Cross My Heart and Hope to Write


Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Long Island Poetry Scene: The Jackal and the Ghost

Long Island is arguably one of the most vibrant artistic locations on the face of the earth. I am confident in that statement. It is almost as if anyone who passes through New York City on their trek towards the "fish-shaped Paumanok" is somehow laced with an untraceable level of inspiration that slowly seethes until it unwillingly incorporates them into a culture of artists, poets, writers, musicians, and everything in between. It is infectious - a beautiful blight.   

Last night, I had the honor of being a part of Bards Day, an annual event celebrating the release of the yearly anthology Bards Annual 2013, which included my poems Tete-a-Tete and I Am Thankful, published by Local Gems Poetry Press (the one's who released by book Death By Active Movement) in association with The Bards Initiative. I was honored with the Up-and-Coming Poet Award at the ceremony and am truly humbled by that gesture. Seeing so many people gathered at the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington Station, NY, I could visually see everyone who had come to be a part of my extended poetry family. Not only poets - all expressive people on this Strong Island of ours are part of the collective effort to make this world better and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. We are a hellbroth of many different people, juxtaposed to each other like brilliant contradictions. 

There is a revolution coming and us artists need to be the ones to organize it, to drive it home, to take back this great nation of ours, and to unite the globalized world under a canvas of culture, community, and equality. Language does not separate us, beliefs, traditions, we are a oneness bequeathed with being, this existence, together striving to make it more than what it is. That is the burden of the artist and we can help each other carry it. Long Island seems to carry more weight than others, but this is a call to all expressive peoples everywhere - 


The Jackal And The Ghost

This is a shot in the dark
A road with no signs
A blind man’s pointing finger
A sentence without an end
This is a depth nothing can fall to
A hole no one can dig
This is a thought you can’t have
An heir you can’t breathe
This is a sight you can’t behold
A picture of nothing
A tree without roots in a world without gravity
This is a baby’s dream
This is a number you can’t count to
A hunger you can’t crave
This is a journey you can’t take
A trap you can’t escape
This is a knot that can’t be untangled
A well you can’t well
Decadence you can’t taste
A kiss you can’t feel
A peace that lays waste
A future you can’t make
A past you can erase 
This is a blasphemy
A virtuous sin
A fleeting permanence
This is a split second glance
With no one else around
This is evidence
This is all the leafs in autumn
All the seeds you blew away
All the toys of childhood
All the games
These are all the jokes told
All the laughter
All the tears
All the boys and girls you’ve desired
All the fears
This all the preparation
This is all the grace
This is all the building up
The tearing down
The waste
This is the paper in the morning
The painting of a room
The doodles on a chalkboard
The gazing at the sky at noon
The trying and the buying
The regret and the hope
These are the nicks and scrapes
The jackal and the ghost 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Your Burning Bush: The sweetness of the fruit

This past Friday, I had the incredible honor of seeing and meeting poets Saul Williams and Aja Monet (with a performance from jazz musician Daniel Carter afterwards) at The Velvet Lounge in East Setauket, NY, official home of The Muse Exchange. It was one of the most reassuring events I have witnessed in a long while. Not only did I get to revel in the beauty of some of the greatest poetry and spoken word in the world, but it reaffirmed my commitment to the art of writing, of spoken word, and the goals I foresee fulfilled in this silly life of mine.
Your art is your gift to the world. Your gift to yourself. It has been given to you for a reason. Its yours. You made it. You packaged it. You delivered it. It isn’t something otherworldly, it is very real, and divine. It is your own divinity, a piece of God birthed within you. Your Holy Ghost. Your burning bush. Don’t snuff it - embrace it. Listen to it speak to you and carry its message to reality. 
There are moments of certainty in this life when we feel something, sense something, know something with certainty, and we exist in that moment for a fleeting eternity. Some call it inspiration, but it is your divine craft speaking to you, the echo of its whispers. It is only afterwards that we begin to question it. Don’t question it! Accept it into your heart and mind, and fulfill the prophecy of its realization. Be confident in your ability. If the want is great enough, it will carry you to achievement.
I experienced something divine on Friday and I felt it as we became one. One in a realm of words. My challenge to you is to listen to the voice of your gifts and accept the divinity of your craft. No matter what that gift is - love it, nurture it, cradle it in your arms, and bequeath it to the rest of the world. 

The sweetness of the fruit
vindicates the rind,
while self lies at the root
and love germinates the vine.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Getting The Message: Strabismus

"When you get the message, hang up the phone." ~ Alan Watts 

I recently met a man who decided to get healthy and lost over 200 pounds using LSD. Yes, you read that correctly. Lysergic acid diethylamide. Now, I'm not saying that dropping acid is the next big fad diet, but it certainly was a revelation for me. (Did anyone else find it ironic that "diet" is in the name?)

The man's argument was that taking LSD allowed him to reach a higher power and allowed him to reconnect with himself, giving him the peace and confidence within to free himself from an unhealthy lifestyle. What was brilliant about his experience was that he used it to frame an argument for why people abuse drugs and why it can be so damaging. When you get the message for the first time, it is an incredible experience - life changing, mind blowing - like learning you were adopted or your sister is actually your mother. The problem is, like most knowledge, once you know, you can't unknow. Once you get the message, have the experience of receiving it, you can never achieve that experience again. Yet, people yearn to, they want to have the same experience, and this is how they fall into an abusive pattern of drug use. The man's argument was, once you get the message, use it to better your life, use the knowledge for your benefit, instead of trying to get the message over and over again.    

Now, for a long time, I was hugely against drug use. Any drug use. In fact, I am proud of the fact that I have never taken any recreational drugs. But as I've looked into the use of drugs, particularly psychotropic drugs, I've reconsidered my position on the matter. In my opinion, if something enriches your life, if something makes you better, happier, more successful, helps you achieve your goals, to love yourself, than no one can take that away from you, no matter what that thing is. So long as it is used responsibly, as long as you control the message, the knowledge it imparts to you is yours and yours alone. Use it, don't abuse it.          


I am that blistered opus,
The third eye of a segregated sky
Spilled across the sclera of a wall-eyed dream;
A seed sown into a vein, halfway to the heart,
Screaming for sunlight,
Biting at the bulbs that flicker a bit higher.
I am that patchwork nowhere
Constructed of drought-ridden hopes,
Sucked up through a straw
Protruding from the partially realized lips of a fetus,
A wormhole with exists in boilerplate dimensions,
Furnished with names unpronounceable.
I am a you
That was a me 
That we can't remember;
I am the remainder of a number that no one counted on,
A queue in a cumulonimbus maybe
That was never called.
I am the organelles,
The will-o'-the-wisps that occupy cages of quanta,
Keeping the corners warm
To numb the conscience of a crestfallen chromosome.
I am amness,
Being in the act of becoming,
The has-been of a yet-to-be.
I am when;
I am now;
I am only a memory
Searching for a mind to be cherished in.