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!
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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.
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!
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:
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!
For more information about Pen2paper:
Thank you to my first donor, the wonderful James Teng!
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
Recent times I have heard many differing opinions on the Acknowledgement of Country. Opinions such as why/if it should be done at meetings and when it is done.
Sometimes that it happens too much. Sometimes that it happened before and as such, not needed to happen afterwards.
If you are unsure what an Acknowledgement of Country is, it is a way to pay respect to the indigenous people who are the custodians of the land. You can see an example of one, that is very vague and all identifying, in the footer of my website.
Needless to say, if I have the desire to include it in my footer, I probably think it’s a big deal whether it’s included or not. And you are right! I think it is an extremely important way of reflecting on my sense of being, a way to communicate my values of indigenous rights and to build continual discourse on how we should be treating our indigenous friends.
In a class recently, I asked the question for a presentation if the lecturer would like us to do an Acknowledgement of Country, so it is embded with our presentation practice. (Social Work and Indigenous peoples unit just to clarify).
I thought this was a clear cut yes, but an opinion was held that perhaps one should be done at the beginning as it could potentially take up too much time for our 10-minute presentations.
If you want a practice of how long it takes, try reading out my acknowledgement of country.
acknowledge the indigenous people as the traditional custodians of the land that I work and gain knowledge on. I would like to pay my respects to Elders past, present and future .
I read this out, timed myself, slipped up on saying ‘traditional custodians’ and it took me under 10 seconds. In our 10-minute presentations, if 10 seconds can’t be given (15 maybe because i’m a fast reader) to pay respects to the longest living culture and the culture that has been subject to ‘fourth world’ conditions (Dyck, 1985), then there is a bigger semantic error that we must address in the ways we talk.
Another issue which I did not personally experience, but people have mentioned was at a cultural facilitation event. The company provided training about multiculturalism without doing an Acknowledgement of Country. The justification was that they had done it at the beginning of the year, one time.
Perhaps the intended audience of the workshop are incorporeal beings that know not the strings of time and fluctuate across the eons, searching for that one time that one white guy presented an acknowledgement of country, Jeremy Bearimy style (THE GOOD PLACE SPOILER)
Now without throwing in Doctor Who or a Delorean into the mix, we gotta understand the tokenism that comes with such a statement. To say ‘we did one already’ is another way for indigenous people to be told to ‘get over it’. It treats the act as if it is the really poorly written and unfunny bestman speech at a wedding, before the festivities (idk how weddings work tbh). That it’s something to get out of the way. Thats what both of these comments suggest.
And I hope by making this post, I try to point out that it shouldn’t be a one-time thing. That akin to New Zealands Haka, this respect should be ingrained with our national identity.
But what do you think of the Acknowledgement of Country? Particularly, I am interested in indigenous voices and if i get enough discussion with this, then I may make a follow up post. Feel free to hit me up on my social medias or by commenting.
‘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.
Humble AbodeDescriptions 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,Rhyming Example
Nor is it that summer’s shimmer,
The houses left tender – just a whisper.
In howls of the past; here they entrap.
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!
I wanted to write a few words in support of International Transgender Visibility Day! As a social worker interested in LGBTQIA+ issues and working in those spaces, I try promote issues relating to the trans experience in my practice. As a writer/reader, I appreciate stories such as ‘Julian is a Mermaid’ that show and validate the trans perspective.
But even though books like Julian is a mermaid are important, I also love stories that include transgender and gender diverse characters, without making that their whole characterisation and goal of a story.
You need only look on this Wikipedia Article to see how important and prominent diverse gender identification is, not just our euro-centric construction. Particularly two groups I have studied of note are the Bugis of Indonesia and the Sistergirls/Brotherboys of ‘First Nations’ people.These two groups don’t even use the label of transgender and these types of gender-diversity has existed for a long time.
To further promote this visibility, I want to present Seishun (Emily) and her new track ‘hello to the sunshine’, which is quite an uplifting song!
I’m loving this track and if you want, please consider supporting my friend’s musical endeavours here:
Please continue this visibility, by including transgender issues in your works, by being an active ally and even in the smallest way. Even by just saying hello to the sunshine!
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:
In ‘The Penelope Complex’ I use the character from Homer’s Odyssey to draw comparisons and reflect on my own fidelity to the craft of writing and my own literary identity.
As promised in the author’s comments section, I will expand upon the River Nile and Styx reference. Although this comes from Egyptian mythology, I also use Biblical mythology along with the more poignant Greek Mythology to represent the conflux of my personal writing identity. When writing, I often feel I need a period of going down a metaphorical ‘River Styx’ to get me to flourishing and blooming, similar to the bounties of the flood that the Nile produces. Usually though, it is hard to articulate this.
But who am I to suggest such a flow
A stream of vacant words is all I know
The most obvious reference to Penelope is about me standing tall and waiting for sailors. I say I usually wait for the right idea, wait the right prose to hit me, wait until I have free time to end up writing… but, yes you guessed it, that’s a lie. Focus is usually hard that erupts in life and usually I miss chances that I could use to further hone in on my craft. The cave I refer to that other sailors, which are interchangeable with other authors or other ideas for writing I might have, go to is a metaphor isolation that is often paired with the hobby of writing. Similar to that of a grave, which is why I use the rhyming scheme of grave/cave.
I wait, wait, wait. But wait, that’s a lie.
The alliteration of ‘typewriter’s’, ‘tent’ and ‘temporary’ attempts to produce the feeling of short-lived moment, such as the purpose of ‘tent’ and the nostalgia of writing on a ‘typewriter’. Unlike Penelope, I make the remark saying that I am unable to wait, calling back on the Adam reference in the last stanza with the rib. The quickie exorcist is reference to trying to find ways to revive old stories, that have been lost to my own dedication to my craft. Stories, characters and entire worlds I have cast aside to remain loyal to a specific piece of work. Below, I do see grass in terms of fertility of ideas but remaining forward, I will be burdened by not being able to tap into everything I would love to work with.
More ghosts undulate through this hall everyday
Scoured by a quickie exorcist who shall prey.
Thank you for getting down here and getting to know a little bit more of what I am rambling about. If you have any interpretations for yourself, I would so love to hear them in the comments or in my social medias!