Frontier

A healthy schnitzelfritz
is all we would need
for a cut-rate Dependence Day
on the Frontier of Many Puddings.

Ever since the rolling scabies epidemic
took its time crossing the Ganges,
twelve men have made it their business
to carve necklaces from oak stumps
as a way of reconnecting
with their wood nymph sides
while honing their dedication
to sculptural accessorizing.

After all those mentions of scriptural evangelizing, our Maker’s Dozen–as they like to call themselves–made the executive decision to secularize the whole process and peddle the wares of their ingenuity for a tidy profit (at least, wherever flea markets intersect with local art exhibitions).

One mustn’t mistake this ingenuity
for dogmatic commitment to peculiar crafting,
as these enterprising young monks
would be the first to tell you.
Frankly, these fellows have
a bit of a competitive streak in them
that has yet to be beaten out
by assumptive authoritarians,
and a near-endless supply
of stump-grade dynamite
only served to seal the deal.

Check Check, Test Test

Wow, this recent sequence of events is quite a roller coaster ride of rediscovery and contemplation as an artist. All those times–hundreds–that I doubted why I was putting in the time, I was incapable of seeing the bigger picture. And now that I’ve glimpsed a larger scheme of things, I can also understand that I’ll never see the entire picture. My senses limit that panoply.

But that’s okay! I can make do with what I’ve got, and make it as colorful as possible.

My Straitjacket series, as you may have noticed, is the driving force behind this particular reinvigoration.

I’m going to post dozens of these Straitjacket poems, all named a particular time of day, Greenwich Mean Time. There are 1,440 possible titles for this series, if you consider the different combinations of digits that represent particular periods in time (however ambiguous).

The older me would have let that overwhelm him, likely thinking about that 1,440 number as a challenge to WRITE 1,440 POEMS FOR THE SERIES. Anything less would have been a letdown.

Fortunately, my thought processes are much healthier these days, and I’m just taking it one poem at a time.

The speaker in these poems is… a man in a straitjacket. He’s in a rubber room, doesn’t know how he got there. Time is static in this environment, and sensory deprivation is opening up new ways of thought for him. As time progresses, he becomes more and more comfortable with his purest expressions, abandoning the inner critic that always told him he wasn’t good enough, and that he’d just end up selling used cars out of an auto mechanic’s garage (well, not exactly in the garage–it’s out back, Gus owns the adjacent lot and decided one day to supplement his income by buying fixer-uppers and flipping them for tidy profits).

Taking the idea of audience out of the equation for the speaker is sublime and freeing, I can do whatever I want with words under the umbrella of absurdity and non-sequitur, legitimized through a unified theme.

So I reckon that’s about it for now. Just wanted to check in, let you know that I’m happily creating. Perhaps, in the near future, an upgrade will come my way. Some kind of monetization. Perchance a book or booksss? That’s my hope, eh? Just need to figure out how to self-publish printed materials and reach the widest possible audience.

Cheers, mates!

-Aidan

Major Update (Not Upheaval)

Hello all,

First of all, I’d like to thank you for reading my work. You’re the sounding board that helps me to legitimize my efforts, and I cannot underestimate your influence in that department.

Every once in a while I need to re-assess my progress and see what can be done to refresh my inspiration as a writer. If you look at my archives, you will see an on-again/off-again pattern, where I’ll have successful months followed by droughts. I never plan things out that way, they just naturally unfold in that fashion. There are numerous factors that play into this phenomenon, but they change every time I go through the cycle. I suppose I can just call it artistic chaos and leave it at that.

This kind of sporadic output definitely takes its toll on my psyche, and many a time I’ll find myself wondering if I’ll ever be able to reach the level of creativity and spontaneity that once came so naturally (without the nagging doubts and irrational fears). Recently I’ve been reflecting on my past efforts, and I’ve pinpointed a specific project that gave my creative self license to play and have fun.

Starting in May 2011 and ending a calendar year later, I wrote a series of numbered poems consisting of 146 sequential pieces that reached varying degrees of success. I started that particular project when my life was in a fragile state, recovering from (what I know now to be) my first manic episode. I’d recently withdrawn from the Spring 2011 semester of college, and my future was up in the air. I had a summer to reflect on life and do my best to gear back up for school in the fall (which was by no means a guarantee). I needed something that would channel my thoughts and energy into something that I could be proud of, something that would give my life’s work a sense of meaning, thereby giving my everyday life more of a purpose.

