Visual Poetry: Bring It On Down

Last year, I posted my poem “Bring It On Down”, which won second place in the Santiago Canyon College writing competition. This year, I adapted it into a short film in one of my classes at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Have a look and tell me what you think.

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Bring It On Down

Bring It On Down

She emerged from the darkness
A place she called home
Though bleak in its starkness
She’d never dared roam
Yet she wanted to run
And she needed to cry
To escape his prison, feel the warmth of the sun
To run up invisible steps, steps to the sky

But she couldn’t say a word
When he raised his hand; no sound,
Neither cracked flesh, nor cries—her voice unheard
When he’d bring it on down
She hid her bruises, and said it’s okay
‘Mama, he loves me, he tells the whole town,’
Though I’m not worth lovin’, a voice in her’d say
As he tightens a fist and brings it on down

There’s a beat of a wing on the air and she hears
A moment he’s gone
She closes her eyes and the tears
Flow, and she’s taking that flight
She jumps through the window, away from her fears
Because she knows: tonight is the night
To bring it on down, down

After she’s flown a-way
Once the coupe’s left behind, she breathes the free air
She just wants to stay
Safe; away from his eyes and their a-ccusing stare
But he’s in her mind
And it just isn’t fair
She hears him all the time
A thousand miles away, and he’s right there

Then a whisper through her windows
A call on the phone
A fami-liar tingle and her hair blows
She wishes her heart was stone
‘Cause even with all that she knows
She’s going back to him
The bruise no longer shows
He says it’ll be different and so
He’ll raise his hand up, and bring it on down
She sees that it’s comin’, but she can’t say no

Familiar is comfort, and she aches for him
To bring all the discord
And shatter the rhythm of living.
She knows she’s broken, that everything’s wrong
He’ll raise his fist in cacophonous song
All her insecurities singing along
He’ll bring it on down for sure
Then she’ll fall down, down, down
Again.

4/30/2013

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Goose

I stumbled across a snapshot I took of this poem, which i wrote in the back of a notebook I use for school, and promptly forgot about. So I figure hey, why not? Might as well post it.

Goose

E’re the waters of my eyes
Broke o’er his tiny hands
Clutching him one final time
As warmth of fatherhood disbands

Yearly quick’d by fifteen May
A’racked with stifled tears
O’er sweet-born his memory
Buried ‘neath a dozen years.

5/5/2012

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Veteran

This poem was written as an entry for a writing contest at Santiago Canyon College, where I’m currently taking classes primarily in literature and philosophy. As I post this, I was just informed a few hours ago that this poem–written in about 30 minutes–has won first place in the poetry category of the contest! –Jason

Veteran

Blackened eye shines from faux-smiling face
Prepared happiness glowers into empty space
Tiny lies whispered, eyes gleam to hide the truth
First lesson learned in youth

For he is mighty, brave and tough
Weathered rage, his love—enough!
His broken bones, scarred flesh deserve the furor
Weak child-flesh of mine must be his mirror

What knuckles rapped o’er bruised cheek
Deserved, surely, for I am weak
Cowering ‘neath the arms of bloodied mom
Who knows not the horrors of Vietnam

How dare complain o’er his harsh embrace
His love revealed upon my ribs, back and face
Great sacrifice for which we pay
A price of fear, night and day

Oh brave and noble father
Purifying terror is no bother
Wake me, daddy, when the swelling’s done
Revisit battle upon your son

Thank you for the wars you’ve known
For bringing each and every one home
Showing me I can’t deserve
Your love, for I, but six, have yet to serve.

Your harsh caresses may bruise the flesh
Thanks to you, I fear not death
Eyes alight with rage fill me with dread
As I tremble ‘neath my broken bed
Afraid of you, I’ll hold my breath

Always.

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The Woman Hero

I wrote “The Woman Hero” in a couple of major sessions for an original entry to a writing competition at school. I wouldn’t call it my best poem ever, but it’s far from my worst. Certainly better than most of the crap I tend to write :).

When war came calling,
Nay, crashing down ‘twixt heath and burrow
She fought, unsung
And steadfast, stood alone

Her eyes flashed with ideas
Mouth rapped; her crime, speaking
Heart quashed ‘neath bitter boot
Alone she worked, silenced

When folly or courage
Oft’ in equal measures
Brought spiteful wounds upon his breast,
Silent and alone, by tender touch, she healed him

And when she stood at last
Cried out for a turn to speak
Men and Gods forbade her
In the dark hollow of soul
She wept alone

There, I saw her
Raging silently in the night
Her voice and right, disavowed
Cheeks worn by tears and centuries

And I, with chivalrous design reached out
Erred intent to salve her stinging wounds
For which no balm save Liberty can heal
She rose, a Phoenix, an unbroken Atlas,
Shrugging away a  thankless world
As a sunrise o’er the mountains
Tears worn, a proud banner
She stands Independent
Aflame with courage
She, valiant Woman
Long silent Hero.
Speaks

5-6-2011

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Orchards

How quickly time doth fly

When hearts are heavy and know not why

For when the dream hath ended we must go on

Cannot die, cannot die

But must travel ever on

Unto the setting sun at world’s end

Beyond horizon, past the dawn

Life must tend, life must tend

A fading dream descendeth not

Upon the weary shoulders of the traveler

Who treads the empty roads alone

Ever onward, ever on

Reaching unto the sky

To the orchards of the stars

Where chance binds a soul without remedy

Carry on, carry on.

