I have a grave secret—one that has bothered me for several months now.
I’m not a poet… Not the last time I checked, anyway.
So why on God’s green earth did I publish a full book of poetry?
The short version of this story, is that I was frustrated at the time. I was looking up different spoken word artists, and stumbled upon the work of Steven Jesse Bernstein. Prior to that, I loved the work of Tom Waits and Ken Nordine, who both experimented with music and poetry in their own ways. Their work gave me a taste for punchy storytelling, but Bernstein’s work was the tipping point. I was feeling dry on writing standard prose, so I took this as an opportunity to experiment.
After hearing the collected tracks of his album “Prison,” I was overwhelmed with a desire to write something in the same vein. The gears turned for awhile, and around September 2016, I began writing the poems. One after the other. Line after line. It was some of the most fun I’d ever had writing in years, which was due in part to the challenge.
100 pages later, I had a comprehensive journey into humor, horror, depression, and insomnia. It’s probably one of the strangest works I’ve written (though stranger ones are still in the pipeline,) and I struggle to describe what it even is. I suppose you could call it horror, some of it is dark humor, and some could be classified as slices of life.
I wrote when I was angry, when I was depressed, when I was anxious, and perhaps the spectrum of emotion is embedded in there. Some of them are more elusive. “Cornflakes” for example, was written on a night where I couldn’t sleep–too frantic and anxious for an exam I was due for the next day. The poem flew out of me, and despite what I was feeling, it’s probably one of the most colorful and humorous pieces in the book. “The Red Letters” is another one of my favorites–especially to read aloud. Despite how grim and upsetting both scenarios are, they happen to have a contrasting sense of humor and timing. It’s not something I planned going in, and I’m not sure how effective it is, but I’m pleased with what came out of it.
The lesson to be taken from this?
No matter what your interests are, it’s always good to experiment. Try new things, and make discoveries. Out of all the things I was excited for in writing, I never expected to be so pleased with poetry.
“A Man Upstairs” is available on Amazon in kindle and paperback. The audiobook version is soon to come, and will be read by yours truly.
Check it out, and by all means, leave a review!
All the best.