Caveat: there is a bear in the wound

Sometimes a Wild God

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.

When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides...
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

'I haven't much,' you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it's fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance, 
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

'Why did you leave me to die?'
Asks the wild god and you say:
'I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn't know how. I'm sorry.'

Listen to them:
The Fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer...
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart...

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.

-Tom Hirons (British poet, b?)


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Caveat: toda de púrpura y nieve

Los Espinos

Verdor nuevo los espinos
tienen ya por la colina,
toda de púrpura y nieve
en el aire estremecida.

Cuántos cielos florecidos
les has visto; aunque a la cita
ellos serán siempre fieles,
tú no lo serás un día.

Antes que la sombra caiga,
aprende cómo es la dicha
ante los espinos blancos
y rojos en flor. Vé. Mira.
– Luis Cernuda (poeta español, 1902-1963)
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Caveat: юу вэ юу вэ юув

There’s nothing like a bit of Mongolian nationalist heavy metal music to set the mood on a chilly January day.

What I’m listening to right now.

The Hu, “Yuve Yuve Yu.”

Lyrics.

Их л удаан идэж уугаад наргиж цэнгээд хачин юм бэ юу вэ юу вэ юув
Эцэг өвгөд Монгол гээд л цээжээ
дэлдэн худлаа орилох нь юу вэ юу вэ юув
Эргэж буцаад хэлсэн үгэндээ эзэн
болдоггүй андгай өргөдөг нь юу вэ юу вэ юув
Эцэг эхийн захиж хэлсэн үнэт сургааль
үнэгүй болдог нь юу вэ юу вэ юув, юу вэ юу вэ юув
Ээ дүлзэн сөгд сөгд
Ээ лүндэн бууг бууг, бууг бууг
Дээдсийн заяаг удамлаж төрчихөөд унтаж
хэвтээд сэрдэггүй юм бэ юу вэ юу вэ юув
Дэлхийд ганцхан Монгол гээд л амаа
хаттал худлаа ярьдаг нь юу вэ юу вэ юув
Дээдсээр амьдрах заяанд төрсөн Монгол
түмэн нэгдэж чаддаггүй нь юу вэ юу вэ юув
Дархан Монгол улсаа мандуулж өөд нь татаж
сэргээж чаддаггүй нь юу вэ юу вэ юув, юу вэ юу вэ юув
Ээ дүлзэн сөгд сөгд
Ээ лүндэн бууг бууг, бууг бууг
Өвөг дээдсийн өвлөж өгсөн газар
шороог хайрлаж чаддаггүй нь юу вэ юу вэ юув
Өтгөс буурлын захиж хэлсэн үнэт
сургааль худлаа болдог нь юу вэ юу вэ юув
Өнө л мөнхөд мандан бадрах чонон
сүлдэт Монгол түмэн тэнгэрийн тамгатай
Хөвчин дэлхийд нэрээ дуурсгах хүмүүн
тахилгат эзэн Чингис нартад залрана, нартад залрана
Ээ хар сүлд сэр сэр
Ээ хаан төр мөнх манд, мөнх манд
Юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ
Хачин юм бэ
юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ
Юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ
Хачин юм бэ
юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ юу вэ
Ээ хар сүлд сэр сэр
Ээ хаан төр мөнх манд, мөнх манд

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Caveat: πoetry

I saw this at a blog I read, called JF Ptak Science Books. The guy is a dealer in old and rare books, with an emphasis on books related to the history of science and ideas. He often posts very interesting things.

He found a text of a poem published in 1905, which has an unusual constraint: each word in the poem has the same number of letters as a digit of the number π (3.141592653589793238462643383279), in order.

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The poem’s text:

Sir, - I send a rhyme excelling
 3     1   4  1   5       9
In sacred truth and rigid spelling.
 2    6     5    3    5      8
Numerical sprites elucidate
    9        7        9
For me the lexicon's dull weight.
 3  2   3     8       4     6
   If "Nature" gain,
    2    6      4
   Not you complain,
    3   3     8
Tho' Dr. Johnson fulminate. 
 3    2     7       9

Most definitely a bit of oulipisme-avant-le-lettre.
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Caveat: as fast as I can

I present a flashback to the mood of this blog 2 years ago – when I often posted contemporary songs I thought would resonate with my middle-schoolers.

I continue to believe Taylor Swift is one of the best songwriters of the current era in the pop genre.

What I’m listening to right now.

Taylor Swift, “The Man.” The context for this song, is, at least partly, her ongoing legal battles with the condescending record company execs who absconded with her intellectual property, and who are, perhaps not coincidentally, men.

Lyrics.