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On the Gain and Value of College

I registered today at ScholarshipExperts, which I learned about while attending the STOMP conference at UCLA last month. After registering and filling out several thousand miles of personal details, I was presented with a rather thick list of scholarships to which I might apply, and so I began to peruse them. One scholarship in particular caught my eye, the “Campus Discovery Survey,” which offered a pretty hefty scholarship opportunity in exchange for taking a brief survey followed by an extemporaneous essay on the topic, “What have you gained by going to college and what value have you received?” all in the space of merely 200 words.

I registered today at ScholarshipExperts, which I learned about while attending the STOMP conference at UCLA last month. After registering and filling out several thousand miles of personal details, I was presented with a rather thick list of scholarships to which I might apply, and so I began to peruse them. One scholarship in particular caught my eye, the “Campus Discovery Survey,” which offered a pretty hefty scholarship opportunity in exchange for taking a brief survey followed by an extemporaneous essay on the topic, “What have you gained by going to college and what value have you received?” all in the space of merely 200 words. At best that’s a difficult task, of course; I could already write a volume or two on the benefit I’ve gained from college and I’ve only just finished my first year. So I set out to write as concisely as possible, and about halfway through was rather shocked to discover that lo and behold, my essay was spilling forth in the form of a poem. It’s not my best poem, to be sure, but it’s only half bad, and at the very least it does answer the question. What’s perhaps most amazing of all, though, is the length: it came out to exactly 200 words.

On the Gain and Value of College

One year into my college career, a swelling is growing inside. A sense that’s immense, of something much greater, of words and ideas all echoing close and intense. I’ve learned new confidence, fed by practiced competence, and a wakening awareness of something–many things–more.

For when I was a child, the kind who rarely smiled, such expansive futures were not to be–not for me. For I came from a place not so much full of grace, but of an empty, a doom and a dreary tomorrow or two.

Onto the campus I stepped with much fear, my heart thumping hard and afraid! And the sun lit up bright, showed me all would be right, just a little effort be made. I found new ways to open, new ways to see, new ideas to think on–and a new, better me. So class by class, I’ve gained a new sense of ID-of loved and unknown ones, all part and parcel of me.

Such values as these are rarely expressed, for it seems so unfair, to have their meanings compressed; but assured  may you rest that what I’ve gained from college is the quintessentially best.

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Contiguous Collection of Consistent Contradictions

The light shines from the radiant page
Awake!
The battle-cry of the textbook, crumpled pages
Marked and marked and marked for more lucid moments.

Tales told and echoed through time
Demand!
Consideration of the eyes and thoughts and sentiments unseen
Who wept and cheered and laughed and bore horror’s torment.

Prose that winds the page like a coiled snake
Dangerous!
Fires set in hearts a century apart, joined in feeling
Yet split by a clock do minds twirl and race and excite by others long since dead

And thunder dwells ‘neath breast and nipple
Uncaged!
Never tamed, but for this fire inside, passed not by seed but word and deed
Alight! This sweet flame, this fickle bitch, this angry, loving, rich and poor
Beautiful monster inside
Destroyer of the world
Creator of the new
Tyrant and Liberator
Embittered and
Softened
Sculpted

Self.

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From the Ashes springs New Fire!

It’s been a year since last Poetic Hell saw a new poem or update; a year in which much has happened. Perhaps most unfortunate of these things is the passing of my grandmother, Iris Ward, lifelong companion of my grandfather, John Ward, whose passing brought me back together with family and loved ones I hadn’t seen in too long. She lasted just four short months after my grandfather left, and evidently could wait no longer to follow him on his way. I miss her terribly–we all do–but still, she, like my grandfather, gave us a good run, and we were lucky to have had her for as long as we did.

It’s been a year since last Poetic Hell saw a new poem or update; a year in which much has happened. Perhaps most unfortunate of these things is the passing of my grandmother, Iris Ward, lifelong companion of my grandfather, John Ward, whose passing brought me back together with family and loved ones I hadn’t seen in too long.  She lasted just four short months after my grandfather left, and evidently could wait no longer to follow him on his way. I miss her terribly–we all do–but still, she, like my grandfather, gave us a good run, and we were lucky to have had her for as long as we did.

On a happier note, we’ve new additions in the form of new cousins Rory and Sophia, born to my cousins Shawna and Deage respectively, in their lovely families (and pretty close together, too; one in December, the other in January.)

As for me, I’ve returned to school to study literature, philosophy and film as much as possible in the hopes of transferring to a good film school once I’ve finished at the CC level. In two days, a full year will have come and gone, and I’ve got to marvel at what a ride it’s been so far. Lots of fun, mountains of learning, and an ever growing sense of belonging in an academic environment. It’s weird, but I love it.

Now, however, it’s time for some poetry, and to kick things off right (and meet a creative project requirement for a course) I’ll do something unique: Post a brand new poem.

Yeah, umm…be afraid.

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Wading

For the life of me I can’t remember a thing about this poem, the time it was written or what may have inspired it. But, perhaps, other things were weighing too heavily on me anyway.

Wading

Wading in the sea

Fading emotionally

Reaching inward slowly

A gaze inside I cannot see

Wading in the ocean

Fading my emotion

Reaching in with no commotion

A reflection of a haunting notion

Wading in my heart

Fading from a fire-start

Reaching outward to depart

A half without my counterpart

Wading in darkness

Fading from the starkness

Reaching to hear the harkness

Aching from apartness

Standing on a mountain

Looking ‘cross the cloudy sea

Seeing nothing in the distance

And just of Love, a memory.

9-6-1998

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