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Doors

I’d like to say every blog post I’ve made up til now has been a quote after things a friend of mine has said.  Like literally said, like orally, like vocally and I heard then type of said.  Not this such thing as was typed to me said.  Even though that is my preferred method of communication.  Which I suppose isn’t ironic considering my art of choice, considering my current profession.  

And I’d like to say most of those things I remembered and some I actually wrote down during conversation.  No. I don’t have facetime.  And yes I only really found out what that is maybe 3 months ago.  And I suppose I’d really like to say that I won’t be using those as blog titles anymore.  And yes, my manuscript name has changed (Doors) and probably will change again.  And yes, I have sent to so so many places and I’m basically in wait mode.  And I will apologize for making too much sense right now.  I feel as though my mind hasn’t really been mine.  I sometimes think of things then unthink them.  And I moved and I have a cat and I essentially live in someones basement, but my ceilings are high and my floors are carpeted and between about 2pm-6pm I get really good sunlight.

But my life isn’t what’s really important or interesting.  Even though what I see is my life.  And in some ways what I discuss is my life.  And in Chicago no one can really say sunlight is their lives.  I feel like I live in Portland or England or some random other white place where it’s cloudy 80% of the year.  Except for Chicago isn’t an island or a rainforest.  Essentially Chicago tall phallic buildings and monument called “cloudgate” which I find ironic.  I personally don’t need a reminder of how dreary it is here so so much.  

And even when it’s not cloudy you can’t see the sky.  I mean I suppose you can see.  But there are no stars.  Maybe 4.  And 2 of those are probably planets.  And I’m not counting the sun, because no, you can’t see the sun.   Yes it beams down and boils the streets.  But it fails to make the lake a “swimmable” temperature, hardly above 50 ever.  And no I’m not counting the sun, because no, you can’t see it.  And since you can’t see it, nor any other stars (except one, one exceptiooonal…exceptionaaaal or not) nor the moon just a planet or two.  Would it be too far fetched to say there is no sky.  That in Chicago there is no sky.  That that maybe explains what’s wrong here.  That that maybe explains the fear of going outside when the sun is “out” or when it gets dark.  Because I feel like maybe that’s how they live in Portland, which again maybe goes to say there’s no sky in Portland, which goes to explain all these grunge bands of the 90’s.  

And would it be to far to say that no one can name not even one thing that wasn’t better in the 90’s.  Technology isn’t better, music isn’t better, movies aren’t better, watermelons had seeds and so did tomatoes, and I slept with my bedroom window open, and cars were made of steel, and things that were expensive that are now cheap still work if you bought them when they were expensive.  I have a pencil sharpener that I got in ’93 that gives makes a point on a pencil.  The fine crisp SAT scantron points.  I was never taught for a standardized test.  Except for the proficiency test in 4th and 9th grade I didn’t even have to take them.  And the 4th grade I didn’t even have to pass, just had to do it.  Kind of like CPS.  But no more about Chicago.  

And then there’s this.  I think I love you.  I think I really might mean it this time.

And then there’s poetry.  And how much I did with it but it didn’t do for me back this past yearish.  And should I talk about that (probably not…then don’t son…don’t…hold easy).

And here’s something for your tongue and a lick above your eyelash.  Vines inked into your side and under your bridge I see a skyline. And maybe yes.  And maybe so.  And. Maybe red pants and backwards bicycle handlebars.  In medias res we both fell asleep.

Before this the last thing I wrote was a prayer.  As much of a prayer as DMX ever                     did.  Because we always knew he was crazy.  

And I don’t know what I’m going to do next year.  Like legit have no clue.  Like when I mean next year I really mean in Aug, but if you’re a writer or in education or in academia, but not a writer or educator per say, you already knew that.  

And I fo realz gotta get to know ya:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzAWZU7vQq4

And this is from ’01, which in some senses (at least musically) was still the 90’s.  For me red 1989 Dodge Daytona, after market removable tape deck and of course stars which means of course sky.  Then at least there was a limit.  I don’t know how to gauge things anymore.

 

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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Next Big Thing

Andrew Turhune tagged me to be a part of The Next Big Thing, a self-interview series where writers discuss recent or forthcoming projects. (Yes this is happening)

What is the title of your book?

Right now it’s Doors formerly Unfukwithable formerly before that Whatcha Finnado

Where did the idea for the book come from?

Well the idea has changed a lot and taken many different forms.  Originally it came from my MFA thesis, which currently only one or two of those poems are still in it.  In it’s current incantation though the manuscript (I feel bad calling it a book until it’s in print on my lap) ideas came from talks with poets who have pointed me in directions which best suit my voice.