I would be complex
I would be cool
They’d say I played the field before
I found someone to commit to
And that would be okay
For me to do
Every conquest I had made
Would make me more of a boss to you
I’d be a fearless leader
I’d be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya
What’s that like?
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads
And question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves
And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
What’s it like to brag about raking in dollars
And getting bitches and models?
And it’s all good if you’re bad
And it’s okay if you’re mad
If I was out flashin’ my dollas
I’d be a bitch, not a baller
They’d paint me out to be bad
So it’s okay that I’m mad
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man (you know that)
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again (coming at me again)
‘Cause if I was a man (if I was man)
Then I’d be the man (then I’d be the man)
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can (as fast as I can)
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man (hey!)
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again (coming at me again!)
‘Cause if I was a man (if I was man)
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man (oh)
I’d be the man (yeah)
I’d be the man (I’d be the man)

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Caveat: hay montes

Penas (Verso XXXIV)

¡Penas! ¿Quién osa decir
Que tengo yo penas? Luego,
Después del rayo, y del fuego,
Tendré tiempo de sufrir.

Yo sé de un pesar profundo
Entre las penas sin nombres:
¡La esclavitud de los hombres
Es la gran pena del mundo!

Hay montes, y hay que subir
Los montes altos; ¡después
Veremos, alma, quién es
Quien te me ha puesto al morir!

- Jose Marti (poeta cubano, 1853-1895)

This poem was recently brought to my attention because my friend Bob asked if I could provide some insight and translation for the poem, for a choral production he’s working on that includes this text set to music. It seems not that different from other things I’ve blogged, and given how sparse my blog has been intellectually, of late, I thought I might as well post what I gave him here.

It’s important to separate who Martí actually was from the mythical being he’s been made into by subsequent generations of Cubans of all political stripes. He was a classical liberal, and in an aesthetic school called “modernismo” -not exactly the same as “modernism” because of different circumstances. He spent a lot of time in the US during various exiles from Cuba, and was heavily influenced by US poets such as Walt Whitman. He was no communist, but he was aware of Marx and I believe may have interacted some with socialists and communists and anarchists in Europe – you take your allies where you can find them. He did believe in universal human rights as that doctrine emerged from the wake of the abolition movements of the 19th century.

I do believe this poem is political. He was fighting for Cuban independence from Spain, inspired by the liberal fantasies (ideals) exemplified to whatever degree of accuracy by the US, Mexico, Guatemala – all countries where he spent time. So what he’s saying is that the time for self-pity is over. Stop complaining and get up and fight for your freedom, fellow Cubans = fellow humans everywhere. That’s how I interpret it. There are mountains we should be climbing, now, battles to be fought. We’ll let God sort out later who was good and who was bad.

Versos was published in 1891, and Martí died while leading Cuban freedom fighters in Cuba in 1895. His political program was quite mature at that point, and it would be hard to read the poem any more innocently.

Here is my own word-for-word translation.

Problems! Who dares to say
That I have problems? Later,
after the lightning-bolt, and the fire,
I'll have time to suffer.

I know about a deep regret
among the problems without names:
The enslavement of men
is the great regret of the world!

There are mountains, and there's need to climb
the high mountains; later
we shall see, soul, who [it] is
that has set you, for me, to die.

The key word, of course, is penas. I prefer the translation “problems” – it feels contemporarily idiomatic. Penas has a very wide semantic field: “pains” “sufferings” “sorrows” “guilt” “sins” “problems” etc. Especially in the context.

We deploy the word “problems” in modern English similarly. Cf rapper Jay-Z, “I got 99 problems ….”

I almost chose to translate it as “complaints” – to emphasize the fact that the tone of the poem (to me) is a bit of “Get off your butts, people, and DO something!”

Other vocabulary worth comment: pesar. Also fairly wide. I prefer “weight” to “regret” but that doesn’t work with the intensifier “deep”. Perhaps “heavy weight” rather than “deep regret.”

As a syntactician, I love the double (in)direct objects in the last line (“… te me …”) – what Spanish grammar is famous for, in stumping linguists and being a fairly famous example of something characteristically difficult about the language.

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Caveat: Grinch

When I was a child, Arthur used to pretend to be Mr Grinch. He liked the schtick, and it suited his personality.

Keith’s family is very musical. So they come and perform music. Here is Keith’s sister, Michelle, her husband Tim, and Ky (sp?), who is Keith’s nephew (but not Michelle and Tim’s son). They are performing the song, Mr Grinch.

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“Mr. Grinch,” written by Theodor Geisel (Dr Seuss).

Lyrics.

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel,
You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel!

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch,
Your heart’s an empty hole,
Your brain is full of spiders, you have garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch,
I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch,
Given a choice between the two of you’d take the seasick crocodile!

