Poetry is for Wimps

September 2, 2011

I hate poetry. It’s for cowards that don’t have the balls to say what things directly and tell you what they really want to say. That’s what I used to think. I thought that for the years I’ve been writing my ramblings and prose because a lot of the standard poets I’d been exposed to were boring. All fluff and evasive.

 

Let me back up. As a teenager I loved poetry. I loved rock music and I especially loved the lyrics. I loved the Beatles. I had no idea what their words meant all of the time but I got something out of it. In the 8th grade I discovered Jim Morrison. Well, the Doors then Jim. I followed the trend of what everyone else was listening to and since there wasn’t much great popular music my Middle School and High School were into classic rock. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC DC, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors etc. All great lyrics. I loved the simplicity of some and the complex descriptives of others.

 

Then I found the book called No One Here Gets Out Alive, the biography of Jim Morrison. I fell in love with his persona. I bought every Doors album and learned every lyric. I bought Morrison’s poetry book. Morrison led me to reading William Blake and Dylan Thomas. This was poetry I thought was cool. Many people I know call him a hack. Maybe he was  but so am I and almost every artist, musician, writer, director etc. that I love.

 

Jump ahead to my mid 20s. I lived with a couple of friends and one was into a lot of the art, music and books that I was. He had spent his entire life building up knowledge of beat writers and their influences and punk rock and it’s influences. I grilled him for knowledge and books and records. I learned constantly about writers and bands I heard of but didn’t get into. He was my muse.

 

It was my second childhood of many more to come. I was making art constantly, listening to the Sex Pistols, The New York Dolls, the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and reading William S Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and eventually Arthur Rimbaud and Jean Genet. It was a learning experience I will never forget. I started writing poetry, lyrics and short stories. They weren’t the best but I was trying to find my voice if I had one.

 

I started showing my art in galleries, coffee shops and book stores. I was actively participating in poetry readings. It was one of my many new beginnings. These artists and my friend have become part of me on a deeper level that is still with me today.

 

Years past and I evolved into other creative activities. Life started taking over like working and paying bills and girlfriends. I kept going. From that point of my life I knew I was an artist and had to create on some level or another.

 

Back to poetry. I went through a period and all I wrote were prose. Mostly simple stories and journals sometimes incorporating heavy descriptives then back to simple writing. I was developing as an artist, a writer, whether I liked it or not. Even when I’m not drwing or writing

 

About 9 or 10 years ago I got heavy into writing and I wrote and wrote non stop sometimes. That’s when I stopped liking poetry. That’s when I came up with my opinions stated in the first paragraph. That’s when I thought all poetry sucks. Then I remembered Charels Bukowski and a lesser known and in my opinion the greatest poet ever, Steven Jesse Bernstein. I prefer their prose but I love the way they write poetry. No rules. Just say what you want however you want.

 

My life’s mission statement is stolen from a poem by Patti Smith’s poem calle Babalogue that she recite before performing her song Rick n Roll Nigger. “I am an American Artist. I have no guilt.” I try and remind myself of that everyday.

 

The reason I was thinking about all of this is because I was at my favorite coffee shop last night for internet access since I don’t have it at home and I discovered that there was an open mic planned for the night. I hate open mics these days. I wasn’t in the mood to hear a bunch of people singing and guitars etc. then I found out it was a poetry and spoken word open mic. I thought this might be more interesting. I over heard some of the people that were there and went back and forth whether they are full of shit or interesting. I went with interesting.

 

I listened and there were some pretty good poets that also knew how to read it aloud. I listened to each poet and considered reading. Once I mentioned it to the older woman sitting next to me she gave me a push. I was actually a little afraid of reading. I picked out a few of more short more powerful and humorous pieces and eventually I read them. I could feel the energy of the room rise with each word that came out of my mouth as I read from laptop. I was nervous but still pulled through. I tried to be humble afterwards knowing how great I was, I am, as people complimented my poems.

 

It was a good night. I felt good having read after years of being out of the scene. It got me to thinking about poetry and my personal history and my mission statement. I am an American Artist. I have no guilt.

 

I might even go back next time.


Coffee Shop Blues

June 30, 2011

Holy shit. What do I do? I’ve been in hiding out alone in my house for so long and now that I’m out and making new friends and socializing I’m not sure how to react, what to say and what to do. When it comes to women. When it comes to her.

 

I’ve had a stressful day and wanted to hibernate like I did for the past few years but I found myself at the same coffee shop ordering the same coffee and sitting in the same place. I had to make a few phone calls, texts, and emails to move along the things that are stressing me and it was time for a cigarette break. There she was. Sitting with her back to me outside at a table immersed in work on her lap top or pretending to be immersed in it.

 

She was there for a while but this time I was compelled to talk to her. Tall blonde in tights and high boots that I thought were awesome so I told her so. They were sexy. We talked about boots in summer, men shouldn’t wear sandals ever, and people we knew. Normal conversation with a pretty blond with pretty blue eyes and nicely shaped legs. Not my usual type (blonde and blue eyes) but she was really nice and good looking. We talked and talked for about 20 minutes and seemed like we were hitting it off. Maybe we were or maybe we weren’t. I have trouble reading people after not being around them for so long.

