The poem originally appeared in qarrtsiluni.
Pakistani poet Abrar Ahmad reads his poem in this video from Umang, directed by Ammar Aziz. Press the CC (closed captioning) icon for the English translation by Zahra Sabri, and visit the video’s page on the Umang site for the complete original Urdu text as well as the translation.
Promises are there to be broken (the ones I make to myself, that is)
I’ve said never to use the footage of Ivan Besse again. I didn’t.
Not until I came across ‘Two Miles After the Gravel Road Ends’ by Sherry O’Keefe in The Poetry Storehouse.
Sherry was one of the poets I did a video for in ‘my early days’. A videopoem and a collab that is still dear to my heart.
It was a pleasure to find her words on the shelves of the warehouse. Such beautiful words.
A lot of her poems tell stories. Great chunks of life wrapped in words and images. And these were just a perfect match for the storytelling images of Ivan Besse.
My thinnest girlfriends always complain
Of gaining weight, which confuses me
When I think of fat girls.
But then I remember
That I’ve never suffered from loving my lover,
Except when it provides a good excuse to leave her,
And I reflect that things are less important
Than they seem, if we look at them
Which eases my terror a little.
So I say to myself that the world is really like this:
The thin fear fat,
The fat love food,
Lovers never suffer for the right reasons
And everything does not ride
The Vimeo description includes a full list of credits in English:
Text: Youssef Rakha
Screen Adaptation: Mariam Alferjani
Actors: Alaeddine Slim – Mariam Alferjani
Photography: Alaeddine Slim – Mariam Alferjani
Producers: Kamel Laaridhi – Alaeddine Slim
Editing: Mariam Alferjani
Jade Anouka: Poem and Narration
Michael Dickes: Camera & Concept
Filmed on location at 59E59 Theater in
NYC using one camera and 1 lightbulb
on a wire. Kind thanks to theater staff.
Jades voice-over recorded at 48k using an AKG
large diaphram microphone.
Original soundscapes by Erokia (CC) Re-edited
This video remix by Nic Sebastian of a poem by Risa Denenberg layers in footage of one of those natural sights that moves us at a very primal level, I think — rain falling into water — to very good effect. In some process notes on her blog, Nic writes:
Poems on big metaphysical themes are some of the most rewarding to work as video remixes, because they leave the visual field wide open and give the remixer real opportunities to insert him or herself into a poem’s narrative and move it forward in complementary but different ways. This lovely poem by Risa Denenberg at The Poetry Storehouse was a case in point. I read it as beautifully capturing one of those devastating moments of big doubt we sometimes encounter.
Which is where it got personal. The belief I try to live by is that we are lying fallow during such bleak periods, and that, their awfulness notwithstanding, they are at the same time periods of underground preparation, restoration and growth. So I went with that approach. I thought rain, with its double connotation of weeping/mourning and of life-inspiring nature, was the perfect backdrop metaphor. […]
For the cross-fades, I chose images with very personal connotations for me, but which I thought added the right ‘universal’ overtones of the twin companions, loss and hope. All of them jumped out at me as being ‘right’ as I flipped through my clips library. Ending with the bear family at the end might perhaps be a more upbeat conclusion than originally intended in the piece, but the image was insistent, so I went with it. The soundtrack with its lonely piano and melancholy motif and underlying energy was by Mustafank and really felt like rain to me.
There’s a bit more if you click through. I must say I’m grateful to Nic for blogging about her techniques and thought-process in such detail with almost every videopoem she makes.