Friday, April 24, 2015

Twenty-Three: Distance

Yesterday was a fun day.  It was Legacy of Poetry Day and I got to participate and read a Philip Levine poem and one of my own.  It's nice to see people that I haven't seen in a long time and talk about poetry and our lives.

That's the problem.

I kind of reserve these types of things for writing.  Not saying it wasn't great talking to everyone, but talking to people is a release.from all the angst and thoughts in my mind.  It's easier to talk about concepts with people rather than taking the time to write them down.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Twenty Two: Either/Or Gambit

Today, I bought a humble bundle.  Basically, it's a bunch of games that you can pay any amount for and get many games.

I didn't hesitate to buy it.  It's a $155 value for $5.

But then I had some regrets.  

Poverty conditions regret and newton's third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

For that $5 dollars I could have saved it to send out to other locations, and vice versa, the $50 for duotrope could have gone to this sweet game.

So I tend to look at my "hobbies" in black and white.  Cognitive distortion?  It's the inability to balance.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Twenty-One: Intermission (A thought on productivity)

I'm a person of routine.  It's not something I just figured out, but it's something I haven't fully implemented.

At work yesterday, I thought that I need to make the following:
Daily Goals
Weekly Goals
Monthly Goals
Yearly Goals

But I worry that such restrictions will debilitate my ability to break through.  Currently though my routine is follows: sleep, wake, work, internet, sleep, repeat.  Yes, there's some variation with the sleep with sleep, wake, sleep, internet, sleep, repeat, but I think that I could possibly replace one of the sleeps with something else.

At work yesterday, I tried writing a poem during my lunch break.  

I was at Jollyman park with an old laptop writing in my car.  I got tired and went to take a nap.  At work they know I take a nap during my lunch break and tell me "must've had a good nap."

I'm thinking about poetry before work and at work sometimes.  Today, I have to sub again for a 5-6 public speaking class.  This will be the third time in a row.

There are no poems that could reach a crying five year old.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Twenty: The Original Dream Part 2

I wouldn't shut up about writing.  So these are my plots and these are my characters and this is what's going to happen, and, and, and.  Shut up and write instead of talking about writing.  And so I did.

When I was a junior in high school, someone recommended me to an artist to talk about creating a comic book.  I agreed and did my best to create a script for the comic book.  But looking back we didn't really work around each other, and we had our own ideas on how to create a comic book.

We tried twice:

The first idea was to create a boy and his monster.  I thought it'd be sweet if the monster was the manifestation of the boy when he got angry -- a hulk type of experience, but looking back, I think I should've collaborated more about the idea and see how it went.  Maybe be a bit more supportive of the artist.

The second idea I liked, and still do today.  The title of the comic was Double Helix.  What I didn't realize at the time was the underlying focus of the comic was about San Jose -- the flatlands as I call it.  The male protagonist came from a well to do family from the hills loved racing (initial D style racing) and  a female protagonist flatlander with  a good singing voice.

The end of the first comic was he almost running into her in the middle of a race.

But time goes one, we're doing our own things now.  I still think it's worthwhile to collaborate with people -- but I was never one to find or give the middle ground in such collaborations.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Nineteen: The Original Dream Part 1

I have a dual screen set-up next to me.  On the main screen is this blog, but on the left screen I'm watching a video game cinematic -- specifically fro Mortal Kombat X.

When I was younger, I wanted to write stories for video games and comic books.  I don't know why.  But I thought it'd be fun and I just wanted to see where the story goes.  No one knew me in middle school, but to anyone who would listen, I would tell them what I writing about.  I still have the notes of the cliche anime plot that I was going to create.

Well, here's the plot.  I guy and a girl that represent elemental specialization (water and fire respectively) are tasked to save the world by finding their peers who also have elemental powers (earth, wind, etc.).  Is this the biggest cliche in Fantasy?

I was influenced by this game called Secret of Mana:

The main characters are indeed a guy and a girl, but there was also a sprite.  So from memory, I can name all the elementals in this picture from left to right: Shade, Dryad, Wynn, Luna, Lumina, Gnome, Undine, Salamander.

Anyway, I played Secret of Mana probably thirty times from beginning to end and I wanted to anthropomorphize the elements.  Well, I didn't know at the time, but looking back it makes sense.

But I was awkward.  I put people I knew (not friends mind you) into the plot.  I'm not a good reader of people, but looking back, it would be pretty horrifying if someone told me that he/she put me in their fantastical story.

Cognitive distortion -- how do people write for video games?  Back then, I thought a person majored in English and there'd be jobs for video game writers.  I applied for a couple of jobs for a video game writer after I graduated.  But I'm guessing my knowledge of Poetry doesn't help with this endeavour.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eighteen: Complaints or For example (no names)

It's day eighteen and I'm not as angsty as I when I started this series.

