I hate waiting. I find myself growing more and more impatient while I wait, literally, while I wait for anything. I might be waiting at the doctor’s office, waiting for an email response or waiting for a page to load. I know; I’m spoiled. In Costa Rica, I could barely stay in contact with folks back home because to send an email, via dial-up, there was agony, especially when an infinity of good waves was rolling in just outside the local media hub. If I post on Instagram, and it takes more than a second to load, a breeze of annoyance brushes my brain. I grew up with dial-up. How impatient are my students? They must be far more impatient than me.
In this context, I teach writing. How can I expect them to analyze a journal article? How can I expect them to write a full sentence on other sentences? I imagine they wonder why they can’t write a response paper as a post on Blackboard.
Ironically, as impatient as I’ve become, I am still a writer, a poet. I like writing poetry because instead of using words to create sentences, I use words to create quick images and emotions. I think, my poetry functions like a post! An edgy, highbrow poet, Walter Lew, introduced me to the speed of multi-media poetry, in particular, Young-Hae Chang’s Heavy Industries http://www.yhchang.com/. These pieces are faster than posts or Instagrams. The words and phrases flash before the viewer/reader. The works are cerebral, poetic, musical and competitively fast-paced, an actual challenge to the contemporary college student’s mind. These pieces transcend beyond the realm of reading, into the realm of experience or personal incident. There is no time for notes; there is only time for encounter and reaction. Multi-media work such as a Heavy Industries piece will enable automatic critical thinking and provide an enticing entrance to a writing response, as demonstrated by my own response:
Choosing a Heavy Industries piece to write on is like choosing a butterfly wing to film. Butterfly wings can all be described and categorized closely. Each wing flaps extraordinarily fast. Each wing depicts bright shapes. Each wing evolves in the same way. Though each wing has comparable traits, like a Heavy Industries piece, a butterfly wing is also unique and different from all the rest. How did I select Beckett’s Bounce? I chose it the same way I would the wing: favoritism. Arbitrary and without science, favoritism can powerfully impose division and structure. Indeed, of the poems I watched and listened to, Beckett’s Bounce is my favorite.
Beckett’s Bounce is a flurry of surreal and erotic occurrences, yet unlike the other pieces I viewed, amidst the disregard for reality, Beckett’s Bounce conveys a linear almost plot-like structure. The chronological sequence includes a transaction of poetic flattery, a nonstandard sexual escapade, and an afterglow ending. If one decides the piece is dreamlike, it may be assumed that this is the speaker’s subconscious idea of fun: a romp in a brothel with a favorite writer.
Though it carries the burden of story throughout, it does not stray from the Heavy Industries blueprint. The piece remains loyal, displaying rigorous synchronism with jazz music, depicting words and phrases that eventually develop into sentences and then complex ideas. Young-Hae Chang’s style does not allow the viewer/reader/listener time to think or react or analyze. The words are flashed extraordinarily fast to the beat of music. One is daunted by the task of holding on for their life just trying to catch the next phrase. This turns Beckett’s Bounce into a legitimate experience, as real feeling as a thick dream deep in the night. There is no time to think, “Hey, Beckett’s dead,” or “Hey, he never drove a cab,” or “Hey, how do you know he liked to chomp on a prostitute’s ass.” It is what it is, and like a dream that one helplessly sleeps up, it is unstoppable and nearly real.