New Year, new poem up @Riggwelter Press

Happy New Year. Going to refrain from repeating my message from last year (something about not celebrating the passage of precious time).

I find myself this year, back home after 8 years living in Korea, teething in my own culture & wondering what the future has in store. This period of adjustment is challenging & those who follow this blog will understand what I have given up to return to England. My departure from Korea was sad, it just felt like time to move on. I suppose somewhere within myself, an ordeal felt like a peculiarly logical step; which I have John Berryman to blame for.

My decision to leave didn’t make leaving any easier, parting from my ex-wife was very upsetting, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment having to leave her after so many trials & experiences together. Parting from the guesthouse was also difficult, a place I built myself, put a great deal of energy into establishing & making sure it functioned; but also a home. I am glad my ex-wife will continue to run it & I can go back to visit in the future.

Moving on, this poem @RiggwelterPress is hopefully a harbinger of a year of publications in such quality journals & more besides.

I hope all are well with hopes for the coming year.


Kicking the old year into the new

i don’t quite get New Year, hearing people’s “goodbye” to an abstract stretch of moments & welcoming new time like a new pair of underwear. It always saddens me how we take time for granted, so much so that we celebrate the death of it. i don’t make resolutions, because i am always resolving to do something whether over a short or long period; i am not overweight so i can’t make that a goal, neither do i have any bad habits; neither does unwavering happiness interest me as the spectrum of emotion makes me more human & fuels how i observe— i get nothing much from the partitioning of time, nor of the celebration of it “exit”.

& on that bum note, i would however like to say that i hope in this new year, the poets & writers i divest a good chunk of my reading time to, continue to produce exceptional poems & writing. You know who you are. & know that, your reading compels me to be constantly inventive & to constantly produce, keeps my mind ticking over, never remaining stationary long enough to gather mold. Thank you & here’s to a healthy continuation of our relationships.

i wouldn’t wish time’s disappearance on anyone, but I might- a New Year message

the New Year approaches as inevitably it does after 364 days. it is a time i am ever fidgety with. my discomfort stems from my inability to wrap my head around why we celebrate the death of time, as i see it. people who celebrate the New Year are looking forward, eager to right the wrongs, eager to do better, become a new person. but that does chime with me: if i make mistakes i must learn from them, accept them too; if i had a shit year, i have to use that shittiness to my advantage somehow, not just by grinning & bearing but utilizing it in the innumerable ways that we can use experiences to our advantage. if i was a dick, if i am unhappy with my state i have to use that too or change it. i certainly shouldn’t be celebrating the eradication of that time & the fresh slate before me. it reminds me of that same myth that once you’ve walked through the doors of St Peter’s in Rome, all sin is washed away, you are given a second chance- that seems ridiculous to me.
i suppose many are celebrating more of the same of what comprised the year that is being exited- i suppose i just have a bleak view of things.
i just can’t see anything worth celebrating; i celebrate life everyday as best i can by being as present as possible in my environment, by utilizing as best as they allow, my brain & body- i don’t have the highest functioning brain but it hobbles me along & lets me get on with a few curious activities.
so, for these reasons, i can’t embrace the celebration of time gone, time dead, it is such a precious commodity, something i wish each day had twice as much of, so i could cram in more. i am greedy for time.

but this isn’t all i want to say. this year was my first year trying to get my poems published. in March, when i began, i had no idea if i would just fall flat on my arse, rosy cheeked with chagrin, humiliated into a husk & to once again return to honing my understanding of poetry. but this didn’t happen, i started getting published, i started to be noticed by people who know what they are talking about, who are educated in poetry, who make it a part of their life as much, if not more than i make it a part of my own life.

i want to thank Chris Murray at PoetHead for first publishing me & introducing me to some highly readable & important poetry; without that first publication to give me confidence it would have been more of a slog to galvanize my enthusiasm & energy to send stuff out.
Abegail Morley at The Poetry Shed for publishing one of my poems.
The team at FourTiesLitReview, especially Matt Larrimore for publishing my poem Fishermen & a video accompaniment where i explain the inspiration for the poem.
Tim Miller, for advising me on changes in my poems, for being a valued commentator/critic & all round decent chap to speak with, furthermore, for writing some sterling poetry i have had such pleasure reading & finally for publishing six of my poems on his blog wordandsilence.
Robert Okaji, for being an incredible poet, for his seeing something in my work, which has made me feel immensely proud of myself & confidant in my abilities & moreover, for seeing something worthwhile in me that materialized in a lengthy Q&A which appeared on his blog O at the Edges & created a buzz about my poems, which i am eternally grateful for.
last but not least, Jose Angel Araguz, who inspired me to alter my approach to poetry after i read his poems in the Inflectionist Review, who later published my poem Haenyo, which was such an honour as i had admired & read Jose’s work for some time. it felt like a famous poet tapping me on the shoulder as i finished a poem off & saying “that’s a fine poem, lad” when Jose offered to publish me on thefridayinfluence.
thank you also to everyone who has read, liked & commented on my blog so far, i hope i can write more that will keep you coming back.

let’s push on to a New Year filled with more of the same.