I think it's because I don't emote through my work.  When I write or edit a poem, I don't really express my grievances in an emotional manner.  And I think I stated my biggest grievance -- helping out in a community that seems to take more than give, but it might be my own perception.

And even though I think this way, I tend to stick to people that I think give to the community and are usually taken advantage of.

For example, (no names):

Goddamn is this person being used.  I have never seen anyone used by a community as badly as this person.  Could you write a grant? Can you go to this meeting? Can you go to this conference? Can you contact this person?  Can you follow through and make sure this comes out eventually? Can you been a sponge for everyone's emotions and just take it?

Holy crap!  I have huge respect for this person.  I never asked why this person continues to contribute, but this person does.  I'm afraid for this person.  I'm afraid that I might end up as this person.

I keep in contact with this person as much as I can over the years.


What a piece of work this person is!  The only thing I see is the spread of a brand at the cost of other's hard work. People may know the name, maybe the poems, and maybe the person -- but I know how this person wronged people: abandoned people, take credit for other's work, stealing ideas from other, copy/pasting work, blacklisting people. What petty things this person gained from stepping on people.

Yet no one calls this person out because no one wants to offend anyone -- hell this is anonymous as well.  But I don't have any respect or trust for this person.  I'm afraid to become this person in the future.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Seventeen: Lights, Passion --

Yesterday, I went to see my niece be a part of a guitar ensemble.  I watched her parts and then left not wanting to see the others.  I felt slightly bad, but this happens all the time at Poetry readings if there are more than one person featured.  People will leave to only see who they want to see and then leave -- not everyone thought -- just some.

I keep thinking this.

Is this just a constant circle of the same people reading, listening, and reading some more.  The answer is yes.  The answer is no as well.

Yes -- it seems odd but I've been part of the poetry scene here for the last five years and it's always the same drama, the same readers, the same listeners and nothing much changes.  People come and go and that is what changes.  People leave but a core remains the same.

Does this core means that they are passionate or too used to routine?

I'm scared that I'm too used to the lights -- that warm sensation that actually someone is indeed looking at me.  It's easy to grow complacent when the lights are on you.

But passion, passion -- the type that can get me through the day is what I want to keep going.  I'm not the smartest guy, the strongest writer, the deepest thinker, or the most passionate.  I think that I'm a worker -- that's it -- that keeps me going.  Passion at first touch -- I wish.  It's more of passion over time.  Burn out.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sixteen: Full-Time Poet

I don't know what this means, but I know this is a dream of many -- being paid to write poems, do readings, be asked about your opinion about poetry, promote poetry.

I told the professor (for those who don't know, it's the term I use to talk about Alan when I talk about college) that I probably wouldn't make it as a full-time poet.  I'm not too sure of the reasons, but I think it went something like this:

1) How detached from reality I'd become if I focused too much on poetry.

Well, that's actually happened already without me being a full-time poet.  I assume people are a certain way rather than see or ask how they are doing.  It's easier I suppose.

2) Why be placed on a pedestal for an art form -- paragon perhaps?  Or on the other spectrum, be mocked secretly or directly about your style?

Hmm, why would this be a problem?  I don't think people can change what people think about them or their work.  This is something I realized from this blogging exercise actually.  Of course, I can control how I present the content or the subjects I choose, but insight is something that cannot be changed.

3) Wouldn't working on something you love 8 hours a day for 5 days a week get old?

Probably, but everything gets old I suppose.  I'm currently working at my first 40 hour work week job and I like it.  Time goes by fast, but this is also the problem.  It's been four years since I graduated and not even close to a collection.  I'm pretty sure someone who takes poetry as a full-time endeavor would be published at this moment.

I wonder sometimes if I should care -- a constant negligence I do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fifteen: Defensive

I remember all the criticism lodged against me and swore revenge against those who wronged me.

Yeah, sure.  This is the sense I get every time I critique someone else's piece of writing. I'm not innocent myself.  I've had people tell me my writing is ass (in much more eloquent terms) and/or dismiss my writing.  Do I want revenge against these people?  Well, I'm thinking there are two strong scenarios that happen from critique.

1) The no one understands me approach where the writer could act in the following manners:

a) give up
b) endure
c) write blogs about hate

2) The someone understands me approach where the writer could act in the following manners:

a) give up
b) endure
c) write blogs about love

I've done both options with all six follow-ups.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fourteen: Envy

Before I was Lust. Just because I asked everyone else what sin I was.  Wrath (Pride), Wrath, Sloth, Gluttony were already taken.  We were all broke so Greed didn't fit with our personality.  And no one wanted to call the other envious.  So, Lust I was.

