I Want to Write a Poem for the Men on Long Island (After Olivia Gatwood) – National Poetry Month – 4/3

I want to write a poem for the men on Long Island

At least, the ones I know

To most of whom I’m related or as good as

And then there’s the one always playing the piano

Who makes music that’ll warm you as much as the embraces of all of the men I know from Long Island

Who hug like a house and a home cooked meal

Though,

I have seen them raise with anger the same hands used to welcome

I want to write a poem for the men on Long Island

Not because they need it,

But because I need to

And I wish I could only write of warmth

But too often has it also been followed by heat for me to do so

I want to write a poem for the men on Long Island

Who give me most anything they find lying around

But whose gifts I have accepted less and less readily with time

And these days never without sifting through first to pick out all of the stuck on masculinity they leave everything covered in

I find it in the coffee in the monring

Covered in sauce in my pasta at the dinner table

They sign the check with it when we go out to eat.

I want to write a poem for the men on Long Island

Because once my grandfather told me to cut my hair,

He only has one granddaughter he says

He won’t have me turning into one too

I want to write a poem for the men on Long Island

Because if my grandfather saw half the things I wear

or a small part of my closet

He’d raise his hand

And I know it would not be in welcome.

Wrong Way Race Horse – National Poetry Month – 4/2

It’s running

Pacing itself beyond it’s own limits

so I guess failing to pace itself at all

Even back before I knew what running was

It was doing it

There’s a good reason when I use “childhood” in a sentence

Exhaustion is usually somewhere near by

Just like there’s a good reason it is on my good days too

Imagine playing catch up everyday of your life

You’d call the day you actually pull it off good too

So any day I’m not falling further behind

Not having dirt kicked up in my face no matter where I turn

Not being run over by the world and left behind

Is a good day.

 

My mind is always running,

And some days even I can’t keep up with it

But that ain’t really the problem

Just that I can’t wrangle it long enough to get it to run the right way round the track

No one ever won the Kentucky Derby clockwise

But my mind ain’t interested in a triple crown

It ain’t one for anything that’ll just weigh it down.

Everyone’s always shouting at me for not being able to wrangle the damn beast,

But everyday I listen less and less

Everyday I give it more and more reign.

Keep your crowns.

I’m waiting to see if it can pull off what it’s been trying to all along

And beat the moon back to the horizon.

From the Corner of the Party Everyone is Always Glowing – National Poetry Month – 4/1

I’ll always end up in the corner of your local party writing poems

Though you won’t always be able to see me there

Though perhaps the corner of the party isn’t a place

but a feeling that just happens to look more like its own name

on the weekends after the sun drops and the volume knobs in college

apartments are all turned up until the cops or someone’s paranoia show up

What if I am in the corner of the party even when there is no party to be seen or

heard through the wall or the floor or the ceiling

Maybe the corner of this party isn’t what you think it is

Maybe it’s a classroom 

Or a play ground 

Or any place that children gathered in any mass when I was also a child unsure of how to be a child with the rest of the children

Maybe I don’t know how to dance with the girl at this party

because I never figured out how to make it across the monkey bars

Or never managed to defy whatever it is that told us slides only go one way

Maybe I can’t go to the middle of the room and dance like I do when no one is looking

because I am scared the dance is not the same dance when there are eyes on it

I’m scared to be light

So I cannot bring myself to dance amongst all of these glowing bodies in the dark

I see a girl glowing amongst the crowd and tonight it is because of the black light

Though this is in fact how I see parties always

From the corner

People always glowing 

Children or not

Black light or not

But the corner is always dark

The April Project – Something’s Coming

It is now the month of April, and therefore it is now National Poetry Month.

For the most part this just means all of us poets and poetry loving people are gonna be talking about poetry extra loud for the next few weeks, but what it also means is that we are now in the month of the 30-for-30 challenge.

Anthony, what’s the 30-for-30 challenge?

I’m glad you asked! The 30-for-30 challenge is a challenge in which people try and write a poem every day for the month of April (30 days, 30 poems, 30-for-30; because if you can make it catchy, you make it catchy). There isn’t a prize, it isn’t like National Novel Writing Month where if you hit a certain number of words or days writing you can get author’s copies of your books made. It’s largely personal, the writer forces themselves to be active in looking for inspiration and following through on their art.

