NATURE’S FURY

I saw a single blooming flower on the tree. Against the dense, green foliage riddled with long, thick leaves, the delicate white of the flower stood out like the first star in the night sky. The flower itself was enormous—nearly the size of a cantaloupe, with majestic petals, curling their way out to greet the sunlight. Yet it had not completely unfolded into its maturity. The purity of the original bulb shape was still perceptible to the attentive eye.

I saw this lone flower blooming, and knew I had to have it. It was off the ground, out of my reach, and the tree appeared to be an arduous climb. But the craving in my gut pulled me up to the task. I moved to the base of the trunk. The bark of the tree was rough and protective, like a father. It was also quite sturdy, and as my nimble fingers curved themselves into nooks and crannies, I found that the shoulder like branches of the tree were stronger than I had initially expected. I darted up, from branch to branch, with such rhythm that I felt like Tarzan himself.

The last few branches were the most perilous. Near the top of the tree, the branches thinned and swayed, and beneath my weight a few began to snap. I glanced as they fell away, while my arms grabbed for new holds on the tree. Eventually though, I found my way to the flower. She was beautiful, pure, and perfect. There was no flower quite like it—no flower that I had battled so valiantly for. I knew she would love me as I loved her. My hands, trembling, reached out and cupped the base, where she connected with the tree, and carefully plucked her away.

The whole tree seemed to shake for a moment, and the flower quivered, curling slightly back in on herself. Then everything was still. The descent was much easier, fortunately, and I carefully shielded my flower from the stray branches and leaves as I passed through them. They felt like tiny hands, pulling, scratching, and seizing my clothes. I shook them away as I moved. I reached the ground, and broke into a great, boyish smile. I took the flower home; watered it, and gave it sunlight.

But would you believe how she repaid me? The bitch wilted, unbloomed, before my very eyes. The vibrant pure white, which seemed to cleft through the surrounding, faded into a smoky fog, and then further into a dead, blackened husk. Every morning, I awoke, and saw her with disgust. Such beauty; why couldn’t she have been mine? And yet, I felt in the pit of my stomach something more terrifying, though I had no idea as to what it was.

Until, of course, the dried petals finally began to fall. Then, I was shocked, to hear the roar of the forest, like thunder, calling to me. The great tree, which had grown since I had stolen her from it, had taken up its roots and marched on my home. All my structures—the walls, the roof, and the floors—were ripped apart by this incarnation. The wrath of Nature itself stood on my doorstep. Roots and vines tore it apart, until I stood, naked, before the behemoth himself. The vines snapped and slithered around me, wrapping around my arms and legs, and I was pulled into the air.

I hung there, limp, for what seemed like an eternity, while the vines snaked around my neck. Then they paused, and a vine lifted my chin. Before my eyes, he held her. She looked solemn, limp, and peaceful, but utterly dead nonetheless. In a rush of pain, I felt both my legs snap. I cried out, but there was no help for me.

Then, it all stopped. I was dropped on the ground with a thud, and the tree went away. My legs sprawled lifelessly beneath me, but I had been shown mercy. My watered eyes looked out around me, and I saw the tree disappear behind the hills. I slumped to sleep, as my eyes grew more and more blurry, and as they shuttered closed, I saw a single, pure white petal, before me. Mocking me.

——

 

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INTERSECTING PERSPECTIVES

Hello everyone,

 

I have been thinking about perspective quite a bit over the last couple days, mostly after listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” and then the follow up criticism a few of my friends have shared over Facebook. Because there was some division between my interpretation, and the interpretation given in the criticism, I’ve spent all morning pondering which perspective is closer to the mark.

So here’s the divisive lines:

 

I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop

Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor

Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks

Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch in Polo socks, ayy

 

Make sure you watch at least this part of the video, so that you have some context for what the imagery displayed was (it’s at 1:43 minutes). What was your perspective on these lyrics? Are they sexist? I mean, an argument against Photoshop, in favor of a natural look isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, it is still telling women how to dress and looks, assuming this addresses women in the first place.

Now that you’ve gathered your thoughts on this set of lines, let me tell you the interpretations I have been struggling with. First of all, there’s the perspective that applies these lines to all women—as in, this is Lamar’s expectation for women, and even if he’s arguing against the mainstream media’s presentation of women, it is still narrow minded and does not actually make a difference. Women should be empowered for whatever decision they make—whether it is being all natural, getting plastic surgery, or whatever—rather than be judged as simply objects by men (and society). This isn’t an unfair assertion. I mean, look at the last line. It directly addresses the “you,” which can pretty safely be assumed to be women, speaking that Lamar is pretty clearly heterosexually inclined.