Now, however,  I'm more Envy.

And the internet is a horrible place to have Envy as your vice.

People publishing. People having books come out.  Awards won here and there.  Job interviews scored. Relationships blossoming.  Going to readings. Being invited to events that either you can't attend because you're too busy or you'd be too tired to attend, but look at them happy faces.

There's a huge part of me that knows that I don't deserve it, I have to earn it.  No one is going to come up to me and say -- hey, we think your writing is good enough to publish, let's go.  But there's that tiny part of me that wants the easy way out.

I've thought about deleting all social media: Facebook, Blogger, Twitter -- for the sake of sanity.  But, if I do so, then I'll go further into my own delusions and mindset.  I'd rather be envious of someone's success than be in my own echo chamber (ironically, blogging, is somewhat an echo chamber, but less so than keeping it inside).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thirteen: 3

I tier my poems:

Tier 3: Garbage

Tier 2: Decent Garbage

Tier 1: Garbage I'm going to send out to be rejected.

I haven't had time to thoroughly pick out what poems I want to send out this Wednesday (yes, every 15th [approx] I send out my work).  I work now, but I try to find time for poetry.  I went to Noodles and Co for lunch and took out a manila folder of Tier 3 poems.

Tier 3.

What I'm most comfortable with in my life is my lack of confidence.  I don't think I can make it so I have nothing to lose mentality.

Garbage has nothing to lose -- it's already discards.

Once, a friend of mine said we're community college garbage.  Except for the community college part, I'm pretty garbage.

I can't think of a redeeming metaphor without it being cliche.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Twelve: Overstaying

7:00 p.m:  Hey, do you want to stay for dinner?  Sure.
1:00 a.m:  It might be time for you to go.  Oh, sure.

I'm usually one to last one to leave when invited.  I still live at home, I stayed at the same college many years afterwords -- took the same professors.  I stayed at jobs for years.  I'm mostly standing still.

I have no sense of leaving.

I feel I'm writing about the same things, reliving the same experiences, but never learning from them.  Shouldn't cognitive dissonance be manageable if it is stable?

But this is about poetry.  I wonder when I'll overstay in poetry?

Some times I think I already have.  But then I wonder what I should move on to -- writing non-fiction blogs about poetry.  Yup.  Moved on.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eleven: I Care Too Much About Not Caring

Actually, this is the number one thing that brings me down to poetry.  If nothing else, poetry can handle distance.  It's necessary.  People on the other hand, well...

I'm not a good friend and I don't think I'll ever will be.  Not in the sense of closeness anyway.  It's because I don't care.  I don't care to visit or inform about my life.  I don't care to call or send check-up e-mails.  These are little things that sustain any type of relationship: family, friends, romantic, whatever.

Or at least this is what's been told to me by many people.

I've read many goodbye messages and letters to me, but I never cared to write one to any one else.  Most of the time it comes down to "so that's how it is" or "normal people communicate" or "you're a selfish asshole."

Actually, I wrote a goodbye once -- "if this is it, thanks for the good times."

What it comes down to is that I don't fight for any type of relationship.  I'm really complacent.  If someone says he/she doesn't want to talk to me, I take it face value and move on with my life.  If I don't hear from someone for years I think to myself, "I hope he/she is doing all right."  Contacting people crosses my mind, but I tell myself, "they're probably busy, I'm going to work on myself."

Poetry, the art form, can handle my complacency.  Weirdly though I fight for poetry -- sending out to places, taking on debt to learn more, contacting editors for things, making sure I had dedicated writing time, spending three years at PCSJ, spending two years writing a poetry blog (roughly).  I fight to stay connected to an art form.  An art form.

I don't know why.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ten: More Fears Than Freedom

Poetry as a therapeutic experience to release stress and emotion.  A mastubatory experience.  And I want someone to buy it?  Like some exhibitionist showing off a science fair project.  Yes, this is how a volcano explodes through the compression of lava.

Actually, to make sense now, I have more fears about poetry than actual freedom.  No one in school tells you that you have to market yourself or be forgotten; furthermore, no one tells you that the best bet you have to be recognized is to have an angle.  L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, confessionalist poets, image poets.

I'm scared about being the "minority" poet even though I'm a minority.  

The Asian poet.  The poor poet. The gay poet.  Well, I think that's it.

But aren't poets are a minority in general though.? I mean, I don't walk down the street and be like -- look another one of my poetry compatriots.

I woke up this morning in the wake of AWP being miles away thinking to myself how I would do an elevator speech about myself and my work if someone asks.

Are you a poet?

I guess

What do you write about?


