Stories and poems

"The metaphoric image of 'orphan lines' is a contrivance of the detached onlooker to whom the verbal art of continuous correspondences remains aesthetically alien. Orphan lines in poetry of pervasive parallels are a contradiction in terms, since whatever the status of a line, all its structure and functions are indissolubly interlaced with the near and distant verbal environment, and the task of linguistic analysis is to disclose the levels of this coaction. When seen from the inside of the parallelistic system, the supposed orphanhood, like any other componential status, turns into a network of multifarious compelling affinities.'
Roman JAKOBSON, "Grammatical Parallelism and its Russian Facet", Language, 42/2, 1966, pp. 399-429, p. 428-429

Monday, March 19, 2012

Empathy for vegetables

I realized I'm an empathetic vegetable buyer. What this means is that, in the grocery store, if I haven't been able to go to the market, I buy vegetables that are slightly past it in order to save them from being put in the trash. I feel bad for the vegetables that have begun to turn brown in their plastic and turn down other, fresher specimens, in order to rescue the tired vegetables, the unwanted ones. 

I am not sure what this says about me. It maybe says something about how I react and interact with our current consumeristic society, but it makes no sense since I have little money and should really be investing in my health and well being by buying fresh vegetables. Maybe it says something about how I feel in grocery stores, slightly overwhelmed and confused, even with a list. Or it may just speak to my love of vegetables. One can also better understand why I don't often buy meat.

In February I was still sick, but happier. Now it is March, almost spring, and I have energy again. The sun came out. The hole turned itself around, I started noticing trees. I got more work. I'm feeling productive. My dissertation still waits for me to pour over it compassionately, but somehow, I'm more interested in saving past-it vegetables.

A friend gave me plants which I have placed in my office, bright greens on a pale green formica desktop. I want to post a poem that involves the color green. I had a birthday during a warm week of springlike weather, though it's still early, pre-spring.

My grandmother painted mountains

I said to you in the morning
this day is beautiful,
the grey air, the mildness, a pre-spring you said,
we couldn't see the mountains.

The green moss on buildings,
or how things beautify themselves with age.

That is a nostalgic poem, but I'm feeling less nostalgic, these days. The past seems less of a burden, and more something... to feel empathetic about? Even vegetables die, I can't save them all. 

Once a vegetable market made me cry.

When the vegetable market made me cry

All the beauty of the world dispersed 
like fruits and vegetables at market.

Gatherings of color and wood,
paper, a way under the trees.

A smile from an unshaved man
through the bus window,

but no barriers, no distance
and understood all the beauty of the world. 

Well, I tried to put that into words.

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