I am…not that into me, either


I am Van Gogh’s emasculated ear

Severed to diminish feeling I died before I became real

Comprised of stories no one wants to hear

And rendered out of print, like an old fashioned picture book

Disproportionate in words and imagery

When I speak, the herd turns its heedless back

I blame them not, for my voice sounds sweeter when gagged

By those who hear only sounds

Transcribed by waves that are fluid, loud and clear

Shedding emotions, like translucent onion peel

I try to moo aloud

But no one answers back

Thus, as I sit alone in a crowd of crushing pain and fear

I raise my hands to my head

But find that it has disappeared

This poem was inspired by circumstances I experienced only yesterday. I joined a writers group because I wanted to improve my writing. But, when I sat passively listening to the group’s critique of one of my poems, I realised that I perceived my writing as not a projection of my consciousness, but as myself in a textual form. Thus, whilst I fully accepted, even welcomed, feedback about my use of language and how engaging they found the poem, I felt crushed when the critique disintegrated into an attack on the ideology and thought processes behind the poem. In a sudden revelatory flash, I realised that it matters not whether my writing is, “good” or, “bad.” I write for myself and if other people like it, I am blessed. To what extent the critique constituted a personal attack on me, I do not know. But, it saddens me to think a group formed to encourage people to write, should conduct itself in such a manner. If this situation had happened to some one else, I would have felt the same. I shall not go back to the group, but I shall always write.

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Lolita, Nabokov and the Love of Language


“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo-lee-ta.” (Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov)

If beauty were a word, the word would be, “Lolita.” In the opening sentence of his seminal novel, Nabokov employs language to the point where words transcend social signification and reach the intangible; the realm where spirit overcomes reality and meaning glides, like an endless river. The rabble, that is the reader, stumbles beneath the force of Nabokov’s offering and yields to the musicality of his text. Sensuously alliterative, we are putty in the hands of the language that is derived from the psyche of a wordsmith, whom we proclaim a genius, but are afraid to like.

For many years I resisted my compulsion to read Lolita, as though reading a novel containing themes of child abuse would somehow legitimise the crime. Having succumbed to my compulsion, I carry no regrets. Reading Lolita may not have improved my moral fortitude (neither has it damaged it), but it has enriched my appreciation of the art of writing.

As his protagonist, Humbert Humbert manipulates his child lover, Nabokov manipulates the reader with displays of brilliant wordplay. This shields us from the reality of the truth that we are reading a novel about the abuse and exploitation of a child by an adult man. Lolita shows that beauty is nearer to ugliness than genius to the ordinary and that pleasure often yields the price of spiritual self-flagellation.

The Poetics of Pain


I SUPPOSE

I know not your name
For you arrive like a rush of blood
Spilling meaning upon paper.
Dry is the ink
Defining my mind’s imprint upon corporeality.
Dead is my natural pose
Slumped
Above a laptop.

I know not your purpose
You, however, presume to know my own
Shouting words within my hollow whole
And threatening my soul’s duality.
Receptive to all sententious prose
-A figure of speech
No parenthesis.

MY RESPONSE TO HEAD SHRINKERS

You can silence me with pills
Deafen me with therapy
But, as long as I can think
I shall always be myself

Consciously Poetic


A few days ago I finished editing my first poetry collection. This somewhat daunting experience has prompted me to evaluate my relationship with the form.
For many years my mental health and writing were interconnected; my moods and states of mind dictating the nature of the poems I produced. Frequently, distressing thoughts would drive me to lift a pen and pour onto paper the contents of my tormented psyche. I wrote for myself, as a means of expression and never contemplated sharing my pain. Thus, the content of my poems was paramount and form as irrelevant, to my world, as the pursuit of happiness.
Years later, I summoned the courage to submit a poem to a poetry competition. Having studied poetry at degree level and for my own pleasure, I was only too aware of my own literary ineptitude. My submission, however, seemed worthy in its employment of alliteration and metaphor and existed as a signifier of my state of being, at that time. Although I did not win the competition, my poem was published in an anthology and I was to see my name in print for the first time.
At that time, my poems acceptance for publication affirmed that I had some form of literary ability; maybe I was not the mental elf that my lack of self-confidence had betrayed me into believing.
When editing my poetry collection, I once again experienced nags of self-doubt. I can write…but…so what…half the world believe themselves potential writers or celebrities. The world is deluded, am I? A publisher had accepted my collection for publication. Nevertheless, publishers make mistakes!
Now that my poetry exists beyond the confines of my laptop, I can tell myself, with a reasonable level of conviction, that reactions to literature are subjective. Undoubtedly, some readers will dislike and criticise my work. However, there will be others for whom it is meaningful. Like the individual, a poem can be pulled apart, but will always remain a unity in-itself.

Driven by Daemons


My body is rebelling against me; it is screaming, “Be kind!” Years of self-destructiveness have affected my physical health, I have chosen the life of the mind above the call of somatic well-being. Those of us who watched The Rolling Stones’ set at Glastonbury, will be only too aware of how lifestyle “choices” are reflected in the faces that we wear. Last Saturday night I saw the walking dead perform and it was not pretty. However, evidence that they are still alive suggests that someone is on their side. Power to them, I do not think I shall be so lucky.
In the heat of my psyche, the will to write and bipolar disorder unite and battle for supremacy. On days when I do not write, I prickle with agitation. When I write, my mind focuses with such intensity upon the object of my will, that afterwards, I feel drained to the point of sleep. The adrenaline I produce in the act of writing lingers long after I have finished and thus, I become subject to the contradictory desires of sleep and activity. Generally, these feelings pass, leaving me tired, but contented that I have fulfilled my drive to create. When they fail to subside, I reluctantly resort to a dose of “Mother’s little helper,” and curse my own weakness, until I fall into a medicated sleep. When I awaken, I thank heaven that I am still alive, turn-on my laptop and write.

Moving On


I am sorry for my recent absence; I have an overwhelming urge to reach for new heights, to spread myself across the stratosphere and escape from the confines of the duality of my own psyche. Some of you may have read my article on Allvoices about Stephen Fry. Like many other people, I felt compelled to articulate my regard for the bravest of celebrities and master of the ceremonial self. Stephen has opened-up the dialogue about mental health and Britain has responded affirmatively. For this, I am grateful and have been moved by the many articles I have been privileged to read responding to his disclosure. Stigma against those with mental health issues should be challenged from within and transmitted throughout.
In my pursuit of world domination(!), I have been kindly offered the opportunity to blog for another site. Henceforth, you will, also, be able to read my work on ARTIFICE COMICS. Later today, I plan to write an introductory post and a poem. You are welcome to read my post or even subscribe, if you like the site. Thus, I must, now, bid you farewell…until my next post and say a big thank you to Lisa Knight(reflective poet) for giving me a chance!