Caveat: Trash is…

I had a student who expressed an interest in English-language poetry, after it came up in some TOEFL-style listening passage we were working on. This is so rare as to be almost sui generis.

I said, "You really read English poetry?"

"Sometimes," she said. This was just barely plausible – she attended an international school when her family lived in China, for a while. "So I had to read it."

"OK. Did you like it?"

"Sometimes. I had to make a poem."

I showed a lot of enthusiasm for this. She asked, "Do you want me to write a poem?"

"Sure," I said. "That would be great."

"I will write it on the whiteboard," she announced. This is what she wrote.

picture

The moral of this story: when a seventh-grader offers to write a poem for you, use caution.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Con permiso; tengo trabajo que hacer

Aeromexico's new advertising campaign mocks the new Space Emperor's wall. There is some pretty complex messaging going on. 

The final line could be the voice of the typical, hard-working, entirely law-abiding (except for immigration law) Mexican in the US, "al otro lado" for his or her almost culturally obligatory decade of remittances and wealth-building.

No additional comment required.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Pero sobreviviré, sé que podré, sobreviviré

It's snowing outside. Maybe it will stick.

Lo que estoy escuchando en este momento.

Alaska y Dinarama, "Ni tú ni nadie."

Letra.

Haces muy mal en elevar mi tensión
En aplastar mi ambición tú sigue así ya veras
Miro el reloj es mucho mas tarde que ayer
Te esperaría otra vez y no lo haré, no lo haré

¿Dónde esta nuestro error sin solución? ¿fuiste tú el culpable o lo fui yo?
Ni tú ni nadie nadie puede cambiarme
Mil campanas suenan en mi corazón que difícil es pedir perdón
Ni tú nadie nadie puede cambiarme

Vete de aquí no me supiste entender
Yo solo pienso en tu bien
No es necesario mentir
Que fácil es atormentarse después
Pero sobreviviré, sé que podré, sobreviviré

¿Dónde esta nuestro error sin solución? ¿fuiste tú el culpable o lo fui yo?
Ni tú ni nadie nadie puede cambiarme
Mil campanas suenan en mi corazón que difícil es pedir perdón
Ni tú nadie nadie puede cambiarme

¿Dónde esta nuestro error sin solución? ¿fuiste tú el culpable o lo fui yo?
Ni tú ni nadie nadie puede cambiarme
Mil campanas suenan en mi corazón que difícil es pedir perdón
Ni tú nadie nadie puede cambiarme no no ya no
Ni tú ni nadie nadie puede cambiarme no

[daily log: walking, 2km]

Caveat: Took time off from my kingdom

Today is Lunar New Year (설날). Are you ready for chickens?

I'm doing laundry.

새해 복많이 받으세요.

What I'm listening to right now.

Spoon, "Hot Thoughts."

Lyrics.

Hot thoughts melting my mind
Could be your accent mixing with mine
You got me uptight, twisting inside
Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time, babe

Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time, yeah
Hot thoughts all in, all in my mind and all of the time

Your teeth shining so white
Light up this sad street in Shibuya tonight
Hot thoughts melting my cool
Is it your motion, signal and cue?
Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time
You must be trouble for sure

Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time, yeah
I'll tell it to your soul, I want you to know
Hot thoughts all in, all in my mind all of the time

Took time off from my kingdom
Took a break from the war
Took time off from my kingdom
Raise up my creatures
Diamonds from space
Pure facets and features

That drag drug from your lips
Making you think how good it was to let baby kiss on the lows
Hot thoughts melting your cool could be the
(It's all on my mind and all of the time)
Motion, the signal and cue
You've got

Hot thoughts all in your mind all of the time
I'll hold it to my rhyme
Make if you mind, yeah
You know, I think I, I think all your love is a lie

[daily log: ok]

Caveat: Mi verso montaraz

Poética

La verdad quiere cetro. El verso mío
Puede, cual paje amable, ir por lujosas
Salas, de aroma vario y luces ricas,
Temblando enamorado en el cortejo
De una ilustre princesa o gratas nieves
Repartiendo a las damas. De espadines
Sabe mi verso, y de jubón violeta
Y toca rubia, y calza acuchillada.
Sabe de vinos tibios y de amores
Mi verso montaraz; pero el silencio
Del verdadero amor, y la espesura
De la selva prolífica prefiere:
¡Cuál gusta del canario, cuál del águila!

José Martí (poeta cubano, 1853-1895)

[daily log: what, on a holiday?]

Caveat: Snowtential

The forecast says snow. So far, it's not, though. Heavily overcast, 0° C. That's definitely snowtential.

What I'm listening to right now.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, "How Long Do I Have To Wait."

Lyrics.