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch,
You’re the king of sinful sots,
Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch,
With a nauseous super “naus”!,
You’re a crooked dirty jockey and you drive a crooked hoss, Mr. Grinch,
Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful
assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You’re a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch,
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote,
“Stink, stank, stunk”!

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Caveat: Summa Logicae

William of Ockham, Summa Logicae

Today universals are par for the course,
As when horseness is said of a horse.

And dogness is solemnly logged for a dog,
And logness is doggedly barked of a log.

And now the whole lot of us
Are expected to talk as though hippopotamateity inhered in a hippopotamus.

But all of these quiddity-quoddity hacks
Could not tell a duck from the fact that it quacks.

– Justin E.H. Smith (American essayist and philospher, b. 1972)
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Caveat: en el centro de su olvido

ILUSIONES PERDIDAS

Hoja del árbol caída en infancia
hoja caída de rodillas
en el centro de su olvido
dulce juguete de esperanzas y relámpagos
sangrando la cabeza malherida
como las ilusiones ópticas
en su palacio de muerte inolvidable
constante barco de corazón doliente
entre naufragio y sombra apresurada.

Hoja del nudo caído en árbol caído en infancia
adónde te arrastran hoja de dulce corazón
y los excesos del fuego de las águilas visuales
hojas de las ramas calefaccionables
detenidas en el aire
prontas a podredumbre entre sus propios brazos
como las aguas embrujadas.

– Vicente Huidobro (poeta chileno, 1893-1948)

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Caveat: Like Gideon’s fleece

Under Aldebaran

“The place, my lord, is much like Gideon’s fleece
The second time he laid it on the ground;
For by the will of God it has remained
Bone-dry itself, with water all around.
“Yet as a wheel that’s driven in the ruts,
It has a wet rim where the people clot
Like mud; and though they praise the inner spaces,
When asked to go themselves, They’d rather not.
“The men are brave, contentious, ignorant;
The women very much as one expects.
For their religion, I must be excused,
Having no stomach to observe their sects.
“You must be wary in your conversation;
For, seeing them thumb-high, you might suppose
They recognised their stature, but beware!
Their notion of themselves is grandiose.

-Alec Derwent Hope (Australian poet, 1907-2000)

This poem reminds me a bit in its mood to work by Robinson Jeffers. Clearly he is describing the Australian continent, and the residents’ odd relationship to it.
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Caveat: the beauty of things is sufficient

It is a sort of tradition in this country not to talk about religion for fear of offending – I am still a little subject to the tradition, and rather dislike stating my “attitudes” except in the course of a poem. However, they are simple. I believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, influencing each other, therefore parts of one organic whole. (This is physics, I believe, as well as religion.)

[…]

The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars, none of them seems to me important in itself, but only the whole. This whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine. It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love; and that here is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation.

[…]

I think that one may contribute (ever so slightly) to the beauty of things by making one’s own life and environment beautiful, so far as one’s power reaches. This includes moral beauty, one of the qualities of humanity, though it seems not to appear elsewhere in the universe. But I would have each person realize that his contribution is not important, its success not really a matter for exultation nor its failure for mourning; the beauty of things is sufficient without him.

– Robinson Jeffers (poet, 1887-1962)
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Caveat: they are all cutten down

What I’m listening to right now.

Loreena McKennitt, “Bonny Portmore.” This song is not her composition, however – it’s a traditional Irish folk song, linked to a fallen oak tree at Lough Portmore, Country Antrim.

Lyrics.

O bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see
Such a woeful destruction of your ornament tree
For it stood on your shore for many’s the long day
Till the long boats from Antrim came to float it away.

O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore.

All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep
Saying, “Where will we shelter or shall we sleep?”
For the Oak and the Ash, they are all cutten down
And the walls of bonny Portmore are all down to the ground.

O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the Lords of Old England would not purchase Portmore.

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Caveat: Cake for Cake’s Sake

Arthur, on his own initiative, ordered a birthday cake for Juli. The thing is, Juli isn’t here – she’s down in Portland. I believe Arthur was mostly looking for an excuse to have some more chocolate cake, in the wake of the one we bought and ordered for our respective birthdays last month.

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Anyway, in fact, Juli’s birthday not until two weeks from now. But we celebrated anyway.


Earlier we went into town for our Thursday shopping day. And we picked up the boat from where it was being serviced at the boat shop. Arthur surprised me, because as we were going to the boat launch area to put the boat in the water, out of the blue he said, so do you want to drive the boat back, or the car?

Our standard division of labor on these ventures has always been that Arthur drives the boat, while I drive the car. I couldn’t quite figure out the motivation behind this offer, but I often have found that when Arthur offers for me to do something that is normally his remit, it’s because he wants me to. So I took it to mean that he preferred that I drive the boat. So for the first time ever, I drove the boat alone, while Arthur drove the Blueberry home.