Yuh yuh I’d like to give a shout out to the home boy Roger Reeves and the home boy Jericho Brown for telling me to stop being a bitch and do the damn thang.  Another shout out to the homeboy Phillip B. Williams for telling me to send the damn thang out there.  Big ups to John Murillo, James Shea, Jonterri Gadson, and Lisa Fishman saying ‘did you know you’re doing this and probably should be doing this other thing.'”

What category does you book fall under?

I refuse to answer that dumbass question.  If you’ve read any of my work you’d know. Next.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Not sure about that one, but I can tell you who I’d want nowhere near it: Angelina Jolie, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Derek Luke, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, DDL (hes just too much sometimes, it’d turn into a movie about how good his acting is rather than a movie about the content) and Wes Anderson.  I’ll take Cronenberg though, he’s aight.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

This is how you grow older.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Well.  Since the 1st draft was essentially my MFA thesis like I said about 2 years.  But I don’t even count that first draft as the book anymore.  What I consider the book I’d say [turns to the guy to the left] “what year is it…really…Imma be 30 damn…” a year and a half to 2 years.

What or who inspired the book?

Why do I feel like you’re asking me the same questions in different forms.  Look it wasn’t my weed alright, I don’t know who…[awkward pause].  My bad wrong place.  Um…I still feel like you’re asking me the same questions.  But idk, the book comes from experience and being a writer writing is part of that experience so there’s poems about that experience as well.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well umm…………..yea…………if I get a snazy cover that would do it right?

 

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Your Voice Sounds the Same

I haven’t written in a while.  Not to be confused with me not writing.  That is what I do right?  How I’m labeled.  As I am defined by what I do.  More so I am what I do.  More so what I do defines me.  I say all that to mean I have written poems, even though I haven’t posted on her in a while.

I’ve been reading poetry as well…for those who are curious see below:

  • Tracy K. Smith Life on Mars 
  • Michael Robbins Alien vs. Predator 
  • Ryan Teitman Litany for the City 
  • Ross Gay Bringing the Shovel Down 
  • Anna Journey If Birds Gathered Your Hair for Nesting 
  • Catherine Barnett Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes are Pierced 
  • Dean Young Elegy on a Toy Piano

Among others which are en route via or USPS…

Back to the creature in the dark room.  But I can’t really talk about that without saying I read it from someone who is a writer but doesn’t believe they are a writer.  And I quote:

“I was the blind man looking in a dark room for the black cat that was not there.” End quote…I say yes.

I wrote a poem about writing a poem again.  I also wrote a poem about Batman.  I wrote a poem about zombies.  I wrote a poem because that’s what jostles around in my head more often than the necessity to find food.  Or get a glass of ice water.

“Your voice sounds the same too.  And I miss you.”

As I write this I sit in a coffee shop with my manuscript open and a list of places I plan on submitting too.  I hope if you’re doing the same.  The reason; because that’s what life warrants: The outcome; enrichment: The purpose; I don’t know nor do I think it matters, besides “reason,” and “purpose” mean the same thing.

OH!!!! By the way, I have a new job.  If you want to call it that.  If you consider getting paid practice your craft a job.  Getting paid to talk to people about one of the things that matters to you most a job.  I consider it more an opportunity.  I consider it something I can’t arrange any of the 26 characters I know to express.

Yes.  I still am not proofreading.  Yes. It kind of matters to me.

I also learned to choke a stream the other day.  I didn’t know what that meant until I finished the poem.  It’s like that sometimes, what a poems means or wants, eventually whatever you intend is irrelevant to the poem.  Do for the poem what has to be done in order for it to survive.

Mr. Brown told me on the phone a couple months ago, “whatever you were thinking or trying to do becomes irrelevant.  Eventually it comes down to what is your book saying about poetry.”

In other words he was telling me not to fight what I knew I needed to do but didn’t want to.

The following song is irrelevant.  But there are no words.  So in a way a scholar might call this a juxtaposition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O7VSaPKvqk

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

K as in Koala

Well…should I start with writing or stop with writing, and in a round about way I always do.  I also consider myself a nobody in the word of poetry.  I know, hang out with, studied with, talk to some of the best poets in the country.  Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Guggenheim, Whiting, Grey Wolf go hard or go home type.  But yet when I meet people that say they recognized me from something or read this blog or a poem I have placed in some journal or magazine I forgot about it shocks me.  I don’t know how to act or respond or what to say…

“Does this person want advice?  Do they own a press?”… “Ummm but I’m just a boy from Cleveland who happened to like stories.”

