to write. So I will write. I will write about Carrie Fisher, Leonard Nimoy, my ex-wife, movies that I have fallen in love with, what I have resolved this new year, the late twenty-teens and so on.

I am stronger than my fear. I back from the ledge to catch the last few rays of sunlight fading into twilight blue. I write.