I did OK. I’m not as good as Arthur at backing the boat up – which I had to do when departing the boat launch. So it got a bit hairy when I was trying to go around another boat parked at the boat launch. But once on open water, I made my way home without incident. It was quite windy and choppy, this afternoon, on the open bay between Craig Harbor and the entrance to Port Saint Nicholas. Perhaps that’s why Arthur wanted me to drive the boat? I even managed to land and tie up the boat alone, at the dock at home, in a quite gusty east wind.


What I’m listening to right now.

Cake, “Comfort Eagle.”

Lyrics.

We are building a religion
We are building it bigger
We are widening the corridors
And adding more lanes

We are building a religion
A limited edition
We are now accepting callers
For these pendant key chains

To resist it is useless
It is useless to resist it
His cigarette is burning
But he never seems to ash

He is grooming his poodle
He is living comfort eagle
You can meet at his location
But you’d better come with cash

Now his hat is on backwards
He can show you his tattoos
He is in the music business
He is calling you “DUDE!”

Now today is tomorrow
And tomorrow today
And yesterday is weaving in and out

And the fluffy white lines
That the airplane leaves behind
Are drifting right in front
Of the waning of the moon

He is handling the money
He is serving the food
He knows about your party
He is calling you “DUDE!”

Now do you believe
In the one big sign
The double wide shine
On the boot heels of your prime

Doesn’t matter if you’re skinny
Doesn’t matter if you’re fat
You can dress up like a sultan
In your onion head hat

We are building a religion
We are making a brand
We’re the only ones to turn to
When your castles turn to sand

Take a bite of this apple
Mr. corporate events
Take a walk through the jungle
Of cardboard shanties and tents

Some people drink Pepsi
Some people drink Coke
The wacky morning DJ
Says democracy’s a joke

He says now do you believe
In the one big song
He’s now accepting callers
Who would like to sing along

He says, do you believe
In the one true edge
By fastening your safety belts
And stepping towards the ledge

He is handling the money
He is serving the food
He is now accepting callers
He is calling me “DUDE!”

He says now do you believe
In the one big sign
The double wide shine
On the boot heels of your prime

There’s no need to ask directions
If you ever lose your mind
We’re behind you
We’re behind you
And let us please remind you
We can send a car to find you
If you ever lose your way

We are building a religion

We are building it bigger

We are building

A religion

A limited

Edition

We are now accepting callers
For these beautiful
Pendant key chains

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Caveat: Andar bien relajao

What I’m listening to right now.

Cimafunk, “Ponte pa’ lo tuyo (ft Juana Bacallao, El Tosco, Roberto Carcassés).” This is contemporary Cuban “tropicalized funk” genre, with video – an interesting window into Cuban culture right now.

Letra.

Con mi dinero
Yo hago lo que quiero
Si lo vacilo por aquí
Si lo derrito por allá
Eso es un problema mío caballero

Con mi dinero
Yo hago lo que quiero
Ponte pa’ lo tuyo
Y déjame tranquilo
No quieras que me ponga majadero

Hay gente que vive del chisme del mal ambiente
Y forma intriga por detrás y nunca te hablan de frente
Yo no me meto con nadie no no no no
Soy un chamaco tranquilo
Andar bien relajao, ser feliz, eso es lo mío
Me gustan las fiesta, las noches, las niñas
Farándula rica, hay días que ando al deroche (pero niño hum)
Pero lo mío es lo mío y yo a nadie le quito trabajo
Muy duro así que no quiero
reproches (andas a lo loco, andas a lo loco)

Y ahora andan diciendo por ahí que yo ando a lo loco
Lo que yo quiero es compartir y disfrutar un poco
Tu lo sabes mami

Con mi dinero
Yo hago lo que quiero
Si lo vacilo por aquí
Si lo derrito por allá
Eso es un problema mío caballero

Con mi dinero
Yo hago lo que quiero
Ponte pa’ lo tuyo
Y déjame tranquilo
No quieras que me ponga majadero

Yo suave resolviendo
Y tu perdiendo tu tiempo en brete
El ambiente lo tienes caliente
Tu sigue pegao a lo que hace la gente

No te preocupes más yo voy, yo vengo
Si yo traigo, saco si me falto, tengo
La única manera de yo hacerte caso
Es que te inventes algo rico como esto
Te duele que yo ande en mi salsa
Tirate unas pastillas a ver si se te pasa

Con mi dinero
Yo hago lo que quiero
Ponte pa’ lo tuyo
Recoge que te quedas
A dar el berro caballero

La calle cogió candela
Oye, tremenda sabrosura
Esto es música cubana oite
Te la voy a entregar viva, viva!
Ay ampárate, ampárate
Eheh ponte en la lista y pa la tropical
Maria Silvia carah!

