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  #21  
Old 02-13-2017, 10:02 PM
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"Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
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Originally Posted by Jack Kerouac - On The Road
Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?
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  #22  
Old 02-15-2017, 04:00 PM
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"She Walks In Beauty" by Lord Byron

1

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

2

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

3

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
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Originally Posted by Jack Kerouac - On The Road
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  #23  
Old 02-20-2017, 05:00 PM
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One of the few things I truly love in this world is discovering an art-form that can seem simple, only to defeat me with what turns out to be its complexity and eventually earn my respect when I spend the time needed to satisfactorily figure it out.

When I read "The King in Yellow" by Robert William Chambers (which can be read here) as a young kid, I was pretty befuddled.

I made a few mistakes, one was reading as though the author, and not the main characters, was the perspective that was attempting to convey information to me. I had to consider that the characters were testifying unto their experiences, which thankfully included the appeals of other characters in regard to what may have really been going on.

Another mistake I made was assuming that what would be explained would be entirely factual, because it would be silly to mislead the reader. Again, I was placing emphasis on the reputation of the author and not on the reputation of the character.

What I love most about The King in Yellow is that I had to read it multiple times to truly understand what was happening, and on top of that I grew more interested in the book the more times I read it. I admit that I have always had a pathetically short attention span, so it's no small accolade for a book to be able to make me want to read it multiple times.
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  #24  
Old 02-20-2017, 05:33 PM
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enviousdominous enviousdominous is offline
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I enjoy finding answers to the question of "What inspired this?"

One consistent crux of philosophical mental meanderings is the idea of character being more powerful than physical dominance, and the many fun ways that can be rehashed.

Seneca the Younger once mused "I do not distinguish by the eye, but by the mind, which is the proper judge of the man". This quote was made shortly after The Gregorian Calendar acknowledges that Jesus Christ was born, and is the earliest credible example I've found showing someone stating that a virtuous identity is more indicative of worth than a powerful physical presence.

A slightly less obscure 18th century philosopher known as Isaac Watts elaborated on this idea by penning this poem:

Were I so tall to reach the pole,
Or grasp the ocean with my span,
I must be measured by my soul;
The mind's the standard of the man

That poem can be easily lost within the mountain of inspirational quotes that are attributed to Isaac Watts, but it's powerful to me for a personal reason. I've always been fascinated by the idea of being able to learn to not be so obsessed with physical beauty, which seems to be a very natural obsession.

A man known as Joseph Merrick to friends and family, and known as The Elephant Man to most everyone else who's been made aware of his existence, adapted his studies of philosophy into his own unique perspective on the physical world. Anyone who would pay to stare in horror at his physical frame would be presented with a brochure before hand, and on that brochure was this poem created by Joseph Merrick:

Tis true, my form is something odd
but blaming me, is blaming God,
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.
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  #25  
Old 02-22-2017, 04:52 PM
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I've been sick the past few weeks with a cold, so I haven't been the avid reader I usually am. I do recommend a few books though for those looking for a fresh experience.

I'm talking about visual literature. Not visual novels (that gets its own category one day), but the books that use imagery in a very interesting way. These are not short stories, and I don't know any poetry off the top of my head that fits in with what I'm talking about. But you guys are more than welcome to either look these three books up and/or grab a copy at your closest bookstore.


1. "The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone" by Adele Griffin: If you're a fan of Lana Del Rey, and want to see the rise and fall of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, than do yourself a favor and read this. It uses paintings, photographs, etc in a very real manner and you will wonder to yourself if you're reading an autobiography or not. Excellent novel.

2. "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski: Admittedly I am not finished with this book, but from the get-go it hits you that this is not an average horror story. It will twist and change words around on you. It will make them different colors. It will legit fuck with you. It's exciting. This may deserve a full review one of these days, but I can only comment on what I've read so far, and it does several visual things a book never does.

3. "Chopsticks" by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral: This may be my favorite of the three due to how subtle the mystery is. Read it once and you're under the impression it's a normal lovesick story. Read it again and you'll know it's a psychological thriller. Did I mention there are no words to this story? Like no narrative whatsoever. The reader is given images and must follow along to the best of their ability. A story you can't breeze through at all, as every page is a small puzzle you're forced to piece together.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Kerouac - On The Road
Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?
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  #26  
Old 02-27-2017, 06:01 PM
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"i live in music" by Ntozake Shange

i live in music
is this where you live?
i live here in music
i live on c# street
my friend lives on b-flat avenue
do you live here in music
sound
falls round me like rain on other folks
saxophones wet my face
cold as winter in st. louis
hot like peppers i rub on my lips
thinkin they waz lilies
i got 15 trumpets where other women got hips
& a upright bass for both sides of my heart
i walk round in a piano like somebody
else be walkin on the earth
i live in music
live in it
wash in it
i cd even smell it
wear sound on my fingers
sound falls so fulla music
ya cd make a river where yr arm is &
hold yrself
hold yrself in a music
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Kerouac - On The Road
Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?
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  #27  
Old 03-09-2017, 09:44 AM
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enviousdominous enviousdominous is offline
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I love short stories, and I love hitting upon a few inalienable truths when I'm trying to explain why while distracting from the overarching truth which is my short attention span.

Sometimes dramatic tales aren't a Tolkien-esque saga where one gets to slow cook their anticipation for a climax. Sometimes we get our saga as a quick shot of adrenaline with a strangely persistent high.

Tobias Wolff was a writer for The New Yorker in the mid 1990's, and in 1995 he created a fictional story for that publication called "Bullet in the Brain". It's a story about a man whose arrogance clashes with his instinct to survive, in a very dark but humorous tone. The entire story, about four and a half pages, can be read here.
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  #28  
Old 03-15-2017, 10:58 PM
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"Francesca" By Ezra Pound

You came in out of the night
And there were flowers in your hands,
Now you will come out of a confusion of people,
Out of a turmoil of speech about you.

I who have seen you amid the primal things
Was angry when they spoke your name
In ordinary places.
I would that the cool waves might flow over my mind,
And that the world should dry as a dead leaf,
Or as a dandelion seed-pod and be swept away,
So that I might find you again,
Alone.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Kerouac - On The Road
Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?
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  #29  
Old 04-08-2017, 05:41 PM
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"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Kerouac - On The Road
Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?
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  #30  
Old 04-12-2017, 02:35 PM
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Spidey #2 Spidey #2 is offline
My fave wrestler is Dirk Diggler.
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"Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
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