It is such a pleasure to find out that my poem “The Draft of Messiah” tied for sixth place with two other poets for Poetry Super Highway’s 2015 Summer Contest. Very exciting! Thank you to the judges who took the time to read all 635 poems and score them. Congrats to the top ten!
Bird hates me. I am a poet.
He says, “I don’t speak
an ass lick of truth.”
“Settle down.” I tell him
and pass the flask
of cheap whiskey.
Bird starts to laugh
and takes a chug
of my liquor.
He believes I am hope-
less. He pitched an idea
for my chapbook.
He suggested I wrap
my poetry around
empty toilet paper rolls.
“It’s going to be given shit
anyways. So why not?” he said.
I stayed quiet after that.
Now, I try to reach the Sun.
Yet, I am still a prisoner,
and Bird died this morning.
Previously published in San Gabriel Poetry Quarterly
The mass consumption of poetry put a pressure on me. Every day I would write or draft a poem. I repeated that routine almost all of summer. I came to slowly realize it was draining me of my creativity and confidence. I was producing poetry that was a waste of my time. All the things I was writing were terrible and the drafts I had accumulated I couldn’t complete. I realized my drafts were always just a long stanza I couldn’t find direction to. After staring at my draft for too long I convinced myself that it had potential, so I stayed up late trying to force it to find its end. When I would start seeing the sunrise through my window I realized these drafts had no purpose. That truth made me feel like a failure to my own craft. It wouldn’t let me fall asleep right away. Often throughout the day I found myself asking what I was doing wrong. I started becoming intimidated by the page. I couldn’t pick up a pen, type anything on word, or even think about what’s the next leap I wanted my poetry to gain.
It was a month ago that something suddenly changed within me. I began noticing how frequent my fear of writing something and challenging myself was becoming. I had to stop for a second and ask myself what was wrong out loud. After two minutes of asking myself what’s wrong I was able to voice out loud what the issue was. The issue was honesty. The writing I was forcing myself to produce over the summer was not honest. An integral part for me to feel fulfillment come to fruition in my writing relies on honesty. That component was shattered in the failed efforts I was putting to writing, writing, and writing away with no purpose in mind.
Honesty was part of the issue the other part was myself. I didn’t want to come to terms with things. Honesty meant accepting the experiences I am going through, went through, will go through, and writing about them in order to heal. I wasn’t ready to heal because I was still figuring out how to process, accept, and grow from all the challenges revolving my day to day life.
After feeling angry with the lack of growth I was accomplishing with my writing I decided to tackle every issue I was afraid of being honest with on. This resulted with me writing on sticky post-it notes all the issues I didn’t want to face. In a matter of minutes half of my bed’s head-frame was filled with post-it notes with my issues. These post-it notes gave me a big reflection on what my current state of mind is. All the issues I wrote down at the moment inflict so much emotional pain on me. At the top of the post-it list is my mother’s health.
It felt uneasy at first deciding I was going to write about my mother’s health again. There were four post-it notes that I wrote in regards to that issue. One had false messiah, the other song, the third one had blood (x3) nose bleed, and the last one had mother. For two weeks I would just look at those post-it notes, while embracing and organizing my thoughts, feelings, and identifying my pain over them. It was agonizing but at the same time therapeutic. On the third week I drafted out a layout on what I wanted the central components of my poem to consist of.
This step by step process and the amount of time it was taking for me to write wasn’t new to me. I had become unfamiliar with it. I stopped doing these things after I turned nineteen. It took a month for me to write a poem that had outstanding quality to me. I performed this poem at EastSide Poetry at The Daily Brew Coffee Bar in Montebello, California about a week ago. Whether the poem was successful to the audience I do not know. The important thing is that as an artist it was successful to me and that it was the best representation of what I currently am aiming for with my poetry. I cannot express to you enough how important it is for you to find your purpose. What is your purpose? Find your purpose. Every day I wake up reflecting on my purpose and asking myself if it’s still relevant to the person I need to be right now. If it’s not I find a way for my purpose to either change or adapt to who I am.
Montebello Friends of The Library is having a fundraiser at Polly’s Pies – Montebello on October 18, 2015 from 2 P.M. – 4 P.M. Come on and join us for a great day of pie tasting. The tickets are on sale through Eventbrite. All proceeds benefit the Montebello Friends of The Library. Help us achieve our fundraising goal. We want to provide more STEAM workshops for our Montebello community kids. Buy your tickets here for $15.00.
Thank you so much.
As I announced last month Elmast Kozloyan will be helping me with Moon Pixel Open-Mic by being my co-host for September, October, November, and December. We both will be hosting each month, unless I can’t attend because I am sick. She will be taking over the entire night if that were to happen. I asked her a few questions and she answered. This is so you all can know Elmast a little bit better.
What significance has the moon played in your personal and artistic life?
Elmast: “I felt I’ve always had a deep connection with the moon. A few years back I was going through a difficult time emotionally and there were very few stable things in my life. I would go for days without much sleep and most nights I would go outside to just stare at the moon. Although its shape changed every night it was always there and became the one constant thing I could hold onto. It is my literal and figurative rock. Right now in my artistic life the moon will play a heavy role in my next book of poetry Luna Seas. The center focus is the idea of insanity taking inspiration from mythology/folktales and the power of nature, particularly the relationship between the moon and ocean. ”
Has having a healthy artistic community helped you evolve and grow as a writer? How?
Elmast: “Absolutely! I don’t know where I would be today without my community. Surrounding yourself with creative people is an essential component for growth as an artist. I have been very blessed to have an amazing supportive community of writers whom I’ve come to consider a second family, as well as having community with those outside of the literary arts. All artists are storytellers and we have all been given a gift that we are compelled to share with the world, and I find it inspirational to watch others grow in their craft and tell their story. It pushes me to challenge myself and try new things and the feedback I get from other writers and artist are so valuable.”
In the next six months how do you see your writing improving, or growing? How do you want to challenge yourself?
Elmast: “I very honestly couldn’t tell you, if I knew where my art was going to be I think I would already be there. Although I always have goals of where I would like to improve. I find myself changing in ways I never expected. You just have to ride the wave and see where it takes you. Trying to force your own way may cause you to drown. The goal on my horizon is to experiment with new forms and subject matter. Poetry has been my main focus and I would like to try storytelling in a new medium. ”
Elmast has a feature coming up September 14, 2015 at Gatsby Books, Long Beach. For more information go to Cadence Collective.
Elmast Kozloyan: is a poet trapped in limbo between magic and reality (though seldom chooses the latter). At the age of fifteen won a silver medal for poetry in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and since then has been mentoring youth poets, is an editor of CSULA’s Statement Magazine and published in places such as Cadence Collective, Poetry in Motion, Pacific Review, East Jasmine Review, and the Los Angeles Times. She also has a chapbook called Doe Eyed Venus.
Pleasure convinced him he didn’t need a body
that those quick seconds of free falling
were better than sex.
*First two lines taken from poem Yes and No by Andrew Frisardi
The lovely lady Elmast Kozloyan read one of my poems “Scraped” that is in my debut chapbook Born to Electrify, which is also going to be published in the Like A Girl Anthology by Lucid Moose Lit. I absolutely love how she read it! It’s available to download for free at Dave Williams and MBT Band Camp page, but here is more great news. You can listen to Raundi, JL Martindale, Sarah Thursday, and Elmast perform their original poetry too! They are accompanied by these amazing jazz musicians, so it’s poetry and music.