Put A Poem in Yo Pocket

For this year’s Put A Poem In Your Pocket Day, I decided to flash back to my fledgling blogger days on Patch.com! Here I (rather verbosely) share how two popular poems related to my personal experiences two years ago. Now? I believe the dream is no longer deferred! The road I travel upon has been quite adventuresome. My blogging? A bit tighter… geez, am I one wordy sumomabitch… Enjoy!

Original Post Date April 17, 2013 at 04:26 PM

Remember having to memorize and recite poems for a grade? You couldn’t get away with a haiku either, oh no.Shakespeare’s sonnets, any of them, incited hemorrhaging. I had the (cough, cough) joy of tackling Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock for a project. Thankfully, The Dragon (yes, she wanted us to call her that) only required Canto I of the five. Do the kids do this in school anymore? Is it another assignment they can file a legal injunction against?

This is why I respect poets. They can stand in front of an audience and spin a tale with grace and excitement and without needing to reference notes. Me? I tried it a couple of times with my own poetry. I can’t even memorize my own poetry! Perhaps I blew out that particular section of my brain during my recitation of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.

Poems can amplify your life experiences. One example is Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening. “Of easy wind and downy flake” is a beautiful line, full of imagery. I’ve enjoyed Robert Frost’s work since my childhood, but this poem literally came alive for me one winter driving in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Whenever I come across it now, I remember me and my dog Bear driving from Altoona to State College, stopping on a peak to admire the downy flake of an Appalachian winter.

Poetry can pronounce your experiences when your own words can’t do it justice. A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes did that for me three years ago. I remember reciting it for a stage production and for junior year English but thought nothing of it then. Seventeen years later I was fumbling over my state of being, crippled by uncertainty, and then happened upon this poem (courtesy of cswnet.com):

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

And with that, I said, it’s time to become a writer. Novelist, poet, blogger three years later. Thank you Langston Hughes.

Remember to put a poem in your pocket tomorrow. Share it with everyone in listening range; posting on social media I deem cheating! I close with two of my own works for you to enjoy. One light, one dark, depending on how you prefer your poetic coffee.

Ode to Three Birds Tavern

(Composed 5.31.12)

Once upon a day dreary
wind choppy, sky bleary
I wandered into tavern here
soaking wet, ordered a beer
Soon it amounted to more than one
and out peak’ed the afternoon sun
Kristen sparked the music box right
with rockabilly to delight
the boys in the back pushed the cue
the bartender kept pouring brew
the winds calmed down
the sky did clear
and all of this cause
I stopped for a beer.
©2015 VS Enterprises

Stopping By The Master’s Grave

(Composed 4.4.13)

youandI have been here before
youandI
youandI have spoken in cold air
and youandI were youandI
despite the chill
 
youandI have much in common
youandI
darkness we wear like
a furry cloak in the air of despair
 
will me
towards the black
trust me
to honor your way
your words
your fundamental melancholy
 
youandI have much in common
youandI
I will see you
brother
it will not be too soon.
©2015 VS Enterprises
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St Pete’s Got Talent: Open Mic Nights

Original Post Date April 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part one of a three part installment. The freeing energy that is the Open Mic experience. Snaps, snaps, snaps!

The Academy of American Poets recognizes April as National Poetry Month.This blog will celebrate poets and poetry this month in a three part series.

 

Imagine walking onto a stage, facing a sea of discontented, uninterested faces. Some are attached to bodies with ambivalent arms folded tightly across their chests. When you announce your name into the microphone, you’re greeted with a sea of disdainful groans. You spend the next five excruciating minutes of your life trying to convince these people you are not the enemy, but for every second you appear before them, you increasingly are. You’re not allowed to depart the stage until loaded questions are hurled upon you, harpoons of cynicism pierce you, and the unflattering photograph is taken.

Imagine waking up the next day, to find your unflattering photo captioned with a misinterpreted soundbite as first page news, and your supervisor blowing up your phone, prepared for a discussion on “best practices.”

Yup. That was me not too long ago. Days like that would keep any sane person away from a microphone, a stage, heck, from people altogether!

I poet. I speak words that are loosely formatted but convey a thought, an emotion, an image. I express myself in a manner that makes me feel whole. Poetry does that for many people. And many people here in the Saint Petersburg area are really, really good at expressing themselves.

