Sorry for the late post, thing have been very hectic as of lately.
In the poem August 9, 2014, Hanif Abdurraqip tells a tale of two stories, each one the other side of the same coin. For one talks about how a mother doing her very best for her child while trying to find some sympathy from others in order to help. The other is about a mother grieving the loss of her child, taken too soon from this world. This poem in itself is made to have a double meaning, but through the creation of said meanings, another is formed.
With this knowledge, we can infer that the third POV and final story, is of innocent bystanders, simply observing the horrors of not only this gruesome moment, but of the lack of empathy that others have toward their fellow man in their community. Even so, they still do nothing to help or prevent either the struggle or the suffering that these mothers face on what my possibly be a daily basis in this and reality . This demonstration of how much of a monster people can be for selfish reasons, reflect how we as a society need to come together to create a new sense of responsibility and humanity that should be shared and endowed on to one another.
I know that I'm very late making this post, but I felt that if I were to give it the analysis that it deserves, then it would need my undivided attention. The text in this poem can also be reflected in our every day life. Like as an example, I was currently at my Army National Guard drill this past weekend, while there you are exposed to all walks of life. Each and every one of them with a different life, and unique struggles into their up bringing. Some had it easier than others, most were still figuring things out. But no one, and I mean no one, had as strong of a sense of community and compassion as did the most experienced recruits and soldiers there. It makes you reflect on how you have spent your time in how you effect others. If either asking too much, or just not being epethdic enough towards all those who need you.
With these experiences, mind you from just one weekend, mixed with the text that I have read roughly 8 times. It has materials that force you to reflect on how our society stands, as well as how we stand within it. For one person's reality may just be the total opposite of someone else who has faced many more hardships and somehow found a way through it. I think that is what really the poem August 9, 2014 by Hanif Abdurraqip, was really about. Not about struggles or loss, but the effect the community has on them, and how we fit in it.
The Golden Shovel
BY TERRANCE HAYES
after Gwendolyn Brooks
When I am so small Da’s sock covers my arm, we
cruise at twilight until we find the place the real
men lean, bloodshot and translucent with cool.
His smile is a gold-plated incantation as we
drift by women on bar stools, with nothing left
in them but approachlessness. This is a school
I do not know yet. But the cue sticks mean we
are rubbed by light, smooth as wood, the lurk
of smoke thinned to song. We won’t be out late.
Standing in the middle of the street last night we
watched the moonlit lawns and a neighbor strike
his son in the face. A shadow knocked straight
Da promised to leave me everything: the shovel we
used to bury the dog, the words he loved to sing
his rusted pistol, his squeaky Bible, his sin.
The boy’s sneakers were light on the road. We
watched him run to us looking wounded and thin.
He’d been caught lying or drinking his father’s gin.
He’d been defending his ma, trying to be a man. We
stood in the road, and my father talked about jazz,
how sometimes a tune is born of outrage. By June
the boy would be locked upstate. That night we
got down on our knees in my room. If I should die
before I wake. Da said to me, it will be too soon.
Into the tented city we go, we-
akened by the fire’s ethereal
afterglow. Born lost and cool-
er than heartache. What we
know is what we know. The left
hand severed and school-
ed by cleverness. A plate of we-
ekdays cooking. The hour lurk-
ing in the afterglow. A late-
night chant. Into the city we
go. Close your eyes and strike
a blow. Light can be straight-
ened by its shadow. What we
break is what we hold. A sing-
ular blue note. An outcry sin-
ged exiting the throat. We
push until we thin, thin-
king we won’t creep back again.
While God licks his kin, we
sing until our blood is jazz,
we swing from June to June.
We sweat to keep from we-
eping. Groomed on a die-
t of hunger, we end too soon
The Poems, The Golden Shovel 1981 & 1991, by Terrance Hayes, is from what I see it as a response poem to We Real Cool, by Gwendolyn Brooks. What I mean by that is these texts, are not only reflective of We Real Cool and show the relations among them, but also seems to make a rebuttal to the mentor text.
Now it may seem like I'm jumping the gun when I say that this new twist he put on this old concept is not only compelling but also reflective of how society was back then, but I see it as a logical conclusion to the unspoken series as a whole.
We Real Cool presents us with the perspective of an outsider looking in, while in The Golden Shovel the perspective is twisted around to how life is for those supposedly "cool" kids and their atmosphere they live in and how they are impacted by it. This combined with how the last word of each stanza, recreated the original mentor text, not only stating how all this can be missed and is a larger part of what was witnessed, but also the real backbone of how the whole text is structured and there for created a new way of writing, The Golden Shovel .
The tone as a whole, almost completely contradicts the mentor text, but also compliments it as well, allowing it to be seen as just one more way of seeing and addressing a situation and the people affected by it. For the original had a smug, almost arrogant tone, while The Golden Shovel has a more, scared or insecure tone, with a shift to dark and cruelty. Life back then wasn't easy, and no matter how people acted, everyone has there demons
Until next time: JGM
In the text, Carly Rae Jepson Loves You Back by Hanif Abdurraqib, Abdurraqib uses his text to give observations of social life in America and how these reflect on how the concert is received as.
In the text, weed is used a symbol of un-adulterated activities, things being inappropriate for the situation. Many different things in different ways are "wrong", but it shows that human nature compels us to proceed with it, no mater the consequences.
Describing how some people are, "one hit wonders", or how there is "good dancing" & "bad dancing" makes a statement on how your work may not always be recognized. That to be good at something by social standards, you need to practice, or find a way to lower the standard. these are used as insignificant ideas.
Finally, Abdurraqib makes the comparison that love is nothing like war, but we as a society see it as one and the same. To make it sound similar, this was told to us by a "lonely man's" perspective, one who's emotionally at "war", there fore getting us to see that inner turmoil is as negative as war, but less impactful to society.
So for my first post, I'd like to review a piece of poetry called, "what the cicada said to the black boy", by Clint Smith.
Upon first reading it, I found that there were no capital letters used AT ALL. I know what you're thinking, "why stress about it?", well let me tell you, I believe it was to make sure the point got across that every word was just as important as the last. There was no emphasis on one particular word because to make sense, you need them all together, all at once, to drive the harsh, cruel, but realistic imagery in. For the cicada was meant to represent more than just a bug. It was meant to reflect how hard it is for anyone different, anyone who was in one way or another special.
Upon second reading, i found that many lines were ab-junctions, which is normal for poems, but the only end marks for sentences that were present were Mainly a form of question for a line. To create pause, for reflection, for dramatic effect, for a break. To help absorb all this information, all this emotional baggage.
To wrap things up, I'd like to put out there how this poem makes one reflect upon oneself. Too look deep inside, stare at your inner demons, and wounder, why is the word so harsh to good people. Why can't we be special, or why must we celebrate meritocracy? For if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone is great, then how can anyone be truly magnificent? I guess it's all a mater of perspective.
Food for thought, J.G.M.