How To Write And Read Poetry, Correctly?

This is a topic that I have been contemplating to write for some time now. Since, I could not decide whether to write it to the public or personally to Mrs. Johnson, my sophomore teacher. Who for eight years now, kept my feelings of poetry in limbo. I didn’t know if I should shove my once love for poetry to hell with or embrace it heavenly in the form my teacher enlightened it. But after many years of replaying what Mrs. Johnson had taught me, I have learned that she was after all wrong and I, all along, was right.

She had just finished a poem about an individual who was preparing to write but lacking the tools suggested that all a writer ever really needs is a pencil and paper. I vaguely remember the details, but I remember very clearly how it made me feel towards life. I felt as if our goals could be accomplished with the simple desire to accomplish them and that no one should feel discouraged if one lacks the resources and tools. I felt that in life, all that is really needed is the simple things like, ambition. I explained all of this after she had asked the class to explain what the poem meant, confident I rose my hand, not expecting her to backfire my opinion. She explained that the poem meant nothing of what I had suggested and that it was a simple suggestion towards every poet who felt intimidated of ever writing their work. I couldn’t deny her answer, it made just as much sense as my opinion and the opinion of the rest of the class. And for eight years now, this moment of time has caused me to never read a poem having felt that I could never actually read nor understand poetry. But then the question rose from my soul. How does one write and read poetry, correctly?

Trying to write poetry correctly, is impossible. There is no right or wrong way of writing a piece of art, it is something that is simply written. A poet simply feels and some divine spirit takes control of their hands and before they realize it, a poem has been formed in a piece of napkin, wrapping paper, and even, in my case, toilet paper. In a weird way, understanding poetry is understanding the soul and the human spirit. Having a correct way of writing poetry would only destroy the possibilities and the desire of writing. It would only question our ability to write and destroy the sprite of writing. So their is no correct way of writing, one simply writes without ever questioning what is writing by trying to understanding it. Because something within suggested the words to be printed on paper and understood or not they must be important to the heart. So now the question: should a poems be understood?

Poets should never be understood (at least I don’t think they should) nor should they understand themselves. It defies being a poet, understand the working of their spirit,in a sense, imprisons their wondrous soul from venturing off and returning with poems. I do not think they want nor understand themselves. Yet, scholars have a particular goal and that goal is to strip a poem inside out rather than letting the poem strip them. That by understanding the poem, one could have a better understand of the poet. But what good will that do? Why study the life of someone else than their very own? So by questioning the poem rather than letting the poem question the reader destroys the purpose of poetry. The purpose that a poem is not to be understood by any one. It is simply a piece of work that should run through us so that it may inspire us in whatever fashion; in the same way the writer was inspired to write it. Because poetry is meant to influence us passionately in whatever way one understands it. One may understand the poem in one way and another may feel the poets pain and joy. Neither readers are wrong but simply have different perspectives towards it. Their perspectives should not be judged nor declared wrong but respected. There is no right way of reading a poem because there is no such thing as having the right opinion.

Mrs. Johnson left me cornered, leaving to never write another piece of poem or read one. Perhaps, since dropping out, she has left other poets scared of ever coming across a piece of art. So in an effort to restore the spirit within I have written this, in hopes of helping at least a single individual to write away and although not understanding their very own work to not fear what is being felt within. As well as to who feel intimidated to reading poetry and not understanding them when subconsciously the poem had been understood clearly. Because trying to critique, compare, and understand a poem, the enjoyment of reading them is destroyed; as well as the enjoyment of writing one in the future, if one is going to be studied rather than simply admired. So write away, with no understanding, limitations, or fear.

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This Lake I See

I Fell In Love Once and Once Was All I Needed

By: Francisco Dosal

He drove down to the lake like every other Sunday. No longer for a swim or to talk to the locals who, after Sunday mass, loved taking out the grill and drinking down some “cold ones.” Instead, he now drove his truck around the lake watching the sun slowly disappear until, after growing sick of driving in infinite circles, he stopped and lit a cigarettes as he stared at people grilling or at whoever was swimming in the lake. A smile would sneak its way in and he thought about jumping in the lake or joining the local grillers like he once did. But he caught himself and dismissed the ideas. He could not return to that lake. He had too many memories there. He felt as if he returned alone, he was accepting something but not knowing what that something was bothered him.

