Copyright ÂŠ 2014 by Michael Obermuller. All rights reserved. The first work by Michael Obermuller.
Duo Mentēs Michael Obermuller
“Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.” – George R.R. Martin
Table of Contents Critical Preface
I: De Frāternitātem The Places I Go
Man with the Plan
The Direwolf Named Ghost
4 Pennsylvania Plaza
II: De Amor The Time Arthur Grant Almost Saw Nessy
Gifts to Get Your Soon to Be Ex-Sweetheart
Critical Preface for Duo Mentēs, by Michael Obermuller By Dylan Pendergast
When reading the works of Michael Obermuller, there is no doubt that his words derive from two separate minds. Obermuller works themes into his poems that touch on the undeniable principles of humanity, while keeping humorous and at times soothing tones bringing forth a cool blissfulness through his words. His range in both style and topics is dramatically vast exposing the two minds that spew out Obermuller poetic words. In his first collection of poems Duo Mentēs, he works in the themes of love and brotherhood, primal themes that have been with us since the dawn of humanity. Obermuller’s genius doesn’t come from the themes he injects into his poems, but from the way his poems alter the meaning of his themes. The cool blissfulness that he alters his language with is the same cool blissfulness he injects into the themes of love and brotherhood, giving them new life and meaning. Obermuller’s title has depth that cuts down into whoever reads his work. Obermuller’s poems are not the only entity made up of two minds, we all are. We all have more than one mind, more than one personality, more than one goal driving us. Obermuller’s collection of poems is as much a collection of voice and mind. The quote that Obermuller chose to start off his book couldn’t be more perfect. He quotes George R. R. Martin, creator of the Song of Ice and Fire series, of which ghost and John Snow are a part of. Obermuller channels these two characters to express themes of brotherhood and how far that can extend, from person to person, or from person to wolf. But there is far greater significance to the quote Obermuller chooses to introduce us to his work. “Winds and words. We are only human.” Through the power and style of 2
Obermuller’s words he proves that being ‘only human’ isn’t something that can be brushed off as insignificant. “And the gods have fashioned for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.” He uses the theme of love throughout his poem because he’s knows how it is both beneficial and detrimental to our being, He know that it is both significant and insignificant at the same time, and he exposes this through his language and style in subtle smooth fashion. Obermuller’s first poem ‘Duo Mentēs’, exposes the two minds within himself, and within these poems. His mind is impossibly spilt between brotherhood and love, shunning and upholding each element equally. Obermuller is not the only person guilt of having a split mind. We are all guilty of this, and it’s nothing to feel guilty about. That is what works great with Obermuller poems. There is a constant sense of calm within his poems. And from poem to poem his calmness either has an intensity of a soothing feel that only preserves the identity of Obermuller’s two minds. His next poem ‘The Place I Go’ shows the humanity within Obermuller. Even he is vulnerable to the outside world, even he needs a place to go, physical or not, where he can be closer to the warmth of the sun. Then there’s poem like ‘Man with the Plan’. Here Obermuller’s funny side pokes through when he exposes the irony to the ‘going out routine’ that we’ve all gone through at some point in our lives. And of course one of my personal favorites, ‘The Direwolf Named Ghost’. Obermuller personifies brotherhood through one of the greatest brotherhood’s I’ve ever known; a Stark and their wolf. Through this poem Obermuller fuses moods of intensity and epicness,
while dosing his words with widely recognized and widely loved pop-culture, all while keeping the theme of brotherhood alive and strong. Obermuller then transfers to the mind of love. Through these poems we see that love has many natures. Obermuller shows us that love can be challenging, demanding, rewarding, while making us laugh at the same time. His last poem ‘The Platinum Life’ resembles that of a CD, but a story of a CD is not the story Obermuller is telling us with this poem. He’s telling the story of human love. We love, we lose, and we love again. Partners come through and pass by leaving their mark, which we either look back on in joy or regret. The beauty in Obermuller’s poems is not found in the style and language he chooses to bring life to his work, but through the way his poems comment on life. Obermuller knows that there are aspects we all live through, aspects that control our being, and with his poems he gives a voice to these aspects hoping that they will be heard.
