Remembering Poetry For The Masses

Poetry For The Masses is yet another online literary journal that featured my work in the past and then went on to fold/disappear. It’s too bad as well, because they had a pretty interesting format. They regularly released a small selection of new poetry on single flyer-sized sheets that anyone could view on their site or print out and share for free. RIP Poetry For The Masses. Thanks again for promoting my work and the work of others like me.

Below, I’ve included the poem in question, Leaving the Island. This piece was inspired by Koh Samet, in Thailand.

Leaving the Island

We were all hung-over and sunburned, stumbling along the muddy road
in search of the pier and the slow boat back to the mainland,
our flip-flops flinging wet sand up our backs. They were nauseous
and I was trembling from hunger when we turned a corner. There,
a massive Buddha contemplated our tangled morning with a subtle smile.
It towered over us, an immense monument to a mind at rest. A grinning
monk beckoned us up the stairs and gave us incense to offer at the giant’s feet.

But in the statue’s open hand, resting on its lap, there was a long fluorescent bulb
like the ceiling fixtures of offices and classrooms. I imagine it was intended
to produce a novel evening effect. The hand, with palm up-turned in a receptive gesture,
would be aglow—an indication that it had received the light it hoped for. We tried
to leave, but the monk had something else for us: good luck charms. We thanked him
and offered a donation for the temple, but it was not enough. 50 baht per talisman
was the going rate. We began to sober up and continued down the messy road.

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More New Old Poems: A Tribute to Women in REDzine

Submitting poetry to literary journals, magazines, and websites can be quite a slog. There will always be more rejections than acceptances. In my email, I have a folder for each. Here are some quick, skewed stats: 68 Acceptance-related messages to 95 Rejection-related messages. For a slightly more accurate figure, how about my Submittable account: 6 Acceptances to 44 Rejections. Mind you, I’m not moaning. If any aspiring poets actually happen to read this, I want to encourage them. No matter how many rejections you get, don’t stop submitting. An acceptance is bound to come eventually.

And when an acceptance, like the one I got from Women in REDzine back in 2011, finally does come around, it makes such an enormous difference. For me, it provides the confidence I need to keep fighting the proverbial good fight, despite all of the grotesque paper cuts (there really aren’t many of those, what with all the digital submissions). For that reason, I just wanted to thank Women in REDzine for their support. As far as I can tell, they have been dormant since 2012, but while they were active, they certainly did some good. RIP.

Below, I’ve included the three poems they featured: Crisis, Sukhothai, and Go.

Crisis

Shards of sun come tumbling
down, cascading through clouds,
piercing stained glass windows’
martyrs, casting shadows,
breaking vaulted cathedral
ceilings, falling giving voices
to flat angels calling, singing
praises to nothing tangible,
yet so much in spears of light.
So soon we all forget, push and
shuffle, shouldering through grey
crowds, clouds promise rain
but some days light pours down-
cast from above out of love, out of
space, or great tears torn
from a forlorn face?

 

Sukhothai

Down the road, an old man makes his way
through the pre-dawn cool on crutches.
One leg gone below the knee with
cloud-white hair and sun-baked skin, weathered,
he wears his age like battered Buddhas; broken
statues missing heads, arms, entire torsos—remnants
of a bygone capital’s glory—victims of war, theft,
accidents, neglect and time, implying
a former state in which they all where whole.

 

Go

I
What can it mean to have your heart
in the right place? The power of proximity:
nothing closer to fire than ash
or the warmth of breath on your neck
before a kiss you don’t expect.
Sometimes, to create and destroy are
so tangled, slow dancing,
I hardly see the difference.
She always called my touch gentle,
but next to hers, it was a car crash.

II
A stretch of coast subtly pulled apart
by arriving and departing waves;
my reflections in passing trains’
windows flickering and gone:
the interplay between moments
and eternity. Abandoned
structures remind us going back
and returning are not the same.
Preoccupation with the absence.
Can we keep anything?

III
Desperately trying to map the boundaries
and chart the mad terrain between
content and resigned. Always anxious
for signs of change and familiar landmarks.
Restlessness, a hunger for direction.
No worse fate than stagnation, except
perhaps abstraction. Nodding off
at the wheel and singing to stay awake.

3/14/15 = Pi Day

As Americans usually render the date Month/Day/Year, today is officially Pi Day: 3/14/15. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I just want to remind everyone that I’ve created a few different forms of art based off of this funky little slice of the mathematical world and I wholeheartedly welcome commissions for similar pieces. Take a look at the examples below, or in the portfolio section of this site and let me know if you’re interested.

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Anthologized

On Wednesday evening (4/3/15), at Kingston University, I had the pleasure of reading my work along with several other talented authors for the release of Words, Pauses, Noises – Anthology Volume One (pictured here). The night touched on everything from family history and loss to unique combinations of alcohol and toothpaste. It also included a touching tribute to author, Jim McGavran. It was a lovely event and I just wanted to thank everyone involved for including me. For more information about upcoming Kingston Writing School events, click here: http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/writing/events/

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