A Visit to the Cemetery

A Visit to the Cemetery

Oh sweetest Lady Sorrow, how I long for your embrace!
Oh how I crave your calloused fingers running down my face!
You may have been rejected by all the human race,
But sweetest Lady Sorrow, how I long for your embrace!

Your eyes weren’t meant for gazing: they make mortals from the brave.
Your hands weren’t meant for holding, for those hands of yours enslave.
Your dowry is a coffin and your marriage bed’s a grave,
But even still, sweet Lady Sorrow, you’re the one I crave!

Although some people scorn you so, and curse you as they cry,
And others drive you out with pills, or wash you down with wine,
This holy host of happiness cannot quite satisfy:
The saddest thing a man can feel is happy all the time.

The candle’s only praised because of darkness past the flame,
And sunshine’s only warm because we know the cold of rain.
The masses pray for opium–for happiness–in vain,
For they would rather have a world, not free, but free of pain.

But oh, my sweetest Lady Sorrow, I’d have you instead
As mistress to my happiness–a cradle for my head.
I would not have you all the time, since our time lies ahead:
My sweetest Lady Sorrow dear, we’ll marry when I’m dead.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on December 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Way of Kings

I hate you, Brandon Sanderson. With all of my soul, I hate you. How can you write such amazing novels and only publish them one at a time?! Call it an irrational request, but would it kill you to maybe not leave your readers hanging in suspense, waiting for the next book to be published with twitching hands and hungering eyes? You’ve singlehandedly planted an unscratchable itch in the minds of millions. How do you sleep at night?

On a related note, I just finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson after an extended plane ride. In my ever-so-reputable opinion as a book critic, I thought the book was good. No, that does not do it justice. The book was nothing short of brilliant. I’m not usually a fan of high fantasy novels which throw in overly cryptic terminology within the first few pages, but I must say that this particular novel does a good job of easing the reader into another world without feeling overwhelming. The characters are well-developed in a world which is even more meticulously planned, making for a very satisfying read. Even the king’s Wit, who takes on the role of the cliche’d wise court jester who makes fun of everyone but still knows more than he lets on, is still a good character in his own right, and even has a subtle defense of his inclusion worked into the ending chapter. Very clever, Sanderson.

So all in all, I’d say Sanderson is quickly becoming one of my favotite authors, having already read his other series, Mistborn and his standalone novels. Not my absolute favorite, mind: I still hold a special place in my heart for Homer, dead as he may be. Either way, I should probably stop my praise of Sanderson there, before I start sounding like I’ve become a rabid follower (which would not be so bad, considering the alternatives). As impossible as it may be to make a good ending to the first book of a series without any suspense, however, I still can’t help but curse him for making me wait.

No new poems for today; as I said, I spent my travel time reading (when not peoplewatching). So, here is another one fished from my previous works (A caveat: this assumes that you’ve heard the Zen Buddhist story about The Tigers and the Strawberry (I heard it without the inclusion of the mice—he was hanging by a bush over a cliff and it was slowly uprooting))

The End

We’ve heard the story’s start, but not its end,
Where it begins with one unlucky man
Who stumbles on a tiger, runs, and then
He tumbles off a cliff, miles up from land.

But right before he makes his fatal fall
He grabs a berry bush with all his might.
Below, Death waits, above, the tiger calls,
But eating from the bush, he finds delight.

Yet there’s no ending to this fatal tale:
Does boldly he escape, or does he die,
Despite his every effort, does he fail?
Oh, does this starcrossed hero even try?

Perhaps the real adventure only ends
Whenever even better ones begin.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on December 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The One Time Laziness Is Acceptable

…is right now. Finals are finally over, and I’m currently on vacation. So, until I find the energy to write up something new, I’ll be posting old works fished up from the depths of time.
A poem, for those inclined to hear bitter old men:

The Muses Are Not Singing Anymore, or On Modern Poetry

The Muses are not singing anymore.
But those who listen close may find
An echo of forgotten lore
Left over from a better time,
Forgetting, when they look for more,
The Muses are not singing anymore.

These goddesses have stopped their song,
But this has not stopped mortals long:
These whispered echoes in the room
Have all been ripped to AutoTune,
And what was honey to the ears
Is now a blackened pitch to hear,
Like venom from a forking tongue
Which, seeping through the ears, becomes
A waxy, clumping, clotting ink:
Ambrosia for the dead to drink
And dream of immortality,
But formaldehyde to those who breathe.—
This is the very song we praise,
Forgetting more enlightened days,
When men still tried to find a rhyme
To join the song and dance divine,
Not giving in to draining age,
And bowing down to read a page,
Instead of bowing down to those
Who told the poet all he knows.
The Muses are not singing anymore.

And maybe this is why they stopped their score,
And why we sing in monotone:
The Muses who we once adored,
Once spurned, have left us all alone.
Whatever we now praise them for,
The Muses are not singing anymore.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Dream

The Dream

Last night I had the strangest dream
I couldn’t understand:
I dreamt I was a butterfly
Who dreamed he was a man,
So I thought I had insect legs
When they were human hands.

