Who Am I? – A.G. Diedericks

There are things worth reblogging. This is what poetry is all about.

MORALITY PARK

you-talkin-to-me.gif

Self-proclaimed, self-aggrandizing
self-published, selling yourself
for a shot at infamy – you still have it in for me

Who am I?
you ask sheathed in traced
stanzas
words languished by voracious artifice
remixed for myopic consumers
I watch you milk death and brand it catharsis; canvassing for the masses

I am an intervention
I cook doubt like a junkie and drip it slowly..

into your marrow

I rip you away from your warm bed
and leave you stripped naked
on the side of the road; chalked
out of line
As I drain your ink & slip back down into the gutter
like a rat
blowing an inaudible whistle

Who am I?
I’m the Punkture gaping your ego
an aberrant- carved
out of failure & disappointment
I bask in rejection
while you prance around with
counterfeit applause

Who am I?
I’m the fucking TRUTH

View original post

SLEEPWALKING THE MINEFIELD~BOJANA STOJCIC

MORALITY PARK

I bet you liked the seesaw when you were a kid. Remember the pleasure of riding up and down, up and down, but only enjoying it if your friend on the other side was of similar size and weight? Well, the seesaw in relationships between Albanian and Serb communities has never been much fun because one party always had the upper hand at one time or another. Pent-up emotions and inter-ethnic tensions have been a reality in Serbia’s (ex-) southern province of Kosovo for as long as I can remember.

Kosovo pic.PNG

Fast backward. The late 1960s witnessed first protests by the Albanians who felt downtrodden as Islam had been repressed and the government, security forces, and industrial employment largely dominated by Serbs and Montenegrins. After a demand that Kosovo be made a republic, it gained major autonomy by the mid 70s, that is ‘its own administration, assembly, and judiciary, along with…

View original post 1,652 more words

JOURNAL OF A MOM – LEARNING TO FLY

It’s 7 AM and my son B. is wide awake. Without further ado, he’ll run to the door, press the door handle down, and dash down the hall and into the kitchen, impatiently hopping from one foot to the other saying yum yum. I’m still in bed; the boys can do without me…Obviously not today. Remember the time when I was waking B. up when he felt like sleeping in? Well, it’s the other way round now. My boy’s almost grown up and a good learner, his methods being not so subtle, though. He’s starving for my attention as I am for some extra sleep and will do everything in his power to drag me out of bed: jump all over me, sit on my face, kick and slap me, pull the sheets off the corner of the mattress, take my blanket, and sound as miserable as can be. I’ve been ignoring him for too long. You’re going to pay for this, little weasel! I put his hands over his head and hold them so he can’t move. I bite, pinch, kiss and hug him violently, which he hates when he’s not in the mood. He starts yelping and whimpering. It’s time to hug some. And hide under the blanket, shouting laaaaa, lu, lu, lu, qu-e, d-g, d-g, du da and aya, aya. And tickle. And giggle…and do butt jumps.

We’re up and heading to the kitchen. ‘Breakfast’s almost ready. B, can you pass daddy the bottle? …Thank you. Way to go, honey! Now the nipple…’ B. sees his fruit smoothie is not there yet and kicks the sink in frustration. ‘No! No!’ He hurls himself to the ground, screaming and rolling furiously on the floor. ‘B, take it easy. You’ll have it shortly.’ ‘No, no, no!!!!’ The collar is screwed onto the bottle, securing the nipple in place. ‘Here you are.’ He’ll grab the bottle hastily, open his mouth real wide, and, holding it with both hands, gulp his morning drink down in the blink of an eye. The tummy’s full and he’s smiling again.