I met the editor of Vinyl/Yes Yes Books who published a couple of my poems and we talked about poetry.  And how she liked what I was doing.  And how I came up and spoke to her.  And I think every now I then a little ego stroking is good.  Reassures you that what you’re doing in the world makes sense on occasion.  Rejection happens way more than I like to remember sometimes and I don’t take it well when everyone I know, hang out with, studied with, talk to are doing it big.

I’ve done way more readings than I have things published.  And somethings you may or may not know about me are I never learned to tie my shoes, my eyes water often, and I’m quite sure there are a couple women have tried to turn me on by rubbing my back and actually just put me to sleep.

I saw this television show where this guy caught a baby alligator and turned it upside down an stroked its belly and it went to sleep.  Kind of like that.  I’m a alligator like that.

Ask yourself how many red mailboxes do you ever see?

How often do you see groups of black people out kicking it on St. Patrick’s Day?

How often do you write poems that you love and only end up hating when you write another poem?

Hell how often do you write? Or love? Or not love? Or speak a language that only you know?  Or tell someone you like your body? Or avoid walking in the grass?  Or avoid other peoples hands?  Or dance by yourself in the house by yourself?  Or sleep and change your dreams?  Or change your dreams?  Or dream?

I’ve written 2 poems in a series of zombie poems.  Zombies interest me because they don’t care about race, work in groups, have needs, don’t war each other…

I also wrote a poem to someone.  Like literally an ode.  I don’t think I’ve ever done this.  If I have I wrote it not knowing I wrote it.  Sometimes those are the best things that happen.  When you do things thinking you’re doing something else.  Maybe that only happens to me.  I like to say sometimes I live in the moment.  “In Situ.”  But Arundahti really sad that.

There’s a river I’ll push a boat through some day…or maybe just sit in it…and maybe someone else said that too.  For those of you that don’t know…I also don’t know how to swim…and I just wrote in the 2nd person.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

You Move Me

I don’t know where too, but I guess any movement is better than being stagnant, that’s how you attract mosquitoes.

Yes I’m using commas again.  I found they have more of a purpose than I was giving them credit for.  And yes I am typing barefoot, since June I have realized that my whole body shouldn’t be deprived of air.  Yes I am a writer and yes I am good at what I do.  Yes I write bad things but if I didn’t I would never feel bad about what I do.  And yes every person in the arts should feel bad about their work sometimes.  If we never do we would never challenge ourselves or move on to the next project or question anything and work to make something worth making. And yes I still leap randomly to subject to subject.  We would call that stream of consciousness for those who are academic.

Last week I heard Nikki Giovanni say “You need people around you who are going to tell you how good you are and give you positive feedback.  Those who don’t fuck em.  You don’t need them in your life.  You don’t need those who aren’t going to be supportive of what you do.”  I mean life is a poem really.  I feel so engulfed in this craziness that has no explanation or rationale really.  I had someone ask me why do I write and I could only say “because that’s what I’m supposed to do.”  That makes no sense and I know that.  That has no rationale and I know that.  But honestly if you’re drawn to something whether that is whether crunching numbers, talking to people, paint, animals, do that shit.  Don’t do shit “just because.”  Unless it’s a in between “just because.”  And no I’m not established.  I’m what is called an “emerging voice.”  So my viewpoint on this might be taken as “eh whatever nigga you don’t have much to show for it.”  But I think it’s exactly that which makes me valid.  I choose to do what God has meant for me to do, and I make a live doing it.  And I know so many wonderful people doing it.  And I don’t gripe about it.

I had a full time job and quit.  I had opportunities for promotions and inside info to move up where I work now.  But honestly that’s not what I want.  I want to poems and go to muthafuckas and talk about poems and sit in class rooms and talk about poems.  I’d like to be pimped by the poem.  If poetry could be a pimp, I’d try my hardest to be it’s bottom bitch.

But again I leap…Like Phil Collins who can feel it or like Sam Cooke says about change coming.  I’m thoroughly convinced this year is the year for things to happen.  Good things.  Not just for me but good good things.  I’m tapped into that energy.  Already Lamar has gotten his book picked up link here…

L. Lamar Wilson Wins Carolina Wren Press Award 2012

Roger has gotten his book picked up, link here…

Roger Reeves Poetry

Laura Yes Yes had some good news about Warren Wilson, no link to share  😦

There’s more but I’m bound to my secretly…(actually I don’t know if I’m suppose to spill the beans on Laura yet or not, but that’s what I do.  I steal thunder).

And it’s only the beginning of March son.  Only this.

