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a watchful eye of creative complexity
Some poetry writing:
After life there comes death.
Death, like a sweet fruit—
firm with a light crunch, wet, unsubtle taste,
After death begins life.
Life like a hand abruptly removing the quiet—
forceful and loud, dry, soured awakening.
Digging feet into the ground,
Clawing for the moments before.
Weighing down into the light of darkness.
The light of darkness before life,
The light of non conceived masses of being,
of blood that’s blood
and eggs that are eggs,
of truth that doesn’t exist
and breath that is not needed,
of a non-existing existence of nonexistence.
The light of darkness confirms the dark is lightness.
It’s a light of flat-lines in a place of chaos,
of mobility in a space of confinement,
of flame cleansing structure,
and water drowning faith,
of blinding power over-shining within,
of a knowledge over-consumed,
of a whiteness too impure,
of fire consuming all.
We are here.
Since January 2002, it has been twelve years since George Bush opened the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama vowed to close it as part of his presidential campaign.
“As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.”
When Obama assumed office in January of 2009, he again, vowed to close it within a year:
“This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard.”
In a speech about national security in May 2009, Obama stated:
“instead of serving as a tool to counter terrorism, Guantánamo became a symbol that helped al-Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantánamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”
President Obama actually signed an “executive order” to close the prison.
It is now 2014, but the prison is still open. There are still over 150 men held without charges and with no trial, victims of gross human rights violations. I wrote this little poem for President Obama, which is on the way to the White House at the moment. Will he read it? Probably not. Will he read the other letter that I mailed to him? I doubt it. Will somebody read it? Possibly.
Winning the election of 2008,
Obama is President of the United States,
Campaigning on HOPE, speaking of CHANGE,
The freedom of Gitmo prisoners waits.
No trial, no charges, the injustice quite large,
There are a lot of grievances with which to charge,
Torture and violence are only a small part,
Will 2016 serve a dishonorable discharge?
Campaigning on promises meant to be broken,
The “first black President” is only a token,
To coat the citizens’ eyes with white paint,
And subdue their anger, keeping them soft-spoken.
It’s been twelve years so you think it may have worked,
But never fear a people continually jerked,
Their government, their system, filled to the brim with lies,
We are angry and outspoken and perpetually irked.
Enough is enough, tell the truth for once,
We are sick and tired of your imperialist stunts,
Close the prison at Guantanamo Bay,
Do it right now, not in six to twelve months.
We are disgusted with this empire that’s been built,
This country will crumble with all of its guilt,
You think you can outrun what history has taught,
But every empire eventually becomes unbuilt.
There is still time to make this one right decision,
You may scoff and laugh at our protests with derision,
But your term will be over in two short years,
Closing Guantanamo Bay should be in your vision.
Write your own letter this week or this month and tell the White House how you feel about this injustice, this gigantic waste of money, this horrible system we call the government of the United States and tell President Obama to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
While doing some cleaning today, I stumbled upon a poem—or love letter—that I wrote as a teenager. Wow, I used to be a really big math nerd.
Dear my little Polygon,
Our love is like your radius to my diameter. When we kiss, our lips become collinear. When we are together, it’s like we are symmetrical and forever inseparable. Every time I see you, it is like a secant through my heart. We are both the semicircles to a complete circle. You are the vector and I am the resultant vector. Forever is how long we will last, to infinity.
Love your little Diamond,
Uhmm… yeah. Even though it’s pretty nerdy, I kinda dig this. I’m guessing that I wrote this as a sophomore after being inspired by geometry class, but I really don’t remember. I think it’s actually pretty cute, but quite hilarious. Addressing a letter to an imaginary person who is metaphorically a polygon is pretty funny. Maybe I was really addressing a polygon. I’m not sure. I like the idea that I was writing to a geometric figure, so we’ll go with that. I’m actually missing mathematics right now.
A friend sent me this amazing video that features a British hip hop artist named Akala and his exploration of rap lyrics in connection with Shakespeare. Akala presents to the audience how Shakespeare and hip hop are not so far removed from each other as one would think. He demonstrates how Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter rhythm fits perfectly with rap lyrics, regardless of how fast or slow the beat is to which he is rapping. Akala talks about the fifth element of hip hop—knowledge—and how the intellect of rap artists was reflected in their boastful and smart lyrics, indicating their knowledge on certain topics and presenting them in lyrically beautiful ways. He uses Wu-Tang Clan as an example. Akala’s presentation is well done, using multiple examples and his own rap skills to show that there really is a relationship between Shakespeare and hip hop music. I think he proves that the difference really isn’t that drastic in the very beginning when he quizzes his audience on whether a verse is a rap lyric of a line of Shakespeare, and much of the audience consistently guesses incorrectly.
His presentation also reminds me that the state of hip hop today is very sad. Yes, back then with the likes of Wu-Tang, Biggie, Tupac, etc.—who were actual mainstream hip hop artists—the lyrics were intelligent, well-thought out, eloquent, engaging, artistic and at times lyrically elegant, and presented by artists who had loads of talent. I think this is the state of hip hop that Akala is mostly referencing. I certainly wouldn’t compare Lil Wayne, Drake, or 2 Chainz for crying out loud, to Shakespeare. Good hip hop still exists and the talent still exists, but it is no longer in the mainstream. It has to be sought out. Akala’s presentation is a reminder of the beauty and intelligence that has existed in hip hop music and I hope that one day soon the half-witted, derogatory, auto-tuned mainstream music that is still called hip hop will die out and be replaced with another generation of artists who appreciate the genuine elements of hip hop, including knowledge.
Take a look at Akala’s presentation. Can you tell the difference between hip hop lyrics or Shakespearean quotes?
Tomorrow I will find nothing,
Lost in shadows and darkness,
The world so holy.
Truth comes forward like heaven on a rainbow.
Clouds dissipating into unopen arms.
Torrential rainfall like none the world has ever seen.
The ground cracked and crumbling.
Fingertips grasping ledges to which they can’t even hold on.
But holding nonetheless.
The asphalt curls and rumbles,
Flattening structures like demolition without the explosion.
The people are blind.
The world is white, bricks and metal no longer an obstruction.
Destroyed or cleansed is the argument.
Building anew the goal.
And waiting for destruction yet again.
We create war. We create worlds. We destroy souls.
And we forget.
This world is not ours to keep.
All images were made—drawn, painted, or photo manipulated—and text written while listening to the named song under each piece. I love Olafur Arnald’s music. It is truly beautiful and evokes so much that the emotion can only be expressed through the songs.