Welcome to Moments of Pause, a monthly catalogue of whatever’s been needling you: a list of all the things so odd/pertinent/funny/serious/catchy/confusing that you just had to tear off that Patagonia puffer and rip out a big achoo. Winter is here! For our 2nd edition of the year, here is a collage of the very important things that stuck in our illustrious contributors’ brains this past week, those shiver-inducing gag-reflexive oh-so-edifying moments of pause that define life (OR IS IT) in the 21st Century.
1. Chops – Ena Alvarado
Do not confuse extracted poetry with ekphrastic poetry. Yes, they do both have weird letters like x and k, as well as only one a in them. When spoken aloud they almost sound like homophones, I will also grant you that. But still, do not confuse the two. Ekphrastic poetry is taught in English seminars and workshopped in college classrooms. The word stems from the Greek ek (‘out’) and phrásis (‘speak’). It is typically understood as plain description, and it encapsulates a form—not at all confined to poetry—that concerns itself with descriptions (more vivid than plain, in this case) of art works. Extracted poetry, on the other hand, refers to an invention, as far as I know, of artist Nathaniel Whitcomb. I can no longer remember where or how it was I stumbled upon him in cyberspace. Regardless, I consider myself lucky to have found his work. Now, how to define extracted poetry? I think the best way to understand it requires, quite simply, taking a good look at it. So, I will only mention, and close off with, one last fact, and it concerns Whitcomb: he sure has an eye for hidden truths and hidden beauties existent in National Geographic magazines. Some day I hope to polish this craft myself. Enjoy!
2. Who Carries Beauty – Tess Michaelson
Is writing for me or for other people?
Why do people listen to bad music? haha
I don’t like talking lately. I like lying in the dark and listening to music. I like running. I can’t sleep until 3.
I don’t like what’s on my mind.
What is anyone ever talking about?
Sometimes I feel like I should read everything before I can write something good, whatever that means.
What is worth saying?
Why is it brave to be honest? What world do we live in where honesty is not normal but heroic?
I really love moments when you are not awake enough to speak.
Why do I love Frank Ocean and Don Draper who only speak when they have something to say? Is this a viable way to live? Do they make chit chat with grocery store clerks? What do you mean “real”?
I have a lot of questions.
Why I hate words and love words. Why I feel like I have to understand why.
I only like people who can read my mind, or people who do not want in. It’s mine.
How often do I just use people as a platform to understand things?
The only thing I really want to hear is beauty.
The only thing I really want to hear is beauty. I hate talking lately.
I know, I know, I know. We have to speak in order to accomplish change; is beauty just a mask over what it is to actually live?
My mind moves too fast, so I think I just want to be quiet now.
I would rather just lay with you. Please, let’s not talk.
But I also feel like beauty is a way to understand something, something ineffable – like Jean Toomer’s “Cane,” like poetry in general.
Beauty is not necessarily “good” it can also be painful, and wilting.
It’s the light over things.
Can anything be beautiful then?
Should we only understand things in beautiful ways or is that just a form of complacent pacification?
Should we just let it be, Paul?
3. Those Winter Days – Talia Flores
I had forgotten that snow had a flavor. This becomes insignificant
when I remember that snow is water
and taste does not matter
when you are dying of thirst.
And yet here is my sister,
licking snow like she will never drink again.
4. Pink Eye – Emily Zhang
I’ve spent the past week in a weird pink limbo. I think it began when I watched a season of a subtitle-less Norwegian TV show over break. I started noticing the color first on the characters’ sweaters. Then their shoes, their tongues, their tablecloths. Pink fever. Pink mud. Pink sky. Pink doesn’t even look like how pink sounds. Soft-slow vs metal clank. Rain vs rain falling in a bucket. I just want to think about pink. What if pink were an emotion. What if pink were a punctuation mark.
5. You Get More Bees With Honey – Ned Hardy
I spent most of Thanksgiving trying to convince my relatives that I was “raw vegan,” which is actually something I’ve been doing a lot of recently. (Trying to convince people that I’m raw vegan, not actually being raw vegan.) Did U know that raw veganism outlaws the consumption of honey, because honey is a byproduct of an animal (bees)? Are bees animals? Are bugs animals? Are bees bugs?? Really makes U think…..what’s going on there, right? I mean, am I right? Wha-wha-whaaat? Lol… Probably a good thing not to eat honey, though. Shout out to my raw vegans. If you wouldn’t feed it to a baby then I won’t eat it! Haha… I once heard that U shouldn’t feed honey to babies… Also what is a Deb Ball?? Also do U visit a cinema to “watch” a film or to “see” a film? Do U say “movie” or “film”??? Just some things I’ve been pondering lately
6. The Year of Just Realizing Stuff – Chase Porter
There are some moments that are so satisfying, so pure, so true, so perfect, so pause-worthy. They aren’t the ones in the center of photographs (what is this velvet track suit), they aren’t the ones referred to in the caption (tbh, v skeptical about this whole kyliejennershop.com deal, happy to chat about it tho), and they surely aren’t the ones on the middle finger of some random guy holding a laptop (honestly, that ring is almost something to pause on but it exhausts me). The moment that I have been paused on since November 7th, 2016, 3:24 PM, is a hand–Kylie Jenner’s hand–so preciously, precariously, perfectly aligned with the left corner of a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013). Those freaky, false-nailed fingers were destined to somehow jigsaw into that computer from this specific angle. There is not much more I can do than just stare, and look, and wait.
7. Blister in the Sun – Nikki Tran
These past few weeks, it seems as though the sun has given many some necessary solace. We tell ourselves the sun will rise tomorrow, and it does. This has become a mantra, a metaphor we live by: the sun as constant, fixed, dependable, always there–that is, until it’s not. The sun whose rays we soak until we’re pink and slightly itchy, whose daily rise and fall can make the sky look like it’s on fire or like cotton candy will eventually, ultimately become a Red Giant, the one thing that will definitively wipe us all out (unless we do it ourselves first). And this fate warms me, humbles me. The sun rises, and it also sets. It gives and, and it takes, full circle.
Images courtesy of here, here, and here.