only muddy toes and the milkyway.

One of my many intentions while here in Belgium was to write a lyrical essay as I experienced my exchange.  It was a style of prose I was introduced to at the Young Writer's Institute the summer before I came, and I've loved it ever since.  Essentially (at least in my definition), a lyrical essay is an ensemble of poetry which revolves around a certain theme or is written during a set period of time.  It may be surrealist and appear to make no sense at all, or it may be very descriptive and appeal to all the senses; it simply depends on the style of the writer, as does any style of prose.

I never truly began to write with intent to finally make the essay, which explains the lack of correlation between the poetry that I've written here.  Instead, I simply wrote to express myself (like always) in a notebook that I constantly carried with me, and this is the collection of some of that poetry, month by month, in my own kind of lyrical essay. 

Don't worry if you don't understand; most of the time I don't even know what or how I'm writing.  It's the beauty of surrealism and the subconscious of a higher reality.

if i discovered the world, i would have thought this was the end of it.
clouds melting into ice, ice melting into rays of white,
a puddle of mid-winter familiar to the trod of thick-soled boots.
plastic window at my fingertips blinds me but to a
wrinkled smile of recent laughter
asking me, "what do you want to be?"
i don't know, nor do i know the you
"youth never will. 74 years still haven't given me the answer."

comment dit-on life en français? c'est la vie.
try to speak words, but only stuttered incongruencies.
see those eyes they dream,
as she melts the chocolat by minuit
avec ségolène.

minutes hide behind familiar words,
their bloodshot eyes blind to learning.
help me! aidez-moi!
mais pourquoi? the mirror's lips only whisper secrets.

ten days and only twelve faces.  elle se moque de toi.
and i whistled in the rain.

with you, i want an adventure.
i know of sweaty hands who feared they'd lose their grasp,
grasp of what they'd already captured:
a submissive firefly in a cupped-hand cage, glowing only to be his light.

dreams, or rather hopeful predictions
of swimming pools in the rainy snow,
sheltered by the ceiling. darkness embraced by walls,
disrupted by a smile- two smiles.
water blurs my view and is in my nose,
but i feel a hand which takes my fingers captive,
puts them in straight jackets,
otherwise they'll go astray, in thought
and in movement
from here.

four legs propelling, treading upwards.
feet clumsily make the next, first, bad impressions
as chlorine fights our drowning seconds.
and we pause the film and drown with them,
take this picture as the last.
breathe in, and satisfy the thirst of lungs.

but as lips part they are met by others
and everything and nothing is lost.

listen to only words
lost in the laughter the pen writes,
the footprint stays.
he stays to remind me,
rappelle-moi, j'ai oublié
how to speak, how to sing.
is this rambling? je dévaugue.
peut-etre. or maybe?

crowded train station with a toilet paper tree.
benches full of eyes watching her read,
i'm reading
is this rambling?

mi chiamo jordanna
sono l'amica di sabina
sono americana
parlo inglese e francese

i came here with a hug and two kissed cheeks.
an artist told me
i was an artist, in english
now useless but always used.
how do i feel?

est-ce que tu crois que
i laugh to be heard
and then run from those who hear?

est-ce que tu crois que
je crois que
i don't know what it is to believe?

fallen leaves in disguise of winter
still crumble.
sa beauté s'est fanée.

i used to look through the train's window,
seeing open fields interrupted by a cobblestone
road, harsh to my clenched hands and tires of my bike.
seeing "linkebeek" graffitied in green,
words i can not comprehend-
only colors.

i'd feel the trembling of the train
as he passed another;
his strength rendered weak by an attraction
of what he would be, of what he would say.
a force of fear and desire, aimless adventure.

he knew me, he spoke me-
a language i did not know.

bent comb bristles smile
like my mirror's crooked teeth
tangled by intent to defy a childhood
ashamed of natural tendency,
drowned in tear-free
strawberry scented spray
from something like a fish.
these bristles bend to free
what is now creation.

braided history, its sunshine
reflects against her sticky sunglasses.

cobblestones, they gleam,
here is my skin for you, soleil,
burn it, beauty it.
leave my lonely shoulders

une heure fanée, injectée à mon sang.
ce poison est venu de ses yeux,
ses paroles de silence.

the sea paints me
with his broken colors,
fragility i crush in my palm.
i am a canvas,
your canvas,
create me with sand between my toes.

the sun's yesterday
moves in monochrome
ever-changing, but not in color.
i am a shadow,
your shadow,
leave me
where we wild as grass may grow.

we move in phases
of playlists, preferred particularity.
we are nowhere, and she smiles
follow me, let you down
yet it creates, transcending these
inverities of her rusted,
metal reminissions.
to liberate, to set to fail
or someone like vitalogy,
a mirrored indifference to august
and everything after
yourself or something like it.

i see my yellowed fingers
an unlit cigarette.
i will inhale your words,
let them rest in my rusted lungs to then
exhale clouded Tuesday morning skies
who dare cover my sun.

this is the imagery of sin,
hiding behind my bitten, stuttered lip. 

barefoot, painting with naked colors stolen from the moon.
we are an empty canvas,
wasting to read poetry scribbled under our skin,
skin not yet immune to her sting,
stinging lil.

and we laugh,
and freedom takes the world 
between her fingertips.
breaks the flower's withered stem,
a flower of beginning's end,
yanks it from this warren soil,
and oh! how we are laughing still.

we feel her exhale,
and we exhale,
and the wish and the world is gone
and we are dancing in the wind.

we will never know.
only muddy toes and the milkyway.


Kate Mills July 5, 2011 at 2:45 AM  

so, so, so gorgeous. reading this made me extremely nostalgic-- reliving those experiences through your words was so incredible. i feel like we probably noticed a lot of the same things... i love stream-of-consciousness writing (and reading it even more so!) it sounds like your year painted a portrait that you will constantly hold onto... you have made it your own. in combination with that, i've been studying verlaine in my poesie francaise class here in good old PA, and he, more than anyone, seems to have gotten it right. enjoy your last few days, write them like a story. they will stay with you more than anything.

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this is a blog

that you may find profound, deviant, or insipid.

It may teach you, inspire you and leave you lost in thought; or it may bore you and cause your eyes to drag slowly shut.

You may read it for an hour, or maybe not at all.

Maybe you'll get to know me, maybe in ways I don't even know me.

I left the United States in August 2010 as a Rotary exchange student. I'll leave Belgium in July 2011 as Jordann.

about me

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Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
I follow the sun.