That numbered poetry project propelled me back into my final year of college, and swept me through my poetry seminar and final reading with aplomb. The sheer volume of work I could pull out of my hat at any moment gave me an air of confidence and legitimacy with my craft, something I sure could use right now. So why not return to my previous successes?

The major success of that numbered poetry project was the platform it afforded me. I could exist amongst the forms, sampling from any and all of the senses whenever they suited me. Nothing was off the table, but there was no table set in the first place. Pure spontaneous creation was the only goal, and I was able to write, forgetting those filters that life had imposed on me for survival purposes. I’m hoping that by reliving this series of sensations, I can once again find the wellspring of unlimited inspiration–where poetry lives and breathes.

I encourage you, fellow journeymen and women–journeypersons–to rip a page from this book and take a break from rigid societal hierarchy and imposed filtration that we deal with at every waking moment of our lives. Free yourselves, if only for a few brief moments at a time, writing what comes naturally without question. If you do that enough, you’ll see a pattern emerge, and you may begin to glimpse at your true creative being–you know, the one who used to draw on the walls.

Cheers,

-A

Yapping

A little dog is yapping after its owner decided to leave it alone on this coffee shop’s patio, irritating all the people outside and even some of us indoors (that yapping is quite loud and obnoxious). This situation has led us patrons to wonder about the sanctity of the dog-owner relationship, and how many times such a bond is tested throughout the course of an average day.

Oh thank God, she’s back. Now we only have to worry about our own problems once again, at least until something else (a crying baby, a coffee spill, a delivery guy struggling to simultaneously open the door and hold onto his parcels) distracts us.

NaPoWriMo 2015 — April’s Over (The Posts Aren’t)

The calendar already reads May 2nd, and I haven’t met the pre-established goal of 30 pieces for National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve been writing throughout the month of April, and my grand total of things written easily eclipses 45.

So, since I’ve never considered myself traditional by any stretch, I will continue to post the pieces that I wrote during April. I will continue to title them the way I’ve titled the first 11 (Roman numerals are just so much fun).

The funny thing about NaPoWriMo is that it makes me clam up and unintentionally sabotage my own efforts. In previous years, I’ve never reached that 30 poem benchmark when it comes to posting them on my website, mainly because April would end and I would immediately go back to business as usual.

This year, I choose to keep on with NaPoWriMo posts, and I must assure you that I have not tampered with these pieces since they were first written (hand-written, all).

I will also make non-poetry-month-related things, since that’s generally my MO anyway.

I’m grateful for your readership, even though I don’t own any grates and my apartment is not full of them by any means. My one roommate has about three dozen grates as a part of his peculiar collection of things that resemble waffles, so there are grates around. But let me reiterate, just because a person does not own any grates does not mean he cannot be grateful.

By no means am I ungrateful. That could imply that I am against the idea of having grates, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

What does all this mean? It means that I’m lucky enough to be able to say these things to an audience, and also that grateful can be a misleading word.

-A

Different Chords (Audibly Restless

I leapt through a series of otherwise meaningless hoops (bald, scorpion, mating ritual-oriented, etc.) before I could contextualize what the hell my actions even meant to me and to those within my immediate surroundings. And do you know what I discovered? You’ll be surprised to learn that absolutely nothing could have been derived from those actions aside from pain and rather tedious boredom! No matter how many labels I ascribed to my life, I still longed for the time where everything was laid out before me in ribbons, streaking across the sky and peppering my vision like pigeons flying above the public library (only pooping periodically, and never on the periodicals), laying my track before me. I had once been content to wander and follow the striped ground, but then the stripes grew apart and I could no longer passively traipse through my existence. It had become clear that I needed to select a distinct path, and I splintered my psyche into several different chords (audibly restless, confused and frustrated). My body grew apart from my mind and I lost that once common-sense connection that allowed me to exist in the same space as others of my species.

And now I wait for my paths to converge once more, so I may mend my fragmented soul and take part in that wholesale charade that most humans call real life.

You Have the Pilgrims

Taking a test really only means that you have the pilgrims to thank for your present state of malaise. Merit-based systems come about as a means for overcompensation for the lack of otherwise sensual behavior that would be prized by our species’ most relevant ancestors (you know, the few dozen individuals who managed to survive drought and famine in the motherland before finally deciding that enough was enough, subsequently migrating northward, settling what is presently known to be Europe and Asia, parting ways with those of our species who’d chosen to head south and colonize what they’d hoped to be a more verdant Africa).