(Un)Requited

There’s a stack of papers next to me.  I just printed them off my dad’s computer, and brought them home to my little office to be sorted.  They are poems, and they will soon be a book.

I wrote about my decision to pen another chapbook a little while ago, and I am now in the sorting and final editing stage.  Poems are good to go, in my opinion, and now I just have to check for the rouge commas and such.  I also have to decide how to order them, which is an art of its own.

The thing about chapbooks is that they are small and focused.  In A Lovely Wreckage, I started out with Sick Since Sixteen, a poem about my illness that signifies the age in which my journey started.  I closed it with a poem called A Good Day, which was, conveniently, about the good days I get to experience made all the better by the bad ones.  It was a hopeful note to end the collection on.  In between, I sorted the poems so that they were evenly dispersed-in that I made sure that not too many mental health or physical health poems were grouped together, and I also tried to make it have a rhythm and flow.  Now, today, I shall be doing this for my third little baby.

My second chapbook, a mini-chap, is called Me and Jesus on a Tuesday Afternoon and will be out sometime in 2021.  That one is essentially just one long poem, so I didn’t get to do the sorting phase for that.  I realize now that is something I enjoy, putting my poems in the order I want the reader to experience them. 

Over the summer I did a mockup on PowerPoint of my illustrated kids’ book (I’m sure there’s better software to do this on, I’m just a noob.) I am unable to work on it at the moment, but am hoping to get it off the ground sometime in the new year.  However, while assembling this little presentation I realized how much I enjoy seeing creations come together.  I always have…but I’ve never really applied that to my writing.  When I worked in theater, I was always amazed at the magic that happened on opening night, but I have neglected it amongst my words.  So today, that is what I am focused on.

I’ve had a couple of people (total strangers, mind you,) comment that they enjoyed the flow of A Lovely Wreckage, and I hope I can capture that in (Un)Requited.

Yep, that there’s the name. 

I wrote the final poem yesterday.  I have known which will be first, Monster, first published at Pink Plastic House, A Tiny Journal in May 2020.  And last night, I penned the last, Scrapbooks.  Now it is time to figure out the in-between.

Then, comes the publisher hunt.  I don’t know what to do there…do I send it to my previous publisher first?  What if I’d like to try someone new, or a place I think is more suited to the subject matter?  What’s the plan of action here?

Stay turned for the answers to these and more questions, on an upcoming episode of Brigid’s blog.

Happy Monday.

Me and Jesus

Listen, I know everyone’s having a crap year, but I am just killing it, writer-style.

In March, I wrote a little poem.  It was for a contest for Poesia, and you had to take a line from another poem and start your poem with that line.  The other poem was Sophie Robinson’s “Art in America.”  I chose the line “Honestly, I am sick of helping Jesus count the days…”

I won the contest.

Afterwards, I was surfing though Pinterest one day looking for pins for my development board for my next project, when I saw an old quote I have always loved.  “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.”   This is how I felt about my little Jesus poem.  So, I went back.  I deleted the first line so as not to be a plagiarizer, and then started writing.  And I did not stop, for 12 pages.

But what to do with something too short to be a book and too long to be a regular submission?  Ask Twitter, of course.  Mention that you have just finished a long poem about smoking a joint with Jesus, and see who bites.  And when they do, and they did, send them the poem and wait.

Then, one day, the email.  I have an uncanny ability to know when I’m getting an acceptance.  I can tell before I even open it.  I’m a little bit psychic, which makes it very difficult to surprise me.  I will admit I knew it was an acceptance before I clicked it open, I just didn’t know for what.

Me and Jesus on a Tuesday Afternoon.

That is the title of my poem, which Pen and Anvil Press will soon be offering in their chapbook catalogue.  “Delightful” and “poignant,” she called it.  I would use those words as well.

I rarely love something I write, but I loved this guy.  I wrote it for my aunt Ka, who passed away several years ago, and I hope that if she is in her heaven, she can read it and understand me as the person I am now.  I wrote it because I am a lapsed Catholic, but Jesus is still my homeboy. 

Anyhoo, I have been added to the P&A queue and am awaiting further details.  I have no other information at the moment, just the knowledge that my not-so-little poem is going somewhere special. And plenty of joy over the fact that I LIKE what I wrote.  Genuinely 100% like it. 

So rare, I tell you.

