Carson Brooks:”Sometime During Eternity,” a Beat video

MTSU’s Carson Brooks is a multi-talented individual: an award-winning essayist, a musician, a Certified Personal Trainer at Campus Recreation, a poet, and, in this case, a creator of video. The video was made for an Introduction to Literature class in which Carson was enrolled in the spring of 2018. In an accompanying artist’s statement, Carson describes his creative process:

“I created a video for Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem ‘Sometime During Eternity,’ a sarcastic critique of some of the claims made about the life of Jesus Christ. I used footage from several films, all religious in nature, as well as several images and miscellaneous clips from Google images and Youtube. I edited the video using Wondershare’s Filmora program on my Windows 10 PC, and I recorded and edited my music and vocal recital of the poem in Audacity. I enjoy witty poetry, the kind that encourages smirking and prodding elbows to the few among the audience that really ‘get it.’ Poets from the San Francisco Renaissance such as Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg connect with me in a way that most mainstream poets don’t, and ‘Sometime During Eternity’ set my imagination running with ideas for my video project.

“I decided early in the editing process to use Jesus Christ Superstar to fulfill my visual requirements of Jesus and his crucifixion. The orange color palette perfectly suited the “ancient” context of the poem, signifying the aging of time, and most of the video reflects that, with exceptions for contrasting blue visuals that are commonly paired with orange. I certainly took some intentional risks, such as the rapid cuts of the news anchors and the split-second reference to Saint Peter, but I believe that my visuals appropriately communicated the dark comedy of the poem.

“I decided late in the editing process that an urgent, up-tempo jazz number could hilariously interact with a vaguely Allen Ginsberg-modeled delivery of the poem. I spent many hours listening to bebop and hard bop jazz, a subgenre that I wouldn’t otherwise listen to, only to discover a track belonging to the original soundtrack of an anime called Cowboy Bebop, a format that I wouldn’t otherwise watch. Having spent time in the past as an at-home amateur in both video and audio production, I knew that I would have to tinker with everything to make it fit well with the duration of the poem. I cut the song into several pieces that I could rearrange and edited them on top of my vocal recording, cutting a tenth of a second here or there to make everything flow correctly and sound natural.

The use of sound and video effects came spontaneously during the editing process. I considered my increasingly Beat-themed project, with its conversational delivery and jazzy score, and realized an additional element of that San Francisco Renaissance aesthetic could be easily implemented. A few downloads later and some audio editing and my video presents a casually lit cigarette as its introduction. Around halfway through the video, I decided to chase an urge to emphasize the line ‘or at least 1947 of them, to be exact’ with bold, stamped text that spins into a doomed film reel that burns away into an image of Christ. It compromised the delivery of the poem, not quite agreeing with how the lines of the poem are formatted, but it flowed well. Exploring comedic timing through matching my visual and auditory elements was my goal, and I am pleased with the final project.”

Carson Brooks
Carson Brooks

 

 

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Septic Purity: a poem by Angel L. Thurston

In this poem, Angel L. Thurston offers a verse variation of the Norwegian fairy tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”

Septic Purity

A pound on the door
revealed a bear,
His fur as white
as the fog in the air.
Before the peasant could
mutter a word,
the bear mauled the man
and wife, and every child
in the room,
except the one
who was young and fair.
She slept on a cot;
he drugged her soul.
Away he took her,
to a faraway kingdom.

When they arrived,
he gave her a silver bell.
When she rang it,
he pounced on her,
her body writhing beneath
his razor claws.
Her eggshell skin
gleamed with blood.
As she slept,
blood stained her legs.
She awoke and cried, and lit
a candle to see the pool.
Then she saw a man,
and tallow fell on his face.
The burn woke him
and he bruised her
tainted hips.

The next morning
she lay on grass.
Her body ached as
fresh blood emitted from
her weak body.
She came across three hags
who told her she was impure.
Each one gave the girl an item—
a golden carding comb,
a golden apple,
a golden spinning wheel—
to present to the queen
so the queen would make
the girl pure again.

East, west, south, north.
Each wind took her
closer to the castle
East of the Sun,
West of the Moon.
She presented each
golden item to the queen.
The vile lady turned away the gold,
but agreed to take away her impurity
if the girl were to kill her son.
In the prince’s chamber,
as night fell,
the girl slit his throat.
As she turned over the queen’s son,
she saw his lifeless face,
looking down at his horrid beauty,
and turned away as
his blood stained the white sheets.