And when I went to spread my wings
Of yellow, red, and brown,
With veins of black outlined by white
In ways that would astound,
I found them cut by shoulderblades,
Which pinned me to the ground.

And when I looked for nectar by
The flower’s sweetest stink,
I raised it to my mouth, but found
My lips unfit to drink;
I had to drink the nectar of
The copper kitchen sink.

But when I found myself awake
And lying in the dark
With both eyes open, moving with
My startled, fluttering heart,
I vaguely saw my human hands,
But looked for insect parts.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on December 12, 2010 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  
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So I’ve been showing my sparse blog off. One should expect to have people read the nonsense they publish, no? Anyway, upon showing it to one of my friends, Ashton, her immediate response was not praise, congratulations, or even mild interest but a scathing “why didn’t you put up the poem you wrote for me?”

Yes, I did write a poem specifically for her. I apparently promised her one more than a year ago, and sometime in August the Lady Shylock came to me demanding her pound of flesh (in all honesty, it was just a poem that she asked for, but the way she shook me down for one made it seem as if she wanted it in blood), and I did oblige. I don’t consider it one of my best, but the Lady requests that I show it, so how can I refuse? After all, hell hath no fury…


Her name alone makes ashes out of men:
She’s smoking hot, but burning in the end.
She draws men close in heat, releasing when
They’ve burned away to scatter in the wind.

Make no mistake, she does not immolate
In hate or misplaced jealousy or spite.
She’s not impossible to satiate,
And yet, in this she still finds no delight.

So why is it that she shines night and day,
Attracting moths like men unto the flame,
When they all turn to ash then blow away?
Oh, why is she still glowing all the same?

It is because she’s waiting for the one
Who, like her, burns as brightly as the sun.

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 12:19 am  Comments (1)  
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On Poetry

For the longest time I’ve thought that free verse was not real poetry. Now, I’m willing to accept that some damn good poems can be made using it (case in point: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Say what you will of his use of rhyme or maybe flow, but really, let’s not kid ourselves: he’s writing in free verse.). I’ve still never been a fan of writing in free verse, despite this. It just seems to me that it’s a breeding ground for every other would-be poet to write in this one form, convinced of their superiority and instant ability when they’ve only just begun writing (because, in all honesty, one does not simply walk into Mordor start writing masterpieces; poetry is one of the biggest trial-and-error processes around), and when all they’re really doing is writing chopped-up prose.

I was in a Creative Writing class in poetry once, and one time while peer reviewing someone else’s poem in front of the class, one of my critiques was that it sounded more like chopped up prose than a poem. I was cut off by the real-life example of Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D., who explained in the most matter-of-fact tone of voice that Prose Poetry was actually a legitimate form of poetry, and respected in its field. I thought he was being sarcastic, but no, he was dead serious. Here I thought saying that someone wrote what looks like a stream of consciousness broken into arbitrary lines in order to fit it into a different genre was a bad thing. Apparently it’s a compliment now. It’s almost like free verse isn’t a branch of poetry, but a form that’s people are expected to write, so that it has branches of its own. Call me a traditionalist, but there’s a reason that poetry is so closely related to meter and rhyming aesthetics, and there’s a reason why I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard someone say an accidental rhyme and follow it with “I’m a poet and don’t even know it!” Maybe I’m just an old man, snapping at younger kids about how they’re corrupting the world, and how things were so much better back in the old days, when men were men and a nickel could buy you groceries for a week. I’m only nineteen, though.

Anyway, a poem:

Prose Poetry

“Prose Poetry,” he says to me,
“I promise you it’s real.
It’s really unconventional
And has much more appeal.
Its meanings can be understood;
Its words are less surreal.

“For rhymes are cheap and overused,
And meter’s hard to write,
So when the language seems abused,
The poem must be right.
Before, it took some skill to write,
Now anybody might!

“And that’s what I call poetry!”
I laughed so hard I think I cried.

~Michael Danger Caskey
Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Blogs are silly.

I’ve never quite understood why they call these sort of things “Blogs.” I’m sure it’s called that for a reason, but it still sounds like the sort of noise the Boogeyman would make or something. Not exactly fear inspiring, unless you’re five years old and forgot to protect yourself with the covers (which everyone knows can thwart any attack or kidnapping attempt).

Anyway, this is supposed to be a poetic blog, with poetic-sounding things, so here’s a Shakespearean sonnet as a placeholder, so it doesn’t seem like false advertising.

The Real-Life Devil:

I ran into the devil yesterday
(It’s safe to say, though, he ran into me).
No horns adorned his temples—they were gray;
He had no crooked tail I could see.

I said “Sir, don’t you want my soul?” but no,
With eyes like hell he simply sighed
And said, “You’re young, or too naive to know,
But soul collecting just will not provide.

“‘Cause I’ve got kids to feed, and bills to pay,
And now my life is hard, but so is cash:
A job pays more than dreams of yesterday,
So grow up kid—your soul will never last.”

With that, the devil left, and just as well,
But if he’s tortured here, then who runs hell?

~Michael Danger Caskey

Also, I don’t really have bear feet; I’m only half-bear. (And half-wolverine)

Published in: on December 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm  Comments (1)  
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