Anyone who pays attention to this blog or the content that comes out of it knows that last year I decided to try and undertake the 30-for-30 challenge. For accountability’s sake, and to practice sharing my work with others, I also posted the resulting poems to my blog. I even saw it as an opportunity to jointly keep myself active in my photography and decided to carry my camera with me everyday. I’d then choose one of the images I took over the course of the day to be posted with the poem, sometimes the picture would inform or inspire the poem, sometimes vice versa, and sometimes they’d be completely unrelated. It was a really good period for me because I gave myself permission to prioritize my art, another reason I’ve become such a big advocate of the challenge.

That all being said, this month I will not be doing the 30-for-30 challenge.

Before you get upset, let me first say I’m shocked and flattered you would be so effected by the idea of not being able to consume my work this month. Next, let me assure you, you would have been completely okay without it.

Now let me explain what I mean when I say I won’t be doing the 30-for-30 challenge.

I wont be doing the 30-for-30 challenge because I have instead created my own version of it, something I am calling the –

April

30 – 4-5-6 – 30

Project

For the sake of time, and everyone’s sanity, let’s just call it The April Project. What I’d like to do next is break down what exactly it is, what the numbers represent, and where you’ll be able to find the various pieces of content I’ll be putting out over the next few weeks. And in case you feel like skimming, main points are bolded in green and important links are bolded in blue.

I’ll start on the outside and work my way in.

30 Poems – … – 30 Pictures

The 30’s represent the 30 poems and 30 pictures I’ll be producing over the course of the next thirty days. This part of the project is effectively the usual 30-for-30 challenge. On any given day I’ll write a poem, take some pictures, and then you’ll be able to find them on this blog the following day. (For example: it’s April 1st, so the poem I write and picture I take today will be posted sometime tomorrow, April 2nd). This gives me time to edit either piece of content and at least make it presentable, although the poems especially will be rough/first drafts for all intensive purposes. I’ve even added a page on my blog where you’ll be able to find all National Poetry Month & 30-for-30 posts, so if you want to scroll through a couple of poems, or even see the ones from last year, it is all located in one convenient place. I’ve also added a link to said page in the banner menu so you can easily get to it from anywhere on my blog.

Now is where things get a little more complicated, and a little more “extra”…

4 : New Videos

The 4 represents four videos I will be releasing over the next four weeks on my YouTube Channel. This portion in particular will bring in an element of collaboration as the direction and shooting will be up to some very talented friends of mine. They’ll be going up each Saturday of the month (starting next week, April 8th) so if you aren’t already hip to my YouTube Channel, get wise, subscribe, and be on the look out for those as well as…

5: Old Performances

The 5 represents the five videos I will be (re)releasing on my YouTube Channel. As opposed to the aforementioned 4 New Videos, these will be 5 videos of live performances from various points in my poetry career. This portion of the project is two fold: to consolidate the scattered body of work I have posted on YouTube from over the years, and to revisit old material and performances, which I think is very important for artists and people to do. These will be posted every Sunday, with the first of them going up tomorrow April 2nd, so like I said get wise to the YouTube Channel.

6: The April Tape

The 6 represents six recorded tracks that will form a poetry EP I’ve labeled The April Tape Vol. 1, it’ll be comprised of poems written during last year’s 30-for-30 and you’ll be able to find them posted to my (newly created) Soundcloud.  The track’s will be released on whatever day the given poem was originally posted to my blog in April of 2016, which is fun for me since only I know what poems are part of the tape and therefore only I know all of the release dates. So now that you’ve hopefully gotten wise to my YouTube, get wise to my Soundcloud as well. There’s a treat already waiting for you, the original version of my poem Hands which I professionally recorded during my senior year of high school and I’ve never released (or even shared with many people). Hands isn’t included in the 6 poems that’ll make up the tape, but it’s a little taste of what to expect and also something I’ve always wanted to share so please enjoy as my treat to you on the first day of National Poetry Month.

