ask me, answer me

It’s innocence,

it’s purity,

it’s light.

It pierces,

it watches.

It’s a sanctuary,

it’s​ an oasis,

it’s a retreat from the dark.

 

Like a pause-inducing déjà vu

or striking premonition,

it’s unexplainable.

Somewhere in the brain,

or the heart,

or the soul,

there’s a reason.

 

For me

it’s what you look like

when you smile,

it’s the way your eyes shine

at small pleasures.

 

What do you all love?

Why do you care for it?

What is attraction, desire?

What does it mean to be mature?

How do I get everything right?

What are the consequences of my decisions?

 

There are so many secrets

I don’t know.

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Interviewed by Jade Raykovski

Recently I was lucky enough to be interviewed on Jade Raykovski’s blog. Jade is a talented writer and budding author, currently working on her first children’s novel.

I talked about why I write and what I like to write and what I hope to achieve in the future. Find the original publication here and check out Jade’s blog. She writes and shares many interesting things aside from focusing on her own work so signing up for her newsletter would be a valuable exercise.

Here is the transcript of the interview:

Tell me about your blog, Poignant Things. Why did you decide to start it and for how long has it been running?

I created it about three years ago while I was still in University. There were a few major reasons: it would persuade me to write more regularly, it would test the waters to see if a diverse range of readers liked my writing, and it would provide me with a good outlet to vent my sadness, frustration, happiness, or whatever else it may be. It was a way of telling people close to me how I was feeling without really ‘telling’ them.

‘For those who read with music in their ears’ – where did the blog’s tagline come from?

This stems from what I draw a lot of inspiration from. Music is a big influencer on me. I seem to be very sensitive to the tones and moods that music can convey. Often, I’ll listen to an instrumental track and from that, a whole idea for a poem or story will come to me. Usually I’ll begin writing in that very moment, responding to the flow of the song. It’s the same when I’m reading. Commonly I’ll have music on while I’m reading and the passages, be they dramatic or melancholy, will be heightened by certain songs, similar to what happens in films. The right music in a film can turn a good scene into an iconic scene. So, the tagline is saying this blog is for people like me, and I hope people can find the right song to listen to while they read each poem.

What motivates you to write, particularly poetry?

Mostly I write for my own self-interest. I doubt there’d ever be a huge audience for the poetry I write. A lot of the time it’s to process my thoughts and dump my stress onto the page and out of my body, but also it’s to help anyone who’s reading it who may be struggling with similar emotions. It’s quite normal in teenage and young adult years to experience a lack of direction, frustration, and depressive emotions because trying to sort your life out is very hard! Sometimes, people think they’re alone in what they’re feeling but it simply isn’t true and I hope people realise this when they read some of my pieces.

On the other hand I write to get better so I can one day become a published novelist. At the moment, I write poetry because it’s such a good medium for the emotional venting I spoke about and I find it quicker to craft a poem than a story because poetry is so fluid, there’s no real rules or restrictions. Any style of poetry can work if executed well. I also love the ‘snapshot’ element of poetry. It captures single moments, specific images that can hold a lot of weight and there’s something comforting about staying contained within smaller scenes.

Are there any other projects you’re working on, apart from the blog?

Yes, I would dearly love to publish an illustrated collection of poetry one day. I’m in the process of trying to get enough good poems together and I’ll submit some of them to journals or competitions to hopefully get some feedback and guidance on their quality. As for the illustrations, if you know any fantastic pencil illustrators send them my way! Beyond this, I have two or three novel ideas which I’m quietly confident will work if I’m good enough to write them well (a big if!) They’ll all have a strong foundation in family, relationships, the environment, and morality. Oh, and they’ll probably all be fairly dark/moody.

What was the first piece you had published? What did that feel like?

I might go back further than that and talk about when I first received recognition for writing. In high school, I won the senior poetry competition for NAIDOC week. The principal read my work at the school assembly and even on a local radio station I think. Obviously I was very pleased with that and it was the moment when I thought to myself that perhaps I could pursue writing further, both creatively and professionally. It also taught me more about myself. I was obviously relieved to find out I was someone who could show compassion for others, balance cultural sensitivities, and see things from a perspective completely different from my own. It may sound strange, but up until then I wasn’t sure if I understood these things. Now, I have a few little pieces published and am motivated to achieve bigger goals. I’m also writing for a living as a copywriter so I’m extremely happy that I’ve been able to do what I love and get something out of it.

Do you have any advice for other emerging writers, particularly those who are just starting out and may not have anything published yet?

Hopefully they’re already avid readers but if they aren’t they should start working on a reading list. Read as much as possible and try to encompass a diverse range of writers. Reading widely is great for learning, vocabulary, and inspiration. As for writing, regularity is key. Write as often as possible in conjunction with your reading and you will get better. Also, it’s important to find your niche. Find what inspires you and find what excites you the most when writing. For me, music and film inspire me and I really enjoy writing pieces strong in imagery and emotion. For someone else they may find they’re inspired by the study of history and adore writing fantasy. But that’s the important thing, write what you enjoy and never be afraid to submit your work to the numerous competitions and publications that are still very much alive in the industry. Know one thing for sure; rejection will happen and more than once. This does not mean you’re a bad writer.

dead weight

Sever my limbs,

they’re no use anymore.