Caveat: climb higher on the chain link fence

At Karma Academy in Korea I often used to teach a class to students (upper elementary and middle school levels) which involved repeatedly listening to and learning the lyrics for English language pop songs. The kids enjoyed it, and it was fun for me too.

As a result, I developed a habit of surfing the internet to find appropriate music to use for these classes. There were some criteria to be met: a catchy tune, not too old, inoffensive lyrics, an engaging video.

Sometimes, even though I no longer need to, I still find myself doing this, as a kind of lingering habit. I found a song earlier that is absolutely perfect for this type of class, and the video is ideal.

What I’m listening to right now.


Mates of State, “Staring Contest.”

Lyrics

Hey, I like it like this

I can’t tell if it’s early in the night
I left my phone on a step all night
I reach for the light, but I don’t turn on
Spend my day running on your lawn

I’m wild
Like I once was (I once was wild)

Heart stop, take me to the blacktop
Fear where I can find a place to stay
(Where I once was wild)
Climb higher on the chain link fence
It’s all about you, I’m wild about you
Eye to eye, it’s a game, it’s a contest

’94 I kissed you in the train park
I really needed you girl
I drive real slow past your house at night
You’re gonna be mine if you don’t hold tight
Like I once was (I once was wild)

Heart stop, take me to the blacktop
Fear where I can find a place to stay
(Where I once was wild)
Climb higher on the chain link fence
It’s all about you, I’m wild about you
Eye to eye, it’s a game, it’s a contest

Are you staring at me, ’cause we’re having a contest
You’re making my heart stop
And I ran (I once was wild)

Heart stop, take me to the blacktop
Fear where I can find a place to stay
(Where I once was wild)
Climb higher on the chain link fence
It’s all about you, I’m wild about you
Eye to eye, it’s a game, it’s a contest

Heart stop, take me to the blacktop
Fear where I can find a place to stay
(Where I once was wild)
Climb higher on the chain link fence
It’s all about you, I’m wild about you
Eye to eye, it’s a game, it’s a contest

Caveat: Their greenness is a kind of grief

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

– Philip Larkin (British poet, 1922-1985)
picture

Caveat: Wagyaan giina gha naahlingaay da aasgii gwaayaay inggut ll qinsgaayan

Gaaysta ll qayits dluu
haw ising xhitiit ahlaang tsaagudan ghan ll qaattlagan.
Ll sghunsaangan.
Gam tlagw ll naahlingaay qanggaangan,
Stluuttsadang haw suugangan.

Xhitiit ga ghan ll qiingwas
gyaan llaga ttl gwawgangan.
Wadluu llagu ll naahlingaay gaws dluu
gwii tlakkwaan·gan ll xitgwan·gangan.
Wagyaan giina gha naahlingaay da aasgii gwaayaay inggut ll qinsgaayan.

Wadluu hin Yaahl {ll} suudayan,
"Hlaxaayik gha hl xit."
Giina guunaga Hlaxaayit ttaaya gyangan
ahljiiyahlu gha lla ll suudayani.

"Haw giina gunagaay gyans hl kkudii,
dang tsin isis ahla," hin lla ll suudayan.
Wakkyanan llaga ll hlghwagayan.

Llaga ll hlwaagas ghan aa
giina guunagas unsadalan dluu,
"Hahl gwaa ttakkanaay,
dii kkuuk gha hl naa," hin lla ll suudayan.
"Wagyaan dang giidalang gam tsaghagudangghang asga."

Ahljiiyahlu wiid llagha ll naagan
lla ll tsindas ahla.

- Kingagwaaw
When he [the Raven] left that place,
here came another bird with no home of his own.
He was all by himself.
He had no place to live,
the Sapsucker said.

When he perched with other birds,
they drove him away.
And so, having no place to live,
he kept flying all the time.
And he searched the Islands for something to live in.

Then the Raven said,
"Fly to Hlaxaayik."
He said it because
something dead stood at Hlaxaayik.

"Peck the standing dead thing with your beak.
It's alright; it's your grandfather," he said to him.
Nevertheless, he was afraid of it.

When the dead thing understood
that he was afraid of it,
it said to him, "Grandson, come here.
Live in my heart,
and your children will not be left homeless."

That's where he lives even now,
because that is his grandfather.

- Kingagwaaw (Haida storyteller, early 1900s), translated by Robert Bringhurst

The above fragment appears quoted in the footnotes of Bringhurst’s translation of the Qquuna Cycle by the Haida poet Skaay, in Bringhurst’s volume Being in Being.