My advice to people when meeting my almost two and a half year old son is to be careful what they do or say to him since he can go from wow’s and yay’s to ‘heated arguments’ (no no, no, no, no!) quicker than you can count from 1 to 3, let alone 4. To say that he becomes sad or upset if he can’t get something done right away would be an understatement of epic proportions. Desperation, more like it. Can’t open something? Despair. Can’t close something? Despair. Any other difficulty? Despair. However, kids are spot-on so eating or staring at TV or going into silent mode to avoid confrontation is not their way of dealing with a problem. Regardless of their reactions, they learn from their mistakes, unlike adults, and rarely give up. You have to appreciate their roll-up-your-sleeves attitude, whatever the outcome. Rest assured they’ll go back to what made them angry in the first place sooner or later. You may end up with a few gray hairs along the way, but hey…whatever makes them happy.

learning.PNG

It has been a challenge to keep B. busy and get him interested. Luckily, he has recently started playing with his toys (it was about time!) and, most importantly, alone so I don’t have to follow his every step like before. Despite this, once he gets bored, which is pretty much every 2 minutes, he wants to be in the spotlight again. He’s a natural showman and is never nervous or timid when on stage. Give him a thumbs up, and an approving smile, and he’ll be more than thrilled he did great.

B. enjoys going for a walk. Even if it means strolling around the apartment, he’d grab your hand so as to go places at least 1000 times per day. If I’m busy doing something, he’ll pull on my pants. If I dare to ignore him or not pick him up when he wants me to, he’ll resort to pushing my buttons, playing with a sugar/coffee jar and throwing things around.

He likes to empty crayon containers and toy boxes onto the carpet, and get on top of the desk, throwing down everything he finds there. Lately, I’ve been on a quest to find new ways to keep him busy. Straws and an empty water bottle is one of them. I give him a cup full of colorful straws and a bottle and he knows what to do. His little fingers take the straws and drop them through the mouth of the bottle, his tongue sticking out. Every now and then, he’ll stop doing what he’s doing to suck the bottle or put the straws in his mouth and chew. The bottle is full, but how on earth are we supposed to empty it now?! Concentrating…frowning…moaning…counting to 10. 1, 1.5…Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Frustration sets it again. I help him pour the straws out so that we can load them in again. It’s fun. In spite of losing it a few times, this may keep him happily engaged for a near record-breaking 5 minutes.

Playing with real cooking spoons, pots and plastic bowls is priceless. Just give him the real thing and he’ll keep quiet for as long as you want him to. Lastly, scooping and pouring small items, preferably beads or buttons, is yet another game he takes great pleasure in. But, since mom is worried he might put them in his mouth, she’d set out a bowl or tray of macaroni, and show him how to scoop, transfer, and pour them into another bowl. He’ll eventually pick up the container and turn out the contents on the floor so I’ll be the one to count to 10. Smiling and counting.

NOISE IN FASHION

(Translation from Serbian, COUNTER-PROTEST: WINTER 1996 – MILLIONS AGAINST ONE – ONE WINS – ONE IN A MILLION – ONE LOSES)

For ANOTHER VIDEO, please check out the COMMENT SECTION.

 

https://videopress.com/embed/Xaapju5o?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0https://v0.wordpress.com/js/next/videopress-iframe.js?m=1435166243

MORALITY PARK

Exhausted by the war, sanctions, and criminality seeping into every pore of society, Serbia was unstoppably sinking into deeper crisis. Furthermore, every attempt to criticize communism and authoritarian national leaders was choked off, which would leave deep scars in public opinion visible to date.

In Nov 1996, demonstrations began in the third largest city in Serbia where I studied in response to electoral fraud attempted by the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) of President Milošević after the local elections. Although the majority of the seats in the Parliament were initially given to the pro-European opposition coalition, a revised count gave the control of the city once again to SPS. The underdeveloped south, traditionally supportive of the Socialists, voted for a change, which expressed widespread public dissatisfaction with incumbent politicians and the government’s economic and social policy. Upon witnessing Milošević’s attempt to outflank the opposition, university students and opposition…

View original post 2,399 more words

THE SOUND AND THE FURY

Anyone who had a chance to first live blissfully in abundance and then touch bottom, experiencing at least some of the shit we went through, will surely remember it for the rest of their life because the formidable hurdles we were facing daily in 90s Serbia bordered surreal. Those who managed to keep their head above water were like skydivers who survived a 12,000ft (3660m) fall without their parachutes.

