Sources I turn to…

1) I turn to my mother sweating over the assembly line wondering if she’ll have enough money to make rent

–there’s some kind of vulnerability and ah ah ah strength to keep going or maybe an acceptance of who we are

2) I turn to my father showing me how to use the bathroom so I wouldn’t spray on the floor

–A boy becomes man a man becomes a name a name becomes a representation and so

3) I turn to the drawing I drew in third grade to impress a cartoonist that was visiting

–an impression? hahahaha? Do I even know how to impress myself?

4) I turn to Olivia Benson and Dr. George Huang on Law and Order: SVU

–They have helped me understand things about myself and I love BD WONG

5) I turn to old black and white movies because I enjoy how simply they were

–a like poetry to be simple without big words or big ideas a poem about an peeling an orange or opening the door of an apartment is OK with me

6) I turn to bootleg copies of Spiderman and Scooby-Doo: The Movie on the same VHS

–childhood leaves an impression on me. I wonder if adulthood will too?

7) I turn to my sister hiding the remote control from me and blasting Britney Spears

–fight, debate, conflict, war, tension, something that brings us closer to the earth and its inhabitants

8) I turn to the day I decided to stop going to TaeKwonDo and disappointed my dad

–I never made it past yellow belt my dad and my sister are both Nth degree black belts and maybe because I am the boy I disappointed my dad even more. That look.

9) I turn to El Chavo Del Ocho

–Significa Peligro! Chusma, Chusma! Mi tesoro! my dad’s apodo fue quico and my uncle’s was chesperito. NO ME SIMPATIZAS!

10) Che y Chela y Chepe y Chi Chi y -ito

–nicknames mean a lot where I come from



2 Replies to “Sources I turn to…”

  1. Going off of your post, it is clear that family and heritage is very important to who you are as a person and a writer, from what I gathered from the interactions you described. When looking for sources that relate to these principles, I discovered the poetry anthology “Family Ties: Australian Poems of the Family.” While this collection of works obviously focuses on various Australian perspectives, I believe that the important and beautiful work discussed within it still manages to address familial relationships (and even issues) in a way that is insightful and relatable to many people. Human condition and all that, you know?
    Another source of some interest is Elvis Perkins’ album “Ash Wednesday.” The whole album is delivered in simplistic, folksy/Americana ways and is enriched with both meaningful lyrics and Perkins’ soothing voice. All the songs, especially “Ash Wednesday” and “While You Were Sleeping,” were developed from Perkins’ dealings with various relationships and the unfortunate loss of his parents. While I understand that this is a rather melancholic idea for a source, I believe that consuming deeply emotional material can help navigate one’s own emotions and help with creative expression for said emotions. I also feel that your curiosity towards your own future and individuality are messages that permeate this album and others like it.
    As you also mentioned black-and-white movies, I dug around a little and found a silent film entitled “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” from 1921. It discusses war, families, and heritage, all of which seem to be central to what you addressed in your post. It even addresses disappointing family members and the way that individuals either deal with it or don’t. As it is a silent film, I think it also unites two of the most powerful modes of expression: writing and visuals. Not everything is easily discussed verbally and I think that silent films offer more of that simplicity you said you enjoyed.

  2. It is such a beautiful thing that we can draw source from the self. I think the theme of boyhood/childhood and simplicity reign throughout your sources, and also the heritage that has been central to your experience and identity. Perhaps it is your experience and identity.
    There is a book of contemporary poetry I dug around and eventually stumbled upon called “Loose Woman” by Sandra Cisneros, who is an Hispanic poet whose poetry is flooded with rich heritage and the girlhood/womanhood associated with her culture. Her poems are very bold and sensual, she bravely explores feminism and Hispanic culture with gusto and charm. Obviously this book carries a different experience than your own, which is why I am recommending it to you. A similar difference means reliability but also discovery. I think you would really benefit from reading verse that infuses such a strong sense of identity, place, and heritage!
    Also, by way of black and white films, check out Roberta, which is a 1935 film featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I watched this over the summer and agree with you completely that black and white films have some sort of innate simplicity about them. I was always intrigued by how movement has changed throughout the decades- it seems as if people in old movies are mechanically bouncier and quicker, or more agile or something. I know it’s a matter of style, but it’s quite interesting to see the differences between movement then and now. There is a lot of really great dancing and singing and some horribly drawn love stories, but it all adds to the simplicity and charm of the time. It’s quite good and I hope it would be a great source of poetic inspiration for you!
    I also took a liking to how you mentioned simplistic poetry- how a poem crafted around the peeling of an orange can completely unravel the mind and tie it back together as good poetry does. I would suggest reading poems by Jane Hirshfield, who has this ability to take simple moments in life and construct a poem that is as easy and flowing as breath. She writes about picking up a stick, a wound, cut flowers, memory foam pillows, tree bark…poetry doesn’t need to center around the colossal, though it certainly can. Hirshfield, namely in her book The Beauty, describes very well the beauty of small things. She is reminiscent of William Carlos Williams in her ability to be simple but make the reader feel so complex upon reading (the “red wagon” effect as I would call it). I would highly recommend her, though she differs greatly from Cisneros…a variety of reading for a variety of source!
    I look forward to reading your work 🙂

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