Compliments From A Poet Laureate

Over the weekend, I was happy to discover that Peter Hargitai, longtime friend and Poet Laureate of Gulfport, Florida, completed a review of the poetry portfolio I had provided him, a selection of poems written within the last 16 years. Peter’s critique washed me in validation, his words honoring my approach to our shared craft. The poems he mentions are embedded in this post.

From Professor Hargitai’s Facebook Page:

VON SIMEON, the author of I Blew Up Juarez, is a wunderkind of imaginative literature, having published her first creative effort in Germany when she was eleven years of age. A self-described poet, novelist and blogger with an international following, she transitions from genre to genre with dashing confidence. As a child in a military family, she had to adapt to life, transitioning from Panama, where she was born, to Germany, where she was raised, to Puerto Rico, Texas, Kentucky and her current home in Saint Pete Beach, Florida. Her educational background is a testament to her mastery of seemingly contrary disciplines: science and the arts.

When responding to works of imaginative literature, it is not always appropriate to identify the author with her work, unless the work contains biographical elements that may be useful in shedding light on a text. Such is the case with confessional poetry in which the speaker and the author are one and the same. Von Simeon’s attraction to dualities is not confined to art and science, but cover a broad spectrum of contraries that serve as leitmotifs in her verse: black/white, male/female, spiritual/physical, demonic/divine, obscure/grandiose, gentle/furious, pensive/manic, weak/strong, feeble/titanic, fear/courage, curse/blessing, life/death.

These contraries are much more than rhetorical or metaphysical conceits; they are urgent and personal unresolved questions of identity that ultimately find as a solution a persona that is mythic, titanic, and divine. Wolfgang von Göethe, when referring to Lord Byron as “heroic” described him in terms of “Keckheit, Künheit, und Grandiosität” or “daring, dash, and grandiosity.” This is not something to be taken as a disparaging delusion of grandeur, but rather a true realization of the poetic soul’s immensity. Likewise, Von Simeon’s “Empress of the waves,” in her poem “Reed-Girl,” is titanic and cosmic, since the power of the imagination is limitless, “ordained by the Cosmos” where the poet can “go play about galaxies” to “show the universe / how majesty is done.” The sense of empowerment through which the creative process makes us more than mere mortal finds a kindred echo in Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: “What am I? Nothing. / But not so art thou, Soul of my thought! / with whom I traverse the earth.”

The aspect of the divine is palpable in the power of creation itself: as God creates, so does the poet create, and insofar as we create, we are divine. What makes Von Simeon’s deity different is that hers is always female, usually a strong woman, a poetess-warrior “with the strength of five lions,” a mythic heroine or a goddess who is as powerful as she is divine as in the case of “Calypso,” “Artemis” and “Venus,” the queen of the gods who adorns the poet with a “Wreath of Stars,” or the primordial Earth Mother “Gaia” who grants her the “Voice of the Gods.”

My personal favorite is her poem Black Not Black. In this highly original verse Simeon combines the jaunty rhythms of hip-hop to convey a youthful surge of sensuous energy in tandem with a kindred spirit when her female speaker encounters her soulmate at a bus stop. The usual dualities surface, this time as pressing questions of racial identity: “Black? Not Black.” As her lens focuses, the inchoate figure approaching her with “full lips, Gillespie dizzy,” and “chocolate eyes brimming with soul” turns out not to be “Black” insofar as physical features are concerned; but inside the fair skin is a truly “sensational soul” (another duality: sense and spirit) that evokes the melding of dualities just as the words “BlackNotBlack” merge into one word. The speaker and poet embody the same conceit in the duality of opposites (“ivory” and “black”) as she is a mirror image of what she perceives. And the encounter, however brief, is a transfiguring epiphany. Something wonderful, inexplicable and immortal has happened, a discovery of oneness that has the power to suspend time, to heal a rift in a fractured psyche, and to resolve for time immemorial all her inner conflicts into transcendent art.

Peter Hargitai
First Poet Laureate of Gulfport

unrelenting
“the strength of five lions”

©2016 VS Enterprises

Black Not Black

Five Oh One and bounding

down the

street,

be-boppin’ and

extolling the

successes of yet another fine day.

The next bus is at five twenty.

He strolls smoothly

eyes half-closed in pensive rapture

perhaps timing out a tune

in his

head.

Black. Not Black?

Full lips, Gillespie dizzy

chocolate eyes brimming with soul

A thick crown of tight

curly

hair

It is copper red.

Black? Not Black.

His skin is sweet fair

cheeks flecked with freckles

Not tall…short? Average.

Hands are smooth and adorned with

promising rings.

Black? Not Black?

Sensational soul stops suddenly.

Seductively.

The bus corners and prepares to stop.

Starstruck eyes meet starstruck eyes

I stand to reveal sharp curves enveloped in

ivory skin

small hands pressed against thick thighs

and long Black hair framing pursed lips

BlackNotBlack.

