Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Indie Poetry Handout #1

Indie Poetry & Social Consciousness : Considering poetry's potential for raising social awareness
This handout is the first we'll be for discussion posts on Monday, the 17th.

What is Indie Poetry? Indie poetry has an affinity for social awareness and is written by musical performers that often associate this term with their genre of music. The term “indie” rose out of the strong sense of independence that these artists take when creating their music-- which includes their lyrical process, subject inspiration, & occasionally record publication. Indie poetry demonstrates the ways in which writing can be emotionally exploratory, and how it can create a meaningful dialogue concerning different aspects of social awareness.

Dear Ginsberg...

Dear Ginsberg,
I wrote a letter to Ginsberg and
sent it to the sky,
through my eyes and to the
nearest stars and with pupils,
opened wide, I cried and cried,
unashamed, uninhibited. the
angels read aloud to Ginsberg
sitting in some heavenness sky.

I proclaim
oh Ginsberg you made me weep
and weep the teary-est tears
for all my years, although
only twenty, I aged with you
and sat in my skin
rocking and creaking
like nana's old rocking chair.

And a soft chuckle,
short gasps of breath
that otherwise would have
been the screams of
beauty like some lonely
streetlight that begs
to be stood under,
orange skinned
and orange tinged...

And to here you sacrifice
yourself time and time again
and splattered your bloody
ink and your invisible
soul to me and to others

and I wiped my eyes once

I proclaim oh Ginsberg,
You made me wish for a soft body,
and soft hair,
naked touches,
and the power of the nail
that scratches and marks
the skin and be handled
and and and and,
for the cool soft sweat
and shivers under the covers...

You made me want to
jump off balconies and
out of windows testing the limits
of constructed worlds
and falsehoods that look

like movie sets,
and find the rubber airbags
to catch me,
and say ha! I knew it!

I apologize for stealing
your style,
I promise I'm not
making a dime...

how am I supposed to
write what you have already
wrote? How will I see
everything anew,
and fresh,

will they come to me?
Or will I have to dig
under the graves of dead
plants,dead water
to see a reflection,
a simile,
a verse?

No wait,
don’t tell,
don’t kiss,
don’t, kiss and tell,
stay silent,
I don’t want to know,
I want to know,
but I want to know…
I’ll know
when I see it,
when I feel it,
when I smell it,
and when I do, I’ll weep
for me,
weep for you,
weep for the world
weep for everything imaginable,
weep for dusty roads,
and highways,
weep for new clouds,
and new adventures,
weep for weep,
weep for weep’s sake,
for this I will sleep and wake.

Dear Ginsberg, thank you.
Bear vs. Shark

To the credit of the remake
that was a good Dracula
cruel oiled hair
dangerous teeth
fine diction
his strut like rooster
his minion bitches dark sexy

grand two hours
to be the time to leave
to walk down the avenue
with Harker in mind
jealous coward
great gang bowie knife conclusion
retame her
dry up the wet moisture from the lap of the monster luster
fail to see beyond your union and the possibility of a brighter
Harker loose in the pants got his fun
laying tight with the vampire vixens
boobies and inner thigh bites
good job
I hope the marriage to your property lasts forever.

On Your Porch...

i was on your porch
the smoke sank into my skin
so i came inside to be with you
and we talked all night
about everything you could imagine
cause come the morning ill be gone

and as our eyes start to close
i turn to you and i let you know

that i love you

well my dad was sick
and my mom she cared for him
her love it nursed him back to life
while me i ran
i couldnt even look at him
for fear id have to say goodbye

and as i start to leave
he grabs me by the shoulder and he tells me

“whats left to lose
youve done enough
and if you fail well then you fail but not too us
cause these last three years
i know theyve been hard
but now its time to get out of this desert and into the sun
even if its alone”

so now here i situations in a hotel off of sunset
my thoughts bounce off of sams guitar
and thats the way its been
ever since we were kids
but now, now weve got something to prove

and i, i can see their eyes
so tell me something, can they see mine?

Cause whats left to lose
ive done enough
and if i fail well then i fail but i gave it a shot
and these last three years, i know theyve been hard
but now its time to get out of this desert and into the sun
even if its alone

i was on your porch last nite
the smoke it sank into my skin

Moneen, by Chris Hughes


  1. "Dear Ginsberg" seems to be lyrical in nature due to its obvious emotional value and the outpouring introspective thoughts and feelings of the author.