National Poetry Month

Getting real sick of every topic I come up with to write about being Coronavirus related, so here’s one that has nothing to do with that whatsoever.

It is National Poetry Month!

Poetry is my first love, writing-wise.  I wrote a poem in 9th grade, found I had a knack for it, and never stopped.  I had my first poem accepted for publication shortly before graduating high school.  But, circumstances being what they were with my serotonin levels, I dropped off writing altogether for a bit and what I did write I didn’t dare show to anyone. Then something happened when I hit 35.  I was sick of keeping all my work to myself, so I sent off a poem on a whim and it got picked up by a journal I enjoy.  That was just the confidence boost I needed to hit the ground running.  You can check out Potatoes for that little guy and everything I have had published since.

Now, I would like to share a couple of poems with you, in honor of Poetry Month. I usually do not do this for a singular reason: a mag will not publish your work if it’s on your blog.  However, I don’t really intend to find homes for these stragglers, and if I do I will just take the photo down.  Why photos, you ask?  Because the formatting on my blog is flippin’ weird and it just doesn’t look right.

Anyway, have some poems.


SIDENOTE:  It is also Autism Awareness month.  The monthly poetry reading I attend has gone virtual, and is taking place via Facebook Live.  This month’s reader is poet and artist, Kristin Maggio-who also happens to be a 13-year-old with autism who was non-verbal until she learned to communicate through her art.  Which I think is pretty amazing.  So, if you’re quarantined and bored on Friday night at 7pm EST, you should check it out: click here!

A Year in Writing

Usually, I’m not big on hyping my accomplishments.  My mother wants me to post every single thing I write to Facebook.  I don’t.  I use Twitter for this.  On Facebook, there’s 400 people who know me personally.  On Twitter, there’s nearly 4k who don’t know me from a doorknob.  I am far more comfortable sharing my stuff with strangers. 

Now, should my real-life people happen upon my works, or should I be proud enough of something to share it to FB, that’s great.  I always receive positive feedback from them, so that’s very appreciated.  I just don’t feel comfortable selling myself to my friends and family, and that’s what it feels like I would be doing if I posted all my blogs and poems and everything on FB.  I never felt comfortable selling myself.  I remember back when I made a profile on some dating website, and found that bragging about myself was not one of my strong qualities.  It took three people and two hours to make a decent-sounding dating profile. 

I just don’t like selling myself.  But I need to learn how, and to break through that fear, if I ever want to consider making it in the writing industry. 

So, here’s me hyping myself.  This year, I have accomplished some serious work in my writing life.  First of all, I composed my chapbook of poetry about mental and chronic illness.  This took a lot of time and introspective thought, and I am proud of the result…though I must admit, I have considered turning it into a full length, too.  Time will tell.

Also in 2019, I had four poems published.  I wrote a children’s book about a teddy bear called Super Joe, and even found someone to illustrate it for me.  And of course, I did NaNoWriMo, which gave me a little novel about a girl who wakes up in a depopulated world and must go on a quest to find people.  Then came December and the gift of FIVE poems being published this month.  The first three come out at Queen Mob’s Tea House today.

I’d like to write about them, as I rarely share about my poems themselves.  Let’s start with…

4th of July.  Probably the one with the most “story,” it tells the tale of me and my brother-from-another-mother, Kevin.  For me, the 4th of July was always “our” holiday, and it is a retrospective look at our lives.  Read if you like tales about friendship.

Inbetween.  This is what I like to call a “filler” poem.  It’s one that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with but someone else read and liked, and I added to the file because why not?  This bad boy is about depression and it’s grasp on people who have it.   A lot of my poems are about that, but I like how this one starts: “I tried to clean my office, but it’s as messy as my head.”  Read if you enjoy reading about serotonin imbalances.

Finally, Broken Watches.  This one is pretty old, actually, but I have always liked it.  It’s about a broken heart, more or less, and the pain of loving someone when you know it won’t work out.  It also features some of my views on the church.  Read if you are a lapsed Catholic with relationship problems.

The other two coming out this month are Dead Nerves and Unfathomable.  Dead Nerves is about neuropathy and ageing.  Unfathomable is about reproductive rights.  That one should be fun to share.  I’m sure it will summon forth at least one old white man with an opinion on my uterus whom I will have to promptly shut down. 

