Ships That Dare (prose)

One of the proses found in True-Ultra.

Ships That Dare


Yet, my skin does not bleed light once cut, my memory is not a sea filled with vessels hauling treasure, and I can’t see past sky-rim. Those ships—I see them set sail and pass, wreck and sink, cast onto fiery cascades, and I see myself in them, drowning and burning.

I know how it ends; I’ve seen it before;
Comes with day, engraved by ancient lore:
They leave, and I stay.

I stay in this mental illusion of a small port-village, where the sound of seagulls preludes the daylight, but distant and faintly echoed. Where the windows radiate with the blue-hue of gentle waves, and onlookers are statically sighting the sea, waiting endlessly for a ship that will never arrive, a day that will never come.
These days held by the belly, broken and shattered in every street and any corner, are the simplest notes sang by those seagulls. The lightness of serenity—that white sand. The heaviness of doubt—that ravaging ocean. Everything fitting as if it inspired a painting, in an harmony only captured by timelessness. Everything existing, breathing and seeing directly from my body, all aligned perfectly where they previously couldn’t fit.
That very unity of aesthetic space and sensorial emotion, a painting of words and concepts, is far beyond my abilities to encapsulate. As those ships pass, I stay, and the village grows ever-so static, slowing the motions, and the harder I try to encapsulate that mirage, the stronger it presses to bevel my mind, turning a timeless figure into a limited reality.
The further my descent, the clearer I can see the origin of my constructions, and trace it back to single day crystallised within my memory:


Thornless Bramble

As a child, I was crowned as the clumsiest infant born on the year of ninety-five. I would climb every tree, most commonly fig-trees, cherry-trees and loquat-trees, being of immortal beauty dotting the spaces between decayed buildings, dripping age from their roof-tiles. I would climb them and quickly fall, so much so that I broke my forehead three times, and still have the three scars of my infant adventures paving my face. (Not sure why, I would always fall on my forehead)
Any toy brought to my hands would be quickly destroyed, and wouldn’t last hours, the same hands decorated with wounds and bandaids from breaking so many falls.
There was, however, a fabled and worthy nemesis in that forsaken village, one whose victory was far too common: the brambles. If I was to fall on a trench—which I did often—it would be in the only dug-up segment that, by stroke of luck, housed bramble-thorns. If I was to jump over the sheep gates at my grandmothers, I would always mystically land over a shrub of those nefarious berry-bushes. They won so many times that I started seeing the thorns as friends—always at my side. Anytime I see a thorn-bush today, I like to touch the spikes lightly, just to remember the pain they brought me and how quickly it would pass. The pains of today, those don’t leave so quickly. As an adult, I now begin to pray for those thorns, instead of present pains that sting much harder, much deeper.
Every-time she treated my wounds, my grandmother would say, joyful and smiling:
-“If you weren’t born, my son, you would have been invented.”
I would answer with the mischief of a plotting young devil—a boy with evil on his eyes, but sweet evil, very childish and with no ill-intent, but just to relish the feeling of sharpening my tongue:
-“They should instead invent a thornless bramble.”
She would laugh, I would smile, we were happy. While those small droplets of blood sprouted from my scarred legs, and from the high-noon light of our harsh Sun reflecting that scarlet onto my skin, we were happy.
But the vibrating lines of melancholia and nostalgia aren’t sufficient to perpetuate that day. There was a sentiment of humanity that forced itself into my memory, akin to branding iron or an inked needle. The constant reduction our mind imparts suddenly suspended, and worry became a bubble outside my reach.
I can trace my life ever since those days, I can replicate it imaginatively as it elapses, every new-facing direction becomes a transition of colours. I am suddenly a motion-picture of myself, constantly distilling moments that have passed and synthesising their essence into different shapes. I become the artist, shifting through lenses, walking along worlds, gatekeeping those illusions, creating realities that can bend beyond those ships, sailing and wrecking.
My realities and memories collapse into one fused singularity—which I call a composition—my emotions and beliefs hover from the silence between syllables—which I call a poem.

 


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?

Why poetry, still?

My letter response a while back, where a dear friend asked me why poetry sounds deeply saddening to him. This was my theory (although I have more theories now, I still stick to this one most times):

 


Since the elder days of lyrical production, poetry has taken shape of shoulders carrying the shadows of human declaration.

From a singular first word of verse to the last sound of its adored stanza, it has been used to spawn nights of joyous dreams, dawns of draping silks, and as a hand moves to slide away those curtains woven of melody: a window, leading to giant sights of exposition, hills of galloping horses hauling our pains, our wounds, whatever we deem worthy to exist in that composition, because it too shall stand to compose us.

That is the level of communication all artistic movements tend to bleed out, those small shreds of emotion that plea for capture, and beg ever-so softly to be replicated, to be laid upon those hills of erosion so they too can taste the winds and streams carving away figures of reality. So they too can dock at those immense seas of versed salt, so they too can be cast upon the shame of their fault. Sharing all our moralities and sorrow, fears and loves, they are the Gods our minds are able to create, our fronts illuminated midst the foggy lighthouses of our fate.

Poetry is sound requesting to be heard, all the while praying that it shall never be truly felt. It holds no message but the one it cannot convey, inhales only the air it cannot attain, and rises ethereal, dodging a volley of arrows aimed at the core it humbly attempts to translate.

And I, narrating the strolls of flowers and their petal waltzes, am reduced to a lonesome grain, carried away, endlessly carried away, each verse another wind-strike, meters and meters of paths along a starless sky, from eons where the sun is blindingly beautiful in its rise, to minutes where it’s just an icy sphere casting upon me the lores of demise. Taken away by blowing agonies, abducted in the desperate glistening of their tears.

What was before an effigy of nature’s claims, is now a valse of linen strings placidly caressing my skin, takes form beneath my ground of insecurity, holds my callous hands, kisses my cracked lips, and signals towards horizons of truth in doubtless figure, wrapping around these hands, and soon dissipates.

Versing is of utmost cruelty, its envy at the rawest state;
Envy of those blooming lotus flowerbeds, breaking the hearts of any deemed beautiful before their reveal. Envy for the melodious birds whose lyrics none can encapsulate. Envy for a world presented to us in all its higher forms, and along those horizons of elevation and the figures representing such painstaking fortune, we do not see ourselves, only, at the rarest of times, glimpses of our verses and melodies along with paintings of our pains. Versing sets boulders ablaze and hauls them at the endless scenario, salvaging anything beautiful enough to stand out from the remains, leaving a wake of all we abandoned at the flanks of those once-sylvan lanes.

It hurts… every time. Doing so in any tangible way…
But what would poetry be if it could not destroy the landscapes it attempts to create…


I’m sorry about the overuse of gerund, it has come to my attention recently that I do use it a bit too much. You can blame Portuguese for that odd habit. 

This is generally the style of my regular prose, even in simple informal communication (such as a letter). I’m not too confident in these, but tell me what you think, I have tons more.


JOHNNY