 

She had to make a phone call so I went back inside and worked on a few projects for almost an hour and I wanted a cigarette and might have to leave soon and didn’t know what to do. Do I ask to see her again sometime? Do I ask for her phone number? Do I ask for her email or facebook page? Or do I just blow her off and forget about it? Write it off as just another person I met and leave it to fate (if there is such thing). Do I just pussy out like I have many times in the past.

 

I sat at my table and I looked up now and then and watched her working on her computer and texting through the sun filled window. I was kind of frozen. I wanted to smoke. I wanted to leave. I figured I’d go out to smoke and talk to her if she was free and ignore her if she was busy or acted busy. Then I thought I’d grab my stuff to leave, light a cigarette in front of her and say goodbye. The end.

 

I prefer casual acquaintances these days anyway. Jus as I stood up I saw her stand up and pack her stuff.. Didn’t know what to do. I felt like a stalker if I coincidentally walked out as she was leaving. Was she coming inside to talk to me or say goodbye? Nope.

 

She walked away from her spot outside the coffee shop. All hope was lost. I thought.

 

If I meant anything she would have come in. Oh well.. Fuck her. It got me to write.

 

It was at least safe to go outside. I did. Just as I sat down and lit my cigarette I glanced to the left and saw her at the parking meter. I ignored her. Suddenly she was in front of me talking on her cell phone. She kept walking but looked at me and waved. Was it a wave goodbye? Wave hello again? A wait a minute wave? She stood about 10 feet from me on the edge of the side walk. I was too consumed with myself and what could happen I couldn’t hear her conversation.

 

I imagined her telling someone “ I met this cute guy and we talked a lot. He’s nice but I think he’s stalking me now. Staring at me right now.”

 

I waited to finish my cigarette and a small skinny body appeared in from of me. It was a guy I know and haven’t talked to in a long time. I tried to focus on talking to him as I finished my cigarette still glancing at my fleeting coffee shop desire.

 

I followed him back in the shop and took my seat. I forgot about her fast. I guess it was what it was. Another person that entertained me for few minutes in between my coffee shop hanging out and writing.  Goodbye young lady. Goodbye for now.

 

Oh wait who’s that girl? I gotta go. . .


Livin’ the Dre .a . . uh . . . Cliche

June 21, 2011

I sit once again in the comforts of the coffee shop in Collingswood, NJ. I’ve always liked this place. The décor and the music. The owners are great. The workers are great. There’s always an interesting mix of customers. Some I know and most I don’t know. This may become a new hobby of mine: hanging at the Groove Ground in Collingswood. Writing. Drinking coffee.  Living the dream. Living the cliché.

 

I always thought that the people sitting on their computers typing away at a coffee shop were douche bags. Hey look at me. I’m a writer.

 

Yesterday it was slow and casual in here and I had odd conversations with truly weird people. The good kind. The ones that aren’t phony or pretentious just off the wall naturally. I like misfits that are real. In a progressive town like Collingswood it’s hard to separate real people from posers. Down to earth interesting people versus fake pretentious “hipsters”. They do what they think is cool because their little crowd are into it. They are usually the ones that see me reading John Fantte and know who he is. They make comments on my John Waters or William S Burroughs T-shirts. They fool me at first.

 

I assume because they like what I like then they might be cool. Unfortunately I am into a lot the “hipster” culture. I like the things I like because I like it, ya know? I get into a movie or a writer from someone I know that says “Hey Rich. Check out this (fill in the blank) if you like (fill in the blank). I usually end up liking it. I used to dream about hanging out with people with common interests. It was always the hipsters. I tried and saw how annoying and fake these people are. The more I immersed myself in the culture the more I disliked the people and could spot one a mile away.

 

I guess I’m judgmental but who gives a fuck?

So today the Groove Ground was crowded and loud when I walked in and nowhere to sit. I was ok with that because there were seats outside and I could smoke and drink coffee and write at the same time. I bought my drink and found a seat and settled in. The crowd dispersed. As some of then left I noticed their styles were similar to mine. Same glasses. Same hat that I wore yesterday. When I looked at each one I thought “douche!”.  At least I’m not wearing leather sandals like this “douche” “hipster” standing next to me right now.

 

Fuck it. I’m over it already. Just wanted to write about it.

 

My life is still moving along with or without them.

 

I might be living the cliché but I’m also living the dream. My dream, my thoughts, my life. Me.

 

Maybe I’m the cliché douche judgmental pretentious self righteous hipster. Ya know what? Right now I don’t care. It gave me something to write about for the day, right?

EDITOR’S (that’s me) NOTE: I got a better look at the guy with the hat and realized I knew him and he is a pretty cool guy and not a hipster. I guess my Hipstdar isn’t on all of the time. My Gaydar still works for what it’s worth.


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