In order to explain the political climate in Serbia in the mid 90s, I need to go back in time. The late 80s witnessed squabbles between the Serb minority and the ethnic-Albanian majority in Serbia’s (ex-) southern province of Kosovo, considered ‘the Mecca and Medina of the Serb people.’ Many Serbs left never to return, while the remaining ones felt oppressed and abused by the Albanian leadership. The Kosovo issue dominated Serbian politics. Slobodan Milošević, a rising Socialist Party boss (SPS), became an overnight sensation, being ‘the first politician to break official party taboos about embracing nationalism. Jumping on the nationalist bandwagon and making himself the public champion of the beleaguered Serbs of Kosovo’ proved to be his ticket to absolute power. He said: ‘I will defend your rights.’ They cheered and nodded. He said: ‘I will restore prosperity.’ They cheered and nodded. He said: ‘I will protect you and defend Serbdom.’ They cheered and nodded. He said: ‘No one has the right to beat you.’ They cheered and nodded. Soon he was to become a hero of angry Serbs everywhere. Erratic time.

In 1990, Yugoslavia started following the model of political transition from a one-party system to a multi-party democratic one. The opposition openly rejected the communist and socialist regime and was strongly in favor of human rights, democracy and market economy. In June, it called for a street protest against SPS control over national media which ignored opposition altogether while glorifying Milošević’s ‘peace-loving’ initiatives. Over 70,000 peaceful protesters were dispersed. In the fall, mass protests were again organized in Belgrade, demanding a free and fair electoral campaign, the media coverage of opposition activities and the round table. Despite the charismatic leaders who were getting more and more popular and rallies across Serbia, the democratic opposition lost the battle (but not the war). Minimized time for opponents of the regime on TV (being denounced as Western stooges) and the absence of united opposition forces also contributed to the overwhelming victory of SPS in both Parliamentary and presidential elections.

In March ‘91, another street protest against President Milošević and his total control of the national media was organized in downtown Belgrade. Fury followed, the rally turning into a riot featuring vicious clashes between the protesters and the police and military, deployed in the streets to restore order. 100,000 citizens against tanks. Two people died and a few hundred were injured. Several prominent opposition officials were badly beaten and detained by the police and two media outlets considered unfriendly to the government banned. Civil fury grew high and the following day more people were in the streets. The government supporters responded by organizing a counter-protest. The rallies ended a few days later, after the opposition leaders had been released from police custody. Both the state TV director and the Minister of the Interior resigned. One victory at a time. Thanks to his fiery nationalist rhetoric, and total control of the national media, along with the JNA operations in Croatia (Yugoslav People’s Army), the popularity of President Milošević continued to grow. So did the fury of the conscious ‘few.’

march protests.PNG

Fast forward to mid 90s. Upon enrolling in the university and spending a wonderful summer with my longtime boyfriend and friends, partying, loitering and dreaming (4 months without school), I moved away from my parents in the fall of ‘95. The war just finished (crime didn’t, though). The sanctions weren’t lifted until the next year, which meant more power outages accompanied by the calming effects of candlelight. The post-war period was no less challenging. It was a time of scarcity and supporting two students financially was not easy. Students who pay for college fees themselves are extremely rare in Serbia. It is your job to study, pass exams and have fun, whereas it’s your parents’ duty to pay your bills. Things get tougher if you’re a big art lover who didn’t want to miss a single movie, festival, exhibition, concert or theater performance. Unfortunately, my sister and I were not among the lucky bastards whose tuition was covered by the state, but were fee-paying ones. Even though the fees were not that high (no loans, no debts), the price of printouts most definitely was. We didn’t have the convenience of the Internet back then, which would surely make things cheaper and our life easier. Books and textbooks, on the other hand, were either way too costly or hard to obtain so we’d spend hours in the library reading dozens of them so as to copy/paste a few useful pages, which required hard manual labor. Once the work was done, we wouldn’t stay there to study as we preferred the comfort of our home. The library atmosphere never grew on us. There’s nothing cozy, agreeable and intimate about it. Watching other people staring at their books, while you can’t concentrate yourself since you’re too busy checking out their backpacks, glasses, their hair and clothes, and being distracted by a fly buzz, is utterly depressing and unproductive in the long run. Our bodies are so not made to be sedentary. Besides, deafening silence for studying was never my thing. I needed noise, I needed the fridge, the kettle, the sounds of the street, our room overlooking a most peculiar neighbor. I needed our saggy cushions and old ugly sofa where I’d assume most unusual positions for studying you can think of (back down, legs up the wall, headphones on). I missed the radio, shared laughter and friends stopping by for a chat, a cup of coffee or our aunt’s hot tomato soup. I craved my common workplace distractions.