Sultry Funk That’s the Type of Funk I Waaaaant

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Experience

Let me make sense for a sec…

Well I’m applying for this Breadloaf Writer’s Conference.  And even though I feel “eh” on applying rejection has been happening quite frequently for me.  This time last year I was to the point of not caring or wanting to write at all.  Contemplated a career change and having tackling my 3rd career in this life.

You see I’ve already been a grocer and now I’m a educator.  I’ll be 30 in a little over a year by the way.  At this time in my fathers life he would have an 8 year old that would almost be 9.  And I remember 3rd grade pretty clearly.  Crazy to think I’ve passed the age my pops was when he had capable children.

As for the writing sorry I got off track…This time last year Cave Canem put me on a wait list even though I was a returning fellow.  A close friend of mine had gotten the word he was in to return and sent his letter after me.  I blame Chicago USPS for this fully and at times like that don’t care how many post offices get closed.  They obviously aren’t functioning to their fullest potential.

Speaking of functioning…well let me stop.  I was gonna mention something about the railroads.  But I won’t.

So with getting wait listed and all the poetry journal rejections it was pretty disheartening.  I mean I’ve been writing for the better part of 18 years.  I’m pretty well practiced.  But it’s always good to see your work in print and out there in the world in some medium.

Which is odd since it’s all about the words and this Conference isn’t really a publication but in many ways I feel “eh” and many ways I actually care.  I think I can take rejection this time around.  Last year though I might have just found a nice hard spot on the floor to lie on for a while.  Don’t ask me what that means.  But at times mattresses and pillows feel to welcoming.  The floor just feels proper.

Keep in mind I don’t proof read anything I write here.  Not sure if it makes it feel more organic or shows how bad of a grammarian I am.

I was born and raised outside of Cleveland in a black area of a white city.  In other words I had a good public education.  I had some teachers who inadvertently and overtly supporting all the crazy short stories I did.

My 4th grade teacher gave me an award for creative writing at the end of the school year.  We never did any creative writing in class.  But it was known that I wrote crazy short stories.  And guess what…15 years later Columbia College Chicago awarded me a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. John Murillo said “you needa apply to Cave Canem”  James Shea said “you’re writing’s stronger when you break the narrative” Dr. Weinbrenner said “why are you in journalism you’re a English student.”  My moms said “that’s good you’re doing something with your life and not out in the street like some of these niggas around here.”

Speaking of niggas I think this photo speaks for itself. If not watch Dumbo.

 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Adopted Baby Elephant

I really don’t have nothing to say.  But I’m a writer so I suppose I always have something to say.  Sense doesn’t make sense so why try.  Why try to please.  I know what I was thinking when I wrote something.  Maybe my intentions.  Or maybe not.  Recently it’s the not.

(The following isn’t original so I can’t take credit for it)……..

The Importance of Commas: “I helped my Uncle Jack, off a horse.”  “I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse.”

But I feel a certain kind of way about commas.  I still do.  Gertrude might understand.

I have a class where they try to rationalize repetition for the sake of repetition.

Poetry Rule:  When using repetition is only works if the repeated word or phrase does something different each time it mentioned.

That’s not really a rule there is no guide book.  But I damn so nuff think it should be.

I have a class where they try to rationalize cliches.

Poetry Rule:  When using cliches. Don’t use cliches.

That’s not really a rule there is no guide book.  But I damn so nuff think it should be.

Random fact about me…I don’t like looking into mirrors.  There are no mirrors in my room nor in my place except for the bathroom and the one built into the wall in the dining room.  Yes a nigga got a dining room.

I remember those plastic runner rugs in people houses when I was a kid.  They never stayed down and if you weren’t careful you could easily fall.  Odd thing is I don’t ever remember anyone falling.  Everyone always knew.  Kind of how puppies know how to swim.  And people just know how to pleasure themselves.

Was that a leap.  Did I just do something lyrical.  Or was it just random and irrelevant. How                    about now:

  • I scraped the paint off your ceiling and pushed myself through the floor.  There’s something upside down in my head.  Open the palm and find doors with latches racoons can open.  Write a lyric about hands and cats drowning other animals in the river.

Was that a leap?  Did I just do something lyrical?  Or was it just punctuation I changed?

“Lodi Dodi we like to party we don’t cause trouble we don’t bother nobody.”

Today in my poetry class we discussed the poetic lyric leaping and rhythm in Claudia’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely…M-E-T-H-O-D MAN.. and Wayne Carter’s “La La.”  Need an example…find the words on your own.  Read them.  Yes he mentions childhood characters.  Yes he uses the language of a child even.  Does it make sense. That’s right “sense” Ha…I wonder what Gertrude would say about this.

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Uncategorized