POET STALEY’S TOP 10 RULES FOR WRITING ABOUT A SPECIFIC PERSON
allow yourself to acknowledge that you care about someone
then sweep that someone out of your mind
and onto the pages of your journal
dump the dust pan of that person
as fearlessly, honestly and quickly as you can
surround that person with the concrete nouns
that person surrounds themselves with
then deliberately inject action verbs
or slip them in when no one’s looking
keep writing everything you can about that person
not worrying about the direction your writing is going,
try rhyming about that person,
try listing things about that person,
try moving that person around in time,
try writing from that person’s point of view
describe the person as though you’re describing the details of a photo
let your journal pages marinate overnight in the refrigerator or at room temp
cut away all the lame stuff
cut away all the stuff that doesn’t deeply satisfy your aesthetic
cut away the stuff you put in there just for the teacher
cut away anything you’ve heard or read before
replace boring verbs with better ones
cut away all the fake words
sprinkle in literary devices until a poem appears
(if no poem appears repeat steps 1-5)
break your lines. make it look like a poem. not a paragraph.
proofread and read out loud and tweak and fix and submit
Huerta’s rules about writing about people you know and people you don’t
1. Conversations about a past event will entice the reader to forge ahead.
2. Objects around the poems location bring realism to your story and will build a bond between you and the reader. Common household products and animals, for instance, are worthy objects. Politics and trauma are questionable.
3. Never write about your feelings or love loss. You’re better than this and no one cares.
4. If writer's block is something you are suffering from, try your hardest to live in the present with an unapologetic eye for your surroundings. Read the room, write it down. Repeat.
5. Creating a mad lib style game will force your imagination. Pick up the daily paper and create a story using the police blotter and your comrades.
6. Always mix imagination with reality. Because the best shit happens when the fresh river meets the salty sea. Where the tears from your fears clash with consciousness to create a story worthy of telling again and most importantly for someone else to repeat it.
Read more "JON HUERTA and TIM STALEY -POETRY INSTRUCTION BATTLE – HOW TO WRITE ABOUT A SPECIFIC PERSON"
Kentucky Fried Son of a Bitch
War - it's good for something, Edwin,
like keeping munitions factories steadily employed
rather than earnings gone on horses, booze,
ass-grooves impressed so deep on bar-stools
archaeologists in 500,000 years
might consider them
completely different species
- anonymous maximus;
War gave us Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sasoon,
Richard Whidmark, Florence Nightingale,
dogs who carry honorary ranks
Walt Disney make wholly distorted films about,
but hey -
it's all good, Edwin.
Sometimes I feel like a Kentucky Fried Son of a Bitch
having these conversations
over and over.
How Dresden and Coventry
united us as a global community,
yin and yang like two sages
sitting beside me, neither satisfied
at how far I will take them, before the fluttering wings of
waitresses twist on the stench of spilled draught
and bathroom odours, reminding me of wars still raging.
Yeah, he's a Kentucky fried son of a bitch
passing elbows elbows nudge me like shells pounding on
Dresden and Coventry. The thrill of it all.