How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before a girl like me can move on
Ooh baby, tell me
How long do I have to wait for you honey?
Before I can say that you're gone

Every hour seems like a day
And every day is like a year
And every week is an eternity
Well, I get lonely, baby, when you're not here

Ooh baby, tell me
How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before a girl like me can move on
Ooh baby, tell me
How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before I can say that you're gone

Won't you let me know, yeah
I'm in an awful state, baby
You said you loved me so
But I just don't know how long I can wait
How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before I can say that you're gone

I asked your mama, I asked your papa
Your friends, your preacher and your boss
No one knows where you're going to, baby
Or if you're coming back to me

Or we're together or are we lost

Ooh baby, tell me
How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before a girl like me can move on
Ooh baby, tell me
How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before I can say that you're gone

Won't you let me know, yeah
I'm in an awful state, baby
You said you loved me so
But I just don't know how long I can wait

Oh, oh baby, tell me
How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before a girl like me can move on
Baby, how long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before I can say that you're gone, ah

How long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before a girl like me can move on
Baby, how long do I have to wait for you, honey?
Before I can say that you're gone, yeah
How long, baby tell me, how long

[daily log: walking, 3.5km]

Caveat: Went to war with the Devil and Shaytan / He wore a bad toupee and a spray tan

I have long felt that the most dynamic, creative, and relevant poetry being written in English in this contemporary era is in the hiphop and rap music genres. And certainly, if a lyricist like Bob Dylan can win the Nobel Literature Prize, then we should see no impediment to recognizing that this work is poetry. Although these songs are deeply profane, often violent, and sometimes disturbing, some of them are also great poetry.

What I'm listening to right now (with the additional caveat: NSFW). 

Run The Jewels, "Talk To Me."

Lyrics (NSFW).

We return from the depths of the badland
With a gun and a knife in our waistband
Went to war with the Devil and Shaytan
He wore a bad toupee and a spray tan
So high now, hoping that I land
On a Thai stick, moving through Thailand
On the radio, heard a plane hijack
Government be in debt while they cook crack
I move in a world of conspiracies
Obey no rules, I'm doing me
Smoke kush, transport to the airport
Customs found a joint in my passport
Pull cash and I gave him what he asked for
Goddammit, it's a motherfucking miracle
Small bribe, made it back into America
Hit Uber and maneuvered out the area
Rhyme animal, pitbull terrier
Rap terrorist, terrorize, tear it up
Brought gas and the matches to flare it up
Militant Michael might go psycho
On any ally or rival
Born Black, that's dead on arrival
My job is to fight for survival
In spite of these AllLivesMatter-ass white folk

This is spiritual warfare that you have been dealing with.
This is not a fight that you have been dealing with flesh and blood
But this is a fight against principalities and evil doers and unclean spirits
(RTJ3 motherfuckers)

Brave men didn't die face down in the Vietnam muck so I could not style on you
I didn't walk uphill both ways to the booth and back to not wild on you
You think baby Jesus killed Hitler just so I'd whisper?
When you're safe and sound and these crooks tap your phone and now have a file on you?
What, me worry? Nah, buddy, I've lost before, so what?
You don't get it, I'm dirt, motherfucker, I can't be crushed
Fuckers, open the books up and stop bullshitting the kid
My dick got a Michelin star, I'm on par with the best ever took the gig
I'm a super cat, from don dada to dusk, don't bother to touch
I got firm clutch on the grip and the bucks
I might ghost ride a tank, take a ride to the bank
I'm the son of Rick Rubin rushing full-thrust
Don't flash weak shit to the Shark Tank judge
Talk real good 'cause I'm smart and stuff
We a good crew to fuck with, better to love

I told y'all suckers, I told y'all suckers.
I told y'all on RTJ1, then I told ya again on RTJ2, and you still ain't believe me.
So here we go, RTJ3

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: the elderly people go out of control

Last night, the temperatures in Northwest Gyeonggi province were forecast to drop to -15 C. The government sent out some kind of mass safety notice that showed up as a message on my phone. It said,

[국민안전처] 안전안내. 오늘 23시 경기북부 한파경보, 노약자 외출자제 건강유의, 동파방지, 화재예방 등 피해에 주의하세요.

I wasn't sure what it was, so I did what I normally do when I get texts on my phone in Korean that look important but where I don't quite understand them – I popped the text of it into google translate.

Google translate was not up to the task. Here's what it told me,

[National Security Agency] Safety instructions. Today 23:00 Gyeonggi Gyeonggi North Korea alert, the elderly people go out of control health care, prevention of frost, fire prevention, etc. Please note.

This looks really alarming – the mention of "North Korea," for example. The phrase "prevention of frost," however, clued me in to the fact that it was probably just a safety warning about the cold. So I made the effort to more laboriously translate a few of the individual words.  The part about North Korea actually is referring to the northern part of Gyeonggi Province, where I live, and the part about "elderly people go out of control" actually is just advising the elderly to exercise special caution. Just a typical government advisory.

The image of a bitterly cold night-time invasion of out-of-control old people from North Korea will stick with me, however. It might make a good premise for a B-grade Korean horror movie.

[daily log: walking, 7km]