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pookering gypsy

you were a lighthouse but now you’re blinding

there is a light i once promised to keep hidden

burning brightly in my chest

that light,  more of a riot than the sun

tries to guide me towards

redemption? salvation? a better life

than this ever-turning wheel of

bitterness & giving up

this exhaustion

this drug addicted insanity –

– doing the same thing over

& over

& over again

expecting new results

 

my bold light, i have named you Love

carelessly i have claimed you

though you & i & everyone else

know goddamn well You are not

mine to claim.

you have named yourself Gold

Ring

Stasis

& i turn the pages in my mind over & over

trying to understand that which has been

so fucking clearly laid out before me

 

& i call myself Broken

Loathing

Empty

digging deeper into my chest

to extinguish this light

which never goes out

burning now as a reminder

of what is & what will

never be

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“Daddy” – Sylvia Plath

Usually, the first poem people hear by Sylvia Plath is “Daddy”. However, the first poem by Plath I read was in an Advanced English class, “Mirror”. After reading it & spending a lot of time analyzing it, I decided to dive deeper into Plath’s works & as soon as I did I knew I’d found a genius. She quickly became one of my favourite poets. However, I don’t feel as though the majority of my poetry is influenced by her writing style although there are a few that are clearly inspired by her brilliance.

I am a poet in a community called Out Loud HSV, which is located in Huntsville, Alabama. The third Wednesday of every month we have an open mic, followed by a 30 minute feature which showcases writers from all over. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this month’s feature, alongside the Out Loud HSV 2017 Slam Team. I usually read original work during the open mic portion, but at the open mic in June I felt two poems beating heavily on my heart. “Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski & “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath.

So, here is a quick video of me reading “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath. I had a very specific person in mind while I read this, & as usual I felt so much better & much more relieved after reading this. It was my first time reading it in front of an audience, but I’m pretty proud overall of how it turned out. Enjoy!

on “my favourite place”

i always thought my favourite place might be six feet under green grass, away from the unforgiving world. a place to finally allow myself to rest. somewhere made for me, where no one can tell me how i should feel or try to make me feel guilty for needing them. i’ll still be just as alone, but at least i won’t be able to feel lonely anymore. a place to finally call home.

maybe my favourite place isn’t a place at all. maybe it’s the roads between point a & point b. maybe it’s the space between where i’ve been & where i’m trying to get to. trying to convince myself these miles are “progress” away from suffering, driving me closer to this distant dream called healing. 142,277.7 miles yet i still feel like i’m getting nowhere. 100 mph & i don’t care if a cop pulls me over anymore. i’ll tell him i’m tired of coasting, i have to reach happiness faster than this. he’ll probably think i’m stoned & chances are he’s right. i’ll tell him i’m just trying to feel something. he’ll tell me i’m out of my fucking mind & he’ll be right. but i’ll keep driving.

because freedom sounds so much better than being stuck in a place where i have to pretend. when i run out of gas i’ll roll down my windows & play that Alanis Morissette song as loud as i can. i’ll tell the man at pump five that this is irony. that my four-wheeled saviour has become just as empty as i am. & when that line comes on about meeting the man of your dreams i’ll tell the kids at pump three to love themselves before they try to love anyone else. because a “beautiful” wife cannot break you if you understand that you’re okay without another person. but the song will change & i’ll keep driving.

or maybe i just haven’t found it yet. maybe my favourite place is out there now, waiting for me. somewhere i haven’t had the time or space to reach yet. maybe she’s somewhere i haven’t heard of across the world. or maybe he’s just out of reach, teasing my fingertips with a sighing breath. maybe she’s the quiet weeping willow i used to sit under that i can’t get back. maybe he’s the steady beat i took for granted. maybe i’m running too fast to catch it. maybe my favourite place isn’t predetermined, & it’s the ever changing wind i haven’t quite learned to follow. maybe i’m searching too hard.

maybe my favourite place is hidden between the bars of a score i haven’t studied. maybe it’s the secrets carved into walls i was never allowed to keep. maybe it’s every sunset that has taken my breath away. maybe my favourite place is the slowly burning wick of a candle. maybe it’s buried in a mason jar full of ashes & cigarette butts.

but maybe i’m just lost.

 

 

“i guess i must be having fun”

“Home is where I want to be, pick me up and turn me ’round”
“Love me ’til my heart stops, love me ’til I’m dead”

This Must Be the Place where lights are no longer themselves
they are bleeding green, yellow, red, white
disappearing with the highway
small balls of paint smeared
impossible to replicate
impossible to forget
you blink once
twice
three times
yet it’s never enough for them to go back to “normal”

This Must Be the Place where the levee breaks
you can’t Escape the tears
rolling faster than even your four wheels
can’t stop the 90 mph thoughts
reminding you that when He hears this
He thinks of her
but with every familiar note you think of Him
trapped in a locked seatbelt kind of heart break
wondering what it would be like
to be picked up & turned around
by this Man you love so much

This Must Be the Place where your heart beats out of its cage
& you know any moment it could go still
the cry for love unanswered
your heart opening up its wings
knowing He will not be there to wrap around
while you feel like He is home, He will never be
in this Place, it is you & only you
1,000 miles always just out of reach
the hope you had, the light in your eyes
has died
& you realize that you are no longer a lover
& this truly is a Naive Melody

Widespread Panic – Huntsville, AL

Most “first post” posts on these kinds of things are usually jam-packed with information about the author of the blog. What they like, what they don’t like, what they do, what they want out of life. But personally, the best way to (re)introduce myself to the blogging world is by talking about the thing I love the most: music. Specifically, Widespread Panic. & to do that I am editing the only original post from this blog that I kept. So welcome aboard. Let’s jam.