So, in closing, my year in writing has been pretty darn good, in my opinion.  And it’s looking like next year might be good as well, now that I have three projects I am working on that could provide dividends in the future.  We shall see what it brings.  I hope all my writing buddies are having a productive year as well, and good luck to you in the next.

Poetry Month!

It’s National Poetry Month, and as such I wanted to write about poetry.  More specifically, I wanted to write poetry.  There are a couple problems doing that on your blog, however.  For one, if it’s a piece you may want to send out some day, you shouldn’t post it elsewhere.  The second part of the problem is that you never really know when you’re going to want to polish something up and post it.  Also, my current crap WordPress theme does not allow for my poetry to appear as I would like.  So, what I’ve done here is chosen a few poems that were recently penned by me and have some sort of relation to the past week or so of my life.  If I make the decision to rework them, I will remove them, and I formatted them as best as I could given my narrow theme selections.  (Ps, all of the formatting on WordPress has changed, and I don’t like it.)

So, here’s three poems.  Enjoy, and Happy Poetry Month.

Cross Fade

In tight on a point of light/ somewhere in the darkness we create/ with black drapes and paint spills.  Ghost light center stage/ a reminder or warning/ depending on your point of view/ depending on how long you’ve been/ scraping tar and feathers off the floor. Some people have disposable souls/ kept in their pockets like tissues for windy days. Others have masks they discard as the music moves them/ twirling to the edges of my perception. Quiet and watchful as always I/ notice these exceptions/ these disregards/ this lack of loyalty. The slap in my face was deserved; I know how much you took. My silent observations belie my hand/ and this heart disconnects from its fingers/ pouring blood where they used to be paint. I watch you sink, and frown.  What a waste.

Skin

Unbreakable, my skin/ tough like Teflon but soft/ in places where light shines through/ I feel tissue-paper-thin as/ I bend in the wind. My arms like lead and my/ head on fire I remember when/ my skin gave way to/ prickles of blood on white and/ I felt my senses swirl away from me/ reaching for a steady hand/ when all that catches me / is air.

Click-Clack

I want to write madly/ fingers flying over a keyboard as I / feel my senses bleed onto word documents but this darkness paralyzes me/ leaving me broken and bruised again.  I lick my wounds and stare/ at my black behemoth of a computer that/ sits in judgement over / my lack of output.  She shakes her head/ this ghost in the machine/ and scolds me for giving up, for taking time…I cringe.  My heart is beating but my pulse/ is weak and I feel / lost somehow in the tangle of wires/ that connects me to the world outside.  I want to sit on my throne and/ pen my words with the rapid fire click-clack of keys/ or the scratching and scrawling of pen on paper/ but I can’t raise my head toward the light.  I can’t grip the pencil between my tired fingers.  Instead I sit in shame while she judges me again/ laughing at my weakness like so many schoolchildren/ and I am left wanting once again.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Poetry in Motion

Approaching my self-imposed deadline again.

All in all, I would say I have been doing good with posting at least weekly, but then a day like this comes and I don’t know what to say. Literally the only thing I have written this week was a handful of poems, mainly inspired by the bonkers weather we have been experiencing. On the one hand, yay new poems, on the other, boo no blog. So, I figure one could bleed into the other a little.

They’re not good. Of course, I think nothing I write is good, and I don’t want to go getting your hopes up. These are not my favorites or my best, just what I’ve gotten out of myself recently. And since I can’t seem to get a decent blog post out, I’ll go with this until I find one.

Makeup- deleted for submission, 2020.

Heat

Below my balcony a baby wails-

“Too hot!”

Over and over

And I agree because that winter weather

Has moved out for the summer,

Packed its bags and disappeared

To leave me boiling

In heat too early for May

And I want to rush to it

My maternal instinct kicking in

And hold a cool cloth to its head,

The one on mine,

The one to take away this headache that does not leave

Because there is a baby

Wailing outside my window.

Flowerbox

I plant flowers in cheap dirt and pray for miracles

Like raindrops and sun

But the ground freezes over again and I am reminded

That this is Buffalo and I should know better

Than to get my hopes up like the vines

Of the morning glories I try to bring to life

Despite rocky soil and poor climate.

I don’t know excitement,

Because I can never muster it,

No thanks to tiny pills that run my body for me

Because it is too tired to run itself.

I look for joy in these little seedlings,

But find myself disappointed

When nothing remains but dirt.

**published Street Light Press,2018