Oh, the bliss of student life! Socializing, partying, and having fun day in day out, meeting new people all the time, pairing up with the best and the worst, the most generous and the most envious people you will ever meet, the best of the best sharing the same premises with the scum of the earth, daring to be different, finding your tribe, befriending a withdrawn Bosnian girl in the last row who lost her dad in war and had no idea where her mom and brother were, sharing food, dreams, books, passions, ideas, thoughts, showers and beds, dropping the mime, learning to ‘be yourself (everyone else was already taken’), living in a tight-knit community buzzing with life, sleepovers, inducing euphoria with all things available, Bowie’s Earthling 24/7, resetting perspectives, learning from and exchanging views with brilliant professors and assistant professors, putting up with mediocrity and an inferiority complex impossible to treat, student discounts, fare evasion, mom’s parcels with sour cabbage rolls, stuffed red peppers, money, and crepes with honey and walnuts sent regularly by bus, resorting to scratchcards when broke, winning (big enough to cover the costs), losing, taking part in every single radio game show in the city (answering questions about literature and film, being rewarded with the best prize ever: a book or a concert/theater ticket otherwise impossible to afford), mastering negotiation skills and sweet talk: talking our (read: my) way past bouncers every fricking time, cramped trains back home: using bribery, students and railroad officials in the same sentence, early English literature, an introduction into Canadian-Australian studies, Romanticism, American writers, contemporary literature, the (almost) Complete Works of Shakespeare, cooking your own food, having others cook for you, leading a life without a washing machine, giving up on the idea to kill the black mold, continuing to hope it won’t kill you (too soon), placing mouse traps around the house, thinking of the ways to outsmart a smart mouse, being outsmarted, enthusiasm, attending lectures worth attending, missing those worth missing, catching up, lacking motivation, a recommended daily intake of lecithin for focus, attention and concentration improvement, resorting to cleaning the house from top to bottom to let off steam, scrubbing the grout lines in the bathroom with a toothbrush because every nook and cranny needed to be clean (read: finding yet another excuse not to study for exams), workload, duties and obligations, procrastinating, locking ourselves in before exams without leaving the house for days (it was about time!), stress before a midterm, learning to cope with anxiety, meditation: relieving pain by changing your mind, making room for more happiness, reading and writing, listening and turning a deaf ear, passing and failing, facts to remember, facts to learn and forget, making your own decisions, flunking semesters on purpose to have more time for having a good time (infuriating teachers and pleasing yourself), standing by your choices, prioritizing, living your life, temptations, learning the hard way, dealing with emotional memories, being taught not to bottle up emotions (then forgetting), finding people keen for a talk anytime, joining a hiking club, going hiking, going swimming, first job, first salary spent on a ski trip and a bike, biking in and around the city with sis on a daily basis, getting in shape, sharing super sweet dessert combos afterwards to boost our energy levels (fuck getting in shape!), stage diving, lighters held up at concerts like fireflies in the dark (his hand around my sweaty waist), the addictive darkness of freezing movie theaters (a weekly/daily hotshot), a peaceful sense of intimacy, legs touching under the table, pulling the blanket over our heads, enjoying the silence interrupted by grunts, sighs, and groans, the noise of impetuous passion, climaxing, being present and fading to black, sinking into speechless oblivion, sharing an enthusiastic neighbor’s choice of music and boyfriends, investing in good earplugs, regular coffees under a linden tree, staying up all night, sleeping in the following day, a regular knock on our window, pressing the social ‘refresh’ button. Lifelong friends and memories. Feeling adult, feeling appreciated, feeling worthless, feeling like a piece of shit. Rebuilding self-esteem. Morning chats over coffee, late night dinners by the old wood burner, cigarette smoke filling the kitchen, and crackling fire on a cold damp evening. Don’t fall asleep. We need to keep the fire burning.

fire.PNG

It’s the fall of 1996. Days are noticeably shorter, while nights are getting colder and colder. Serbian local elections held in November are followed by allegations of widespread voter fraud. It seems very likely President Milošević will reject the accusations as preposterous. Again. However, students have something important to say this time.

