We’re honest with ourselves, acknowledging strengths and weakness, what we need to do to better our writings. I’m learning right alongside you, believe me. BUT, one thing I can say for us all, from experience, is that you have to want it. Faulkner said that we shouldn’t be writers, we should just be writing. So write, and do so freely. Write whatever comes to your thoughts. Polish later, and only if you want to (Of course, in the context of something you submit in class, you do need to edit and fine, of course, but with creative work, just explode INTO the page!).
I’m up early this morning, with coffee of course, and I collect with words, odd barely-awake utterances that I know I’ll forget if I don’t write them. Try the same, let us know what happens!
See you all soon… Mike
More poetry. More music, more pieces meant for reading. Meeting with classes in three days. Read something to them. Show them you’re a writer. More than a “teacher”. Had quite a bit of the Selby Malbec but I’m set on writing. Tired again from another day in the TR. And not much in me for expression, but thinking music, music, how it changes a setting, the atmospheric feel of a stage. Coworker was listening to some old rock Pandora station, Journey I think. But then I change it later to the Bobby Hutcherson stream. And the room’s character reshapes.
My Body is an Alter
Ink drills into skin
Anchors sink into flesh
Needles pass stories
Carve into me
Christian eyes machetes
Bodies are temples
Jesus an eraser
Purity scrubs skin white
Honor your temple
you were mistaken
my body is no temple
my body is an alter
every line an offering
chiseled strokes plague skin
every curve an artist commandment
every wrinkle a part in the sea of color
I will sink rainbows into my skin
To cleanse away holy water
Poison masked as promise
turn flesh to testament of resistance
Needles to inscribe stories stolen
Peach pages waiting for calling
needles pass through palms
they sink into feet
colors transverse skin
Sacrifice to memory
Christian eyes set to crucify
Will find this alter covered
Blanketed in permanent protection
Sewn into skin altared
Sometimes I wonder what it felt like
Chemo coursing through your veins
Was it like hot lava flowing
Circulating destruction death
Did you force smiles for my comfort
While poison tunneled pillaged cells
Burn your body inside out
Did you burn yourself
To kill the invader
With an invader
To murder the murderer
They said it was appropriate technology
They cited statistics
They employed ethics
They beamed over a chemo room
Adorned with art
They masked the truth
Covered up a dirty little secret
The cure is worse than illness
Who is the killer now
The medical industry
Sometimes I wonder
Would you do it all over again
Let every glass of cold water become
A agent of death suffocation
Let every meal become
A menu of bile of vomit
Let every brief walk become
A crippling marathon
Let every last minute
Be fraught with pain
Sometimes I wonder
Will I do the same
My uterus has yet to meet
For lover I’ll kiss every morning
For faith I gave up the day you died
Will I burn myself for them
Was that fire for me
Amber Jean Coyne is a masters of Public Health student focusing on LGBTQ+ heath equity with a minor in Queer Studies. She received her Bachelors of Science in Molecular Cell Biology from Sonoma State University in 2012 graduating summa cum laude. Amber is a writer and theatre enthusiast performing in such plays as The Vagina Monologues and The Class Menagerie. She is previously published in Language, Violence & Resistance (2014) by The Alter Collective and Queer Studies at Oregon State University.
…Mom said, “Laughter’s a proven life-extender!” Yes, very true, Mother.. now I create and focus on my images, the one of me just walking around a vineyard (in this particular conscious envisage, St. Francis’ Wild Oak Vineyard), between Syrah and Chard, and I think that’s Merlot.. not sure, but I just walk, look up at Hood Mt. and stare back at the ground. My wife, Jackie and I took pictures over there, far left, over by the visitor center, where the tasting room is. All positive and poetic about this morning and this imaginary walk, ‘nother sip… Mr. Hutcherson plays, and I play.. music and poetry, my teaching, talking about Kerouac to the students and seeing what they have to say.. this 1B session, about wellness, health (mental and physical), about Personhood and “spirituality”. Duluoz, in a battle for Personhood, for (dare I say) recovery! He wants to, possibly, recover from everything and recover and/or recapture what he’s lost, leaving the madness behind– I’ll save for the paragraph below, the one I’ll post to the teaching blog. Today I live as how I saw myself living later in life when I was 17 or so, in high school, in Mr. Sullivan’s Creative Writing class; I saw myself, at this age, as a writer/professor, and that’s it. And today, that’s it, ‘that’s the ticket’ as they say, I’m him, the New Mike! The one I saw then and now and the one I revel in. Divorcing the negative, attaching Self to the positive; my son, my wife, my family, the words, the mélange of it all, all the positive, all the lifts and gives to growth, that makes me smile, this poetry, the Art and expression and LIFE! That old expression: ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.’ Radiantly correct! Why would you! Why would you dignify the negative and what would prompt to say or write negativity with the Art, with words? No! Only the affable and transcendent!
