Whisperings: A Decade of Poems by Jenny Katherine Luu

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I last posted on here.  I apologize for my inactivity as I have been focused on other projects this past year (with one of them being compiling a book of poems).  As of yesterday, I have launched a new blog for my Poetry Collection at www.whisperingsbyjkl.com and plan to post to that on a weekly basis both before and after the release of my book in August 2014.

Publishing a poetry book by the time I was 30 has always been a goal of mine and I’m excited that I’m getting close to accomplishing my dream.  For me, poetry is a way to express my thoughts and emotions without leaving myself completely vulnerable to prying ears.  Through vivid imagery and angelic rhythm, I can connect with others to communicate universal human emotions.

The poems that you will read in this collection were written in my 20’s, which encompasses my college years and the years after graduation (as I start to make my mark on the world).  Through these poems, you will see a young lady discover herself, discover what it means to be a woman, and start to develop an opinion on the world.

I invite you to visit this blog and join me in my poetic journey.

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An Excerpt from 2006

Do you ever find yourself going back in time to discover the coolest things?  Sometimes when I go through old material, such as stories, poems, and journal entries that I’ve written, I discover a piece of my past.  Often, I have forgotten this piece of me, of the beliefs I held during that time and of the emotions I was going through.  Looking back, I realize I still believe in the same things, yet somehow, I’ve forgotten to make it a priority.

While going through old material to compile poems for my upcoming poetry book, I stumbled upon this interesting journal entry that I’ve written for a Creative Writing class.  Here is the except that really spoke to me.

One sleepless night, I came up with an awesome analogy, which has become my new philosophy.  Life is like a short story.  You need to have conflict, tension, connections and disconnections in order to experience triumph.  Sometimes I wished my life was perfect, but I really don’t want it to be because then it would be boring, like Happy Ending story 1 – they live, they fall in love, get married, and die.  I’d rather have the rollercoaster ride because when it goes down, I’ll have something to look forward to.  What comes down will ultimately go up again, ’tis the bittersweet cycle of life.

Writing is self-expression in that it is like a diary.  You can vent about life without being completely vulnerable because all your qualities and faults are placed in your characters.  You are free to alter the truth and let your characters be someone you’re not and believe in something you don’t.  That’s why I love fiction.

 

Nothing in Particular: Part 3 – Prose

The following short story is a flash fiction piece that I wrote back in 2006, which I really enjoyed.  It was based on a previous poem that I had written.  I had always wanted to combine poetry and prose in some fashion.  This piece was also meant to be a sort of vignette, where the images and descriptions speak for themselves without having to have some ultimate meaning.  The reader can take out of it what he will.  After writing it, I realized that it was kind of like a Neil Gaiman piece.

Nothing in Particular

Rain falls in a diagonal motion, wetting ground, watering plants, falling into puddles, making ripples in the pond. Outside, little boys in blue raincoats are chasing paper ships down the waterway. The elderly Mrs. Chan dressed in white, burns paper houses in a black cauldron for her dead husband. It has been a long night. The crow watches a raindrop slip off the golden leaf and disappear with a plop.

A moment of silence, and then the rain pounds harder, like translucent daggers hammered into doors. The crow flies off into the night, passed the children, passed the wooden house, passed the naked slithering worms, into the cemetery with Gothic gates where people are engaged in a ritual dance. Singing, shouting, dancing around and around, arms in the air, with the beating of drums. Crosses, crosses everywhere, there are angels too, all over the tombstones. R.I.P.

The crow flies off, passed the lovers skinny-dipping in the lake with moonlight glistening on their skin, passed the restless, thrashing waves, passed the fallen tree, occasionally dodging the wire-like thunderbolts, only to land on the sill of a barred window at the insane asylum. With his dark little pupils, he watches, waiting, anticipating … the scream.