The other interpretation goes simultaneously less far and further. It stops at “he’s arguing against the mainstream media.” The allusion to Richard Pryor, an old, anti-establishment comedian, as well as the statement about Photoshop, indicates that his first three lines of this segment are perhaps not addressing women, but instead addressing those who portray women. Instead, he asserts that what people care about is the real look of a woman, over the superfluous tendencies the media puts upon them. It isn’t entirely a progressive view, since it does still objectify women to an extent, but it is less “anti-woman” through this perspective than through the previous one.

The video adds a significant amount of depth to the lyrics as well, showing the two faces of a woman—one apparently done up and whitened, in the way the media often prefers, the other lacking make-up, and so on. I’ve chosen to withhold which perspective is mine, and which is from Facebook, because I don’t want my personal perspective swaying you, the reader, one way or another. The irony is that sometimes even the most parallel perspectives will cross lines in the details. That’s what, in many ways, occurs here. But that’s why it is a discussion. Let me know your perspective in the comments!

——

 

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LOVE POEM #27 – FOR YOU

I could write a thousand poems

And yet none would compare to you.

You’re a sweet drop of summer dew

After the springs reign was stolen.

 

So then, why should I even try?

I could tell them of your red hair;

Your luscious lips; your lovely stare,

But such a rhyme would seem so dry.

 

How on Earth could I compare thee

To such a simple summer’s day,

When all of night’s stars cannot say

What this beauty is before me?

 

Though perhaps I say’t not for them—

Whose gossiping ears tend to pry.

Perhaps it’s ‘cause no other guy

Has seen you sparkle like a gem.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #24 – LAST NIGHT

Last night

I went to the bar to find a girl,

Little did I know she would change my world.

She was standing there in boots and a skirt

I downed my drink and got up to go flirt.

She smiled at me with a grin so tight.

I wondered if she’d keep it up all night…

Or me, because, before I said a word

She grabbed me by the wrist and purred

“I haven’t seen you around here before,

So don’t look at me like some common whore.

I’m a classy lady but I like to sin,

So don’t go looking so dumbstruck, darlin’.”

Then she laughed at the look in my eyes

‘Cause I was caught totally by surprise.

Hand in hand, we walked to the dance floor;

And the rhythm of her hips made my heart soar.

(and my legs sore, for that matter, it’s true)

But I must tell about the lovely view

That I got from my house up on the hill

Of her standing at the widow sill.

She was looking at the sun as it rose

And I was gripped by a sense of purpose

This unknown void that was suddenly full

And the world seemed quite a bit less dull.

I walked up to her from behind,

And kissed her from her neck to her spine.

She smiled and took my fingers in hers

Turned to my ear and silently purrs

“Darlin’ that was such a magical time,

I think that it would be such a crime

For me to run off at the break of day.

When I could stay with you—what do you say?”

 

It’s hard to believe that it was just last night

That I found the girl that could make life right.

——

 

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ANALYZING A FOUL-MOUTHED FEMINIST

Hello everyone,

 

So I was checking out the photos of this cool Facebook page (which is apparently now inactive, as I noticed after writing this) called AFMF – A Foul Mouthed Feminist, and I was struggling with a concept, which is what I would like to talk about today. The specific picture was a picture of a quote that read “Men who want to be FEMINISTS do not need to be given space in FEMINISM. They need to take the space they have in society and make it FEMINIST. –Kelley Temple.”

Now, I have some issues with this statement, but the quote is out of context (I assumes) and therefore I don’t want to say that Kelley’s position is invalid. Yet at the same time, it makes some borderline assumptions. First of all, the statement uses the verb “want” to describe these men. While that, in one perspective, excuses the men who are feminists, it more so creates a dialogue that men are not feminists. Or that they are less feminists than women are. Which is not true. I mean, it is true that there are men who are less strongly feminist than other women, just as it is true that there are women who are less strongly feminist than men. But that might be a little nit-picky. Then again, our word choice defines how we are conditioned and how we think about various concepts.

In addition, but opening the statement with a phrase that implicates men for not understanding something, there become a tension within the statement that implies that to learn how to become a feminist, one must follow the instructions that are to come: “they need to take the space they have…and make it feminist.” And this statement, again, is engrained in some good perspectives. By “make it feminist” I assume Kelley means a space that is as safe for women as it is for men. Which, while something that our country/our world has struggled with for many years, is a great point. That’s how it should be. Yet this idea that men do not need to be given space in feminism, rather, they must create it, is dualistic.

