Grey House – What the Heck am I Rambling About? #9

‘Grey House’ takes on the persona of a young child who eagerly goes into a new home, an apartment complex, with their mother. Rather quickly, the child becomes exposed to harsh realities and becomes disillusioned with the excitement of moving to a new place, and the conditions that led them there.

What the Heck am I Rambling About is a series of blog posts where I breakdown a work I have created and shared. You can read the poem here if you aren’t caught up!

Someone has commented that these series of blog posts and the Author’s comments section are going to be useful tools for HSC students in the future. A very flattering comment and I think when I did the HSC I would have loved it if the people I was writing about how done a blog series like that. Alas, the prescribed texts were all mostly dead white men.

Set out – almost barefoot. Along my journey

on the cigarette path, I met Crystal, Molly,

was tracked by a Dragon and became BFs with Mary Jane.

Stanza 5

There is only two stanzas that have the optimistic tone, perhaps misguiding the reader due to the child’s curiosity. When the child’s life starts to break down, she becomes systematically disempowered, first starting with the bare necessities such as electricity and then at school by teachers who punish them for being late, not at the fault of the child. Those who the child meets on the way aren’t people but the code names for different drugs. The child being Best Friends with Mary Jane (Marijuana) is a comment of how this unregulated use for people in such fragile states can act as a gateway drug. The reader can take away what that type of relationship would be for a young person. Is Best Friend also someone for life in this instance, denoting a pessimistic point of view that they cannot escape? Or, like a fleeting childhood friendship, will the child escape it eventually?

I had to leave that woman when I came of age.

For she said we’d be home by autumn’s end.

Stanza 6

When I Came of Age” is subjective. Does she mean when she became an adult? Or when the child could legally move on from her mother at the age of 16 (in many western countries)? Or perhaps when she realised when her mother wasn’t good for her. The term Autumn’s end is meant to symbolise that this move was supposed to be a grace period in the mind of the child. The excitement of a new place perhaps shadowed the permanency of such a living situation the child was not ready for. The line also shows that there was a desire to return to the past life, before the Grey House. However, like a great number of cases, this return isn’t always as conceptualised. Referring to her here as that woman is the last time she is given a gendered identity. When the mother becomes labelled as parent at the end, it is revealed that the child still conceptualises somewhat of a caretaker role, but not in the typical narrative of the maternal bonds.

She was neither the executioner nor the criminal

but the wife of the bread-thief.

Stanza 7

Throughout the poem, there’s no direct attack against the mother, just comments about the unruly life. As the child ‘grows up’ they become more aware of her mother’s context. The child expresses sympathy for her mother, which is captured in this line. The metaphor of the bread-thief alludes to their situation, which suggests that her previous father did petty crime to support their family, which has led to the current life. The mother was responsible for the situation or the person who created the situation. In the same way, the child is linked to her mother as they are not responsible. Although neither are deserving of the ‘Grey House’, they both end up in that life, a sad common tragedy experienced by people with similar hardships.

This poem has been heavily inspired by my social work experience. This is perhaps the most tangible of the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ collection. To leave you with some thoughts think:

  • What happens now to the girl? What happens to the mother?
  • Is this a cyclical life-event, like the season of Autumn? Or has the child realised their predicament and overcome it?

I hope you enjoyed this rambling and you can find some more ramblings below.

Grey House (Poem)

Website Version

Christos Floratos

 

Mommy asked me what I thought

of the Grey House.

So tall. Was all ours. Spring was a few seconds away.

Earth to sky. You could even see the clouds pass on by.

Mommy smiled when I jumped in glee.

 

Mommy asked me where the sky ended.

Why, at the top of our Grey House, of course!

And that’s where we went.

Right to the top, gazing where fans swirled, and birds lost all their feathers.

Mommy laughed when I said mine was what the light touched.

 

But the darkness was Mom’s own.

She had raged warfare before but nothing as

the campaign she waged on the phone.

There were many battles lost and Mom neither

 

won that war. The damned operators she wrestled.

The grey hut was starting to shamble

and the darkness of Mom’s words transfixed

themselves with the light bulbs,

and those showers thereafter returned the childhood achoos.

 

I was reprimanded for being late at school,

But mother was bedridden. What was I to do?

Set out – almost barefoot. Along my journey

on the cigarette path, I met Crystal, Molly,

was tracked by a Dragon and became BFs with Mary Jane.