Soft-skinned saint smiles and sidles off

The next bus is at six o’clock.

12/2/03

©2016 VS Enterprises

Sweet Lurline, Did You Just Pet Me??

Here I thought I had a sure project: a handyman I met through my neighbors eager for me to work with him on increasing visibility for his mobile business. Currently he’s using Craigslist, but wants to get beyond that in order to attract a more reliable clientele and demonstrate credibility. That’s super easy, I said, then brainstormed ideas on how he could turn his small space into a busy business.

We had a planning meeting over breakfast, where I asked a bunch of objective-building questions. He answered generously and eagerly, occasionally expressing gratitude for pursuing this work. At one point he noted, “You ask a lot of questions, like you’ve done marketing before.” I smile at the compliment to my meticulousness then shared my various experiences working with small scale to national organizations pre-social media. Now, using my enterprise, I have the capacity to help small scale organizations merge into the SocMed arena of marketing. It really ain’t that hard, but requires objectives and goals. What it always comes down to is, ‘are you trying to grow your business or your likes?’

Oh, you wanted me to grant your wishes? Nuh uh.

Later I reviewed my notes – got a list of business goals and links to current ads – but didn’t capture his full name. Oops! Once I have him set up on the major SocMed sites, I want them pointing to him, not me. I don’t mind managing them, I remember saying; ultimately the business would be ran by these tools and not his one phone that he’s always looking at and answering when it rings. But, can’t get to Instagramming without the necessary details right? Left a phone message for the client. Texted him directly.

A week passes.

Nothing.

He ghosted me.

Of course, something may have occurred personally which delayed his ability to return my call, I can take that as an excuse. But who in this modern society carrying a smartphone can’t return a phone call or text message in under a week?

Once again, got stung by the good ol’ “I have no intention to pay you.” All expectations, no action, and how come it’s not free? This is what being a small business owner smells like.

This very handy post came in Sunday night, which helped toss the marketing project in the mental wastebasket: FB_IMG_1440949260710So busy trying to secure the Next Big Project, I forgot I have my own unfulfilled project to deal with: get my book back on Amazon. Right now, you can’t buy a print-on-demand nor an e-book from them, thanks to my butthole former publisher, but I failed on the follow through, not completing the necessary due diligence to keep the book in rotation.

This week my one novel deserves my attention. I shall keep you posted on how that works out. In the meantime, Nook Press has a downloadable e-book for $2.99 and there’s an awesome soundtrack on SoundCloud, which I highly recommend you give a listen.

Have a great week!

National Poetry Month 2015! Interactive Poetry

Every Friday this April, I am going to feature an original work here for your reading pleasure. Throw rotted fruit, sing praises, lemme know you just don’t get it, but do, please, have an experience. If you borrow the work, be polite and cite!

Today’s National Poetry Month contribution is the full poem featured during January’s Fantastic Ekphrastic! This is a performance piece – a poem intended to be spoken and performed as opposed to reading across a page. I do this format to emphasize the passion of the piece. Weird? Good! I’m purposely taking you out of your comfort zone.😀

1) You must first listen to this song. The beat sets the tempo of the poem; if you just start reading, it’s gonna be confusing! So, about the 30 second mark, you should feel yourself “lifting”…

2) Once lifted, you can start reading the poem to the beat OR

Listen to the beat in entirety, then go in on the poem. I’ve purposely made it legible in five minutes to compliment the track.

3) Following the beat of the song, you’ll be able to discern three different vignettes which cumulatively is ArcAngel. Ready?

GO! [Remember, DeOrro’s Five Hours first…]

© 2015 VS Enterprises

I Made My Book A Soundtrack

My buddy The Vibe Muse put me on to my new obsession, SoundCloud! What..? I can make playlists out of any theme I come up with in my head space? AWESOME!

But really, what a handy vision-free tool. I’m a writer of sounds, which is why I like writing action stories, because I get to use furious, loud words, and I use all kinds of music to influence plot tempo. As such, every novel I’ve composed in the last five years, within margins and notes, includes the makings of a soundtrack.

So here’s my first extraction! I give you, loves of my life, I Blew Up Juarez: The Playlist

An entire novel in under 58 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy Anniversary, Johnny Saucedo! WE DID IT!

irenes_booksigningMy first book signing. We ran out of books.
 
I actually had to run out to my car for the two books I had in the backseat; luckily, leftovers from an earlier attempt at guerrilla marketing.
 
The last fourteen months of my life living dollar to dollar so I can get published, and now I’m holding 10s of dollars, 20s of dollars, in one hand. I didn’t think I was gonna sell any books tonight, so I didn’t think about maybe having a bank bag or lock box or something to put this money in. I’m so fuckin’ irresponsible.
 
I sold out my first event. Jesus Mahoney Christ, this shit’s really happening!
 