My writing partner and I have been open mic’ing (if that’s the verb?) and are pleasantly experiencing dynamic synergy amongst local artists. Open mics aren’t just for poets. There are musicians, comedians, storytellers, and even interpretive dancers. It’s a do-what-you-like-and-be-adored-for-it kind of atmosphere. For me, it’s healing and it’s great practice for the upcoming book readings. And you know what? It’s getting to be a bit addictive too.

Whatever inhibitions you think you may have about performing your art in front of an audience, toss them aside and join in on the fun. When you say your name into the mic, everyone cheers. When you perform your set, you’ll be encouraged by smiles. And when you leave the stage, people will look forward to hearing from you again. Ready to get started? Here’s two venues with upcoming events:

APRIL 17 7pm-9pm: Open Mic Night at Irene’s – St. Bart’s Episcopal Church, 3747 34th St S, St Pete, 33711

APRIL 23 7pm-10pm: Open Mic Tuesday – Crum’s Bar and Grill – 2924 5th Ave N, St Pete, 33713

Put A Poem in Yo Pocket

Original Post Date April 17, 2013 at 04:26 PM

The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part two of a three part installment. This week, how poems can influence and inspire everyday experiences.

The Academy of American Poets recognizes April as National Poetry Month. Thursday, April 18 is National Poem In Your Pocket Day.

I qualify as perpetual carrier of poems in my pocket, be they in my Notepad app on my smartphone or my mini-journal in my junk bag. With Internet search engine at the ready, a random poem can be presented for review. Useful tools, saving me the numbing task of trying to remember a poem I’d recited a looooong time ago.

Remember that? Remember having to memorize and recite poems for a grade? You couldn’t get away with a haiku either, oh no.Shakespeare’s sonnets, any of them, incited hemorrhaging. I had the (cough, cough) joy of tackling Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock for a project. Thankfully, The Dragon (yes, she wanted us to call her that) only required Canto I of the five. Do the kids do this in school anymore? Is it another assignment they can file a legal injunction against?

This is why I respect poets. They can stand in front of an audience and spin a tale with grace and excitement and without needing to reference notes. Me? I tried it a couple of times with my own poetry. I can’t even memorize my own poetry! Perhaps I blew out that particular section of my brain during my recitation of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.

Poems can amplify your life experiences. One example is Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening. “Of easy wind and downy flake” is a beautiful line, full of imagery. I’ve enjoyed Robert Frost’s work since my childhood, but this poem literally came alive for me one winter driving in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Whenever I come across it now, I remember me and my dog Bear driving from Altoona to State College, stopping on a peak to admire the downy flake of an Appalachian winter.

Poetry can pronounce your experiences when your own words can’t do it justice. A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes did that for me three years ago. I remember reciting it for a stage production and for junior year English but thought nothing of it then. Seventeen years later I was fumbling over my state of being, crippled by uncertainty, and then happened upon this poem (courtesy of cswnet.com):

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

And with that, I said, it’s time to become a writer. Novelist, poet, blogger three years later. Thank you Langston Hughes.

Remember to put a poem in your pocket tomorrow. Share it with everyone in listening range; posting on social media I deem cheating! I close with two of my own works for you to enjoy. One light, one dark, depending on how you prefer your poetic coffee.

Ode to Three Birds Tavern

(Composed 5.31.12)

Once upon a day dreary
wind choppy, sky bleary
I wandered into tavern here
soaking wet, ordered a beer
Soon it amounted to more than one
and out peak’ed the afternoon sun
Kristen sparked the music box right
with rockabilly to delight
the boys in the back pushed the cue
the bartender kept pouring brew
the winds calmed down
the sky did clear
and all of this cause
I stopped for a beer.

Stopping By The Master’s Grave

(Composed 4.4.13)

youandI have been here before
youandI
youandI have spoken in cold air
and youandI were youandI
despite the chill
 
youandI have much in common
youandI
darkness we wear like
a furry cloak in the air of despair
 
will me
towards the black
trust me
to honor your way
your words
your fundamental melancholy
 
youandI have much in common
youandI
I will see you
brother
it will not be too soon.