Caveat: 사람들은 때때로 수평선 밖으로 뛰어내린다

사람들은 때때로
수평선이 될 때가 있다

사람들은 때때로
수평선 밖으로 뛰어내릴 때가 있다

밤이 지나지 않고 새벽이 울 때
어머니를 땅에 묻고 산을 내려올 때

스스로 사랑이라고 부르던 것들이
모든 증오일 때

사람들은 때때로
수평선 밖으로 뛰어내린다

– 정호승 (한국시인 1950-)

Life

Occasionally there are times
when people turn into horizons.

Occasionally there are times
when people leap beyond the horizon.

When dawn arrives before night has passed,
when descending the hills after burying one’s mother,

When things that once called themselves love
are all of hatred,

Occasionally people
leap beyond the horizon.

– Jeong, Ho-seung (Korean poet, b 1950) (Translated by Anthony of Taizé and Susan Hwang)

Caveat: where is the man who lives out of himself?

Where is the Poet


The inky-garmented, truth-dead Cloud — woven by dumb ghost alone in
       the darkness of phantasmal mountain-mouth — kidnapped the 
       maiden Moon, silence-faced, love-mannered, mirroring her golden
       breast in silvery rivulets:
The Wind, her lover, grey-haired in one moment, crazes around the
       Universe, hunting her dewy love-letters, strewn secretly upon the
       oat-carpets of the open field.
O, drama! never performed, never gossiped, never rhymed! Behold — to
       the blind beast, ever tearless, iron-hearted, the Heaven has no
       mouth to interpret these tidings!
Ah, where is the man who lives out of himself? — the poet inspired often
       to chronicle these things?
- Yone Noguchi (Japanese poet [composing in English], 1875-1947)

Caveat: ella me llamó pa tras

What I’m listening to right now.

Proyecto Uno, “Te dejaron flat.” I like this song so much. I’ve posted it before (about 7 years ago, here). It’s not that I like it in thematic terms, per se – it’s pretty typical of a certain genre of Dominican-American music, called merengue-house. Rather, I like it because of what’s going on in it linguistically. Constant code-switching, not just between Spanish and English, but between different registers and dialects within each language, too, including all kinds of non-standard calques going on, such as in the title of this blog post. It’s the sort of revelatory text that can reveal how new languages suddenly emerge out of the interaction of existing ones.

Letra.

Primera noche, recibí una llamada, aha
Fue mi exnovia, sorpresa en mi cara, aha
Ella me llamó pa decirme, negrito me haces falta, aha
Yo la quiero sacar a bailar pero yo no tengo plata, a.

So what’s up baby, echa pa acá y yo cocino, aha
Es una mentira, sin embargo es mi estilo, aha
Ella dijo sí, en una hora estoy ahí, aha
Me quedé esperando hasta que me dormí (you tell me)

Uh, ya tú sae, oh, te dejaron flat
Uh, embarcao, he, plantao
Say word, (word…) oh, te dejaron flat
Uh, embarcao, he, bajo ya

Que lo que, que lo que sube
Que lo que, que lo que sube
Que lo que, que lo que sube
Que lo que, que lo que sube

Segunda noche, ella me llamó pa tras, aha
Pero como Robelto Durán, yo dije no más, aha
Ella lloró y me dijo discúlpame por favor, aha
Si vienes a casa te demostraré amor, aha.

Me tardé pero arranqué y yo llegué, aha
Pa la casa de la chama, le toque y timbré, aha
Ella contestó con una cara asustada, aha
Dijo que su novio vino sin decirle nada (damn!)

Uh, ya tú sae, oh, te dejaron flat
Uh, embarcao, he, plantao
Say word, (word…) oh te dejaron flat
Uh, ya tú sae, hey
(Alrigh’, y’all sing wi’ me now)
Eo, eo, eeo, eeo, eieio, eieio
Eo, eo, eeo, eeo, eiooo, eiooo

Sigue

Think you gonna play me out this time? (this time)
Think you gonna leave me stinkin?
Think you gonna hurt me?
Think I had what you been drinkin?

Hey mami no te cruces porque no soy tu jueguito
No me llames por teléfono si tú no quieres dar
Con mala fama y yo te lo confirmo
No quiero problema, tú así conmigo
No vale la pena, ay negra, ay negra
(ay negra, ay negra)
Por qué me trata así, no me digas que me quieres
Si yo sé que tú no tienes tiempo para mí (you tell me)

Mami menéalo, mami menea, nea
Mami menéalo, mami menea, nea
(Break it down)
Dale pa bajo baby, dale pa bajo así
Dale pa bajo baby (pick it up, pick it up, pick it up)

… con Proyecto… Uno!