…COFFEECOFFEECOFFEE, my singular obsession in this sitting.. why do people drink alcohol when you can have this? Especially if you write? You’d rather have a drink, a whisky or wine or bourbon or beer? Are you a fool? Look at this, this madness that folds and delivers me from any sorrow or depression or holding, or clockish confines! I will hit 5 pages today you can bet, and when I wake from my nap I will run, only five miles, that’s it, maybe just do my ‘big daddy’ run that Alice often does, just five, a comfortable and leisurely 5! After 10 now and I should take a break from the page, maybe use the restroom, stretch, breathe, meditate without writing, but can I do that? Something so godly about Literature, and Philosophy, and the act of reading, what’s on a page, the Author having the fire to confess what he/she does. I could only have heros like Plath, Kerouac, right? Like Mr. Hemingway, like Dickinson, Joyce… I’m at peace in my Personhood now, so thankful the story brought me here, home, around my son’s toys and on this couch, hearing this jazz paired with the fridgehum in the kitchen. I’m smiling right now, fearless in my joy and positivity, my thanks for everything, my loves; Mom, Dad, Katie, Jack, Alice, Grandma and when she told me only days before she left, “It’s YOUR life…You have YOUR choice.” And, now and always, I choose to be happy, and to be in love, with everything, with tomorrow and today and what brought me here, all in my story. Namaste…..
6:40a. Up, but not sure
Why. Keeping Self in this
Poetry prison. Surprised. Thought,
Surely, I would have scribble sentence
Stacks by now.. Failed with targeted.
Little Kerouac, curiously dormant
Upstairs.. Must have needed more
Serene sleep. Now me. Tired
Do I need another hour? Good
Luck getting that, writer. Only
1 item menu 2day. Good. Need off.
Wonder when the rain wants another
Show. When do I? Need 2edit first–
Like a mix tape’s tracks often have no titles, I’m going ignore the whole notion of labeling my lines, paragraphs. At least for this track. Just want to intoxicate mySelf with the process. Coffee cuing downstairs. Just realized, haven’t kept a count of my words lately (word count log). One part of me finds the whole thing stupid, while the other sees it healthy to know what you’ve done everyday. And mySelf, not sure what has more reason. Just know I need to keep writing. Putting more writing into the chapbook. And when I reach the desired page count, I’m done. No more back-and-forth. You can see where that’s pigeon-holed this writer.
Sun beaming through the blinds, right into my still-Cabernet-coated eyes. Giving me Cabernet cornea. Wanted a mocha, but after reading that interview yesterday, with my writer buddy, how he home-brews his coffee, writes, breaks for lunch at 12p, then skips in-and-out of his projects the rest of the day, made me think I too need to start with a pot brewed in-base. Nothing from the coffee brothel, spending valuable change I’d be better shoving into a publication.
8:47am. Page target reached. Didn’t take long, thanks to all that writing I did during those Literary Lunches. I do miss those. 1 solid hour to ME. “Jam session,” paginated, all inhibitions evaporated. Didn’t have to share it with anyone. Anyway, I’m somewhat taken aback–hate that phrases… I’m altogether ‘deliciously discomfited’ with how many pages I pushed out in those wooden chairs. Should have written more poetry, verse while there. Speaking of rhymes, mixtapes, music, going to pour my 1st cup, then scurry to pen & paper, start the next chapter book. Think it may be all poetry pieces, some prose entries. I want my writing to be looked at as different, completely unlike the norm, what a reader would deem “marketable,” or salable. My author friend also advised that, to other writers, to forcefully write from you, your experience, not what’s trending, or what will be “Accepted” by some pig publisher. I’ll be honest, that interview was just what I needed, yesterday and probably for my life’s remaining beats. Publishers are killing their own industry, which is fantastic for us self-imprinters, we Self-subsidized scribes.
Coffee by side, the sun still screeching into my vision. Suddenly feel an almost painful call to pen some poetry. Comp Book open, right under my elbows. First sip… Asomatous. Added a little mocha mix, as I always miss my morning mochas. I really miss the Roasting Company, Napa’s downtown temple for we extreme Artists. Was just looking down at yesterday’s notes. Interesting structure. Like prose voice with poem shell. Wrote it rushed, which I like, and it probably helped, but I’m intrigued, strangely. What should I do with this piece? Should I type it, put it in chapbook2? One line, “…a toxin-lined standalone–protruding poem.”
Turning to blank page. Ready for rime writing. Love this part in MY routine. Blank page, you don’t scare me. Caffeine molecule confederacy in cup, my Composition coalition. This writer, writing from radicalism, never stopping. Manuscript mergers, transfusions–ENDLESS.