Duo Mentēs It was a lot different before, some might say simpler even. No girl, living day by day as part of a pack— The first time I saw her beauty, I seemed to go through a transcendence that washed away any anger and ill behavior— My friends all I had, watching out for them as they watched out for me. Simpler maybe, but dull— We talked that whole night, although my memory suffered from the full force of intoxication, making the subject manner absent in my recollection— Don’t get me wrong I loved the lifestyle, lived for it… still live for it. But there was still a certain longing— From there it moved quickly, part of me was recovering from a recent heartbreak, but the other half was forgetting faster than I could think back— Not a longing for a change, or even a specific person. I think I just needed someone to care for me, more than anything else— Before I knew it, I cared for her more than anything else. People told us we were perfect together— 6
After meeting a girl, our relationship had gone great for some time, before we came across our first problem— But we do have our fights just like any couple. Nothing I need to get into, now that we’ve moved past it— I was spending more time with my friends than her, something I’ve always done that became more apparent recently— I finally admit to knowing love, before I had only met her doppelgangers… mischievous creatures— I didn’t want the single life anymore, but losing it came with an unexpected withdrawal— but this time I’m sure, with this girl I can think ahead, looking forward to the future while enjoying the present— Now I know the balance can be hard, but I also know my brothers will always be there, which is why I put them first. Now I know the balance can be hard, but I also know she will always be there, which is why I put her first.
I De Frﾄ》ernitﾄ》em
The Places I Go Thereâ€™s a place I go with cool wind and no snow, where radiant rays bronze my skin and tranquility lifts me on its wings so I may be closer to the warmth of the sun, where in the distance sparrows and waves form a harmonious orchestra creating a symphony that washes away all concern, where the sky and ocean seem to blend and the temperature is seamless, where the only work done is by my chair, providing me with absolute comfort, where I feel complete and utter freedom and cut down the blocks that constrict my pen, where thought isnâ€™t something I have to force, flowing like a waterfall that crashes down and explodes in an idea, something more valuable than anything material, where I can harness this mental dexterity, even if no one else ever sees it, where there is a population of one, with no directions or maps that can find it, because itâ€™s a place I go, and only I could tell you how to get there.
Man with the Plan They look to me with perked up ears, I know they need a plan. To lead is not the thing I want, the crown seems too heavy. My friends just want some girls, the goal of any guy, but then they all get sad, if fate’s not on their side. I try my best to shift the role, and leave my friends to find their way; some nights I just cannot be the savior, it ruins my day. I have to send out texts that say, Can I bring my six friends with me? And then, Yeah, they’re all guys. I wish they would give plans to me, oh well we all have roles in life. God must have made me giver and taker of vaginal opportunity amongst my friends, and yes that’s such a thing. More of a wingman than any Red Bull commercial could describe. The expression FTB was created after me. “For the boys,” a code I live by too often, especially when it upsets my girl.
The Direwolf Named Ghost I was recently separated from him, another ghost left beyond the wall to search an endless white abyss. A ghost, drifting, alone with the ghosts of murdered Wildlings and Crows, their bodies unburned. Blood stains the dead wood around me but it cannot touch me, it cannot stain a ghost. I think about my owner, the first moment I saw him I could tell he was a ghost, and I think he knew I was too, both of us the ghosts of our kin, unseen, undetected. He calls me this, “Ghost.” I even have the pigment of ghosts as I blend with snowfall. He hides it better in appearance, but his name tells what he is, “Snow.” “Ghost,” we are one and the same, cast out to hunt alone, Valyrian steel, Direwolf fangs, we hunt alone as ghosts, always waiting and watching until the moment we strike, my prey seeing only ghostlike floating red eyes before I bite. A bite from a ghost, normally not deadly but after all I am a different kind of ghost, my bite is lethal, my bite is fatal. 12
I was always meant to be a ghost, even more so than Snow, my brother dying with his brother because they wanted to be seen, but now only a ghost can avenge their ghosts, back on the hunt, I lurk under the decrepit timber of Northern forests, I prowl in the darkness of Winter as others shudder at its existence, a ghost, searching for Snow, back on the hunt.
4 Pennsylvania Plaza An icy feel makes me shiver in the sunlight starting to fade behind the skyscrapers towering around me, and I’m not even inside yet; the temperature will be colder inside but the fire will keep us warm, the fire that starts with the first clack of sticks, the first drop, the first sound of the horn as the crowd erupts and pulls you in, making every stranger become one united force, breathing as one, gasping as one, and cheering in one voice; because it’s all or nothing now, what we’ve been waiting for all year, because we bleed blue, because it’s the cup.
Times Unsung The best times of our life fly by when we’re young. The older we get, the more we think back, and many songs call to us unsung. The memories are the songs that you have strung. The moments are like music notes on a track. The best times of our life fly by when we’re young. So live youthfully with every breath of lung, the desire to live can be something people lack, and many songs call to us unsung. But no—the pain of loss still came and stung for time that’s passed; the future seems so black. The best times of our life fly by when we’re young. Is this sentence right? Or a slip of tongue. It’s time to stop being such a sad sack, and sing the songs that call to us unsung So now until the final bell has rung, my recollections will become throwbacks, because the best time of my life may fly by when I’m young, but many songs will still call to me unsung.
II De Amor
The Time Arthur Grant Almost Saw Nessy There was something about riding at night with the wind in his face that excited him, the cool air catching beads of sweat before they exited his pores, the moonlight hopping across the loch like a skipping pebble. Whatever it was, Arthur Grant was fearless on the road. He ripped his way around the loch heading towards Abriachan and glanced over at the water and its dark depths filled with mystery and intrigue. He took this drive several nights a week and half-hoped to see the beast that was the talk of the summer in Scotland, but he was not one to believe tall tales. There was no rain and the sky was clear, like an open canvas begging to be painted. The beauty of the landscape still amazed him, distracting him momentarily. He probably would have gone straight for it if not for a bellowing roar that embarrassed the hum of his motorcycle, snapping him back in time to avoid a shadow that dominated the road. Swerving and skidding towards the mountainside, he jumped off the bike and rolled to safety, unconcerned about the severity of the crash as he turned and caught a glimpse of the grayish roadblock in the moonlight, feeling a combination of terror and infatuation as it waddled out of sight down towards the loch. Arthur limped after the beast, flinging his helmet and rubbing his eyes in disbelief. He had seen a long trunk with a small head, but as he made it across the road only a ripple remained in the water, a growing circle that expanded and expanded, until it was gone.
False Love I wake up when the light hits my face. A cold breeze bothered me the whole night. She lies there, still in a deep sleep. Her arms hold mine tightly around her waist. I look at her, and have some time to think. Is this what I really want, is this love? I don’t even know the meaning of love. Would I feel it if it slapped me in the face? Is this what I really want, I must keep thinking. This question woke me throughout the night. This question of whether this is all a waste. It seems to haunt me while I sleep. Thinking isn’t helping, should I go back to sleep? I’d rather dream of ghosts than false love. At times it’s like a stabbing pain in my waist. The shame, worse than being pummeled in the face. The way she tricks me night after night. And yet I still lie here next to her and think. Many times I wonder what she may think. I wonder if she dreams about me in her sleep. Does this decision ever keep her up at night? Has she ever thought whether this was love? There was one time she almost said it to my face. But she corrected herself and said, “I’m just wasted.” She rolls over, my arms still around her waist. I should leave before she wakes, I think. But how could I leave such a beautiful face? She starts to wake up slowly from her sleep. She looks at me and smiles; I do feel love. I know she’s still recovering from last night. I also know she doesn’t want to talk about last night. She feels sorry because she knows she’s wasting my time and manipulating my love. She knows exactly what I think. She turns away to go back to sleep. She cannot bear looking me in the face.