He remembered coming to the lake. Waving at everyone as they returned from Sunday mass. He could smell the charcoal as it traveled up his nostrils, it always made his stomach growl with hunger and after laying their blue blanket under the green summer grass a small mist would emerge. Their mouths would water as the aroma of BBQ travelled in every direction. They would always swim for a short time and would walk over to however invited them to eat. After eating they always left, and she would always forget her sandals somewhere near the lake. It was not until he was ready to pull in her street when she would remember.

“I fell in love once and once is all you need right?” he thought as the sun started to sink underneath the Earth.
His cigarette was near its end. Flicking it out into the pavement he lit another. Someone yelled in excitement as they cannon balled into the lake. He remembered jumping in that very same spot as he held her hand.
“I don’t’ want to move on,” he thought as he exhaled the smoke. “If I do. I will probably grow to love her as well but than what is the point of love? If I can grow to love anyone than love does not exist. Then I never loved her. Meaning it was a lie. Meaning love is a lie. Than what is love?” His mind raced with thoughts and ideas, hoping he could answer that question but nothing ever came to mind. He finished his second cigarette as a couple stepped out the lake. He did not know if it was disgust or jealousy but his stomach flipped up-side down.

He drove around for another lap than broke away from the infinite circle. Driving down the road, he could almost hear her giggling and the smell of her coconut conditioner, which he loved so much. He looked over and hoped his eyes would play a trick on him. He hoped he would see her for just a second. Sadly, he saw an empty spot in his truck.  He sighed as his throat tightened up. He felt regret inside. He wished he was braver against love. He wished he would go back in time but he could not. He would have to redeem himself in some other way.
Entering the main road, he grew agitating and furious at his cowardly character. He was scared, scared because he knew that the love he had for her would now eventually disappear and he would date another and all this would be another memory. He now wanted to love once and only once.
It was all this useless thinking that had ruined his relationship and here it was again ruining him like it always did. His mind continued to race and without noticing, he was slowly pressing down on the gas and accelerating his speed.
The road was dark and misty but he could see the street that still belonged to her. He grew angrier because now he would be passing the street light that lit green.

“Babe, I forgot my sandals,” he heard a ghostly voice whisper. He was going 85mph when he made a sharp U-turn.

An ambulance showed up to a wrecked truck. It was so demolished they could not make out the exact year or model. Two men rushed to the scene. A body was found inside. He was faintly breathing but breathing nonetheless. Managing to pull the individual out without doing any harm they saw a bloody face and his torn shirt.

“No,” the body said painfully but neither of them could hear his weak voice.

He didn’t want to be taken anywhere because he felt that he was ready for whatever came after life. He had loved and been loved. What greater joy could this world give him. He faintly smiled knowing he would die side by side this love and not watch it faintly disappear and be replaced by regret, hate, and pain.. If only he understood this earlier. Understood that she was his first love and that letting her go because of fear was a horrible mistake.

“Liz,” he said. They heard him.
“Don’t worry well contact her now,” one if them said.

He awoke days later in a hospital bed to the familiar scent of coconut. Looking over he saw Liz sitting next to him.