You don’t have to be careful,

hack them if need be.

They can’t possibly carry me to your heart.

They can’t lift me into your mind.

They cannot enter your soul,

nor travel to the front of your thoughts.

Alas,

my limbs are not the problem,

it’s every breathing moment

that’s made me who I am,

and who you are.

It can’t just be the attraction of two bright stars,

more goes into wrapping my arms…

Because we are human,

I wish we weren’t,

I wish I wasnt, man.

self

Write something beautiful.

If only I had the words,

the delicate control

over language

required to craft

spectacular art.

Mind paint

bursting into life

on the synapses of another’s brain.

Imagine

chemical reactions to be colours,

a full spectrum of thoughts

to explain

all of this.

Or is everything the pitch of night?

Is this why we can’t control

the way we feel?

We have whip-quick,

intense reaction

without the ability

to ever define the action.

If I see a rainbow reflecting

in eyes

I match it with

my marble swirl.

But it bubbles with stars,

burning,

retreating,

returning.

A molten pot

being constantly stirred.

Not disturbed,

but necessarily spurred

to go searching,

reaching down into rich earth

for meaning.

Expanding consciousness

like wind-borne mist

through forest,

river,

mountain,

animal.

Making a list

of all the things

engaging me,

there’s always something I miss

and whatever was there,

disappears.

spontaneous thinking

I step up,

I step down.

The beat in my ears compels me,

every step is an ensemble.

Sometimes I pause.

I try to stay in limbo,

on a different plane

where the only thing that exists is atmosphere,

for as long as I can.

I sense kindness

coming from the rail,

I pick up notes rising through my body,

they say the journey’s worth it.

My skull vibrates in a way

I cannot say,

I suppose it’s joy.

Like the smiling face of an animal

or the happy routine of nature,

the constant,

the stable presence of mother.

I have many faces

for all the different places I appear,

it can be hard to know if I’m truly there.

I convince myself I’m being real

but it’s not always true.

I think about what to do,

I listen to music.

There’s education, there’s advice,

there’s pleasure, there’s motivation.

When I hear it,

I want you to know what I’m thinking,

I want you to know what I’m feeling.

The euphoria I get from every piece of life

does not equal the times

when I see your eyes aligning

with mine.

Even if I can’t meet them for long.

When I thought

what I thought

about you,

I wasn’t wrong.

Mortality

He used her spare key to go into her apartment while she was at work. In the fridge he left a fresh punnet of blueberries. Two weeks later he came back and they were mouldy. It was obvious she’d been there, new washing on the airer. She just didn’t want anything that came from him anymore. Suddenly he realised it might truly be over. He knew they were her favourite and he knew she hated wasting things. The mistakes he’d made were too bad to excuse. At greatest need he’d gotten scared, left her flailing and doomed. It was momentary, but it was enough. It cut swathes through everything they’d built, everything he’d pretended to be. Now, it hurt so much. He might never see her again and it felt like he was dying, even though it was the other way around.

He’d heard from a friend she was over the hump, everything was in retreat. So he bought fruit. Later, he thought about maiming himself because he deserved it. Sitting above the ocean, amongst trees and ferns to calm himself, he’d tried calling her. Even though he was sure she wouldn’t answer he didn’t even let it ring out, choked again. It didn’t matter how much he wanted something back. Time, decisions, her. You couldn’t make someone who doesn’t want you, want you again.

That wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that she would always be hurt by it. There was nothing he could do to make her feel better. Feeling the reverberations of causing something so permanent, he froze in place. On a rock, hidden from the view of the path, they found him.

out of sync

I’d like to think

I am a tree

but I’m not as kind

or resolute.

 

Strip some bark aside,

look inside,

the heart’s not hard to find.

You’ll see it beating,

hurting,

squeezing some stress

out through the cracks.

 

If people aren’t cutting it down

they’re digging it out.

Either way it’s a sick feeling

and a horrible sound.

 

I’ve been looking for earth

to hold my roots,

a placed called Settle

is where I want to be.

But the more I reach for the soil

the less there is

holding onto me.

Impressionable

A horse down a hill,

a rider on top.

It’s life giving out,

a bullet dug in

the bond between them.

Far below

landing hard

the loss is felt;

of tracing ridges,

of traversing

frozen ground.

One saved,

one sacrificed.

Innocent blood

spilled by too many men.

I wish people would understand.

 

The trust given,

received,

returned.

The time spent,

jobs completed,

tasks achieved.

The happy nuzzle

keeping cheek warm,

the kind hand

keeping coat clean.

I just wish people would understand.