 

I had to leave that woman when I came of age.

For she said we’d be home by autumn’s end.

But there I sat in

an apartment that made squalor shiver,

and a boyfriend here, and over there.

 

She cried when my departure loomed overhead.

She was neither the executioner nor the criminal

but the wife of the bread-thief.

I was the void between Venus and Mars,

Water and a pot-plant balcony garden constituted my celestial body.

 

That woman, her promise of a time yonder our

dilapidated apartment…

was a dream of hollow mines and sore minds.

Maybe I will return to her; she was my parent, after all.

This was an exodus much sooner than expected.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

‘Grey House’ – Poetry Sneak-peek (Autumn, That Bastard)

‘Grey House’ to be released Friday this week!

Exciting things are coming up! If you haven’t seen already, I am a part of a fundraiser called ‘Pen2Paper’, helping marganlised youth access creative writing workhops!

Support me here!

Follow me on twitter @Seductivetaco

Like my Facebook page @ Christoast Thoughts

Deity – What the Heck am I Rambling About? #8

Today we breakdown ‘Deity’, the 8th poem of the Autumn, That Bastard poetry collection. ‘Deity’ ponders not ‘who made the universe’ but rather, ‘who made me’. This is poem is in the Autumn that is the construction of my beliefs, values and my spiritual identity.

You can find Deity here before moving on!

Before I delve further into what I am rambling about, I have recently signed up for a fundraiser where I will will be writing 6 poems over a writing filled weekend to help get young people who are disadvantaged get into creative writing workshops! Donations of $15 will get you a PDF version of the 6 poems as a thank you!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/christoast

But Onto Deity!

In my Author’s Comments section, I talk about how these religions have moulded and constructed my values. However, in here, to continue with the theme of different interpretations of the same poem (as mentioned in ‘There, We’re Whispers’), I am actually using the deities named as representations of events and figures in my life.

“Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.”

The allusion I reference, to the compliment of the face and the reference to Cronulla is my boyfriend. Where all the trains meet is allusion to Central/City stations where me and my boyfriend have tended to meet up at. I liken it to God (shout out to Ariana Grande who does something similar with ‘God is a woman’) as God has been a consistent influence in my life.

“I found Buddha once in the closet of my mind.”

This is a reference to developing calmness to override instinct in my daily interaction. I have become more inclined and reflective in daily interactions since, and many of the typical values expected of Buddhism I have grown to appreciate.

“My teeth were hot and I was sick of faded rainbows.”

The comment about Vishnu and Hinduism, is a comment on polytheism which is an allusion to me emerging on the gay scene and experiencing the community. The faded rainbows imagery metaphorically represents the transition of acceptance from straight to queer.

“In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.”

In honesty, I have never considered adopting any other spiritual belief apart from my current view point, which is kind of agnostic. I have critiqued how western society (‘White’) has been so exclusionary towards Islam. The broken encore is a reference to how I will try to remain an ally for religious freedom, but how western society has probably heard my arguments before and engaged in this debate numerous times.

Are there any lines that piqued your interest? Let me know on my social media or in the comments below!

Other poems of the collection:

The Penelope Complex
There, We’re Whispers
Leviticus

Pen2paper Fundraiser Challenge! Donate to Help Young Voices!

I will be doing a fundraiser in May to support young voices!

I discovered the wonders of creative and imaginative writing when I was in Year 4. It changed my life to gain the ability to start telling wondrous tales, about the adventures my little toy figurines would go on – even if it was to myself. I appreciate what Story Factory (a non-for-profit creative writing centre for disadvantaged youth) does and see first hand the improvements in young peoples voices from the inner-city and Western Sydney area.

Please support my goal of $300!

I will be writing 6 poems from 6pm on the 23rd of May to 6pm the 26th of May in this Pen2Paper challenge. All poems will become available as a pretty PDF for donors as thank you to anyone that contributes $15 or more!

Please consider donating here!

For more information about Pen2paper:
https://pen2paper.org.au/

Thank you to my first donor, the wonderful James Teng!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/christoast

Deity (Poem)

Website Version with Author’s Comments Here

By Christos Floratos

 

I happened upon God once where the trains all meet.

Some untethered opera,

Some backwater near Cronulla.

Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.

 

I found Buddha once in the closest of my mind.