Feminism is dualistic. Inherently, feminism is contradictory, because perspectives and interpretations of reasonable human beings often contradict. And that’s fine. It provides a safe space for multiple perspectives to be contradictory, so long as things remain respectful. However, as some amount of self identified feminists are in many ways for the progress of women, rather than the equality of them, there becomes an awkward dialogue. If this statement is interpreted as a saying made by one of these extremist feminists, it could be interpreted as saying men are incapable of providing an avenue to the success of feminism. Which I think is a narrow perspective, if not unreasonable. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to cut out the people trying to help you—male or female. I’m sure this could come off as a man trying to assert himself into feminism, which I really don’t mean to do, but then again it’s hard to point out potential errors like this and not come off poorly.

Again, this is just interpretation of a quote, and very easily could have had more context to negate these opinions. But this quote was taken out of context and presented. So I wanted to share the various flaws with how it could be interpreted. What do you think? Are these unreasonable? Is the quote unreasonable? Are both fair? Let me know!

UNDER A STARRY SKY

And as she looked up in the sky,

Another day had passed her by.

Another day of pinks and reds,

And flowers all throughout her head.

 

She’d look up at the clouds and say,

What did I do to get this way?

What did I do to make things dull,

And put this sadness in my skull?

 

What did she do, but be herself?

And focus on her inner wealth?

She’d prance around from day to day

With no opinions to obey.

 

Yet here she sat, sad under stars

More ensnared than Venus and Mars

So caught up in being herself

That she lost everybody else.

 

Hey everyone,

 

Here’s a poem I wrote while I was in Montana. Hope you like it! Let me know what you think.

PLAIN IS PLENTIFUL

There are two ways to divide

The beauty of women in my eyes.

Plain and Pleasing.

 

A women defined as pleasing is rounded.

Firm. The kind of girl who makes eyes wander.

And stomachs growl.

 

Personally though, I find the plain woman more lovely.

She isn’t defined merely by her looks.

The kind of woman who doesn’t just attract the eyes and stomachs of men,

But also the heart and the minds.

 

It’s true, she may not pull the same crowd.

Or command the same attention.

But her words carry more value,

And the sweet, sometimes timid smile

Can move mountains.

 

See, the love for a plain woman does not pull from the gut.

That fades slowly, like a digested meal.

It solidifies within a man,

And becomes the centerpiece of his mind.

 

Truly, there is no greater beauty in a person,

Than that which becomes personal.

The ray of sunshine coming in through the window,

And the quiet breath of as morning wakes her being.

COOPERATIVE VICTORIES

Hello everyone,

 

How’s your day in my future going? I’m (hopefully) having a great day in Montana while you read this. Don’t worry, I’ll talk about my vacation when I get back. But right now it’s time to get down to…business? This isn’t really a job. I don’t get paid. Either way, I was thinking more about gender inequality, which is just such a wonderfully substantive topic that is never ending. However, I was thinking today about reverse discrimination, as my dad calls it. Specifically, I was thinking about an ad I saw a while ago trying to promote equality. See it here:cjpnx8ruyaaaaqp

Of course, it’s a totally unfair ad. It’s poorly worded. It doesn’t present the world as it is in reality. Women are abused sexually in higher numbers than men by a significant margin. But the ad does bring forward a problem that I see and hear a lot. Which is that feminism sometimes, depending on the hands it is in, is not about equality and instead about feminine superiority. Typically it’s not even consciously done either. This subconscious idea is how we end up with ads that show two people in the same scenario (Jake drunk, Josie drunk) and think it’s ok to just blame one of them without further clarification. I’ll take a recent example that happened to me by my own family.

My sister and I are both over 21, she’s a couple years older than me. This last Mother’s Day, she received a gift, despite not being a mother, simply because my mom felt like giving her one. That’s super sweet, and I think it picks up on the spirit of the tradition rather than the strict definition of the holiday.

Father’s Day rolls around, and I don’t get a gift. Now, I don’t really care. I’m not a father. I mean sure, I was a little like “hey that’s a double standard” but let’s be honest, Father’s Day has always fallen a bit more to the wayside in American society in comparison to Mother’s Day. The guys are already so far ahead in society, it’s less valuable. Or a “real man” wouldn’t need to celebrate. Regardless, I noticed this difference. And this is the kind of duality that even the most foreword thinking person can make a mistake out of.

One of the problems I have come to face is that the pride that exists for being a woman far out weighs the pride there is for being a man. This could just be the household I was raised in. But we constantly talk up how important women are—which is effectively affirmative action for women, who have been neglected for decades. But in filling the silence with just talk about the greatness of women, we often unintentionally push aside the great parts of being a man. Which I don’t think is the core aim of feminism. A lot of people call feminists pretentious, which I think is pretty clearly false. But there certainly could be experiences like this that would cause people to feel that way. If all I saw were women tooting their own horns constantly, and shaming men for being “manly,” I would feel the same way.

This is a bigger topic than I have time for today. I don’t mean to say that women aren’t facing more difficulty than men. Sexual assault occurs too often. It’s unacceptable that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in college, and we need to be better about it. But we don’t solve the problem by holding up women and leaving men behind like some people do. We do that by lifting up everyone. Don’t make it a battle of the sexes. Make it a cooperative victory.

HOT BUTTON ISSUES

Hey everyone,

 

Let’s talk politics real quick. I don’t want to get into candidate positions too much if I can avoid it, but the political agenda is an aspect of American society that ebbs and flows. By ebbs and flows, I mean that it shifts from idea to idea, but stays relatively the same over time.

The three hot button issues I can think of are abortion, gun control, and discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. This current political year has added wealth inequality as a major subject, but as we turn toward the general election we see that the reality is that that shift has been put off a bit. Seriously, ever since Hilary clinched the Democratic nomination (or as Bernie supporters will point out, “clinched” due to voter fraud, which is a wholly different conversation). Suddenly the wealth conversation has been put on the back burner. Certainly, this is partially due to the Orlando shooting, but we shouldn’t let one tragedy cloud all our priorities.

So why are those three issues recursive? Well, mostly because it’s a split between strict and loose interpretations of things. By strict I mean black and white points of view—things are this way and not this way, etc. This problem has been emphasized by certain orange candidates lately with the immigration of Muslims, which speaks to the larger discussion about racial inequality. Of course, this issue is multi fold, so this gross oversimplification is an example of faulty logic, but hey, many people aren’t willing to look at the world that closely.

Strict and loose are usually synonymous with conservative and liberal, respectively, and the reason we return to these issues is that they are points that are highly contested. For whatever reason, the vast levels of wealth inequality which effect both groups is kept silent often. Which to me indicates that it is the real problem. Certainly, injustices by gun control, abortion/women’s rights, and discrimination (all of which can be interpreted in multiple ways, depending on how you lean in the political spectrum), are all important, but they really are symptoms of a greater problem—mistreatment. If we all felt more content with life, we wouldn’t feel the need to lash out, or attack our enemies. Now, that’s a utopian world view, that everyone could be happy, but in assuming it is utopian and therefore impossible, we negate the idea that a greater portion of people could be happier.

I think the idea of democratic socialism is something people are afraid of because all they here is “the end of America” as opposed to “how to make people live better lives.” Which is a lazy view, and if this is your perspective I indulge you to actually look at the implementation of socialism in other countries, and see how much happier and more prosperous their average citizen is in comparison to the American average, our “standard” if you like. Not the white media standard, but the real standard. The whole idea of socialism is to make more people happy, or at least happier. Because when people feel content, they don’t feel the same need to lash out. Sure, some times things aren’t always good—a person cheats on you, you got in a fight with your parents, and so on. But at least you don’t have to worry about not having the money to feed your children, or choose between raising a newborn and making the rent payment.

I’m not sure how I got to socialism…Oh yeah! Hot button issues. See, these are issues that have been recurring in the political spectrum for decades. And not that much has changed in reality. Sure, we have made big strides with homosexual equality, but gays still get denied cakes for weddings. And maybe it’s just morally obscure people, but I think that we are just not content. Rather than embrace one another, we push those who don’t match who we are exactly to the side.

THE GIRL OF INFINITE POWER

It is I, girl of infinite power
Even the gods will cower before me
I thrive in the good light’s darkest hour
Because I am the one that is of three

In the morning I am but a small girl
All my smiles and my laughter are warm.
By midday my brow begins to furrow
And the girl is replaced by mature form

At night my age seems inescapable
Like my bones would break at the softest touch
But my magic has become palpable
The electric air is nearly too much

Yet as a being unmatched in her skills
I am alone, no one to warm my chills

 

Hello everyone,

 

Just a quick sonnet today. Hopefully it was clear that this is a narrative by Hecate, but if not, I have spoiled it for you. Let me know what you think of it!