Y la gente dice

Uh, ya tú sae, oh, te dejaron flat
Uh, embarcao, he, plantao
Say word, (word…) oh, te dejaron flat
Uh, embarcao, he… (break it down)

Así, así, así, así, así, así
Así, así, así

Que lo que, que lo que sube
Que lo que, que lo que sube
Que lo que, que lo que sube
Que lo que, que lo que sube

Caveat: your legacy, written in blood and dead magic

What I’m listening to right now.

Xiuhtezcatl, “Magic”

Lyrics.

ISA:
Magic and song and the sound of a drum
From the sea to the sky to the land
Feel the sun on my skin
I'm at one with the wind
Elements in the palm of my hand (x2)

Xiuhtezcatl:
I feel this change, where has the magic gone
I feel it less and less with each breath I draw
No longer taste it in the water, or hear it in the wind
It's fading like the music as the record stops spinning
It's no longer in your eyes, hoping it's only in disguise
Replaced by hunger for everything I despise
Tipping the scales, we losing balance, we moving mountains
Drillin the shale we're choosing profit we soak the canvas
Taste the poison whenever the wind blows
Wage war people suffering while we kill the planet
I lost my innocence sooner than most
Watching our world die something I couldn't control
And I couldn't have known, that I'd never turn back
Now what I carry is something that no one could understand
My generation's losing sight of the magic I feel
Plagued by insecurities, slit wrists, bottles of pills
Forgot the beauty of life, tell yourselves you'd rather die
Then use every time you fell as a step towards the sky
I took all of my tears, I took all of my pain
Turned it into poetry and lyrics that gave me my name
With Every battle I fight
And every song that I write
Every time my ego collides with the passion inside
Every star on the canvas every word every line
Is in hope to restore magic I can no longer find

ISA:
Magic and song and the sound of a drum
From the sea to the sky to the land
Feel the sun on my skin
I'm at one with the wind
Elements in the palm of my hand (x2)

TRU:
It's all in the trees
All in the wind
Reaching the seas
Washing my sins away
Change within
I feel
I know myself
But now these days are strange and nights are cold
And people afraid to move forward
Deliver the truth in your word
When you grab the moment
Grab the mic, they all gon' listen, homie
Seeing the vision
Slowly with consistence things prevail
A Shovel and pail, I'm digging a well
If you couldn't tell, I'm talking for real
I know you feel, that's never a fail
Only the pen
You just need the peace
It's all in-your G
Just focus your Chi
If we can just focus then we can control it
Don't come from the lotus than I won't condone it
Magic is secret, and mine's on the lowest
My keys are sacred so I cannot show ‘em
I'm growin'
I'm glowin'
I'm all the way (all the way)
Up in the atmosphere far away (far away)
Land that I walk on a part of me
Master had once ripped my ancestor's hearts away
So I love properly
Magic in the motherland, I been havin' fun with then
Elevating with my friends: Legacy
I just hope that all these pages make it through the phases
All these changes coming got me going crazy (crazy)
Got to hold on to my magic that's what made me (x2)
Can't you see that this is magic in the making
Got to hold on to my magic that's what made me

ISA:
Magic and song and the sound of a drum
From the sea to the sky to the land
Feel the sun on my skin
I'm at one with the wind
Elements in the palm of my hand (x2)

Xiuhtezcatl:
This is your legacy, written in blood and dead magic
You want it all, but you know that you can't have it
All that you have was stolen from someone else
From a future generation that's inheriting hell
This is your legacy, written in tears and lost magic
In pursuit of knowledge we've lost understanding
You see great cities I see empires falling
Our hearts encased in glass caskets of concrete
We build machines that explore what the stars mean
But nothing digital will ever match a heartbeat
We take it back
Repair a broken legacy
Return this magic determine our own destiny

Caveat: So glad I’m not in school

I like this song, sorta, but mostly I like the video. It’s cute and well-done and matches the song well.

What I’m listening to right now.

Nizlopi, “JCB Song.”

Lyrics.