    I wouldn't be shocked if I was completely wrong, but Martinez seems to be mourning the passing of another writer or poet, perhaps his own mentor, or at the very least a great source of inspiration for his own work. I feel that the poem essentially acts as an unusual eulogy that also expresses some regret for losing the knowledge and guidance of the deceased person.

    The second stanza seems to indicate some blood relation to the subject. The third stanza seems to describe the dying moments of the subject that were witnessed by the author. The fourth stanza implies that Martinez was very impressed with the sacrifice the subject made with his life's work. The sixth to eighth stanzas express various ways of which the author felt inspired by the deceased's work. The ninth stanza appears to confirm that the author borrowed the writing style of the deceased, and at that point the poem takes on a decidedly more clear and conversational tone. In the tenth to twelfth stanzas, the poem becomes more emotional and seems to become more rhythmic as the author seemingly has conflicted feelings about how he is to deal with the passing of the mysterious writer, eventually concluding that he would eventually find his own style and in that moment. Whenever he does, he would then be able to mourn the passing of such a talent even more keenly.

    ...At least, that is how I read it...

    I haven't really thought about the other poems too much yet, but Bear vs Shark seems more of a satirical prose (and actually, in my opinion, more of a social commentary than the other poems) and "On Your Porch" seems to be a narrative poem due to its dwelling on a very brief period of time in which the significant dialogue took place. It's obviously a reflection on that moment of time which was apparently life-changing for the author. Moneen seems to be a visual poem, and I'm guessing it is an example of a concrete poem. I have no idea what it might be expressing, though, other than a chaotic palette of shapes and lines that seems to indicate some sort of primordial turmoil revolving around the typecast letter.

    All the poems certainly seem to display some social intimacy and disclosure. 'Dear Ginsberg' was somber in tone and seemed to be confronting some negative emotions, particularly the feeling that the author might have hit a dead end. 'Bear vs Shark' seemed to have a bold and opinionated tone that seemed to be disdainful of a property salesman or something of that sort. 'On Your Porch' was a dramatic narration of a conversation that took place. And... Moneen speaks for itself, apparently! :P

    Sorry if my comment was all over the place.

    1. I love that you break out with the structural/formal analysis. I agree with you, that “Dear Ginsberg” is a fundamentally lyrical poem. It has a true emotional nature which really shows through with the speaker’s intimate perspective concerning this other author.

      Good insight on the context of the poem: It is very possible Martinez is sharing this view, that the poem is representational of some type of mourning. It is very dramatic. Eulogy is a clear form of writing as far as the defining characteristics, and this poem does in fact express regret—perhaps, a little longing for the “guidance of the deceased person” as you said?

      The second stanza I feel also indicates some direct tie to the author Ginsberg. I think it could also be more of a vicarious experience-- that Martinez was “there” with Ginsberg as he watched Ginsberg’s life unfold because of his very close following of him. It doesn’t surprise me that sacrifice was mentioned in the poem; I think Indie poets really have an intuition for that sort of experience, and also, that they end up sacrificing much because of particular events in their lives that really shape them into this genre of writing. You mention that Martinez confesses he “borrows” Ginsberg’s writing style; it’s funny that this is so, because mimicry is a good indication of flattery. The poem does have a good rhythm to it and I’ll agree about it seeming dialogic. It flows well as a result of its conversational nature, I think, and it really emphasizes that “up close and personal” personality that Indie poetry really represents. After all, the poetry focuses on exploring deep rooted emotions—both the good and bad.

      I think you did a great job with this. Especially with it being the first post; I think you’ve set a good bar for the rest of us! The author from the band Bear vs Shark is absolutely lovely (and hilarious) which is why I chose it. It is satirical and humorously covetous, and not everyone can pull off this type of kooky deliberate humor but I really think this author does. On Your Porch is definitely reflective as you say, and as a result, the poem feels incredibly nostalgic and you can almost feel yourself on that porch next to those two people. It’s a noticeable contrast between the satire and the dramatic expression.

      It’s great that you brought up Moneen; I think the poem is certainly a visual one. I think you might be onto something :). I’d say the poem is more strictly visual since it does play with visual art and hand-made graphics. A good example of a concrete poem is here:


      It focuses on constructing an image, but only with text. And yes on the social intimacy and disclosure of the poetry! It can definitely be somber, and willingly confrontational to those negative emotions. I agree with how you see the rest of the poems as well. These poems are a good bunch. Thank you for a great post, and hopefully there will more to see here later :).

    2. Ohh, so that's what a concrete poem is! Very cool. Thanks!