So there it is, the April 30 – 4-5-6 – 30 Project: 30 poems, 30 photos, 4 new videos, 5 old performances, and 6 recorded tracks, all in one month. At least, that’s all of the scheduled content as I’ve planned out to make this whole (possibly over ambitious) thing work. There’ll probably be some other content relating to the project, the process, etc. I’ll be putting out but that’ll just come as feels natural.

In the mean time, get wise to the platforms which I’ll throw some final links to down below including my social media so you can really keep up with everything. Be on the look out for all of the content thats coming, the first of which will start rolling out tomorrow.

Cheers, to prioritizing the art, the work, and so prioritizing the self.

 

WordPress – Home

WordPress – National Poetry Month Page

YouTube

Soundcloud

Instagram

Twitter

Spring Time in the South

I’m back where I’ve always been and the heat feels like home in every way, there’s something special in how it shows up all at once. Georgia heat has character, you know. Anytime I’m around people who’ve come here from anywhere else, and I have been around them in bountiful masses of poets and family and one in the same, it’s all anyone can ever talk about.

It isn’t just that it’s hot

They always say in some sense or another

It’s humid, it’s sticky.

Georgia heat grabs onto your body and doesn’t let go, I’ve learned this well.

I sweat, and elsewhere I’d worry that’d mean catching a cold, but round here I just find myself catching nostalgia. I start sweating and my mind is running through woods and standing on the beach and riding a bike and cutting the grass and petting a dog and carrying as many sticks as it can from one end of a yard to another. I start sweating and find myself just as I have been my whole life. No matter how hard or fast I have tried to run from it at times this body was steeped in the south.

I’ve spent so long, and these days I am so bold as to say too long, begging for the cold. I have learned now that coal never turned to a diamond in the snow. I haven’t felt pressure like that of the south anywhere else I have gone. Perhaps it is because I have never spent long enough else where for a seal to set, but that doesn’t change that I’ve been in these state lines for almost two decades now and though there have been moments I have found myself cooked within them I’ve learned with time how to always be cooking, always laying a plan or working to the end of an old one or both at once. Yes I am tired, yes I wish to rest, but so does everyone living everywhere. I am living as anyone else, anywhere else is doing. Once I wouldn’t have imagined myself making it this far unless I jumped state and made my way to Manhattan, but I have; but I am, here, I am, alive, I am, still, and I have done so still in the south and dare I say it I’ve learned to love it along the way.

In another life perhaps I grew up all bundles and layers, trying to keep out the cold, but in this one I have learned how to sweat, how to go out in search of a breeze or the shade or any kind of air and invite them in. Offer them a seat at the table and a glass of sweat tea while I cook their burgers on the grill out back.

I am here, and will be here longer than a younger version of myself may have ever believed or wanted. Humans are growing things all the time, we sprout more leaves and fruit and we drop both to the ground till we surround ourselves in a forest. I’ve spent so much time hoping the wind would carry these seeds farther north but they have not, and much of me is glad for it. Much of me is happy. So much of me is the south. So much of me is here.

And all of me will still be, here, sweating, tomorrow.

Spring Time in the City

I am want for space, but am not suffocating. I am want for food, but am fed. I am want for home, though now more than ever it is not simply a place as it once was. Still there is plenty I am not want for, I have plenty, I have what I was want for a week ago.

I am flying home after spending a week in a city I have spent years loving. Thousands of feet above the country I have so many things to say about, I sit surrounded by metal and along side strangers and we act not much different than if we were taking the 6 train to 96th street. Out of the window I see a horizon disappearing behind itself, a whole void dark in a way that you know is not empty but where space is just more difficult to distinguish from the lack of it. I think back to this morning, and last night, and each hour before each of them all the way to when I was soaring the other way towards all I was about to learn, and so much more I still haven’t, and couldn’t have wished to in just a few short days.

I went up north for a break, I got it and then some. I got it and so many things I always have, and at so many fractions of the price they could have cost me. My body becomes a souvenir. I will walk down South Lumpkin soon the same way I walked down Broadway, Lafayette, Lexington. I will sit in a class room the same way I sat on the 6 train. Not because these things have changed but because they have been the same in a few more places. I have been a few more places is all, but oh what I have been given by them, oh what I have found there, oh what I seized because I couldn’t not.

