a: Katy, thanks for sharing such an intimate experience with me. (And I'm glad she didn't get you...). I don't know what to tell you except, I don't think my reaction would have be so magnanimous; I probably would simply never have set foot in her again. But that's just me, petty me, full of anger and hatred and lust and... lots of other stuff. Wojtek, my racist homophobic boyfriend, blames it on my Arab nature. I just call him a racist. Ah well...
Well, after this exchange, as when I am confronted by something I cannot confront head-on, I try to address it tangentially. I want to try to hone on what poetry is to you and me. And no, I am not asking of you the impossible task of "defining" it, but rather the slightly less difficult, and more trite perhaps, one of lists. Who are your three favorite poets, and what are your three favorite poems (not necessarily by those poets; they could be song lyrics, if you wish). I know it's difficult, but I think it's fun, and it'll help set some ground. (Try to stick to the 3's, unless you absolutely feel you can't, then you may stretch it slightly...).
So, in order not to muddy your answer, I will follow my answer in a separate e-mail once you've had the chance to think about it. And let's promise not to read each other's picks until we've written and sent our own.
Ok. Ready, steady... go!
k: i'm sorry i laughed, but you just called your gay boyfriend homophobic.
lists are fun. all of a sudden, though, i feel lost without my stacks of books! this might take me a little time to do not only because it's a challenging task to minimalize it to 3, but also because ryan and i have been busy bees, going here there and everywhere lately (i am suspicious that the xbox 360 has signed up for a cape-wide tour, ryan's its roady--setting it up at every other house so it can perform--and neither of them have told me what's really going on).
as it were, we're going out again tonight, this time it's to see the anticipate hostel--don't know if you've heard of him, but i think it's eli roth's life ambition to make people vomit at the cinema. he's the director of cabin fever and hostel, and he's unabashidly driven to make others cringe with disgust.
anyway, the list... i will get it down to 3 poets and 3 poems, quite possibly 3 poems by poets other than the 3 on my list of 3 poets (lots of 3's, i had to add just one more)
thanks for the reply to that poem that i sent you (and posted)... you make me feel really great about my poems sometimes, other times you overwhelm me. sometimes it's both. thank you.
i'm going to start pondering now... only 3 hun? i can do it. i know i can. and i'm looking forward to how these short lists are going to lend us towards some ... i can't call it conclusion... some hypothisis? maybe?
and i look forward to seeing your list (that will be my motivation to get mine done as soon as possible).
a: I hope Mr. Roth hasn't succeeded in his ambition and that you're not soiling your clothes in the movie theater as I type... That wouldn't be very lady-like, now would it?
So, it sounds like you have a Grand Tour coming up... Funny I never really got into the Xbox thing (maybe because I was never into boxes; but joysticks, that's a whole other matter!)... I mean, I was into Nintendo when GameBoy first came out (pun or no pun?), but... Ah well...
As for Wojtek, it is the running joke, but I think, as with every joke, "There is no smoke without a fire"... Do you know that T-shirt, "I am not gay, but my boyfriend is." I think it was made more him. Don't get me wrong, he's out and all, but he doesn't exactly seem to enjoy the company of gay people (his sister included); which is why now most of our friends seem to be straight couples. We don't live in the gayborhood, and we don't go out to gay clubs (mostly because we think we have grown fat by gay standards) and, surprise, we don't go to the gym... So, aside from the fact that we're both guys and both of our dreamjobs would be at Ikea (and our place looks like an Ikea showroom, minus the pricetags, plus the cat) there isn't much that's gay about us! (Ok, we both love the Banana--Republic, that is--a bit too much, and they'd better love us back for a the money that we--mostly Wojtek--spend there!)
So, as to the lists, you can take all the time you want (though this year would be nice). And you may cheat a bit with the 3's if you must (I still can't narrow down my four poems). And the way I see it, I think it would be an interesting new starting point rather than a conclusion. I think it would be revealing in terms of ideals and influences, and a springboard for further discussion (god, how dry!). See, when way I look at that is in terms of eptaphs. Again, perhaps my Arabic background puts quite an emphasis on the word. As in art, Muslim graves tends to be free of figurative depictions. The ornamentation tends to be mainly geometrical (from simple to complex) but most prominent is the text, which usually constitutes most of the ornamentation (and in some cases the achitecture). As you can imagine, that puts a lot of weight on the word. Now, traditionally (i.e. almost always) this text is from the Qur'an. However, my brother and I have decided that that is not what we're doing. So, one morbid game is to think of what our epitaphs are going to be (the other morbid one, is to think of the song playlists we want at our funerals in lieu of the traditional Qur'anic recitation--hence, it might not surprise you that 2 of my 4 poems right now are songs). So, there...
And I hope you didn't mind my cutting-and-pasting in my post; I did try to include quotations and give reference... Let's just call it a "consistent message". LOL!
Good night, Katy (or morning, or whenever you read this).
k: i will deliver my list this evening. i did some deliberating last night, but after the film and then dinner with my parents... well, i just didn't have the energy to make any sort of decisions, so ryan and i watched cartoons instead.
i have my three poets i think. and in order to narrow my list of poems, i think i will omit the poems by those three poets. that might make things easier at least. and i'm not even going near songs, becuase i'd never decide. (leonard cohen is borderline here, but i think i'll omit him too, for the sake of my sanity.)
mr roth was unsuccessful at getting anyone in the theartre to expose their innards, fortunatly. there are other films worse, for sure. there are films i've made ryan turn off because of the gore and violence (though this could be in part due to the fact that i'm afraid of james woods...). it was a good film though; a great idea done justice.
the xbox is ryan's thing, though i do have a nintendo ds which i adore for more than just the fact that it's pink. all the games and computers and movies... most of the music too, is all ryan. oh the cooking too. i'm the one responsible for the stacks of unread new yorkers and the even taller stacks of anthologies and sci-fi novels laying about the house... and the mr potato head family is mine too. it's a give give relationship, as you can see.
if ikea sold cats then maybe ryan would go there. his mum and dad want to redo our/their (they own the house, but we live in it) kitchen a la ikea, but ryan won't go to the new store in boston to look at units and things with me, and i won't go by myself becuase i have a terrible sense of direction and i'd get lost in a store that big.
you have a wonderful sense of humor, ashraf. you remind me of david sedaris (he wrote "me talk pretty some day" and "naked"). if you've never read any of his stuff then i'd highly reccomend that you do. he's almost as funny as you calling wojtek homophobic.
your game with your brother is a tad morbid, but then again... Ernest Becker would argue that part of what you and your brother do is immortalizing yourself, which isn't very morbid at all. see: Becker (the only purely philosophical text (arguably anthropological) i've ever understood and appricated to an extent at which i can apply it to just about anything, or everything).
as for the post, of course i don't mind you copying it! it's fun and clever. and thank you.
enough of me then, how are you doing today? have you narrowed down to 3 poems yet? or are you going to give me all 4 of them?
good luck with them either way. i'm looking forward to finding out who the poets are and reading your 3 or 4 favorite poems. you're going to include the poems, or at least links to them in the email you send to me right? so i can read them if i haven't already, because i was going to send you links to them (i think i can find them all online).