StumbleUpon Ekphrastic

Fall Survival of the Election

Hello audience. There have definitely been some minor setbacks in posting lately. But here’s hoping things change for the better the rest of this year. The poem I’ve been composing for a few weeks has many different inspirations that should be explained to avoid misinterpretation. This explanation will be in great detail because I definitely strayed from the “art” Ekphrastic this time.

I started writing the poem started after watching one of the many presidential debates back when the country was still trying to be convinced one way or the other. Now that President Obama has kept his seat for the next four years, I decided to post this poem and hope no one thinks it is in any way against either of the candidates, because both inspired me to write about something so monumental as a vote and the country I live in.

When Governor Romney talked about the “idea” of America, he said that America was “the street paved with gold. Not really gold so much as opportunity.” This means the fulfillment of an individual’s dream, which is something history has dubbed as our slogan. This is the idea of America as, “the place where dreams come true,” and we are slipping away from that ideal, that past image that Governor Romney wanted to restore, “if you elect me as your next President of the United States. Thank you. And God bless America!” I used a line that reminded me of when the Great Depression happened, “people would eat the dirt in the air, because of that Great Dust Bowl.” That makes me think that the United States is just like every other nation in history, it goes through phases, like stages of life. I believe that we aren’t moving away from the past, but repeating it, and will hopefully get out of this depression we are in again.

Other word choices in this poem that came from both the Governor and the President included bringing back the deteriorating economy with jobs in “energy, construction, businesses bringing the jobs home.” With my education in how energy is harvested from the planet, I decided to interpret these new jobs, in the poem, as a raping of the world. This is also attributed to the YOU that is the nation, which has been taken advantage of by many powerful men. The line that reads, “The great Names led us to doom,” can be translated as CEOs, Presidents, Kings, etc.  To my audience I suggest that these themes are prominent and allusions to so many other sources I have for this piece of work.

Some other inspirations for this poem need to be elaborated on for clarification of lines. Other than the debate, there was a clothing site I found on StumbleUpon that gave me little names from fashion designers for the poem. Examples include “Evil Twin” (a designer), “Wayward Daughter” (a look), “formerly known as” (a clothing line), “Black market,” “frontier days,” and “Faux,” (clothing lines). Themes inspired by these names riddle the poem, steering it to places I didn’t think it would go. I did this in an attempt to do exactly what I did in “Ekphrastic Blog #32,” which should actually be accredited as a StumbleUpon Blog. It was another source of inspiration that I decided to call upon here.

Some lines reference more recent moments, such as, “December flood,” to talk about Hurricane Sandy flooding New York. The idea that, “this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause,” was inspired from a line in Star Wars, Episode III, said by Natalie Portman’s character, Padme. The line, “When a dance was just a dance,” goes back to the idea that the past was better, innocent to the present problems of today. The line, “Where diamonds can’t be used to pay the rent,” is from Marilyn Monroe’s song, ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.’

Then there is the beginning and ending line of this poem, “You are worth the tongue in your mouth that will form the words,” which can be interpreted as a victim accusing her attacker, as well as the idea that a vote is just as important as a song on your lips or a piece of clothing you are wearing. Now that there is less danger of misinterpretation, I think my audience can read and better understand my poem. Enjoy!

United States of Fashion Cents
You are worth, the tongue in your mouth that will form the words
as the Evil Twin fashions a striped cardigan
a throwback to the frontier days
were ransom was an ‘in’ to wealth and fame
and made dirt of those whose name we don’t remember.
they floated away in the mid-December flood of tears
as the lives we led are put up for auction and the end
of liberty, ques a thunderous applause.
never really registering that nagging fear that
shadows seem to dwell comfortably behind the great
Names that led us to doom ten years and counting
the days are mounting to the end where diamonds are useless
to pay the rent and the first impression of your wealth is found
not by the shoes you wear, you don’t wear any—
You are barefoot and broken
desperate for that spare token that you can only find in your mouth—
Your worth is in the words it has spoken, in the words it will speak.
as the new depths of poverty go farther away from affording a motel
room, and more towards affording a meal.
where the velvet dreams of golden streets the world herd about
are shattered like a stolen moment where you almost had your first
kiss. As that beautiful stranger asks you to dance that one Friday night.
You regret saying yes and ruining that one chance where a dance was
Just a dance.
that wayward daughter look, was just a costume you
picked off a rack, and the lime punch of his kiss wasn’t rough and demanding
and your formerly known as friends didn’t just laugh and watch you
fall into his arms, like a foul bird ready to die.
they were there to sweep you
out of his grasp like a violent North Dakota Wind, and tell you, “it’s okay,
we’ll take you away from that blackmarket auction they call a date.”
his hand is a python wrapping around you. You can’t scream and the world has lost that
fragile dream that was offered to them in fairytales from their poverty,
now your poverty, the vacuum keeps sucking away at the air you breathe,
the air you eat cuz the grit in its dust is what keeps you on your feet,
You have no one to go to, to stumble to as you fall and all the world is
falling with you—faster than you can say, “Ocean.” As that moonlight dress fades its
the only clothing you own and he is the only one there with hands to hold
You follow him and find that he has nothing good in his eyes. that’s you in the dirt
pretending to be on the beach of paradise, as that fairytale necklace is broken,
You are on the fast track to never growing up, just old, alone and scared.
And the world can’t care, cuz you are not it’s problem.
When that is exactly what you should be, the problem, the solution,
The experience everyone else can’t seem to understand.
That is what you are worth, the tongue in your mouth that will form the words.
                                                  ~By: Linda K. Strahl

Editor’s Note: Linda K Strahl is a transfer student from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, where she was studying Archaeology and minoring in Creative Writing. She came to Lewis University in Fall of 2010 to major in Creative Writing. She is at the moment, considering application to a Master Program in Creative writing, after she graduates.

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