Immigration: Small Step to Peace

At the age of twelve, I smoked my first cigarette, drank my first alcoholic beverage, and was associated with gang-affiliated individuals, an easy lifestyle. That same year my mother told me, “Las puertas pal dismadre siempre estan abiertas.” At the time I had no idea what she meant, “The doors to chaos are always open?” That same year my family and I crossed the border into The United States, the land of opportunity. The sentence played over and over as I walked endlessly through the desert.
As I lay on the ground one cold night, the wind no longer blew against me. It blew through me. The ground’s vibration no longer tickled my back. I now shook with the world. I found myself between life and death. One understands a lot more when ready to cross over towards death. Ironic, is it not? But I lived, and crossing into The United States I said I would create something out of noting. I no longer wanted to continue down my wicked path. In the land of opportunity I could creat myself in whatever fashion. I did not want to be the next rapper, singer, entrepreneur, or the next star. I would go to college, join the army, or just simply join the labor force.
That is what most young immigrants dream of. Sadly, in the end, it is nearly impossible. Politicians believe we are convicts transporting drugs for cartels. What better life would I have if I worked for a cartel? What is better than respect, money, and power? An honest life! So, rather than a dishonest and chaotic life, let us join an honest nation and contribute to society and become honest men through education, fraternity, and/or through the labor force. Yet again, we are stopped by schools we cannot attend because we lack the money and political support. We are not born citizens so we cannot join the military. All we can do is work and try to do the best we can to make something out of nothing while others claim their jobs were stolen.
Preventing young immigrants from further education and, despite the fact that we have loyalty to no other country, forbidding us from joining the military leaves us cornered, defenseless. Without the options or possibility of living an honest and better life, we are left but to live as criminals whether we want to or not. Working under a false SSN is a felony and driving without a license is a crime. The basic tools for living are luxuries to us. Every step we take is a crime as we are undocumented immigrants. Some will turn to crime because it does not judge them and gladly opens its doors with loving open arms. Others continue the struggle to justify their existence. I am not asking for immediate immigration reform, but when innocent eight-year-old children are crossing the border alone for a better life, something must be done. Pave the road ahead and guide them away from the wicked. Ignore young immigrants and those with horrible intentions will adopt them. The children come because they need help and dream of a brighter future. If young immigrants continue being ignored, or worse, attacked by politics, the doors to chaos will engulf them and they will turn to violence, chaos, and anarchy. We speak of peace and so here is our first step towards that vision.

We’re Born Knowing All Knowledge

Nativism: Ideas Within

By: Francisco Dosal

 

An individual is taught how to communicate, how to calculate mathematical equations to predict outcomes, and through the practice of a religion is taught how to worship a higher being. But what if these very teachings of communication, mathematics, and the belief of a higher being are actually preexisting ideas that all human beings possess during birth without the need of any foreign influences? The philosophical theory nativism suggests that even without any form of teaching an individual is born with innate ideas. A definition for nativism is as followed: “the belief that the human brain is capable of spontaneous or innate ideas that are not derived from external sources” “nativism.” Nativism explains an individual’s mind is capable of producing subconscious thoughts and ideas without the influences of others, as opposed to empiricism that suggests all ideas, knowledge, and facts derive from external experience and foreign influences. Nativism suggests that ideas are within an individual from birth and claims that regardless of foreign influences or external experiences; an individual will produce innate ideas and gain knowledge. In Charles Seife, Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, he explains what sounds similar to nativism: “Not even knowledge can be created out of nothing, which means that all ideas- all philosophies, all notions, all future discoveries- already exist in people’s brains when they are born” (Seife 95). An individual cannot be taught to think, thinking for any human beings comes naturally, and although every human being is not born with the same ideas, all individuals do possess the innate idea to communicate, innately create a system to organize and group individuals and objects, and the idea of a higher being.

To this day much there is much speculation of how the human race obtained the ability to create a system to communicate. All human beings are born with the innate idea to communicate with one another. Oral languages, sign language, and body language are different patterns of the innate idea to communicate with another human being. The idea to establish or create a form of communication is innate for every human being. It is vital for survival. Therefore, regardless of an individual learning a proper language or not one will create a form of communication due to the innate idea. The human brain has a section in the left or right hemisphere, depending whether an individual is left or right handed, where communication data is stored. Having a proper station in the brain where communication data can be stored proves that the human brain has the potential, or rather a preexisting purpose, to create or learn a form of communication regardless of being exposed to external influences like English, body gestures, or the American Sign Language (ASL). Take for example: during the time a child is inside the womb of a mother; the child cannot be taught how to communicate before it is exposed to a form of communication. Although, the child cannot speak a language until it is out the womb and taught a form of communication; the child in fact communicates with the mother by using verbal noises and hand gestures. The child’s crying may be attempting to explain to the mother it is hungry or needs a diaper change. As for a hand gesture like opening and closing its fists indicates it wants to hold someone or something. The child is born with the innate idea to communicate in whatever fashion and the mother simply guesses what the child is trying to say. It is not till later the child is taught a proper language or a form of communication that properly explains it needs and wants. All individuals during their few months into the world have the innate idea to communicate with others. Regardless of being taught a form of communication an individual will create some form of communication. Just an individual regardless of being taught calculus could potentially learn it.

