Poet Interview #48: Patrick Jordan

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?
I’m a single 40 year old male. I spend my time in college pursuing a Master’s degree, with a minor focus on Creative Writing. I learned at a young age the connection between music, lyrics, and girls. I used to quote song lyrics while I was on the phone with girls and act like I wrote them. The girls loved it. So I recognized the power of words at a young age. That was around 8-9 years old. Then I started writing my own lyrics and poems. Every time I would like a girl, I would write her a poem. Back then there was no technology like today, so we wrote lots of love letters back and forth. “Check this box  if you like me?” It was then I started writing my own poems.
Also, the movie “The Outsiders” was a big influence on my life. That was the first poem I loved and memorized. When Ponyboy recited the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” I fell in love with it. I think that was the first time poetry grabbed me. A few years later another huge movie was “The Doors.” Jim Morrison became my new idol. His words changed my life. I went out and bought all his poetry books. I couldn’t really understand all of them, but I was hooked. Not long after that movie I enrolled in a creative writing class. While other boys were in shop or playing sports I was writing poetry. From then on I considered myself a writer and a poet. Later that year, (1991-92) our school published an art/poetry Anthology. I had the most poems published in it, with five. Also, I have always kept a journal, or diary. I’ve never really found anyone who I can talk to honestly, so my notebook became my best friend.
Nowadays my favorite poet would have to be Charles Bukowski. No one’s writing moves me the way his poems do. There is no fluff in his words. He gets straight to the point, and I like that. Others writing influences are: Dr Hunter S. Thompson, William Burroughs and the Beat Poets, Jim Carroll, Chuck Palahniuk, and Irvine Welsh, and the list goes on and on…(I am also a bit of a book collector.)
How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?
Normally something triggers me. I hear something or read something and there is an urge to write something down. Before phone technology I would carry a small pad and pen on me wherever I went, just in case I needed to write something down. My thoughts and feelings are at the core of my poetry style. I try to keep it as minimal as possible. Most of the time writing is just a coping mechanism. It’s a way to keep me from going over the edge in this mad world.
You began editing and publishing your own site earlier this year. How has working with other poets’ words at Stay Weird and Keep Writing, Inc. impacted your own work, if at all? What are you generally looking for in submissions that get sent your way?
Working with other’s words does not affect me. I really don’t analyze or judge the work I publish. That’s not my job. My job is just to have an outlet where folks can get their work out there. My goal is to try and get as many people as possible to read other’s writings. Then they can judge it if they feel they need to. But generally I look for something weird and fresh.
You’ve also published a few handmade chapbooks and broadsides recently. Do you plan on continuing to expand in this way? What are your future intentions for the site?
Yes, I have published a few chapbooks and I hope to publish more. “Stay Weird and Keep Writing” is a non-profit independent Publishing Company. I’m not in it to make money. I’m in it to spread the word. Normally I get a manic wild hair up my ass and go off and start creating someone a chapbook. Sometimes because I love their words, and other times out of sheer boredom. But it’s fun for me, and hopefully it makes people smile.
Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how? Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they?
Back towards the end of 2014 I was searching for a place I could share my weirdness and meet like-minded people. So I created the Facebook group “Notes From The Edge: Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, Gonzo, Bukowski, & The Beats!” Since then I have created the “Stay Weird and Keep Writing” Facebook page and group. At these places we share our own writings and enjoy the weirdness that is in all of us. We let our freak flag fly there. Everyone is welcome.
I’m weird. I live in the Midwest where being weird is not really accepted. So I got online and started meeting other weird people like me and I found us a home. The folks in these Facebook groups are my family. Without them I would be lost. It is my social support group and I love them all. They are weird, just like me.
What are you reading right now?
I’m in the middle of reading a few books. Too many to name. But just to list a few: Bukowski, Jim Carroll, Chopper Read, Ben Sessa, Kerouac, Tom Wolfe, and many others. I keep books everywhere I go, so I’m always reading 10-20 books at once.
What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?
Not sure how much advice I can give. I’m still searching for my own way. But: Write every day. Write, edit, write, edit. Read. Read everything you can. I would follow Hemingway’s wisdom. “Write the Truest sentence that you know.”
And the most important thing of all… STAY WEIRD AND KEEP WRITING!!!!

Punching the Clock

Three poems
by Patrick Jordan
Where To Find Me
Down at the end of the bar
on an old wooden barstool.
Up at crack of dawn
hauling a full load to market.
Behind the counter
handing out the tickets.
In bed late at night
sleeping another one off.
In the very back seat
on an old greyhound bus.
Laying in a cold jail cell
the third night in a row.
Rushing the kids off to school
each day of the week.
Punching that time clock
at 6:30 in the morning.
Out the door in the evening
to take the late night shift again.
Behind this machine
pushing these small little buttons.
That’s where I’ll be.
That’s where my spirit will stay.
That’s where my heart will live.
That’s where I’ll be.
Take your hand
and shove it
down your throat.
Reach down
as far as possible
and pull out
something beautiful.
Something original.
Something bold.
Something special
and Fantabulous.
Turn it into wings
and let it fly.
Let is soar up high.
Then let it spread
and wash all the
souls clean.
Drink from it.
And it will
be forever.
A Horribly Drunk Night
Too many spirits.
Fell asleep
completely wasted
at 6 a.m.
Two hours
I’m awakened
by a
painfully loud noise.
Brrrrrrrr Brrrrrrrr Brrrrrrrr
Holy shit!
I opened my eyes and looked at the time.
It said 9 O’clock.
What the holy hell is going on?
I tried to stand up
but I was still drunk
and I stumbled a bit.
I walked out to the back patio
and saw some Latinos
mowing the lawn.
Not only mowing,
but with their weed-eaters
and hedge trimmers,
tearing it all up.
Loud noises ringing
all through
my heavy head,
I screamed,
“Shut The Fuck Up”!!!
Which did no good
because the equipment
was far too loud to hear anything,
even your own thoughts.
Stumbling to the kitchen
I opened the freezer and
grabbed my liquor bottle.
I took a huge swig.
Put it back,
and stumbled my way
to the bed,
cussing all the while.
Don’t these fucking people realize
there’re folks in here
that drank all night long
and have hangovers
and don’t want to hear lawn mowers
at 9 O’clock in the morning
BUZZING into their brains?
I guess not.
I stumbled back to bed,
crawled in-between my sheets
and passed the fuck out.
The funniest thing is
I didn’t recall this whole experience
until weeks later.
Thank the Gods for the nectar,
thank the fucking Gods.
Through poetic expression and creative writing Patrick Jordan sets himself at the center of his search for the truth. Patrick created the Facebook group(s) “Notes From The Edge”, and the independent press “Stay Weird and Keep Writing Publishing Co”, where he prints small unique Chapbooks and supports individual poets.

Serenity Now

A poem
by Don Beukes
In this ever-changing global
village, we still struggle
to feel as one – Some blame
religion, for others humanity
has not yet begun.
We all seek blissful inner serenity
a calm so sweet, peaceful longevity
a lasting reality – Dissident explosive
voices might hinder our free choices
but a shared mentality will surely
protect us from any dark disturbance,
even senseless brainwashed reverie.
We still aim to find eternal ataraxia,
the ultimate state of azure calmness
blissful mindfulness – Our history
still a murky mystery, our failed
human chemistry, blinded blurred
vision – The fallen bowing to
devastating submission
causing apocalyptic
We underestimate our human state
failing to utilize our destined fate –
Plagued by velvet wars, settling
selfish scores, influenced by false
self-appointed scarlet prophets
brainwashing us for their own
political profits
yet we somehow find a shared
inner rhythm, a soothing hum
a necessary quietude, a positive
We yearn to remain ataraxic
obliterate the toxic, permanently
optimistic – Let us release
our inner liberating fire to
finally achieve longlasting
Don Beukes is originally from Cape Town South Africa, now residing in the EU. He was born, raised and educated in the last two decades of Apartheid and hopes to adjust our moral compass through his word weaving. He has been published in two anthologies by Creative Talents Unleashed with a forthcoming publication in Transcendent Zero Press’ ‘Selfhood’ Anthology, as well as in Indiana Voice Journal, Prachya Review, Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice, SyZyGy Journal and others.

Poet Interview #47: Don Beukes

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?

I used to teach English and Geography for twenty years in Cape Town, South Africa where I am originally from and also in England. English is my second language and Afrikaans was my home language and I’m still learning French. I write in both English and Afrikaans. I guess my creative writing started at high school, where I was given the chance to broaden my imagination in both languages, being fully bilingual. I started writing poetry as an English major student but it was mostly done on notepads even scraps of paper and given to close friends. My English teacher at Belhar High school, Mrs. De Wet, was my inspiration for both reading and writing in English, so much so that I decided to become a teacher of English. My favorite poets are Dylan Thomas, Rupert Brooke, Sylvia Plath, Breyten Breytenbach, Andre Brink, Ingrid Jonker, Adam Small, Maya Angelou and T.S Elliot.

How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?

Before even writing the first word of any poem, I have developed a strategy of jotting down a word, a phrase even a question from watching the news, a movie or any historical reference from whichever source. From that initial stage I write a possible title and leave it until I’m ready to spill ink. I must admit, having met fellow word weavers from around the world, the ones who maintain regular contact inspire me to write a poem even whilst contacting each other! I tend to delve deeper into the message of any poem I write by doing general research on a meaning, a historical fact or a global event. My vision of poetry has definetely changed. I now use personal experiences to fuel my poetry and educate an audience of unknown ideas or history through research and my sense of a shared humanity in this global village.

 Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?

I am on facebook and have a poetry page https://www.facebook.com/echoesofasalamander/ as well as on twitter @salamander333 as well as Niume, a sharing site for arts and literature https://niume.com/pages/profile/?userID=13485 It certainly connected me with fellow writers and artists globally and is essential for discovering new literature and art which appeals to me and can lead to collaborations internationally.

Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?

Yes, I am part of one of the biggest writing groups on Facebook, ‘Contemporary Poets, Their Works, Current Poetry Projects, News, Links’ where I find many like-minded equals some of whom have become close literary friends of mine and also inspire me to improve all the time. I am also active in the Creative Talents Unleashed group, GloMag , as well as Indiana Voice Journal and Scarlet Leaf Review. I am currently reading ‘Leonardo da Vinci by Charles Nicholl (Penguin Books) and finishing off ‘ A Spot of Bother’ by Mark Haddon (Vintage UK).

What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?

Let rejection motivate you to spill more ink and write even more furiously and fervently than before. Experiment with different genres. Liaise with other writers, even artists, to cross new boundaries. Tailor your poems to carefully selected journals and magazines and for specific audiences. Admit to yourself where you can improve and broaden your reach to a global audience.

Be patient but most of all, stay true to yourself.

Slaying Monsters

A prose poem
by Michael Chin
When I was in elementary school, Hulk Hogan was the champion. He battled giants. Andre, yes, but King Kong Bundy, too, and Zeus, and Earthquake. Men named after monsters and gods and natural disasters. Mammoths no mere mortal could handle. Hogan threw overhand punches up, over his head, to stagger them. To stun them. So that one-by-one he might body slam them to the mat.
I learned to fear bigger boys, meaner boys. Devin Jones who flicked my ears on the school bus. Mark Davies who winged dodgeballs much harder than I ever could.
When I was in high school, Steve Austin was the champion. He battled Vince McMahon—Mr. McMahon—the megalomaniacal bastard who owned the company. McMahon subjected Austin to a series of proxies—The Rock, The Big Show, The Undertaker—but always remained, himself, the arch-villain. Not a giant, but a mastermind. I relished in those moments—few and far between—when Austin got his hands on McMahon. Left man-to-man, the boss was never a match for a redneck’s fury.
My buddy Sean had a crush on a girl. She passed when he asked her to a dance, and held out for William McGrady. William McGrady—who insisted on going by William; who wore button ups, not t-shirts; khakis, not jeans; Oxfords to our Chuck Taylors with duct tape at the heels. I don’t get it, Sean said. I could take out that kid with just one punch.
And so the face of oppression had changed from the bigger bully to the haves over our have nots. Devin Jones wouldn’t go to college, but William McGrady would. He’d be our boss, too, someday, and we could see it already. The kind of boss we could never punch in the face, because we lived in a real world, made up of SAT scores, scraping together gas money, and our mothers telling us we had to pay for our own tennis shoes from here on—let alone Oxfords.
So we stopped watching wrestling. I went to college, Sean got a job waxing floors, plowing roads, doing whatever the city asked of him. We went to the gyms, aiming for our chest to thicken, for our biceps to grow more bulbous, picturing the William McGradys of the world with every rep. Imagining proving the naysayer-oppressor-wimp-rich-kid-boss wrong.
We grew angrier. We grew larger.
We never stopped to ask if we were heroes.
Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York and currently writes and teaches in Corvallis, Oregon. He won the 2014 Jim Knudsen Editor’s Prize from the University of New Orleans and has published work in journals including The Normal School and Prairie Schooner online. Follow him on Twitter @miketchin.