Read more "JOHN DOYLE – KENTUCKY FRIED SON OF A BITCH"
my disguise is my only friend but at times it stabs me in the back too
this portrait of beauty still remains upon my eyes
the soft colors that dance around my sorrow and mock the ache in my chest
the blinding lights of the heart you have broken and carved out have dimmed their glow to an absolute fog
they too have fallen into the pits of regret and anguish
just as I
his eyes were clouds and the rain never stopped
Read more "RICKY WINTERS – 3 POEMS"
As we walk across
Asks me of my prospects
‘Soon I’ll be fucking dead’
He seems to think life will work out for me
But for a brief moment
We are lost
Eventually we find my mother
And grumpy Grandma
Before eating fish and chips
My eyes looking up towards the sun
Bristol, August 2006
Where he worked
And did not like
To be reminded
That he did
He was always reliable
But found others far from it
He cursed them
Under his breath
As the days rolled by
With cigarettes and coffee
To try and ease the strain
Sometimes it rained
Sometimes it was windy
And jobs would not be done
He sat in his chair
Made phone calls
He would nonetheless
Face his humiliation
With a rare bravery
One of his sons
Wrote on a piece of paper
And stuck it on the wall
Of his office
At his sons sense of humour
Because by Christ
It felt like one
Colchester, April 2007
Mark Anthony Pearce lives and works as a Receptionist in Bristol, England. His poetry has been published in University of Essex Poetry Journal, BS Poetry Magazine and online, Inefável, Coronaverses, Winamop, Horror Sleaze Trash, Duane’s PoeTree & Piker Press. Mark’s writing has also featured in ‘Anne Bean: Self Etc’ (Live Art Development Agency and Intellect Books, Autumn 2018)
Read more "MARK ANTHONY PEARCE – 2 POEMS"
To Razor Shines
Dear Mr. Shines: Razor,
do I have to live
a life others want
for me, just because
they’ve chosen it
When I look at your baseball card,
I see the back yard
of the house I grew up in,
where hubcaps bloomed
I see myself
sitting at a round, burgundy
spray-painted wooden table,
slurping a glass of iced tea
as I read and memorize
the names of ballplayers
and the various cities and towns
they hail from. For instance,
Razor is your middle name.
Durham, North Carolina,
intrigued me: it was
somewhere and something different
from what I knew;
hundreds of miles away
from the constant yelling,
screaming, kicking, and punching;
from the rubber boots, pumps,
and knives the adults
in my family hurled
at each other
as well as me. Your name;
your career in The Show;
your time as a Montreal Expo
became a hope
that I could make
a different reality
that I could find
my own way
to be present
in the moment
things would work out.
And I am grateful
to have this card,
this marvelous window,
where I can still see and hear
some chickadees, perched
on a clothesline; their gold chatter
cracking a concrete patio.
Joey Nicoletti is the author of four books and four chapbooks, most recently Boombox Serenade (BlazeVOX, 2019) and Counterfeit Moon (NightBallet Press, 2016). Of course we are partial to his collection THUNDERSNOW because we published it.
Read more "Joey Nicoletti – To Razor Shines"
I hope it is, at least.
as it feels like the world is looking at the sky,
one foot hovering over the threshold of their bomb shelter.
and suddenly I’m caught between feeling
extremist for calling it a bomb, and
guilty because I know others are actually being bombed, and
suffocated by the idea that –
if I just repost one more graphic
if I can just memorize the right data
if I have “the hard conversations”
– maybe I can fix it.
maybe it can be, if we let it.
the sun is so bright this morning
(that’s not a metaphor, it literally made me squint)
and yes, it’s a sun that is piercing our ozone
and giving weight to the smog we create
but it’s shining.
and drawing the shades tight,
tugging on the top of our twitter feed like a toddler at a hem
trying to get what they want,
will not change that.
we have tried to change so much.
and we have.
as companies proclaim “BLM” across the street from the house of a man
who fights back with “all lives matter”
we can see change.
as grandparents and uncles and siblings and friends soften to new ideas of justice
and switch the sign in their yard
we can see change.
as metal straws clang in reusable bottles
and wedding cake is smushed by a man into his husband’s mouth
and The Daily is a suggested podcast
even for people who “don’t get political”
we can see change.
and finally, as the number of people voting this year soars past 2016’s record, yes
we can see change.
so let’s rest.
just for a day.
battering our own mental health as some sort of penance
won’t change the outcome.
and the outcome won’t necessarily
change the fight.
so let’s allow ourselves a moment
to just be.
be kind to ourselves, to our neighbors
to those who feel unsafe, to those who may have gotten too comfortable.
give yourself and others grace,
if just for today.
we’ve posted and protested
we’ve pleaded and prayed
we’ve scrolled (and scrolled and scrolled)
we’ve lost friends and learned facts,
each point of data chosen meticulously
to help others understand.
politics have become deeply personal
and our emotions are somehow partisan
so today, on this most political day
let’s protect those emotions.
keep them safe, snuggled up away from what’s been weighing on them for
weeks, months, years.
for one day
one good morning.
Find Quincy here
Read more "Quincy Staley – November 3"