Angel is an English major senior at Middle Tennessee State University. She will be graduating from MTSU on May 5, 2018. Angel’s first publication—the flash fiction piece Wintry Dreams—appeared in the 2016 anthology Wolf Warriors III, edited by Jonathan W. Thurston. Angel, inspired by her brother’s writing and the many books she read, has been writing since she was in the seventh grade. Her dream is to have a novel written and published—not for fame, but as an inspiration and guide to others. Along with her brother, her boyfriend David has been her greatest inspiration by encouraging her every step of the way, even when she was too depressed to return the gestures. Angel can be found reading children’s literature, young adult novels, or fairy tales in a local cat café, sipping away sweet coffee and petting cats (even though she has never done this, she is present there in soul, mind, and heart).

**feature image from MythDancer.blogspot.com

 

 

Mohamed Abotaleb: Charles Bukowski’s “Bluebird”

Mohamed Abotaleb is a sophomore Media and Entertainment major at MTSU. His video was produced, however, for an English 2030 class in the fall of 2017. His artist’s statement, below, doesn’t mention the fact it took five or six attempts (after many more practice readings) to capture just the right tone and emphasis in the audio recording. We think it was worth the effort!

“The video is based on the poem “Bluebird” By the famous American poet “Charles Bukowski.” Bukowski writes about the reality of the world, regardless of how harsh it is. The whole poem is a metaphor for his emotional struggle, and the blue bird he is talking about throughout the poem represents his personal struggle to express his true feelings. I chose this poem because I love poems that relate more to the real, harsh world we live in. Most times, I find myself or my close friends saying that they hide their true feelings about certain topics to avoid damage or anxiety. This poem tries to show the world and criticize the judgmental nature of our society, how it looks upon people, expecting them all to withdraw their feelings and assimilate into one large emotionless, mindless entity.

“Finding footage online that represented the feelings was quite challenging but truly worth the effort. I shot some of the video on my iPhone, which was quite convenient because I have it with me all the time. I wanted to capture something that related to the poem. I also used phone’s internal mic. It was good enough to capture my voice and filter surrounding noise. I edited the footage with Adobe Premiere and used music I previously bought from a music store. I hope you, as a viewer, connect with the poem and video emotionally, and hopefully the footage conveys the feelings the author intended.”

See more of Mohamed’s video work on his Vimeo account!

“Chimaera” a poem by Jaden Tabb

Chimaera

We are hybrid creatures.
Paupers and Princes,
Serfs and Kings.
We dine on gold,
Sleep in dirty sheets.
Counting quarters,
Driving cars.
Metal behemoths
With fire in their bellies,
Exploding them into the world
To the nearest McDonald’s.
We watch electric signals
Burst across a pane of glass,
Painting with colors more brilliant
Than the concrete world around,
While drinking two dollar beers.
We are lords of our own shit
Sitting on porcelain thrones
Devouring the world.
Are we more like gluttonous rulers
Gorging themselves at Royal feasts?
Or like the ravenous beasts
Starved of truth and fed with lies?

 

Jaden Tabb is a Fine Arts major studying graphic design at Middle Tennessee State University. He grew up in Hendersonville, Tennessee. His other passions include reading, writing, illustrating, and playing guitar and bass, as well as studying history, philosophy, science, and a multitude of other subjects. Jaden’s goal as a writer is to connect with other people and bring them together through language.

“The World is a Play” a poem by Bryce Bivens

 

THE WORLD IS A PLAY

I wear a harlequin mask, I cannot throw it away.

I dance around in robes and colored cloths,

In shoes with gold buckles and ringing bells.

I recite great verses and sacred psalms

The crowds applaud and cheer and the sounds ring in my ears.

I am on the stage, for the whole world to see,

And I am the toast of every ball

And I am the envy of every parade.

I sit upon my silvery throne,

I look down at the crowds, their eyes all a wondrous glow

With the joy they act out as they join in and sing,

But it is all a show, a simple play.

A performance acted out every day.

 

I wear a mask in every act and scene

Whether it frowns or laughs, or under it is a giggle or a sneer,

I have no choice but to put it on, anyway, every day.

Without it who would know my name?

I would be nothing but a wash up, wearing sackcloth,

The man the world stage threw away.

 

We wear our harlequin masks,

We cannot throw them away.

If we ever put them down, we would have no life, there would be no play.

The great show must go on.

So, let us put our faces on and sing.

***

Bryce Bivens is a Political Science student studying International Relations (Specializing in East Asia) and Japanese language at MTSU. He has lived in several states across America and in Australia, as well as having traveled to many countries.  He enjoys studying history, philosophy and politics, and his interests include outdoor recreation, gaming, science, and mechanics. Some of his favorite franchises are Star Wars, Warhammer 40k and Fantasy, Halo, the Sheanera series, and many others.

Indeed, his interests extend into many areas, including writing, wherein he specializes in science fiction and fantasy, which he loves most; he prefers to write short stories but dabbles in poetry.  He also is an amateur blacksmith learning the craft.