A certain harmony followed my shut eyes

Where charity chanced my unsullied temper.

A gleam into a thought that was most aqua, and of eucalypti.

 

I thought I saw Vishnu by the pond on my street, once.

Their gaze, of all of them, critiqued my bones.

My teeth were hot, and I was sick of faded rainbows.

But they all accepted… eventually. Smiled… forever.

 

I once pondered Allah,

In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.

Five pillars untouched yet unfound.

I had only a broken encore to share, nothing they hadn’t heard.

 

Once, I was one with the dream time.

A flurry red and black dots that

linked me from Dharug, Eora and Ku-ring-gai.

Some stories weren’t mine to keep, but mine to know.

 

I concluded, upon a time.

Sitting on dragonfly-ridden fields,

That a singularity was never enough to consider.

How these worlds birthed a supernova,

 

A conflux now limitless, enshrined in shine.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

There, We’re Whispers – What the Heck am I Rambling about? #7

There, We’re Whispers‘ is the first poem I wrote in the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ poetry collection. Originally titled “There Were Whispers” I revamped and remodelled it to focus on place rather than time. With that said, this type of poem I am more interested in what my readers perceive of it. I have mentioned ‘death of the author’ before, but this poem well and truly is a representation of that in the sense that I do not want to cast an image of what I think it is about.

Wooden Walls

Grey Jungle

Their doorstep

Humble Abode

Descriptions of place within the poem

Something really interesting I found is talking about why I changed the title so last minute. So ‘There Were Whispers’ focuses on time and ‘There, We’re Whispers’ focuses on place and individuals. Throughout the poem I refer to various places, but ‘humble abode’ denotes feelings of kinship and a homey feeling that has caused problems for the voice.

What are these problems though?

No, it is not that cold snap,
Nor is it that summer’s shimmer,
The houses left tender – just a whisper.
In howls of the past; here they entrap.

Rhyming Example

If you notice, the poem rhymes, stops in a peculiar place, keeps going and then ends without a rhyme. This is to symbolise rhythm with life once a previous assumption/pleasure is challenged. That we stop to think about it, try to move on with our lives but the activity/thing becomes irreparable moving forward.

Moving onto the last stanza, I want to talk about how it completely changed and how that affects the final meaning. Originally, it was meant to be:

There were whispers

and I was afraid.

Pre-production Last Stanza

Other than being a total rip-off ‘The Walking Dead’ comic issue, it felt like it did not serve the rest of the poem. Being afraid is only apparent if you make a few leaps and jumps over rivers of confusion in the poem. Being shameful is relevant with people asking who he is, the ‘spitting lights’ which casts imagery of him being lesser, the contrast with being salvation but also being Satan…

There, we’re whispers

And I followed that shame.

Published Last stanza

But as I say, I am a big fan of what people think! Do let me know what you think in the comments, social media, or even emails!

Thank you to everyone so far who has given comments and their thoughts on my writing! It has been a blast to read!

There, We’re Whispers

Website Version Here

By Christos Floratos

In grainy corridors calling distant lights

Where shadows erect pillars of blight,

The wooden walls beg down upon me,

And here I am left quaking at its fee.

 

No, it is not that cold snap,

Nor is it that summer’s shimmer,

The houses left tender – just a whisper.

In howls of the past; here they entrap.

 

Arsonists of hate and weavers of sorrow

They gather like dying moths to flickering toilet lights.

“Isn’t that him?” They whisper and spray,

With their stuttered voice and eyes disarray,

 

Like Satan is on their door step and all they can do

Is whisper and point at him.

The farmer of salvation dug deep in mud yet

No one utters a word to him.

 

Neon lights echo a howling gale through the grey jungle

Flashes flash as Utterers utter

“Tell us more.” They demand then hide,

However, they’ve been blinded by their gaze to the blaring sun.

Yet here I am in this humble abode,

Ants follow and sheep’s tune to anode

For you see,

It all came with one simple mist…

 

Because of those whispers

And those damn spitting lights

It shook me here in this necropolis disintegrating

And all those sheep are going,

And here in the back of the cities I must confess,

 

There, we’re whispers.

And I followed the shame.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

This is one of those ‘death of the author’ poems I alluded too that would come in this collection. I am so interested in what other people think this poem is about, so shoot me a message on my social medias or leave a comment below!

Other poems of the Autumn, That Bastard collection: