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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

I originally posted this in Reddit’s /r/Ravenclaw subreddit, but i wrote enough that I thought I should just turn this into a Facebook post.

Then I realised I haven’t written here in quite a long time, so it now serves as a blog post.

Do you need good books? Here are some good books.

1. The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar – Fantasy meets reality as a pair of drunken Scottish Fairies on a romp almost start World War 3 in modern day New York City while running around with a group of normal New York people. Seriously, it’s a riot and Neil Gaiman wrote an introduction for it.

2. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. When I was 14, I was given this book by my English teacher. This was my first all nighter. It changed my life, I started writing, and within the year I had been published in national magazines for poetry and I am still writing over 20 years later. I will graduate in 2-2.5 years with a triple Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and History Education and I attribute it to this book. I own it in two languages and I am reading it in Portuguese right now as that is my second language (the third being Spanish). I cannot tell anyone how much this book means to me, but how relevant this book is to even now in life.

3. A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. Easily the best science fiction story I have ever read, the best short story I have ever read, this book overall is overlooked often and should never be overlooked. If you have heard of the Butterfly Effect, it originated here.

4. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. You are noticing a trend. Yes, I have classics on this list. Do not be scared; classics are here for a reason. They are not meant to scare you away, they are meant to draw you in. This book is an everyman book – this is real life. This still happens, in different areas, in different places, but this still happens nowadays. Don’t sit with a pen and paper, or feel like you have to because a teacher set you for a book report. Download it free on a kindle app, and read it a little bit at a time. Get into Jurgis’ story, put yourself in his shoes. Transport yourself into his time. You’ll find a newfound respect for anyone who has a job that they have to do to survive; a surprising empathy for anyone who has to keep fighting no matter what the world goes after them.

5. Any of the alternate fairy tales by Gregory Maguire. I especially adore the Wicked: A Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and the ensuing Trilogy, and After Alice, as I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland.

6. The Alice series by Carroll. all of it. It is by far my favourite Fairy Tale series of all time. I don’t care if it is the Disney version, or what. You give me the option of Hogwarts, of Wonderland, of a TARDIS, of Narnia, of Tolkien, anywhere.. I will choose Wonderland. I will always choose Wonderland. (Oh, now I’m sobbing again…)

7. Watership Down series by Richard Adams. It helped me, when I was much younger, to understand the concept of death, to understand the concept of a possible afterlife, to understand that animals, that every living thing can have feelings, emotions; it does not matter what you are, or how you believe, you can feel, you can act, you are alive, even for a short time, you can influence the world.

8. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I picked it up for $1 before a trip, and it was one of the first books where I had to read it at least half a dozen times before I could understand what was going on. Sometimes I will read it and I will understand it in a completely different way than I ever had before. It is a book written in a different frame of mind than any book I had ever read previously or since.

9. The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson – Poetry is now and forever a part of my life, and this poet, for all the modern poets, has been the one to influence me to always want to keep writing. Or never want to keep writing. But I got to see them speak, and perform, and I realised that if I gave up now, I would not be able to do what I need to do, which is write. So I keep writing. And I keep dreaming. “You, you stay here with me.”

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In every bar there’s someone sitting alone and absolutely absorbed
by whatever he’s seeing in the glass in front of him,

a glass that looks ordinary, with something clear or dark

inside it, something partially drunk but never completely gone.

Everything’s there: all the plans that came to nothing,

the stupid love affairs, and the terrifying ones, the ones where actual happiness
opened like a hole beneath his feet and he fell in, then lay helpless

while the dirt rained down a little at a time to bury him.

And his friends are there, cracking open six-packs, raising the bottles,

the click of their meeting like the sound of a pool cue

nicking a ball, the wrong ball, that now edges, black and shining,

toward the waiting pocket. But it stops short, and at the bar the lone drinker

signals for another. Now the relatives are floating up

with their failures, with cancer, with plateloads of guilt

and a little laughter, too, and even beauty—some afternoon from childhood,

a lake, a ball game, a book of stories, a few flurries of snow

that thicken and gradually cover the earth until the whole

world’s gone white and quiet, until there’s hardly a world

at all, no traffic, no money or butchery or sex,

just a blessed peace that seems final but isn’t. And finally

the glass that contains and spills this stuff continually

while the drinker hunches before it, while the bartender gathers

up empties, gives back the drinker’s own face. Who knows what it looks like;

who cares whether or not it was young once, or ever lovely,

who gives a shit about some drunk rising to stagger toward

the bathroom, some man or woman or even lost

angel who recklessly threw it all over—heaven, the ether,

the celestial works—and said, Fuck it, I want to be human?

Who believes in angels, anyway? Who has time for anything

but their own pleasures and sorrows, for the few good people

they’ve managed to gather around them against the uncertainty,

against afternoons of sitting alone in some bar

with a name like the Embers or the Ninth Inning or the Wishing Well?

Forget that loser. Just tell me who’s buying, who’s paying;

Christ but I’m thirsty, and I want to tell you something,

come close I want to whisper it, to pour

the words burning into you, the same words for each one of you,

listen, it’s simple, I’m saying it now, while I’m still sober,

while I’m not about to weep bitterly into my own glass,

while you’re still here—don’t go yet, stay, stay,

give me your shoulder to lean against, steady me, don’t let me drop,

I’m so in love with you I can’t stand up.

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I started this story 2 days before my birthday – two days before your memorial service.

And we even made it in the Tribune, which still seems weird to me.

I think, ultimately, Kerouac said it best:

“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.”

You definitely do that for me, Joe. You definitely do that for me.

I’m finishing it today – your birthday. It hit me really hard at work today. I realized it was your birthday and I picked up my phone to call you.

And I realized that I couldn’t do that anymore.

And for the first time in a very long time, I had to run out of my work space and hide in the bathroom and start crying. And I didn’t want to stop crying. But I did – in what you would say was “record time, for you” – and finished my day. And I don’t expect that it will be an uncommon occurrence over the next few days.

At lunch, two of my new friends came with me, and we all sat, had a beer, discussed D&D, poetry, and random things, and split food. And listened to you all the way to and from the restaurant. And I listened to you play a lot today, Joe. I had to. I probably will in the next few days. I still listen every week – it’s pretty much a habit, by now, an unconscious thought, a thing I do to complete every week I have.

I did on my birthday, too. I was driving to Dallas, and I put the first CD I ever got from you guys – hell, remember? You got me in the show and I promised to buy a CD, and I did. And that’s the CD I was listening to.

I still can’t believe that you’ve been gone this long. I feel bad I didn’t write this in time for your book.

You brought my life so much, and I don’t know that I told you enough.

If there’s one thing, just one thing, that I can do, in memory of you, it’s to make sure I treasure every moment – friends, family, work (oh man, you should see our Nerf fights) – and I do my best with what I can.

But I still remember seeing you, through the window of the coffee shop, reading a poetry book, and I said “I have to go in and talk to him, because he obviously likes poetry and has good taste.”

And I’ve never regretted it. You knew the shy me, the one a lot of people didn’t. And I remember everything… mostly everything. Including the stuff I’ll never tell anyone.

One day we’ll all laugh about this, together, again. I have faith. I have hope.

“And peruse manifold objects, no two alike, and every one good;
The earth good, and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.”

Say hi to Walt for me, Joe. Ask him all the questions that we always wondered. Even if you can’t tell, at least you’ll know. And we can all fill it in someday.

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Rare is the day where I wake up
and it is not full of wonder. Perhaps
a day can come across as this one –

brutally hot (yet perfectly fine if I hide
from the sun). A chance encounter leaves me smiling
and another planned keeps me hoping

for future things … great ideas
taking over the world, one step at a time.
Small ideas to grow to great things

and an eventual takeover of ideals…
(Don’t worry – the revolution will be over before
you even realize it.) Painfree, loving

concepts will be the new way of life;
while it may seem hard and difficult
at first, it gets easier to think

outside the lines of where natural thought
begins and this current unreality ends; and all
of this because of a chance meeting

on a lovely Spring night. Who knew
that two humans could meet in such
an innocuous way as to be able

to harness mutual respect, admiration
and turn it into a fairly loving plan to rule
the world. Again, for those not tuned in,

it won’t hurt. It will be gentle, loving
like all things of great power, it will happen
when you least expect it.

~19.8.2011

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I’m in the process of moving to a city that’s roughly 50 miles away for next semester. I’ll have a much smaller area, and therefore can’t bring/pack everything I’ve grown accustomed to having.

So I am forcing myself to finally start going through the mountains of containers and boxes I have in a storage area here. I have been finding a lot of random things, but the most exciting is a book I was given in 2002. It’s dark green, with the lyrics of a song that I absolutely adore, from someone in my life that still is a major influence (whether he knows it or not).

The cover has autographs of a lot of musicians that I have worked with and whose music has influenced me over the years. I have all 4 members of Vertical Horizon, Angie Aparo, Barry from Carbon Leaf, and Andy from VaCo (with an original saying <3). I have a space on the top of the cover of the book where eventually, hopefully, I will get Dave Matthews or Glen Hansard to sign it. Keep dreaming, I know….

But a long time ago I started writing poetry (as in, 1990 – I was published in 1992 the first time I believe) and I've kept track of a lot of the random poetry I used to scribble here and there in this book.

Then I misplaced it for YEARS. years. So I have poetry scattered half a mile across creation. Every time I open a box with papers I am COMPELLED to check every one of them to make sure I'm not throwing away half a novella I started when I was bored in class. I do find bits and pieces here and there.. originally I was going to keep them all in this book, then I lost the book. Now I found it again. I don’t have much of an excuse anymore, do I?

This is what takes me so long to go through storage and pack. I have a lot of memories, and a lot more written words than I'll ever admit. (at minimum 750 poems just from 2000-2005 alone, not to mention my completed play and the 2 novels I'm working on…)

So I'm constantly on a hunt to try to gather the bits and pieces together and solidify them into the myriads of journals I have lying about.

I should do this more often, but I don’t; I’ll post an original poem that, while I know and remember the particular situation, a lot of it still seems to ring true even almost 10 years later. It’s quite interesting to me to see how something I wrote then applies oh so well to now too.

“Departure”

Last few moments
before I lift away
back to everything familiar

yet not as familiar as
your scent as you
hold me close to your beating heart

I know what I have to do
and that’s let go and walk
on, turning the page

and starting another chapter
in the sketchbook of my life.
So I look in your eyes

one last time, squeeze your hand
and run away silently
turning around for one

last fleeting glimpse I find
you’ve run silently on
swiveling around

not opening my mouth lest
I start bawling.
No goodbyes said

though the chapter may be
done, there is no
“the end”.

~29.4.02

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So even though the Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed until July 6, we celebrate here in the USA on July 4.

I believe that the current modes of celebration are both good and bad.

The great parts – family getting together, partaking in yummy food, great fellowship, amazing fun. I have been up at my friend Quinn’s family near KC for the past day. We got to meet up, run around, had a great time last night, and saw fireworks overlooking the lake. It has been a very good time and completely worth it. I have met some very kind and generous people.

The bad parts – people using it as an excuse to go get drunk, drive, otherwise operate machinery that they shouldn’t, and accidents occur. Not to mention all the fires from unnecessary fireworks, accidents from those, need I go on? This is not the reason for this day. You all know where I’m heading with this.

My family has been in America (on my mom’s side) since 1732 (no folks, seriously. Not Portuguese..) and while I never joined the military, I have a LOT of friends and family that have. I’m rather outspoken about it, and I have a rather.. abrupt opinion of anyone who decides to start ragging on anyone who is a veteran or active duty. While you (and I, sometimes) may not agree with why or what our country does, that does not mean we do not support our fellow humans, our brothers and sisters, our aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, parents, classmates, guy down the street who always seemed a little off after Vietnam, the kid that you remember from 8th grade English who you saw walking one day down the street and… no, that’s true, he’s missing a few fingers.

I cannot understand why humans feel the need to do things like war. I can understand fighting for something bigger than you, for something that is worth it. For this, I thank every military member out there, regardless of branch, regardless of years. You’re doing something I cannot.

So, on this Independence Day, I offer 3 videos. Watch them. Look at them. Listen to them. Think. Think of your actions.. not just today, but every day. Think of how you treat your fellow man. Think of how, instead of hurtful words, how kind actions could change our world. Then, maybe, there would be no need for all the things we cannot make sense of.

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