I found something in this time. I couldn’t tell you much about it, other than that it lives outside of the Belasco, wears glasses, Louboutin heels, blonde hair that would be out of control even if not for the wind. It rocked open toes even though it’s 30 degrees. It’s in a cash only espresso bar on the street corner in the morning, in a Starbucks in the afternoon. It takes the 6 train as much  as it can because straight shots are the safest thing there is in this city. It got lost in The Met and doesn’t care to tell you where it went because time travel is always possible, the trick is just something you have to figure out for yourself. It walks through the snow listening to a man who once did the same croon till he is walking right next to you with his hat tipped to the side.

I am speeding home now, clutching to everything that is now in my hands that was not before. I am wrapping my whole self around it, and I have my whole self to do it with. I have so much space, I am so fed. You will not be able to wrestle any of this from my grasp. You will not take this from me.

I spent spring time in the city, found so much there, and it is mine. It is all, all mine.

– Frontier Flight 423 LGA – ATL, Mar. 11 2017

Clean Your Plate, Child. 

I’ve been eating more than my stomach can handle, perhaps I believed if I kept on it’d all just push down and I’d find myself filled with more room. I’ve never been one to have a dish everyone asks if I will set my hands to making when they know well I would not set them to preparing anything else. I am always the one who promises to bring the cups for the sweet tea, the napkins to keep our hands clean amongst all of our gathering, the plates for us to fill and from which to fill ourselves. I do so and come to the kitchen, the table, the backyard filled with the smell of smoke and sounds of together; and I eat. I bring what I feel I am best filled to bring and I take as much as I can, I say “here, give to me for if I cannot bring with any skill then I will take as much as my body can handle.” and I do. I ask, and go out in search of more to fill my plate with, and I create a scene more often than I mean to. I stumble between people with my plate overflowing, but I make my way to a table and I set down what I have with me and I eat.

Perhaps my body has been able to consume in some regard, but never without left overs. I always pause to find sauce on my shirt, a piece of meat fallen from my fork and onto the ground. I eat the meal, but I leave a mess. I consume as best I can but never clean the plate. Sometimes I take on so much food that even the dish cannot bear it all, the stress leaving it in pieces; and a cracked plate is all that more difficult to fill yourself from.

My stomach tired in recent times, my arms too. I always gave this body and mind too much for it to hope to bare. I have stopped going back for more, and even when others have passed the platter towards me I have let it go past without taking from it, in some cases refusing it altogether. Not to be rude, but to care for my self. I cannot continue to eat and drop and break and spill and hope that everything will just work out fine. When everyone else bows their heads to pray I instead whisper to myself “I too have limits, I am not flawed for this. I will take what I wish, I will eat what I can. Regardless of how much I do, or how much of a mess I leave, I will still be me when this meal is done.”

As time passed I found my plate less full. How strange to actually begin to see porcelain beneath all of the everything. Stranger still how no one said anything. I refused their food and they simply turned to the next person. I did not get up for seconds, and no one pushed me to do so. My body became lighter and suddenly I could breath again.

Now, on this day, I look down and see this empty thing in front of me. I sit back and I take stock of all I have eaten and all I have tried to, I wonder how I ever thought it possible. Regardless, I realize I now no longer have to concern myself with this table, nor the time I have spent at it.

So I’ll take this plate, so empty and clean it glints in the light, and throw it against the wall. I am tired of eating, of taking food only because it is offered and not because I am hungry. I find nothing has ever killed my appetite more than having too much to satisfy it.

Perhaps it has taken a few cracked pieces to know a good place to start. Perhaps it took times of gluttony to know there is only so long and so much a person can eat. Perhaps it took a few cracked plates to know nothing can last under all of this stress.

Perhaps it took all of this stress for me to realize how tired I am of always being told to clean my plate as if I chose for it to be full. Tired of being a child with eyes bigger than his stomach. I wish no longer to consume, but to grow. To churn soil, build a fence, and plant seeds. When the time comes I will invite all to the table, which I have built as well, and say “Here. Take this. I am so full I do not know how to hold any of it anymore. I have made it for you. Please, eat, I have so much to give”.