Wow. Just. WOW.
 
4/9/14 @ 11:38pm

National Poetry Month 2015! Poem It Up Fridays

It’s National Poetry Month, ya’ll! What a great year for poetry thus far:

Every Friday this April, I am going to feature an original work here for your reading pleasure. Throw rotted fruit, sing praises, lemme know you just don’t get it, but do, please, enjoy responsibly. Practice good karma; if you borrow the work, be polite and cite!

Let’s kick off NPM15 and the one-year anniversary of debuting I Blew Up Juarez with a Von Simeon original poem. Although the book is action fiction, I had to sneak in my poetic background somewhere!

Commander Ga shares this poem about Creation with her secret husband, the accomplished scientist Jah:

Travel back to the world of mortals, little soul

as a pink sworl of smoke

In your smoke, twist to mist

from your mist, grow to clouds

and fall

as rain

feed a creature as rice, barley, herbs, sesame, or beans

Express into the divine

feminine

and become child

Be born into existence, and live

anew.

© 2015 VS Enterprises

Highlights From Afternoon Tea at Sawgrass

Many thanks to Susan Bridges, owner and operator of Sawgrass Bar, for another successful literary-fueled event! She hosted an afternoon tea with a vegan cuisine tasting last Saturday and man, was that spread fantastic.


I enjoyed a warm, honeyed white tea, a decaf version of a minty, spicy oolong, and the party rocker itself, a kava ginger peach smoothie. Kava has the same effect on me as a crippy hydroponic: muscle relaxing, tension relieving, ooo-la-la feeling from eyebrows to toes.


I read from I Blew Up Juarez, Chapter 21, where Johnny meets the surly, enigmatic Jossara Urestoguei (pron. urr-est-oh-gay). This was a fusion of two burgeoning concepts: how to get two women who fundamentally hate each other to get along, and, how to educate someone too affixed to the tangible about how time and space really works.

As I read the section aloud, I recognized my ex-publisher’s writing style (she had a nasty habit of re-writing segments without my approval), and my growing inner irritation ended up voiced into the work. So, if anyone noticed a sear of animosity during the reading, you’re pretty empathic! Congrats.
Next time, I’ll stick to the parts I know are my original, approved, compositions!

I feel her event was a great concept. We need more heroes like Susan in the Tampa Bay area; supporters of the arts as well as small business ventures!

Galleries credit: Susan Bridges, Sawgrass Bar. Friend and Like on Facebook for more event photos

Night Walkers: A NaNoWriMo Success Story

Usually by mid-Week 2 of NaNoWriMo, the WriMos in my immediate vicinity start to peter out for various reasons. Before you join them my dear, lemme share this true-to-life story that will keep you in the saddle.

Don’t worry, it’ll be quick.😉

I started participating in National Novel Writing Month back in 2012, after a good friend of mine suggested we participate in it together from our respective places on Earth. In 19 days, I managed to hammer out The Black Parade, and I was really proud of the effort. That personal achievement boosted my creative energy and pushed aside the trappings of my ego, providing me the freedom to deliver a manuscript to a local independent publisher.

By the time NaNoWriMo 2013 ramped up, I Blew Up Juarez was in the hands of my editor, getting polished for a February 2014 debut.

For NaNoWriMo 2013, I teamed with my writing partner, Marie, to put together a psycho-terror work. I’ve never written horror before, let alone have an interest in horror films (Human Centipede? Really??) but Marie, a fan and writer of horror, encouraged me to enter that wormhole. When I showed her what I was working on, she shared, “You really can write horror!” Now I know that comes off as Marie stroking my cock, but Marie doesn’t stroke cock unless she really means it, and THAT’S WHAT MAKES HER A GREAT WOMAN. So, happily, I championed Momma’s Boy for my second halo.

This week, Thirteen Press released Night Walkers, a horror anthology featuring authors from around the globe, and Little Miss Stretchy Pants over here is in it!!😀 I’m the first short story, which is cool; the opening act now, maybe down the road I’ll be the grand finale! But again, by persevering and completing a NaNoWriMo competition, my work isn’t in the bowels of my notebook backup routine. I’m bonafide!

So hey, buddy, I know you’re feeling like folding the cards and collecting your chips, but please please consider the why of it from the get go: you love to write. You LOVE to write, and you HAVE to write. You’re amongst like-minded and weak-willed artists; lean on us! Who cares about the word count, just get the story out. And then, maybe later down the line, when you’re up to it, you’ll get published, and then NaNoWriMo is no longer a competition…it’s a refresher course.😉

STICK IT OUT! KEEP ON WRITIN’!!

lulu_cover
Von Simeon joining the NEW masters of the dark!

 

lulu_toc
Opening act now, main stage later (more sooner than..)

 

lulu_firstpage
First page! Gotta admit, kinda feels awesome.🙂