She cannot bear it because it makes her think. And so she holds me tight against her waist as she sleeps, thankful that she doesnâ€™t have to face love at night.
Gifts to Get Your Soon to Be Ex-Sweetheart Buy her a pack of gum. Buy her “Cooking for Dummies.” Buy her the newest Grand Theft Auto video game. Name a star after her. Give a fake donation in her name. Give her a stomach virus. Buy her a rack of Keystone Lights. Buy her weight-loss products. Buy her the Wolf of Wall Street on DVD, with bonus features. Invite her to join your fantasy football league. Set up a picnic for her in January. Sign her up for a pole dancing class. Buy her tickets to the Super Bowl. Buy her tickets to the World Series of Poker. Buy her tickets to WrestleMania. Take her to Taco Bell. Get insanely drunk and talk about yourself the whole night. Stock up on Plan B and say you’re “just being prepared.” Buy her new cleaning supplies. Buy her everything off McDonald’s dollar menu. Buy her a parrot and train it to mimic all of your catch phrases. Make her a mixtape using her least favorite genre of music. Cook her foods that she’s allergic to. Ask her to make a sex tape. Buy her a new gym membership. Buy her “Girls Gone Wild” DVD box sets. Buy her a box of chocolates, get high, and eat all of them. Propose after two dinner dates. Spend the whole occasion lying around watching SportsCenter. Forget the occasion and offer sex instead.
#52 I’ve spent my whole life searching through this deck. Each card more foreign to me than the next. Each one different, though some are similar, still no card has been right for me. The twos continue to remind me, that one is in fact the loneliest number. The threes make me think of each third date, and how you’re supposed to know where it’s headed after the third date. Fours, my favorite number, but still no compatible cards. Fives for the ones I thought were cute, until I realized they had already met their guys. The sixes are only interested in sex, not a meaningful relationship or a future together. I thought I would find her in the lucky number seven, but these cards didn’t bring me my angel from heaven. Eights for the dates where I showed up too late, or the ones that I met who moved out of the state. And nines drink fine wine and are rich out their minds, a card I could do without. Tens are the dimes who are stunning, but have no personality to match. A jack laughs at all of your jokes and is fun to be around, but I prefer to keep this card as a friend. The kings are the jocks, the tomboys who are more manly than me. Aces are the most dangerous of all, this one can really rip your heart out if you fall for its tricks. I’ve never actually met a queen. A perfect woman that embodies looks and personality. 22
Someone who is kind and goodhearted, who puts me and all of her friends before herself. Someone that seems to shine every time you look at her, no matter what time of day or night. Someone that sticks in your mind all the time, that you find yourself talking about constantly without even realizing. Someone that you would do anything to protect, but at the same time can cause jealousy of which you never imagined. Someone that you can truly say you love, and someone that you couldnâ€™t bear to lose. I saw a few that looked like queens, but even with these cards it felt as if something was missing. Just when I thought about giving up, I realized all these years I was using a deck with 51 cards. When I met you, I found card number 52. Can you guess the missing card?
Platinum Life At track one you’ll get something to remember, but keep listening and you’ll quickly forget because track two will grab your attention, immaturity will show and you may question listening but you won’t stop with the teen years of track three that always pique interest, leading up to track four which is the first single, the first years of college, a song you’ll never forget until you hear track five, the second single that comes with bar-crawling and building experience that prepares for track six, the song where you realize you’re almost halfway done, so you fall in love with track seven and decide that it may be time to tie the knot, even though track eight may give some second thoughts because it’s not the best and you think back to what you’ve already heard until a child is born in track nine, followed by more children in track ten, songs you see potential in but may not be quite there until you hit track eleven, the sad song of children going off to college that makes you wonder what’s left other than being proud of your kids; track twelve isn’t great, but on track thirteen you realize retirement has come and you hear a joyous song of life as you work towards track fourteen, finishing your bucket list with the ultimate finale.
The final draft of my first chapbook, submitted for my college poetry course.