Monday, February 09, 2009

391. Poem "Unlatched, and In Isolation"

Yesterday, I met an enthusiastic Uklan environmental science-sociology student by the name of Chris Meehan, who is currently taking a class called "How to Change the World." We randomly met at the overpacked Starbucks in Westwood, Los Angeles. There was this other guy there who said--how random, what perfect timing you come to find a spot to sit down. The resource of "Study Space and Electrical Outlet" was indeed quite limited. Since I was deliriously lacking sleep, in addition to still wearing my "nice clothes" from the fisheries stakeholder meeting at Four Points (by the Los Angeles Airport)--in DOUBLE addition to still wearing my sticker saying "Hello, my name is... Victoria" with a cartoon fish next to my inking, I was very open and excited to random people right next to me, and fortunately it was Chris and this other random guy. We ended up talking about the cool How to Change the World Class--which I might be able to crash sometime this quarter--and we also discussed the dynamics of human interactions in big cities versus small towns. It's all about frequency of encounter and the familiarity effect. Small towns can be a bit too small and confining--"cabin feveresque" and large cities are by default constructing isolation and alienation. Chris said "I don't even know my neighbors," and for me, I know close to everyone at the "Hello-how-are-you" level on the lower side of my block by the park in Goleta. One day, when I make my own Starbucks-coffee-and-cigarettes movie, the conversation I had with Chris and Random guy was epic. I told Chris that if I took his Change the World course and had a project, it would be a project on "how to make the big city a small town" in a figurative sense of constructing a microcosmos of humanity in a cesspool of human flesh--live and dead. There is a massive graveyard conveniently right next to the school, afterall. Sicco.

I told Chris I would write a poem about the propensities of human relationships, the diffusion of human relationships in cities, and the closeness of relationships in smaller towns--which in some occassions, can be to a point of strangling. So... here goes the poem:

Unlatched, and In Isolation

It's hard to latch onto the humans
I pass by a million-and-one times
but don't even notice
or bother to notice
or have the capacity to notice
because I pass a million-and-one of them
All at once, all the same time
and I wished my wits could grasp
hold, maintain--care--

But the city mows my neurons down
and let the potential of colorful layers
slip through the gaps
between the mental mesh
to a cycled circle of isolation
the prison of meaningless bonds
and the question "why"
hides behind both my tonsils
only to make my voice

And if only the frequency of encounter
resounding familiarity of warmth and safety
and microcosmal trust
could breed within myself
through others
and through others
within my self.

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