Fury and frustration have been piling up for quite some time, seeking ways of breaking free. The long sound of silence gives the impression of ripeness. We are ready, willing and able to speak up. ‘The sound is the fury’; the fury is a change. ‘The grave hopeless sound of all voiceless misery under the sun’ is about to break away.

PRESCRIPTION POEMS (MY WAY)

And now, the end (of National Poetry Month) is near
And so I face the final curtain (OK, not that final)
My friend(s), I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

In the past month, I undertook a task of talking about the need to read poems regularly. I hope many of you who weren’t sure about your attitude to poetry and haven’t read much of it are catching up. Please note that it can seriously mess with your heart and brain and has an ability to alter moods, emotions and behaviors by changing your perceptions. If you notice signs of poetry cravings, and dependence, coupled with a loss of control over use, it means you have developed an addiction and (luckily) it’s probably too late to go back to the previous state. There’s no need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist though since this condition is permanent and with no known cure so far. As time goes by, you will find out that poetry overdose is one of the best things that has happened to you. The sooner you acknowledge you are chronically ill and start making the most of it, the better. I am an addict as well and you haven’t heard me complain, have you?

After talking about what poetry does to me and sharing some fabulous poets with you, I like to think I helped pass on a virus. I believe it has the power to open minds, and transform lives. It enables us to heal and grow. I wish that reading it became so second-nature to you that you forget to eat, and drink and that your heart skips a beat every time you do, like when we are in love. Mind you, if you get the urge to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night to read (or write) it, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just trapped in love. For good. Welcome to the club.

Now, I would love to draw your attention to a couple of poets I love: astonishing Diana at Holistic Wayfarer: poems Age and losing you and prolific Lize Bard at Haiku out of Africa (picking one was way too hard so you’ll have to read all. I promise you’ll get hooked momentarily).

Let me finish with awe-inspiring Adrian Mitchell who btw often performed on mainstream national stages. He sang, whispered and shouted his poems in every place imaginable in a persistent attempt to persuade us to love our lives, our minds and bodies and fight against tyranny, oppression and exploitation. Mitchell ‘shifted English poetry from correctness and formality towards inclusiveness and political passion,’ as was written in his obituary. Like Blake, he believed that everything human was holy, and liked to think of himself as an optimist despite overwhelming negativity around us. He celebrated life as passionately as he attacked those who crushed it. Today I give you a serious peace monger and an instinctive democrat and two encouraging poems of his:

 

TO ALL IN THE SO-CALLED DEFENCE INDUSTRY

Arms trade workers, here’s an early warning
You might wake up tomorrow morning
And find that this is the glorious day
When all your jobs will just melt away
Because the people of the world are going to make sure
There’ll be no more, no more, no more war
So now’s the time to switch your occupation
From dealing in death and desolation
Don’t hang around now you’ve been told
The international murder trade’s about to fold
You won’t have to maim, you won’t have to kill,
You can use your brain and use your skill.
Peace needs workers of all kinds-
Make artificial limbs instead of landmines.
Tricycles instead of tridents,
Violins instead of violence,
Lifeboats, hospitals, medicine, drains,
Food and toys and buses and trains-
Come on, there’s plenty of work to be done
If we’re going to make peace for everyone.


 

HUMAN BEINGS

look at your hands
your beautiful useful hands
you’re not an ape
you’re not a parrot
you’re not a slow loris
or a smart missile
you’re human

not british
not american
not israeli
not palestinian
you’re human

not catholic
not protestant
not muslim
not hindu
you’re human

we all start human
we end up human
human first
human last
we’re human
or we’re nothing

nothing but bombs
and poison gas
nothing but guns
and torturers
nothing but slaves
of Greed and War
if we’re not human

look at your body
with its amazing systems
of nerve-wires and blood canals
think about your mind
which can think about itself
and the whole universe
look at your face
which can freeze into horror
or melt into love
look at all that life
all that beauty
you’re human
they are human
we are human
let’s try to be human

dance!

