Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Hoke’

326 Miles North

April 11, 2009 Comments off

Poetry Conversations, Part 4 of 4

He washes dishes downtown
and I can see him drown
the forks and spoons
spraying dinner plates
spinning steam like cocoons.

His 17 year old frame
tight knit sinew speaks to muscle
bears the weight of the world’s hustle
built for highs school hallways
literal lightning of broad shoulders
force summer sun comparisons always
shirtless shinings as he subtlety flexes his
brotherly bravado
testing, chest to chest.

I love him.
I love him.
I love him.

Esau demanding that Jacob
put to rest the grudges of youth
snapping the fraternal yards stick
hands soft but quick
refusing to notch my claim against the wall
of family history.

9 years.
9 years between birth and new birth.
He watched as I two stepped first
waiting like shovel
poised over new earth
mitigated mirth
so he too
could shirk the lazy burden of youth
tucked deep into rural reckonings of
blueberry farms, convenience stores
and suburban family dysfunction.

I took flight
for academic ease at seventeen leaving
the day to day of sibling laughter
my eyes already tired from
the weight and heat of home
but he waited
like a crepe paper balloon
hollowed out as elastic dreams
popped and shriveled
spun and swiveled
boyishly battled with unraveled seams.

He waited.

until adolescent hurt
simmered to righteous anger
at the people, places and things
that had made fraudulent claims
about how sons should be raised.

And now
I wait as he waits
watching as taciturn toes
tap and turn towards the tide
the inevitable gravitational pull
towards the feather strong feel of
light and orbiting inertia
standing on the edge of precipices
so ordinary and so dangerous they
shimmer like electrified copper pennies.

I wait as he waits
for some dark night
when adult agility will knock at his window
calling to war
swift strings of real romance and
hands that are ready to heal.

But now
he leans against a full sink
waits without knowing he’s waiting
co-creating, washing dishes downtown
I can see him drown
the forks and spoons
spraying fate in the face
and spinning steam like cocoons.

by Ryan Hoke
Music by Ryan and Andy Anderson, Wild Goose Creative

Download the MP3

Process notes

Andy was especially involved on “326 Miles North” in creating the entire guitar line underneath. (For additional process notes, see Part 1.)

Him or Me

March 31, 2009 Comments off

Poetry Conversations, Part 3 of 4

I realize now that it was a big mistake
to purchase a Zebra sight unseen.
More caution was necessary,
and I’d been foolish to make such
a large transaction on the internet
with a company that I didn’t even know.
The animal was delivered in a large crate
that could only be opened with a crowbar,
giving the delivery vehicle plenty of time
to get away, as I didn’t have a crowbar
handy at the time of the delivery.
When I finally got the crate open after
a half hour of banging and swearing,
I immediately realized that the so-called
“zebra” was in fact a horse that had been
painted to look like a zebra.
Poorly painted, I might add,
as there was paint slopped everywhere,
some of which wasn’t even completely dry.
Not that it wasn’t a very nice horse,
probably a thoroughbred from the
look of him. Worth more than I had
paid perhaps, but I didn’t want a horse,
I wanted a Zebra. That was what I
had ordered. Referring to the internet
receipt, I called the customer service number
and instead of unhelpful call center workers
got an adult chat hotline. Surprisingly,
they were of no help either, even after I explained
the whole situation to them.
Disappointed, I went back outside
and found the horse eating all of my flowers.
He’d already made a huge mess in my driveway
and kicked in the driver’s side window of
my car. He had quite a temper, which was
understandable because he was likely upset
about having been painted to look like a zebra,
when he was obviously a horse.
We’d both been deceived, that was for sure,
although I still don’t know who was worse off
for it, him or me.

by Andy Anderson
Music by Andy and Ryan Hoke, Wild Goose Creative

Download the MP3

(For process notes, see Part 1.)

Life Lessons

March 18, 2009 2 comments

Poetry Conversations, Part 2 of 4

My tiny fist disappeared
into the horse’s nostril.
Before I knew what I was doing
I had plunged my hand wrist
deep into that soft round,
perfectly fist shaped opening.