Without being taught, an individual’s mind innately arranges data and groups objects and individuals. This ability cannot be taught, it is simply done. An individual is not taught to group objects together, one’s mind does it on its own without noticing. In Charles Seife’s, The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, he explains that prehistoric human beings would count into groups such as binary and quinary groups. He explains, “From theses fragments, researchers discovered that Stone Age mathematics were a bit more rugged than modern ones. Instead of blackboards, they used wolves” (Seife 6). He continued to explain “Archaeologist Karl Absolom, sifting through Czechoslovakian dirt, uncovered a 30,000-year-old wolf bone with a series of notching carved into it” (Seife 6). It is not clear whether the carving indicated the days or the amount of kills the prehistoric man committed. But, it is clear that mathematics was and still is within an individual’s mind without the need of teaching. If one is asked, “what kind of car would you like to own?” The mind automatically precedes data that are relevant to the question, such as: types, models, and years of a specific kind of vehicle. The mind does not proceed with useless data, such as: kinds of desktop computers, locations, or what he/she is going to eat later on the day. This ability to group objects and individuals eventually evolves into mathematics. One may state that mathematics is not innate but is an ability taught from teacher to student in a mathematics class. If this was true, than who taught the first human being to add and subtract? The simplest form of math is when the mind arranges objects and individuals into categories adding individuals into categories or subtracting objects. As this system becomes more complex than just grouping two objects together; mathematics, geometry, and calculus arises from the simplest innate idea of grouping and processing data. Complexity starts with simplicity, one cannot start calculus without understand addition and subtraction and as a child and through adulthood, an individual will forever encounter numbers and learns that nature itself is governed by numbers. For example the golden ration is the blueprint for all of nature’s aesthetic creations. The idea of arranging information like a database cannot be taught; an individual does it every day without realizing it and when an individual encounters a question that logic and reason cannot answer; the innate idea of a higher being becomes the answer.

Christianity, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, and others have been established in attempts to rightfully worship a higher being and or beings. Some suggest that the word of mouth has brought the teachings of religion into today’s society, but who is responsible for the idea of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion? Who was the one to open their mouth first? As a child, and into adulthood, the wonders and beauty of the universe have encouraged an individual to ask himself, “Who is responsible for such creation?” The universe is not able to teach nor could it force an individual into worshiping a creator. And without any external influences, an individual naturally worships a higher being. In G. W. Leibniz, New Essay’s on Human Understanding, a character Theophilus debates with Philalethes that the human mind possesses the innate idea of a higher being; he explains, “God came in that way from a very old and very widespread word-of-mouth process; But it seems that nature has helped to bring men to it without anyone teaching them: the wonders of the universe have made them think of a higher power” (Leibniz 16). It seems to be the desire for an individual to worship a higher being for bringing forth the universes existence and even life itself. For example, some early civilizations, like the Egyptians, worshiped the sun as their higher being. As opposed to the darkness and cold conditions of the dark; the sun provided them and the rest of the world with a sense of security, warmth, and the possibility of life. Eventually the sun was made into stories and began to symbolize a higher being and even symbolized as hope. An individual is not taught the idea of hope although it is done naturally. Hope is a form of faith and faith is the belief and complete trust in someone or something. Whether it is the sun or another idea of higher being, the idea of a higher being is an uncontrolled ability, taught or not, and individual practices it. Whether one accepts or denies the idea, it is completely upon the individual.

An individual’s ability to communicate with another, the skill to establish a system of organizing data, and the idea to worship a higher being are in fact preexisting ideas inside the mind of an individual. Regardless of being exposed to foreign influences or external experiences an individual possess this knowledge. Some may state that nature teaches or experiences give the human mind the knowledge, but it is one’s personal interpretations of one’s nature and experiences that uncover inner knowledge. Without these and others basic innate ideas the possibilities of bringing forth future ideas become impossible to reach. By denying simplistic innate ideas one denies the stepping stone into complex thoughts and ideas. Complexity starts with simplicity just as the first stone eventually became the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China. One has the answers to the universe within without even knowing. All the knowledge is inside waiting to be uncovered, waiting to be hacked and released. Intelligence is within every human being.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Idea. Dictionary.com. Web. 29 January 2013.

Leibniz, G.W. New Essays on Human Understanding, trans. by Peter Remnant and Jonathan

Bennett (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 74-88.

Nativism. Dictionary.com. Web. 29 January 2013.

Seife, Charles. Zero the Biography of a Dangerouse Idea. Penguin Group Inc. 2000.