“Children, I said to her. For the first little while, they not exactly human, you don't find?”
Nalo Hopkinson

Sunday, January 1, 2012

52 Poems and Short Stories.

I was supposed to put this on another page, but it is not working out the way I planned.  It is moving to the front page of this blog.

"Suicide's Note" by Langston Hughes
The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.

I love, love, love, Langston Hughes.  I miss him too, although I don't see how a person can miss someone they've never met, and yet it's true.  I slept with him too you know.  Earlier this year I spilled pop on The Best of Simple, put the book under my mattress to flatten the warp, and forgot about it for six months.  So in a manner of speaking we have been in the bed together.  Wide Awake Jake won't like this.

So let's look at Hughes' brief, brilliant, and pithy poem.  How should the title be interpreted?  My first thought was the poem was written by a person who killed him or herself and left behind a note as an explanation.  Suicide is usually a consequence of depression and depression is exhausting, debilitating, and draining, so a person would want to feel better, but the title can also be read as an explication on what suicide desires as a separate entity.  Suicide is alive inside the person and has it's own needs, desires, and wants.

The face on the river personifies the river to the human allowing a connection to be created between the two of them.  The river is welcoming as if it has needs of its own.

Then I wondered if the repeated k sound would put the person or suicide into a trance of some sort if the words were repeated over and over.  Cool calm water and a kiss is soothing.  Could it be that the river helps to bring the thoughts with the k sounds into being?  What I mean is the river trying to pull the person into it?

After listening to a recording of Hughes reading the poem I think it was meant to be interpreted several ways.  All of this from three small lines.  Hughes did have an insight into suicide.  The poem was first published in 1925 in Vanity Fair.


"Ward Six" By Anton Chekov (1890-1904) was written in 1892 by a thirty-two year old Chekhov, and I can't figure out how such a young man had so deep an insight into human motives.  His writing seems more like truth than fiction. 

"Ward Six" examines the cause and effect of human nature. The story takes place in the mental institution of a small town in Russia. The friendship between a doctor and a patient leads to calamity.

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