Widespread Panic is a “jam band” that was formed in 1986 in Athens, Georgia. The current members include John Bell (JB), Jimmy Herring, Dave Schools, John “JoJo” Hermann, Duane Trucks & Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz . Every member brings something different & unique to the sound, & they each have an impact on the music & everyone who listens. The first concert I ever went to was Widespread Panic, & it was back in October of 2014. The concert that inspired this post was my second Widespread show, which was February of 2016. Since then I have seen them in Nashville on New Year’s Eve of 2016, & I plan on seeing them again in July of 2017 at Sloss Fest.

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Widespread Panic is one of “those” bands. You know, one of the bands you find one day that change your entire life forever. One of the bands that you never knew would matter so much to you later on. I remember being in elementary school listening to my dad’s old music. I remember going through all of his CD’s in alphabetical order & being completely mesmerized by how truly diverse & freeing music really was. Sure, being Aerosmith’s biggest fan in fourth grade separated me from my peers, but I didn’t care. My dad would drop me off at school with AC/DC, the Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin & Pink Floyd blasting through his speakers. But I will never forget the day I heard Widespread for the first time.

The first song he played for me was Coconut, & I remember feeling some dark part of the world, MY world, suddenly become illuminated. I remember being so invested in the music that when it ended, I realized I had been holding my breath. I asked my dad to play me another. He played Stop-Go, & I remember holding my breath again. & again. & again every time I heard more of their music. They are one of “those” bands, indeed. One of those bands that never stops making you hold your breath. No matter how many times you’ve heard a specific song, no matter how many times you see them live. You always catch yourself filling your lungs to the brim with breath you are too excited to let out. & I know I’m not alone in this. I read a post by someone else that said (& I am paraphrasing), “When [Jimmy Herring] plays a solo, or any one of them plays at all, you hold your breath without realizing it. It’s only when they’re done that you realize you forgot how to breathe. That’s how powerful Widespread Panic is”. It’s truly amazing to be there in the concert, surrounded by love, positivity, & the best music you could ask for. Sometimes it honestly feels like the music is being played directly to your soul. There are no words I could ever use to do the experience justice. It is so different from anything else I have ever experienced. It’s… wow.

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At the 2014 show, they opened with “One Armed Steve” & I joked with my dad that they would open with it again at the 2016 show. He seriously doubted it, but as soon as Herring hit that E chord I knew. & so did my dad, because we looked at each other for a minute, pointed, & screamed “ONE ARMED STEEVE” until the music took over & we started groovin’. They played an absolutely amazing two sets, which I will include below. They played a bunch of my favourite songs, including “Ain’t Life Grand?”. “Ain’t Life Grand?” has always been one of my all-time favourite songs, & seeing them play it for the first time was an absolutely life changing event. Everyone around me started dancing with each other, & I got to dance with a few strangers. But my favourite ALG memory was watching the couple next to my dad. They were dancing & laughing just like everyone else, when suddenly the guy got down on one knee & proposed to his long time girlfriend in the middle of the song. Being so surrounded by joy & love made me realize that there is good in the world that can always be found at a Widespread show.

My whole life until then had been a whirlwind of anything & everything going wrong. Nothing made sense anymore. I was wandering in the darkness where light had once been. The last remaining joy that I had was there because of music. I had such a negative perspective. I felt like the rest of my life would be just as miserable as it had been before. But somehow, someway, that concert changed my life. Listening to ALG changed my life. Listening to Widespread became my small corner of happiness. & soon that small corner became an entire room that occupied my soul. The feet that had become still were moving again. The silence in my heart had been filled with intricate rhythms & an ever-changing beat that keeps me dancing no matter where I am.

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They played for almost four hours and I danced and sang the entire time. The environment around me was wonderful, loving and warm. Everyone was so nice to each other, so willing to share cigarettes, experiences, stories & other “fun things”, & so ready to dance together. I even met someone who went to Southern Miss! She was REALLY cool to talk to & dance with. As always it was so amazing to meet & bond with so many unique & beautiful people.

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Shoutout to my badass dad for taking me & being such a good sport the whole night. He was jamming with me, singing & even dancing. He is one cool dude & I am forever grateful to be his daughter & that he introduced me to such an awesome band. It was an all around awesome night & I am so glad that I got to spend the night with the greatest dad I could possibly have.

But I think the coolest thing is the tattoo I have now. September of 2016 I decided that Widespread was a big enough part of my life that I wanted to have a piece of them with me (& on me) until I die & eventually decompose. So I got “ain’t life grand” tattooed underneath some mountains, because the mountains are my happy place. It became a physical reminder that no matter how hard things get, life is still grand. There are still good times to be had with good people. There is still good music to be heard & to be made. There are still good places & good things to hold on to & look forward to. There is always a light in the darkness. & it’s always just a concert away.

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Anyway, that’s my little ramble about Widespread Panic! Below is a picture they posted on their Instagram after the show of the setlist, but i’ll type it out just in case you can’t read it or just like this font better or whatever floats your boat.

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Set One

  1. One Armed Steve
  2. Can’t Get High
  3. Cotton Was King
  4. Gimme –> Good People –> Me & the Devil Blues
  5. Better Off
  6. Pigeons
  7. Chunk of Coal
  8. Ain’t Life Grand

Set Two

  1. Second Skin –> Greta –> Christmas Katie –> Travelin’ Light
  2. Pickin’ Up the Pieces –> Big Wooly Mammoth
  3. Drums
  4. Cease Fire –> Jamais Vu
  5. Space Wrangler

Encore

May Your Glass Be Filled –> Climb to Safety

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