FEASTING ON POETRY

There are many ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. I have been doing it by spreading awareness of the importance and beauty of poetry in order to make more people read it. Hopefully, those who have just embarked on this journey will become mesmerized to that extent that they’ll need the daily intake (several servings for best results) as is the case with us serious poetry fans. Mind you, the number of portions and portion size may gradually increase since poetry is highly addictive. However, there’s no room for panic as several studies have shown that although increasing portion size boosts energy levels, there is NO causal relationship whatsoever between it and obesity, let alone a fatal outcome, which makes the whole process absolutely enjoyable and stress-free.

Once again, I would like to introduce you to another admirable poet whose use of imagery is impeccable and skill second to none: extraordinary Jane and her poems Walking with the Eagle , The silence in the woods and Images.

Up next, a challenge. You who had a chance to get to know me better know I don’t do award-related challenges any more, but since this one is different (and fun) and as I was nominated by my dear friends, people I’m irrevocably in love with and inspirational bloggers Alyssa (MS journey) and Susan and Wulf (poetry), I couldn’t say no. Let me remind you I’m a party breaker so I’m doing it on my own terms. You will get one quote only and I would be thrilled if you could add your favorite one in the comment section (everybody’s nominated). Mine is LOOSE LEAF POEM by brilliant Adrian Mitchell, which is something that resonates with me and can well serve as a quote:

My brain socialist
My heart anarchist
My eyes pacifist
My blood revolutionary

In the preface to his first volume, Poems (1964), he wrote: ‘Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.’ Let’s not ignore poetry and read poems that do not ignore us. Today I give you a man who held a torch in darkening times and a poem very dear to my heart:

 

THE CASTAWAYS OR VOTE FOR CALIBAN

A Pacific Ocean —
A blue demi-globe.
Islands like punctuation marks.
A cruising airliner;
Passengers unwrapping pats of butter.
A hurricane arises,
Tosses the plane into the sea.
Five of them, flung onto an island beach,
Survived.

Tom the reporter.
Susan the botanist.
Jim the high jump champion.
Bill the carpenter.
Mary the eccentric widow.

Tom the reporter sniffed out a stream of drinkable water.
Susan the botanist identified the banana tree.
Jim the high-jump champion jumped up and down and gave them each a bunch.
Bill the carpenter knocked up a table for their banana supper.
Mary the eccentric widow buried the banana skins, but only after they had asked her twice.

They all gathered sticks and lit a fire.
There was an incredible sunset.
Next morning they held a committee meeting.
Tom, Susan, Jim and Bill
Voted to make the best of things.
Mary, the eccentric widow, abstained.

Tom the reporter killed several dozen wild pigs.
Tanned their skins into parchment
And printed the Island News with the ink of squids.
Susan the botanist developed the new strains of banana
Which tasted of chocolate, beefsteak, peanut butter,
Chicken and boot polish.

Jim the high jump champion organized organized games
Which he always won easily.
Bill the carpenter constructed a wooden water wheel
And converted the water’s energy into electricity
Using iron ore from the hills, he constructed lamppost.
They all worried about Mary, the eccentric widow,
Her lack of confidence and her-
But there wasn’t time to coddle her.

The volcano erupted, but they dug a trench
And diverted the lava into the sea
Where it found a spectacular pier
They were attacked by the pirates but defeated them
With bamboo bazookas firing
Sea-urchins packed with home-made nitro-glycerin.

They gave the cannibals a dose of their own medicine
And survived an earthquake thanks to their skill in jumping.
Tom had been a court reporter
So he became a magistrate and solved disputes
Susan the Botanist established
A University which also served as a museum.
Jim the high-jump champion
Was put in charge of law enforcement-
Jumped on them when they were bad.
Bill the carpenter built himself a church,
Preached there every Sunday.

But Mary the eccentric widow…
Each evening she wandered down the island’s main street,
Past the Stock Exchange, the Houses of Parliament,
The prison and the arsenal.
Past the Prospero Souvenir Shop,
Past the Robert Louis Stevenson Movie Studios, past the Daniel Defoe Motel
She nervously wandered and sat on the end of the pier of lava,
Breathing heavily,
As if at a loss,
As if at a lover,
She opened her eyes wide
To the usual incredible sunset.