Well, I'm rumblin' in this JCB
I'm 5 years old and my dad's giant sitting beside me
And the engine rattles my bum like berserk
While we're singin, "Don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work!"
My dad's totally had a bloody hard day
But he's been good fun and bubblin and jokin' away
And the procession of cars stuck behind
Are gettin all impatient and angry, but we dont mind
An' we're holdin up the bypass
Oh
Me and my dad havin a top laugh
Oh woah
Sittin on the toolbox
Oh
And I'm so glad I'm not in school, boss
So glad I'm not in school
Oh no...
And we pull over to let the cars pass
And pull off again, speedin by the summer green grass
And we're like giants up here in our big yellow digger
Like zoids, or transformers, or maybe even bigger
And I wanna transform into a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
And eat up all the bullies and the teachers and their pets
And I'll tell em I'm 8, my dad's ba barakas
Only with a JCB and Bruce Lee's nunchuckas
And we're holdin up the bypass
Oh
Me and my dad havin' a top laugh
Oh woah
Sittin' on the toolbox
Oh
And I'm so glad I'm not in school, boss
So glad I'm not in school
And we're holdin' up the bypass
Oh oh
Me and my dad havin' a top laugh
Oh woah
I'm sittin on the toolbox
Oh oh
And I'm so glad I'm not in school box
So glad I'm not in school
-
Said I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round in his JCB.
I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round in his JCB.
I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round in his JCB.
I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round
And we're holdin' up the bypass
Woah
Me and my dad havin' a top laugh
Oh woah
And I'm sittin' on the toolbox
Oh
And I'm so glad I'm not in school box
So glad I'm not in school
Aw, said
I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round in his JCB.
I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round in his
Aw, I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round in his JCB.
I'm Luke, I'm five, and my dad's Bruce Lee. Drives me round in his JCB.

Caveat: 배치기

I had forgotten about this song. But it came around on a random play on my music player.

I blogged it a few years ago (um, 7?). However, the video there has disappeared – “link rot.”  I couldn’t find an official version, but here’s a performance of the song from the Korean TV show “쇼미더머니” which is a musical competition for amateurs where they  perform famous musical bits. I decided to do a rare “re-posting” of some music rather than go back and repair the old blog entry.

배치기, “콩깍지.”

가사.

B.A.E.C.H.I.G.I 이제 나왔으니
모두 친구들에게 전하기
하던 일들 전부 stop 모두 집중 여기 spot
들어볼까 기묘한 그 이야기

뭉탁!

탁>
그 꼬라지로 나와 너네가 얼마나 버티겠냐고
그냥 하던 대로 가라고
가만히 서서 중간이라도 가는 게
두말하면 입 아프다라고 말하는데
배치기 배엔 기름이 꼈네
믿음 따윈 져버리고 지네끼리 건배
그리고 나선 도망가네 조만간에 절망감이란
포만감으로 휩싸여야 정신 차리겠네

무웅>
어떤 인간들은 내게 말하겠지
너 얼마나 잘되나 두고 보자고
완전히 Reset 된 배치기
이제 누가 아냐고 물어보라고
그나마 누렸던 인기의 맛만
본걸로 만족해 알잖아 만만
치 않은 이곳에 이미 한물간
니들이 발 붙일 곳 없을 거라고

무웅>
이거 정말 난리나 버렸지
아무런 생각 없이 전부 내쳐 버렸지
모든 게 다 뒤바뀌어 버렸지
배치기 인생살이 제 눈에 낀 콩깍지

무웅>
뜻대로 되지만은 않을 거다
그러다가 망한 애들 여럿 봤다
새로운 변화에 신이 났겠지만
장담하건대 넌 예전이 낫다
제풀에 꺽일 네 모습이 선해
반전은 기대마 알잖아 뻔해
더 신 나게 떠들어라 웃고는 있지만
초조함 숨기려 내 맘은 탄다

탁>
겁을 먹었냐고 천만의 말씀
거품 빼고 우리만의 길을 가고픈 것뿐
당차게 박차고 나와서
난 바로 이 네 박자에 몸을 실었음
내 길에 내기를 걸어봐라
내 미래엔 배짱부리며 배 내미네 째봐라 그래
내가 쓰러지나 봐라 부러지나 봐라
날이 지나 봐라 끝내 누가 남았나

이거 정말 난리나 버렸지
아무런 생각 없이 전부 내쳐 버렸지
모든 게 다 뒤바뀌어 버렸지
배치기 인생살이 제 눈에 낀 콩깍지

B.A.E.C.H.I.G.I 이제 나왔으니
모두 친구들에게 전하기
하던 일들 전부 stop 모두 집중 여기 spot
들어볼까 기묘한 그 이야기

탁>
서로 머리 맞대면서 많은 날을 고민했지
배부르면 봄날이냐고
까놓고 말해보자 우리들의 전성기는
언제부터 언제였냐고
몇 번의 박수로 우쭐거리며
살아나간 지난날의 우릴 반성하자고
죽이 되든 밥이 되든 피래미 시절
기억하며 아둥바둥 살아보자고

이거 정말 난리나 버렸지
아무런 생각 없이 전부 내쳐 버렸지
모든 게 다 뒤바뀌어 버렸지
배치기 인생살이 제 눈에 낀 콩깍지 예

B.A.E.C.H.I.G.I
B.A.E.C.H.I.G.I 예