Decade 1: Commence Year 10/10!

9 years are officially in the books, and year 10 has now begun!

While 9 years doesn’t constitute a full decade, it does indicate to me that I’ve been persisting at this thing for a little while now, and I should use year 10 as the renaissance year, so to speak.

In a nutshell, it’s been a wild ride through my 20s. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to chart my growth on WHARVED. Here’s a breakdown of the most relevant personal highlights!

——

Year 1 (12/20/10 – 12/19/11) — blog establishment / major quarter-life crisis / discovery of WHARVED’s power to inspire me and help me recognize the value of my expression

Year 2 (12/20/11 – 12/19/12) — completion of undergrad (with only one hiccup, due in large part to WHARVED’s stabilizing influence) / first job out of school

Year 3 (12/20/12 – 12/19/13) — first job transition and subsequent disillusionment with the system / begin restaurant industry experience

Year 4 (12/20/13 – 12/19/14) — death of family dog / leaving the nest

Year 5 (12/20/14 – 12/19/15) — complacency and unawareness lead to regrettable circumstances, true fear and remorse ingrained in psyche for first time / bipolar 1 diagnosed

Year 6 (12/20/15 – 12/19/16) — much upheaval / beginning of 108-poem numbered series / Cubs win World Series (!!!!!!!!)

Year 7 (12/20/16 – 12/19/17) — completion of 108-poem numbered series / accepting fate of who I am only after trying to get too cute about it / move out of first apartment / NEW ERA marked consciously / Straitjacket Series conceived

Year 8 (12/20/17 – 12/19/18) — Straitjacket Series terminus / financial ruination and regret / learning daily feeling of toil in earnest / new idea EXPLOSION as genuine life is easier to access

Year 9 (12/20/18 – 12/19/19) — Continuing with genuine living and explosion of ideas / transitioning to exploiting skills and affinities for financial gain, as profiting is now imperative / 10,000 views!!

EXTRAPOLATION!

Year 10 (12/20/19 – 12/19/20) — Hindsight is 20/20, BUT if trends continue, year 10 will constitute a combination of the renewed idea explosion with a bit more of an organizational acumen (due to necessity, mainly). This will also be the year in which I turn 30, an age that I’ve heard is significant. One pledge I’ll make to myself, as I find myself looking over this chronology, is to take it all one day at a time. Just try to make an effort of some kind; you don’t have to do everything in one day, and you certainly don’t want to go about trying to reinvent the wheel.
Commencing year 10 means that I have 9 full years under my belt, and I can honestly say that I’ve continued the same thread of artistic exploration for this entire duration. There are dips and dives in productivity, but I always gravitate back toward WHARVED as my anchor in choppy waters. I tend to feel that I’ve strayed away from my truest self when I don’t focus on my WHARVED output, and it’s been made obvious in my personal history that I need this particular outlet for expression.

I also hope to have my 5,000th distinct visitor to WHARVED this year, which would be quite a milestone for a minimalist poetry blog in the 21st century.

As of this very moment, I have 1,145 posts labeled “poetry” on WHARVED (drafted and/or published), for a yearly average just above 127. Not too shabby, I says to myself [I says]. I expect to have at least the same amount of output, so as to continue the marvelous trend of exploration and continuous growth.

I’m forever thankful to you, the reader, for being party to my compositional and philosophical ramblings here. I’m only going to work to make even more things for you guys to enjoy, and perhaps on a more consistent basis (how many times have I said that?)!!

So let’s all raise a glass and have a toast for WHARVED!

Cheers, people!

-Aidan

Figuring It Out

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Well, another day, another dollar. Aren’t I just the greatest thing that ever existed? The peak of existence, I tells ya. Yeah, see. I’m just so great… well, maybe. Or maybe I’m just full of shit.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Well, don’t you know it, a woman with a stroller is getting on the bus. Is this going to fuck up my routine, my rhythm? What the hell, she’s taking forever!

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

But her face is strained, she looks tired. The kid isn’t really paying attention to anything that’s happening, and this poor lady is just trying to figure out how to get to her destination without completely losing it.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

This mother is doing everything she can! Look at her, taking the bus on her own with a big-ass stroller that’s taking up way more space than she would care to take up in the first place.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I make brief eye contact with her and we exchange knowing glances, even though I know absolutely nothing (first-hand) about being a mother or providing for a family. Even being a woman, for that matter.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I get a look at the kid in the stroller, their eyes darting around to see the new sights, soaking them in like a sponge. Inquisitive. Colors everywhere. Information streaming in that may never leave.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

We lock eyes. I grin from ear to ear. He/she/they smile back, and keep the eye contact going. I have to look away after a couple seconds, for fear of other people noticing this interaction with a small child.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I think that this person could be a leader, a future president. I don’t want to spoil their innocence by selfishly avoiding their gaze. Their innocence can only stretch so far in the face of cynicism. I put my hand in the air and wave.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I look at the time, and it turns out that I’m going to make it to work without delay anyway. All that worrying, all the hand-wringing for things that were ultimately out of my control.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Where is this kid going, anyway? What are they going to want to do with their life? They obviously have a mom who wants the best for them. These are all things that probably won’t be reckoned with for some years (hopefully, if ever).

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Was I like that bright-eyed kid on the bus when my mom was taking me to work with her on my days off from school? Hopping on the blue line and talking about the little things we noticed on the platform and in the tunnel? Were there older people on the train making that same kind of eye contact with me? Did they avoid my gaze after a couple of seconds?

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Here’s my stop. One last glance at the mother and child is enough to charge me up for work, to give me that one last pause before I have to deal with the deluge of humans who may or may not know what’s good for them. But hey, we’re all figuring it out in our own time.

Peabrain

I preyed upon myself
through lack of imposed restriction
and dearth of self-shepherding.
Anything was–and still is–possible
when given the proper attention
or suitable elbow grease.

But who did I think I was fooling?
Certainly not myself:

Enigmatic Pilgrim Extraordinaire[!]

performing dichotomous dives
into shallower waters for all to watch–
on an annual basis.
I could have sold tickets
to these affairs. At least then
I wouldn’t be mired in so much debt.

If only I brandish a magic wand
and distract that Paleolithic peabrain
while my other hand composes tarantellas
or masters new guitar chords
to incorporate into the cliché magnum opus
that I’ve been planning since,
oh I don’t know… birth.

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.