The woman has her back to him. Her long black hair falls down her thin nightgown in a tangled mess, until the tips touch the floor. She stares at the granite wall, as if mesmerized. She counts: 1, 2, 3, until she reaches 13, and turns around. She is pale with sunken eyes and high cheekbones. There are cracks in her red lips. Upon seeing the crow, she screams and screams and SCREAMS!

Her voice drowns out the drip, drip, drip of the leaking faucet in the corner of the room. Her face is contorted in pain. Her eyes reflect the flickering light of the candle that sits on the nightstand. The crow does not flinch, but simply stares back.

The screaming stops as the woman brings her index fingers to her lips and kisses it.
“Shh …,” she whispers, “breathe in, breathe out.” Her chest rises and falls, rises and falls. All over the world, awake or asleep, people are breathing a harmonious song of nature. She spreads out her arms, as if to fly, and twirls around in circles at a steady pace.

“This is our moment, a special moment in time,” she whispers. She throws back her head and cackles, jumps up and lands sprawled on the floor. She slowly bites her finger until a trickle of blood appears.

“Shh…,” she whispers, gently putting down her bleeding finger on the cold cement. She writes in the flickering candlelight with the crow perched on the windowsill and the moon shining behind. There are no stars tonight, and she is no van Gogh. When her writing stops, she blows out the candle and the crow flies off. What does she write?

Nothing, nothing in particular.

Nothing in Particular: Part 1 – Poetry

Have you ever wondered what was happening in various parts of the world at one given time?  Wouldn’t it be interesting to catch glimpses of people’s lives, without really knowing who they are or where they will go?  Maybe it wouldn’t mean anything to you and you’d just be a spectator.  You’d feel something, maybe connect with someone through watching them, and then the moment will pass and you’d go back to living your life.  It’ll be nothing really, nothing in particular that you’d remember or feel after the fact.

This was the idea of a poem that I wrote a few years ago, in which I had the random desire to write a poem with some nice imagery, but nothing in particular, really. =)

Nothing in Particular

Cheerful laughter in the rain,
the pure glee
of unsuppressed emotion
is the beauty
of childhood.

But boys become men
and rain turns to ice.

The thunderstorm rages,
rattling the doors
of the silent house.

A stifled laugh,
a muffled cry,
a footstep, an echo,
a silent scream
from a recurring dream.

Never ending,
the candle burns,
the water leaks.
On the floor,
bloodstains
and broken glass.
Was it a break in
or a break out?

“Breathe in,
breathe out,”
said the yoga instructor.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Two breaths become one,
A consummation of love…

“Breathe in, breathe out,”
said the doctor.
A push, a cry…

The world is vast,
and we are but a speck –
A day, a month, a year,
a moment in time –
Nothing,
nothing in particular.

When I submitted this piece for a Poetry Writing class, my professor suggested that I edit it to be more profound.  He wanted more solid images, more showing versus telling, and he wanted the ending to make more sense.  This is the revised piece.  When I first wrote it years ago, I thought it was OK, but I preferred the original better.  Now when I read it again, years later, I can appreciate how the edited poem is more literary, more professional.  However, I still prefer the original poem better because it is more of my style and captures the idea of what I was going for, which is the complete randomness of a given moment in time.  Here is the revised poem, so you can judge for yourself.

Nothing in Particular (Revised)

Rain falls on the ground,
a diagonal motion,
as flowers sprout and weeds grow,
pink worms slither on cement.

The pounding water echoes
the children’s laughter.
Boys sail paper ships
in muddy puddles,
lovers skinny-dip in the lake.
A blue and yellow night
where moonlight reflects
off matted hair, embracing flesh
and soaked clothes cling to skin.

A thunderstorm rages,
rattling the doors
of the silent house,
where the clock has stopped,
but the candle burns.
Water leaks
on the floor,
bloodstains
and broken glass.

A kaleidoscope of colors
behind closed eyes.
“Breathe in,
breathe out,”
said the yoga instructor.
Dancing stars and butterflies.
“Breathe in, breathe out,”
said the doctor.
A push, a cry…
A word is vast.