⌉|⌈ – Irrigation, friends.


        Leaned against the customary elm tree, some would take aim at nouvelle psychologies, others would echo life-bound lessons at the bottom of a plastic beer cup. If elation existed on summary, little else would be needed to describe the happiness blooming from friendship. I’d spent my few years of breath on fighting prejudice and carving a spot in the landscapes, as to measure the weight of my sins with that of my embraces.

              Little was expected, less was requested, and the ley-lines of kinship were bursting with movements: an arm around my shoulders, a hug so firm it freezes my flesh, turning a moment into a brass statue made to be outwardly admired. I had understood the height and worth of my words, I learned to love my speech and to gaze at the walk as a path worth replicating. I have known silence, I have known solitude; and how pallid, chalky visions they seem to have become. The lines of simplicity are aligned with themes of highest complexity, and the unrest is only natural when we serve the lordship of inner exploration; a while back, I’d coin myself as a poet of the simple and sincere, but I’m none of the sort. Life is as complex as it is simple, and the figments in between are the colours of its palette, poetry is just the chrome I use to coat the rust of days. Not much is simple about those days.

              In the Portuguese island of Madeira, levadas carry waters from the highest elevation to the southern plateaus, effectively reproducing veins. To create these channels, colonists had to burn the island for months due to its thick rainforest, essentially taking what they would then give back.
There is a certain parallel to all of this, there is a reason why levadas come to mind while I hug some of my dearest friends. A paradigm that unfolds itself on living parataxis, through disconnected clauses that present themselves as an older slide-show, burning ever-so-slightly in the heat of their projector. There is pain is non-return; there is despair in frugality; there is missing and there is saudade; a method of regret over tears that we couldn’t help but shed, a process of reclaiming days where we lived poetry just by staying in bed.

              I strike at Time and it inevitably strikes back. I bathe in the hypocrisy of blaming Time for its callous nature, rather than acknowledging my blunder as a human wired to thrive on disfunction. I see all, and during some shadowy nights, I could have declared that we all did. We all see where it hurts, what it takes, and how it must. We all live, breathe, evolve and suffocate beneath that same dust. And perhaps I carry little more than awareness that the hug was gaining momentum over those days of isolation, from the topmost of those pallid visions to the plateaus of my heart, smoothly hauling what it is to be human until that moment of touch, of irrigation, of a thrist so repressed, it pinnacles as it blooms into that sincerity and simplicity, into that hug that simply transmits: I need you, and I didn’t know I needed you, because I’m faulty and inadequate, but now I know that I need you. That is all I know, and all I need to know.

             Some of my friends are poets, and undoubtedly, they will be better than I could ever. Holding them in these fragile arms, along with the belief that briefly, I could inspire them, is all the greatness I think I will ever need.


JOHNNY

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⌉|⌈ – Sunken Soul, debris.

“Sad is what I am — what I will always be,
 an artist is born in form of a shipwreck,
 and henceforth, that same sunken soul
 shall live from scavenging the debris.”

          Existence is often homogenous with the ebb of an ocean — composed of movements, violent thrusts against the shore, soothing hymns that ascend from the waves, to the tip of a cello’s arc, producing the sharpest sounds whose harmony is replicable only by natural flow. As vast and nightmarish as the ocean can be, so can existence. As exurgent and garish its reflective surface can be, so can life be cloaked with that same brightness, when we collect at a table with dear friends, when we peak in a laughter so sharp, it hits the arc of that cello, producing a sound only the heart can see, an expression only movement can encapsulate, doing so calmly… and tenderly.

          One thematic I’ve been avoiding for quite a while is that of nomenclature, am I a writer? Perhaps a poet? Maybe, even, an artist stripped of specification? Do any of those names represent what I am, or rather, what I want to be? What constitutes a writer, a poet, an artist? What constitutes me? All questions whose validity is seeded on a necessity to exist beyond mere existence, beyond the ocean of movements and its tides, where I’m able to become the conductor of my being instead of allowing ebbs and flows to erode me, until I have shapes worth naming. But then, a vision occurs from that breath of epiphany: that of a fern, rooted in a shadowy empire. To understand the fern in its metaphysical elements, even if completely manufactured, is to understand where and why the fern exists and why it needs to exist — akin to any other plant — in this ocean of movements.
An artist is not a sculptor of new realms, or a scholar of unnamed emotions. The artist exists as a process, as a method, whose bounds of chaos and entropy along with seemingly endless creative freedom give it little more than a sense of burial at sea. Once we quest on discovering which movements of this spectral ocean truly ripple within, we are shackled to insufficiency, because the quest is unending, tiring and highly volatile. An artist is then painted semantically as a creative force, even when the process and method display the exact opposite, a form of extreme destruction. Humans are destructive by core, and as much as I try to stray away from speaking of human nature, I believe it is common knowledge that we have a tendency for destruction (albeit at times, it is justified) — what we cannot justify though, is our predisposition to destroy ourselves. The artist takes all that is to be human, all that is to be subjective, and augments it, throws it against the canvas and pages and notes and screens, all that is destructive is permutated to pure, then unruled and ravaged, broken apart and deconstructed. We justify this with Art, for the sake of Art, at the expense of that vast, nightmarish, exurgent and garish ocean. At the toll of our own sincerity towards destructive emotion.