The horse snorted
and glanced at me
as if to say “The hell was that?”
and Chip, the Toronto zoo horse trainer extraordinaire
said something like “uh…whoa..easy there little buddy.”

Six year old violates horse nostril on first trip to Canada.

Two days previous my family had
sling shotted over the boarder
and into the Ontario wilderness
straight stretches of flat road.
In our pockets
my sister and I clutching the Canadian quarters
my father had gifted us.

American dreaming,
kindergarten king of the back seat,
my sister and I slept on a dusty mattress
in the back of our brown station wagon.

The same brown station wagon
that every nuclear family from 1979-82
seemed to have been issued.
Like it was a government sponsored program,
an exercise in hegemony,
for the families of our great nation to all own
the same awkwardly geared , wood veneered, chocolate seared
elephantine, gas greedy shrine
chunk of metal
and suburban optimism.

100 degree heat
we sweated in the morning sleep
and trundled to the Toronto zoo.
I remember there were foot prints
painted on the pavement indicating
“Walk here. Don’t veer off to the left.
There are lions to the left and you will be eaten.
Stick to the footprints.”

Days end, one horse nostril later,
100 degree heat reduced to 85,
tightly squeezed in the zoo tram transport
main entrance to battle scarred car,
my father taught me about the middle finger
how I shouldn’t single it out,
shouldn’t press it against the widow
innocently greeting shocked Canadians.

I was only enjoying the finger feeling
of the rub haltingly squealing on the hot pane
the sound of it squeaking, creaking
against the smooth glass.
But I’m sure in that moment
I looked like just another American.

Already my time abroad
was teaching me valuable life lessons
maturing innocence and forever changing
the way I looked at middle fingers
a secret dirty word hidden inside each one.

by Ryan Hoke
Music by Ryan and Andy Anderson, Wild Goose Creative

Download the MP3

(For process notes, see Part 1, “American Way“)

American Way

March 3, 2009 2 comments

From Poetry Conversations, Part 1 of 4

Somewhere on the prairie,
A bison is learning to use an axe.
He is not good at it.
He has no opposable thumbs,
So he can’t really swing the axe with much
Accuracy. Plus he keeps on trying to eat the handle,
It is made of wood, and for some reason
Looks delicious to the bison, even though
Most bison eat grass. After being distracted
By the delicious looking handle for the
Umpteenth time, the bison finally manages
To get a good clean swing in.
The trick is putting the handle in
The mouth, not for eating but for holding,
And whipping the head around.
Now that the bison has learned
To use the axe, he realizes
With the little brainpower
That he possesses, that there is nothing
To cut down on the prairie.
The bison has finally learned the American way:
Learning a skill that has no practical application.
He might has well have learned to
Juggle chainsaws.

by Andy Anderson
Music by Andy and Ryan Hoke, Wild Goose Creative

Download the MP3

Process notes

Last Spring we had the idea to work together collaboratively on some poetry. We’d been reading each others work for a while but wanted a project we could work on together. We began sharing poems back and forth like a conversation, letting the last poem sent by one serve as a starting place for the next poem written by the other. To raise the stakes we gave each other a 72-hour time frame to be inspired, write something new, and respond.

It was interesting because our styles were very different at the outset — one of us tends toward the more absurd and delineated (Andy) while the other works more with the idea of straightforward storytelling and rhythmic language (Ryan). The four poems that will appear in qarrtsiluni comprise a section from the beginning of the process, where we were still figuring out how to respond to one another and very much using the styles we were used to. However, over time we began to learn how to explore each other’s styles and found our methods changing in response to one another, slowly drawing out previously unexplored nuances, themes, and styles.

Next, since the pieces we write are meant to be performed, we decided to choose several poems and add some original beats and music. This was an entirely new collaborative process for us as well — jointly discussing and choosing which tempos and rhythms worked best, creating new music as needed (Andy) and getting a crash course on music software (Ryan).

This collaboration is ongoing and has been a great source of creative inspiration and artistic accountability, giving us the opportunity to generate a good chunk of new work but also to be open to being influenced and changed by each other.

%d bloggers like this: