Journal

March 14, 2015
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To Travel Without a Map: PoemsTo Travel Without a Map: Poems by K.A. Brace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To Travel Without a Map: Poems

A writer’s writer, and incredibly approachable through WordPress; Mr. Brace has the dubious and rare appointment of full time poet, a rarity in this day and age (especially in North America).

To Travel Without a Map is his first and only collection to be self-published or otherwise (thus far) it represents a vast array of his knowledge and flexibility in prose, and is unfortunately a very small sample of his massive body of work viewable on WordPress.

To Travel Without a Map, is without a doubt one of the better self-published compilations of prose I have laid my hands on, In terms of quality I would compare Brace to many of the new generation of prose writers (Mojgani, Brown, etc) though I believe his work stands on its own and defies classification, which has been both a blessing and a curse to the author; At the disservice of readers the author has been passed over in favor of lesser wordsmiths.

The pieces in this collection range from the prosaic romantic to epic abstract and not once (from personal recollection) cross into the realm of clichés often accidentally employed by inexperienced writers; You have my word, you will not be disappointed, this is something to be enjoyed and studied (my own copy is covered in notes, bookmarks, and I’m sure the cover will fall off soon.)

Lopes

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Howl and Other PoemsHowl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ll keep this short as “Howl” has been critiqued ad nauseam. Though there are other pieces in this particular book, I’ll stay with its main attraction.

It’s well worth reading as a monument and testament to that time, however, I wouldn’t say this is incredible prose; though one could argue this was a great turning point for North American literature (especially with the critique it suffered at the time, and the “trials”). It did open a lot of doors for new poets working within that style, and to many of us writers now.

I’m happy to have it on my bookshelf as an anchor to my beat collection and have now and then returned to some stellar lines within the poem. But unfortunately it doesn’t speak to me, I hate to use the word “overrated” but you know what I’m getting at.

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January 27, 2015
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FLORENCE + THE MACHINE


“Heavy In Your Arms”

“I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown.

I was a heavy heart to carry
My feet dragged across ground
And he took me to the river
Where he slowly let me drown”


 

January 22, 2015
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Feeling right now like everything I have been doing is futile, I get into this mind set sometimes where I convince myself that “everything will work out” you just need to have the right intentions, do it for Karma, to be a decent person and that will reap its rewards in dividends. I open myself up raw, go balls deep into loving more, working harder than ever, to the point of elation; the more I open myself up, the better I write, the better things flow, until of course it’s just a raw wound at which point reality comes crashing in; shit rarely smells likes roses, and in my life it never has, I just wish the reminders weren’t made of sledge hammers.

I have to be willing to really open myself if I want to explore my art and really feel more (which strokes empathy and makes me a better human being), it would be so much easier to turn into the proverbial cunt so many men (or people in general) have become. I can see how much easier it is to become that, than being…this. And let me tell you, there was a time when I was perfectly fine being a complete asshole.

Such is life.

J

January 20, 2015
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Today I am grateful for:

-The extraordinary superpower of being able to string sensical phrases together
-The power to come up with non-existent words, such as “sensical”
-New friends
-Another day on earth so I may practice my craft
-That nice fuzzy feeling…you know what I’m sayin…or not…whatever

Working on two pieces at the moment and some stream of consciousness; I’m also behind in my recordings, but to be honest I haven’t been in the mood to talk into that mic.

January 6, 2015
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Today I am thankful for:

-Another day on earth so I may practice my craft
-Warm coats

After trying to figure out how to post from Microsoft Word for three hours, straight onto WordPress without damaging my format; I’ve decided to change the way I do things, I’m about to purchase a typewriter on which I’ll output my final draft and then scan this to post online.

There currently is no way to post straight from any word processor onto WordPress without destroying indents, short of going to another host that isn’t WordPress based, I believe the typewriter solution will suffice and add an interesting look to the blog.

On other news, one of my photographs was published on Inspired Eye photography magazine (December edition)

DSC_4184.jpg


November 22/2014
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Today I am thankful for:

-New friends
-Another day on earth so I may practice my craft
-My Friday
-My Sunday (great things are brewing)

It’s been sometime since I’ve updated this section, rest assured I am still writing; however I’m a little more careful how I go about my editing which means releases take a little long to hit this blog, this means less hits and activity but I can live with that. I’ve also been a little busy with photography projects and connecting with writers and artists offline and as a result I’ve been lucky enough to have met Sean O’Gorman and taken his portrait, I’ve also connected with a local Toronto slam poetry group, though I am yet to perform there have been some shoves in the right direction from some folks I look up to, as you can see I am not above validation (as much as I would like to say it doesn’t matter to me.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, things happen for a reason; I have been examining the last few months and it appears that one thing flows into another and progression (with some side steps) seems to be happening, to that I am grateful.

On the writing front, I let my OCD get the better of me and worked on a single poem for the better part of two months, I’m still working on it and it is taking shape, however I’m ready to put it aside. I have just recently released “Incendiary” to great feedback, I also think the piece lends itself really well to public reading in a slam environment, it may be the first I read live.

I’ve made a slight return to stream of consciousness writing as a brainstorming tool; I have one piece almost ready for release which I have edited for ease of reading, an audio recording will accompany it (I may release it within the next week, but I.)

Audio recording for new piece - How it starts
Audio recording for new piece – How it starts

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May 3/2014
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Today I feel…calm, collected, happy

Today I am thankful for:

-Another day on earth so I may practice my craft
-The wisdom to let go of things I cannot control
-My health

I wonder how many people actually read this journal? It’s not as if there is much insight here, it’s more of a scratch pad for me, to keep track of my updates, and it forces me to write down my daily affirmations.

Blog updates:

Added a new menu link (top banner) to aggregate audio readings of my work as I upload it. It just grabs that particular Category (assigned at post time) and displays it on request. I may eventually start doing readings of Neruda and posting those on a separate page, but I’m not sure how Copyright would work in that situation (I think I may be in the clear if I give proper credit, I don’t believe Neruda is “Public Domain” material in Canada)

Still waiting on PayPal to resolve my account, I did manage to call them yesterday and they verified what my issue was. They were by the way, incredibly helpful. Once that problem is resolved I can start uploading audio, until then I’ll record and update the blog as time allows.

Updated my pic on Gravatar to show my mug


May 2/2014

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-Still hungry
-Still happy
-Still thankful

-Posted the third poem written in hiatus, and finished another I will be posting on Sunday

-Purchased my new mic, I will be doing readings on here as of next week, however I need to get Paypal sorted out as I need to upgrade my  subscription on WordPress in order to upload audio

And now I leave you with Carrie Rudzinski’s “The Prayer”

 



May 1/2014

 

-Feeling…fuc*ing…awesome today

-Updated “Cancer” and deleted the sound clip, I’m purchasing a better mic and updating the recording

-Released the second piece written during my hiatus

-Discovered this blog, this man has amazing work: http://mlewisredford.wordpress.com/

Today is a great day, but tomorrow will be better

 

April 30/2014

Today is a great day, but tomorrow will be better

Today I am thankful for

..Another day on earth so that I may practice my craft
..My health
..The wisdom to do the right thing
..Friends in distant places and close by

Today I wish for

..Health for everyone
..Another day on earth so that I may practice my craft
..The wisdom to recognize the things I cannot control

 

April 29/2014

1 Year badge
1 Year badge

Thank you for your patience and for visiting whilst I was away in my own little world. It has been an interesting month, with an interesting progression of events that just felt right, with each situation preparing me for the next, I can’t wait until tomorrow.

As it turns out, I’ve had this blog for one year, I received my badge whilst I was on hiatus, which made me think back to the days when I decided to start this project in the first place, as I once said, it started out as a fitness blog and then morphed into what you see here.

Life is quite an incredible thing, and I am glad that I’ve had this record of mine. I do not have regrets, I spear forward, and as long as there is change in my life I’ll be happy; be it break ups, falling in and out of Love, challenges at work and with my personal demons.

Stagnation is my enemy, and I do my best to not say NO to new experiences (as extreme as some may find this.) Had I said no to myself one year ago, this blog wouldn’t exist, and I would still be hiding my writing in boxes.

I have three pieces ready to be posted, and another swirling around in my head which needs some major tweaking, this however should be ready within the next two days. It’s based on a experience I had last Sunday, and a self-realization that I had some time ago; I promise tattoos, caged birds, balloons and door stoops.

Stay tuned.

 

April 16/2014

Friends, readers, family, and fellow wordsmiths

This blog will be going dark for the next two weeks while I re-center myself and tend to personal matters. I appreciate the feedback I have been receiving as of late, and all the new subscribers; although I’m sure this will hurt the readership, I feel I have to tend to myself otherwise my personal life and even my writing will suffer.

This has been a month of revelations, personal pain, and visits from long lost friends, all of which must be studied.
Even though the blog will be on pause, I will continue to write and will update when I return.

Life is beautiful, may you be granted one more day so you can perfect your craft.

John
4/16/2014

 

April 14/2014

Today I am thankful for:

.Another day on earth so that I may practice my craft
.Old and new friends
.The return of clarity
.My father forcibly teaching me calligraphy (great for writing letters)
.Friends that understand me

I ask for

.Another day on earth so that I may practice my craft
.The strength to continue practicing my craft
.New friends that understand me
.Friends that slap me when I need it
.The strength to let go of the things I cannot control

April 13/2014

This week has been my hardest in a long time. There was also a suicide at work, which I directly had to be involved in as a first responder, and if you know my background then you know how much that touched home.

I took a photo of the victim’s I.D for evidence purposes, and I cannot bring myself to deleting it, it’s as if I did, then she would be erased forever; On that same topic, on the days leading up to the suicide I had been thinking a lot about my life and where I am right now, the turmoil that I had growing up and into my adulthood, and why I had never given in, in fact I had started a piece on that topic the same day I got the call for the jumper.

Last night, my good friend called me at 1 AM, he held the hand of a critically injured woman who was laying under a subway car. I am lucky and unlucky; lucky because I know people that will run into a fire instead of out, and unlucky because of this week. OME I need you.

April 12/2014

Today I am thankful for

.Another day on hearth so I may practice my craft
.Good friends who listen and care
.LIFE…I love LIFE

I ask for

.Another day on hearth so I may practice my craft
.Strength to know the things I cannot change

I’ve updated a piece, after taking a good look at it last night I thought I would break up the stanzas and add some visual interest.
Here’s the updated version of “Cancer”: Link

 

Mar 21/2014

Today I am thankful for

.Being healthy
.having the opportunity to nourish my creativity
.sunlight

I received my books yesterday and picked up another during the week from the local shop, I wanted to replace a Neruda book that disappeared from my bookshelf ages ago. For some odd reason when I moved, I decided to give away books that I hadn’t read in some time, and this meant that my entire Neruda collection went out the door. Anyhow, I picked up “The Captain’s Verses” and will slowly make my way through it. I’m currently searching for a copy of “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair” on paperback as it was another of my favorites. I did however manage to hold on to “Residence on Earth”.

If you don’t know the story behind “The Captain’s Verses”, the contents were written by Neruda for his lover Matilde while he was residing on the island of Capri. There was no better environment for him anywhere on the planet, it was there surrounded by ocean, sky and mountains that he nourished some of his best work; if you aren’t familiar with it, his poems are very “earthy” and explore the connection between man, earthly elements and love; read “Body of a Woman” published circa 1924 in “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair” – you may read it here: Link

Needless to say he’s on the opposite side of the spectrum for me when it comes to my taste in poetry, on one side I like Anis Mojgani, Buddy Wakefield (very urban) and Andrea Gibson (also very urban), on the other hand I like earthy poetry like that of Neruda; as of late I’ve been trying to find a happy medium.

Check it out on Amazon: The Captain’s Verses

Neruda


Mar 14/2014

What a terrible day at work. I try to stay positive these days and make a concentrated efort to look on the bright side, but this has been a really tough week. Between the weather, working the extra day and not seeing OME since Sunday morning I’m ready for the weekend (which for me is Sunday-Monday). Did I mention I’m putting in 13 hours today at work?

I ordered three books from Chapters when I finally managed to sit down at my desk.
Cristina also brought me something from her pusblisher (True as Moonlight by Merle Nudelman – Guernica Editions). She enjoys pimping off poets from Guernica Editions on me, and I’m all good with that.

I’m tired, and quite frankly pretty damn cranky. I want a bourbon and require a hug….NOW


Feb 22/2014

Grammar is the bane of my existence, and conjunctions are the cross that I carry, and one day I’ll stop repeating conjunctions, or I’ll have to pay an editor to come up with better ways for me to connect thoughts, or I’ll just have to smack myself every time I repeat myself….

See what I just did?


Feb 18/2014

I’ve been looking at Buddy Wakefield as of late and have taken an interest in his live readings, especially “Convenience Stores”. For your enjoyment, two clips of the same poem read very differently. Wakefield starts off  slow to draw the listener in and then increases intensity as the subject matter becomes more fiery, and then to close off he returns to his starting tone.

Enjoy


Truth!

“The worst lie I ever believed in was that being alone was better than losing what you want” –  Carrie Rudzinsk
That’s me, right there, and how I spent way too many days.

Our time here is too short to not swallow life
To not tare through this world like it’s our last day
To not love like it’s your last time 

-me

Carrie Rudzinski starts off light and opens you up for what comes next, which is pretty much a fist full of razor blades. That’s how it should be done. Take a look, it’s time well spend.

Feb 14/2014

Feeling a bit tired these days as a result of stress at work and having the winter blues. I’ve resorted to editing old journal entries in my black book, however, I have managed to cobble some words together over the last couple of days which I will post sometime this evening and tomorrow, I have learned that it’s best to space posts days apart as to not bombard readers (geeez…all 25 of you). I also need to thank “O.M.E” for eternal inspiration, loss of sleep, great hugs and wonderful morning thoughts; all cannon fodder for this blog.

I’ve invested in a few books from WriteBloody Publishing and I suggest you do the same. I’m currently devouring Andrea Gibson’s “The Madness Vase” and waiting on a few other books. At $12 you can’t go wrong, this is some good quality prose and it’s a nice departure from South American writers for me, it’s exactly what I was looking for.

Feb 2/2014

Unedited stream…to be edited

when I was young there were questions that haunted me – how to calculate the number of sand grains on the very beach where I spent my summers squinting my eyes making prisms from light aided by the sun my only friend other than the salt water questions, like “is the ocean alive” it seemed to breathe you see always welcoming me even decades later after I abandoned it and returning as a man only to assume the same position on the sand perfectly still breathing in salt and-the sound of its breath of the current pulling like a inhale and the eventual crash of water like the breath of a lover at dawn in my adulthood there were questions that haunted me you see there were stars above our tents and cicadas in the pine forest and I often wondered about their finite number while I listened to crashing waves downwind from a netted window when we camped three months at a time in sweltering heat there were questions and an attraction to that body of water that engulfed me at first light and sometimes at dawn even though crab snipped at my toes at the sand’s edge of that dark matter now so subdued in the night a mirror for the night sky merely a pause before day break when I could hardly wait for the blinding gaze of sunlight wrapping at the cloth of our canvas tents-There were cool nights when my parents and I walked the shore hand in hand in thick sweaters to watch fishermen pull their nets-on one such night one handed me a sea horse-still alive-pulsating its armor like flesh-curling its tail-I placed it in a bucket that night as i couldn’t bare to kill it-only to find it asphyxiated in the fresh water the next morning


1/31/2014

….edit later

The one thing I remember about my father’s cancer was the smell of
chemo
shit
and piss
and the color of the swill inside the catheter bag
there is nothing glamorous about watching an organism
devour
rob
the soul of the man that gave life to you
and watching the color go out of your mother’s eyes
as she carried
bathed him
and built walls one stone brick at a time
to shelter herself from the love she once felt for him
as it was likely
too much to bear
watching wretched chemicals
burn lungs
that once slayed through woodwinds and tenor brass
but now only blew out wretched exhaust of radiated chemicals

must expand on this


Creativity

It’s there subconsciously
A moving stream
Where I dip my toes now and then with a net
Emerge with words that I string together

I wonder what the stream would look like if it had a form


The popular interpretation of the word “Terrorist” eludes me, as do Terrorism laws

I see no distinction between radical fundamentalists blowing up a bus full of children, and a street gang with automatic weapons tearing up the flesh of babies as they lay sleeping in their beds.

Don’t give me the social economic argument, I don’t care, both spread an ideology of hate…..I apologize if you think this is a discussion


Pablo Neruda published “The Book of Questions”.

Why hasn’t anyone published “The book of imagined conversations at 4:30am because I woke up way too early again”?

Q – “I think of you……all the time”
A – “Think of me all the time…..As in you like me a lot? Or as in you’re going to camp out on my front lawn with a collection of sharp knives?”
Q – “I did just get this Henckel set”
A – “Hooo shiny”


A guy named “Hangus” and his kinsman “Samu” walk down the street through a post-apolitical world….and go

H – All those years getting prepared for the zombie apocalypse <shakes his head in disappointment>
S – Who could have known <sigh>
H – <Hangus stops, grabs Samu’s forearm and stares into his watering eyes>
S – Vegetarian zombies….Hangus, what the fuck man
H – I know, the world really has gone to shit

<scene>


Random thoughts usually come to me when

-I’m shaving in the morning
-Showering
-Making tea

For conditions to be properly met, I must be naked or in the process from nakedness to getting dressed
-Being disrobed has nothing to do with the creative process
-I do like water, showering definitely has a positive effect
Shaving Nah


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5 Comments on “Journal

  1. I just discovered your journal thanks to the posted link. I think there is something about showers that inspire the mind to write. I write in the shower, in bed in the early morning or driving to work. So my clothes are on a third of the time. I just rediscovered writing last January after a few start ups. I wish I would have started sooner. It took the death of a close friend and a break up and a close encounter with a hopeless night and a dark kitchen which got me back into writing – my therapy. I must check out some of these volumes you speak of. (My goofy son – calls books volumes 😉

  2. Then I shall send you links that you must check out…Videos, mostly of live readings.

    I gave up writing for 10 years, I started again while in therapy and then everything really took off once I got on meds. I’m actually able to concentrate and connect the dots.

  3. I love that new photo you posted on Jan 6, and it was my bday! Also like your idea of writing on a typerwriter and scanning the pages. Curious to see how that will turn out. I have been neglecting the blogs of my fellow writers lately. Post and dash. Though I have been reading and enjoying a bit from theunlikelyscribe. Very passionate poet. Coming here today reminded me how much I enjoy your words, too. 🙂

    -JT

    1. Hey JT, it’s been a while.

      I went to look at a typewriter someone was selling, but it was in pretty bad condition so I had to say “no thanks”. A friend had the epiphany yesterday that I could just print out the piece and scan it rather than typing it out, it wont have the same look but it’s going to have to do for now.

      I’ve been doing the same thing (post and dash) and I’ve never been one to really blog and use this more as a venue for poetry, the Journal section has kinda gone downhill; Then again, I don’t think a lot of people read it (telling by my WP stats). Also, to be honest my feed is pretty packed with posts from subscriptions, I had a handful of bloggers I check on now and then but that’s about all.

      Happy Bday, I think I have your email address somewhere, maybe I’ll send you the high rez version of that file if you want to print it from Blacks or something for personal use (I have it at home on a 11×14 print and it looks great).

      1. I’m essentially the same. I’m not really one to blog or really spend much time on any social media. But I have found a few writers here I really enjoy and like to check in on their blog from time to time. It’s impossible to keep up with everyone.

        I should really put more effort into my own. Over 150 people follow me now, but I think I only have a small handful of regular readers. Not very good at promoting myself, or whatever it is some people are doing to get 10000’s of followers and feedback.

        It’s been an interesting experience, anyway- putting myself out there and sharing. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback, and that can be motivating and invaluable. 🙂

        You could use a typewriter font to get that look if you want. The magic of the digital age.

        I would love a hi res copy of that photo. The emotional impact is very touching and would look fantastic displayed on a wall. My email is on my contact me section if you forgot it. 😉

        -JT

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