         To be creative is to create space for that creation to elapse, and in the double-trouble of creating creation, we often get too caught up in the first part and what that produces — the pain, the sorrow and memory, the melancholy; instead of the latter, the act of creation itself. Are we even able of gripping that last stage, or do we suddenly become the escape artist of this scenario? Does the vision of that ocean of movement and the ability to bend its threads become overbearing and over-encompassing?
As I gather with friends around the table, and I laugh and elate, I realise further that a writer, a poet, or an artist — are not things I either am nor want to be, but rather states where I slowly dip my toes and feel the temperature of life, of existing, a small gate into a world where concepts become so maleable, their inevitable destruction also becomes inevitably inconsequential. My fear of this nomenclature was simply representative, because I’m not strong enough to constantly overlook the vast ocean of emotions, sometimes, I just want to drink and laugh and hear the peak of that cello’s arc without playing it myself, or writing the small introduction of cellos being played. We cannot always be outsiders, or we will perish in inertia. The movement of this scary ocean must also be our own.

Who knew battling with semantics could be this overly-poetic?


JOHNNY

Brimrose and Redstone (english poetry)

I’ve been back into the dating game for a couple o’ weeks now, and we ask such cruel questions to ourselves when we analyse our worth towards being wanted, or being loved. At least, I do. I feel insufficient, and this composition stems from that.

brimrosebrimrose 2


JOHNNY

P.S: Kind of a long one, eh? If you made it this far, I would like to point you to the direction of Dead Combo, a portuguese duo of guitar and bass, whose ability to refine feelings into perfect cords has never ceased to impress me. My favourite album of theirs is called “Lusitânia Playboys” and my favourite song, “Like a Drug“.

street lights and reeds. (english poetry)

street lights and reeds.


Author’s Notes:

This one is very sloppy structure-wise, but I’m living this thirties fantasy right now and I really felt like writing some stuff related to that, not sure why. But it makes me really happy!

The entire poem has references to Al Bowlly.

Thank you so much for reading,

JOHNNY

dogwood and yarn. (english poetry)

dogwood and yarn 2


Author’s Notes:

The structure of the composition was severely inspired by Jack Leonard’s song “All the Things you Are“, a beautiful song that was a hit during the 1930s in America.

I finally found a practical and pleasing way to put whole compositions into a single image, took me long enough. I’m not very technologically savvy.

This is another free-hander. I haven’t had much time to sit down and actually compose, so I mostly scribble into my notepad throughout the day and I get these results. At least, I hope they aren’t too bad. And thank you for reading, I don’t often thank people who read and do not comment, and it’s not on purpose, I’m just forgetful. Regardless, thank you so much for following the unglamorous journey of a dreamy kid writing poems.


JOHNNY

static limbo. (english poetry)

static limbo


Author’s Notes:

No actual references of any kind were made in this poem. It was mostly free-handed in paper and I did little to no editing when I transcribed it into electronic format. The quality of it is a bit “meh”, but I find it very sincere, and I value sincere poetry above any other kind. I hope you can still connect with it.


JOHNNY

 

Criticism: spider eggs and self-worth.

Following the string of compositions from when I initially started posting, you might sight some of the most primitive and uninspired works of web-poetry around, and along those lines of frozen time, you might even find a generally negative disposition I have towards my work, as well as a strong hostility directed at my own artistic development.
I believe, albeit probably wrong, that any artist of any craft holds little to no love for a product that is finished, because its the process and the journey that must be loved and nurtured, and the final result: an outburst of pain compounded with shame, a linen woven by acid needles that thrust with every line, every paintbrush and every note of a melody. It is natural to hold hatred towards our own creations, not necessarily because they are parts of ourselves we shed into a piece, but because they are willingly given away and lost, they are mirrors within mirrors and whatever they reflect has been traded at the highest cost: the peace we once found in producing them, now inhabits the piece, now… its gone…

And not only is it condensed into the work, it also constitutes an energy that dances around our own, creating a thick mist of unbound chaos, and we rush to perfect it, to alter it and reprise it. It is never done, never complete, it haunts us while it exists, because it could be so much more… and why isn’t it so much more? Why isn’t it the piece that will propel the next century of artists into unrest and endless creativity?

It is necessary to find balance, as with everything. I do not have shame towards my older work, I embrace it, because it allows me to gage how I’ve grown, what I’ve become, it gives me a tangible example of my evolution and the rewards I was able to reap from my effort. But still, I cannot read any of them, or rewrite any of them in any way.
They are foreign to me, the poetic subject has shifted, and my older self that indeed wrote those pieces, has now risen walls of solid isolation and sheltered within them. And the reason I cannot go back to them is relatively simple, as its commonly said – we are our biggest critics – and it serves well to be so, but we mustn’t become our biggest tormentors, striking hot iron into the flesh of our past tenses, attempting to gather enough information that justifies the inaptitude of what we were, and especially, of what we are now.

That is also why I’ve insisted on not trying to become an author at such tender age, not for lack of confidence in my body of work (although that also exists very strongly), but also because that would entail presenting work that would be worth paying for, worth spending time over, worth being read and invested, and my work isn’t there yet, and it won’t be there until every ounce of liquid pride I possess can be applied to such creation, and I understand that this unrealistic concept equals one of chasing geese around a prairie, but it allows me to find peace in my ever-so flawed and inept poems, they are a product of my dedication to a craft that, eventually, might be as shifting and influential to someone, like so many have been to me.

But that is eventually, and meanwhile, I relish in the sensation that any poem I publish today, will be something I cannot read a year from now, and that evolution of the self and its relation to worth, is such a beautiful inner process on its own, one that already compensates any ill-feeling over my own work. I’ve grown and will continue to grow, what else could I ask for?

Nihilism: a second frontier of fear.

I’ve always held quarrels against the structural basis of Nihilism.

It strives in devouring any worth behind worldly constructs, and does so mercilessly, because the charcoal that fuels it seems made from the cinders of a society in ideological flames. I’m twenty-two, which represents that hopefully, most of my life still awaits me, yet… I, akin to the vastest numbers of my generation, have been raised under cruel forecasts and outright dooming patterns: senseless acts of moral terror spawning almost daily, a scientific community that insists on a very real factor of life being irreversible altered by the selfish and hedonistic acts of humanity towards Nature, tendrils of corruption and interest crawling under the skin of powerful figures, some of which hold nuclear arsenal capable of turning this blue marble we have known to be (so far) the only planet that harbours life, into a wasteland of volcanic winters and centuries of acid fall-out, rendering it just another barren planet into a myriad of trillions we’ve learned to observe.
All of this, thrusting and gushing into an already exasperated youth, constantly in contact with a global world that – by expanding – seems less and less just and predictable by every inch touched. All of this, and a haunting sensation that whatever could matter, and whatever does unavoidably matter in our lives, is but a passing lucid dream we hopefully cling to. But, in the hopes of what?
Nuclear arsenal isn’t going anywhere, because power in intimidation is an acquired technique that simply cannot be reduced, only expanded, because a powerless superpower is… well, no longer a superpower.
Pollution became so intense that reversing it would require an immense amount of resources and funds that are only held by, coincidentally, the corporations that most pollute, and outlawing those practices or forcing those corporative bodies to shift funds into that cause is met with the ghastly and evasive front of lobbying and a fleeting justice network.
Terror is no longer confined to the exterior, but instead, engineered within us by a previous fear-ridden generation (for good reason, might I add). For me, the Outside seems far too similar with that zoo pet that frightened me when I was young, but “do not worry, it is more scared of you than you are of it”, but now, we are that zoo pet, we shiver and cower under a world that moves far too quickly, recklessly, and aiming at no direction. And in turn, that world fears us lightly, because we are the wood that burns above that charcoal, we are the cinders of that Nihilistic brazier.

To face such cemented futures everyday – and more than face them – to be assured constantly by a barrage of information that, this is not a possibility, this is no less than a reality, is to enter an Age where the deconstruction of all mattering concepts as a shield against their inevitable loss, and moreover, that constantly approaching loss. That mechanical disassemble of things we would otherwise be naturally in love with, is to me the grimmest crime one could commit against itself. We tear and shred all semblance of emotion towards a genuine experience, inasmuch as we reach our core and overlook the fields, and there is nothing there, not a glimpse of substance, not even shallow waters, but a bleak void holding all features of reality, or put in a simple latin word, “nihil”.

It’s hard to navigate these topics and not feel a certain weight of sensibility, when did we become frigid beings that leap at anything remotely worthy of our appreciation, exhaust it, and then cast it upon a sea already paved with isles of human waste, both physical and metaphorical?…

Suffice to say, I’m not a fan of Nihilism, but it seems to run so deep within me, that it almost doesn’t matter what outlook I have on it, it will grip with the same resolve, ever-hungry and all-consuming…


JOHNNY