Good thing no one asks.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nine: The Undead Returns for a Poetry Reading

I think I wrote a long time ago, but I probably should repeat it for context since I still feel the same.  I should have died at the age of 20, everything else afterwards is gravy.  

When I was around 20 or so, I got really sick.  I had to go through many tests and had to go to the doctors many times but no one could explain my dramatic weight loss (150 -118) or my lack of appetite or the pain in the mornings and the nights.

But all this is just a repeat of something that I wrote a couple of years ago.  Context.

So staying home all day wasn't the ideal time frame since I didn't know what time it was in the first place.  I found out it was Spring and that there was the annual poetry festival going on at Evergreen and I decided to go.  I took the bus there.

Looking back, I didn't know why I wanted to go, but I just did.  I had no expectation of meeting anyone I knew or being social.  I think I just wanted to hear some poetry.

I remember one poem from that read -- or actually a line.  The poet on stage had a line that included a "Thank You" and the audience started to clap and the poet laughed and said, "I'm not done yet" and continued -- I forgot the rest of the poem.

At the end of the reading, I was about to leave when my Poetry Instructor, Rose Anna Higashi, saw me.  I found it kind weird that she came straight towards me and looked happy.  I just remember her trudging down the row of seats just to talk to me.  

I pretty sure she thought I was dead or worse.  I just remember her asking how I was doing.  I answered I don't know.  That's the only question I remember answering.  I remember being the last to leave though.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Eight: Poetry is Not A Great Water Cooler Conversation

At my job I do Open house presentations where I inform an audience of parents and kids about our classes: public speaking, writing and reading, and math. I do the writing and reading portion of the Open house and I usually introduce myself in this way:

"Hi my name is Darrell Dela Cruz and I graduated with my MFA in Creative in Poetry.  Who here loves Poetry." No one raises their hands.  "It's okay, I love poetry, and your kids will love reading as well."

Reading -- that's how I tell parents on the importance of poetry for kids -- it'll enhance their reading skills.

So I have this coworker who is a teacher at where I work.  He's a well beloved teacher by students, and has a great love of fiction -- making us incompatible when talking.

"Oh what do you think of Cormac Mccarthy"

"I don't read fiction that much, what do you think of Tracy K. Smith"


Our conversations go like this.  Outside of academia, I've found it hard to talk to anyone about poetry which was another reason why I wrote my blog -- I'm trying to find people to talk Poetry about -- not their own poetry.  I find that 90% of poets talk about their own poems and 10% talk about poetry of others.

I don't mind.  I do mind actually.  A minor irritation.  Sometimes major.

But my coworker, who also has an MFA, seems to be resentful about his loneliness about fiction.  He asked one of the admin staff what types of books she reads, and she said self-help books.  From what I heard, he chastised her for not having read more, but he was oblivious for chastising her.

It's that whole "no one understands me" moment that happens.  I'm not saying I'm smart but I think this is one of my major cognitive distortions in regards to Poetry  -- unable to find people to talk poetry to regardless of how many MFAs are out there.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Seven: ..."Depression"...

What's more odd than two people wearing the same dress at prom?  Hearing two poets state the same "drop the bass" line at an open mic poetry competition.

I only went to one Oversocial Mofo in my life.  I heard great things about it: a great, fun open mic poetry show/contest with raunchy games in the middle and some music.   When I went, there was already a huge line out the door waiting to be seated.  Someone handed me a pair of underwear to be a judge for the open mic portion.

One vs one poetry competition.  I thought, well, this will be interesting.

Everything was going and then these two competitors stepped up.  The first started with his poem and in the middle of it -- silence, "depression," pause.

As a judge I was like okay, sure.  That's nice.  Nothing against people going through tough times and stating their emotion through it, but just stating the emotion doesn't compel me to want to know more and remember the poem.

His opponent goes up next and goes through with his poem and then:

silence, "depression," pause.

Why? why, why! I empathize with people going through such tough times, but back to back poets stating the emotion as though.  This is just bad poetry.

As a judge, I had to choose between which of them had a better poem and I kept thinking I just heard the same poem twice.

Fast forward to the finals, one of the poets had a poem about how he was sexually abused as a child and he tried tell a teacher who told child protective services, but he was taken away from school not protective services.  He is fine now, he repeated to himself, He's fine.

His opponent stated something about being depressed walking down the night streets.

I voted for the more descriptive one.  That guy "won" and received five dollars.

This is what I took away from that moment:

1) It's a shared human nature to want to express emotion in the simplest terms, but it doesn't make good poetry.  Depression is a far more complex than a "drop the bass" line.

2 )On the other hand, why overexpose yourself about depressive times in a poem?  It's therapeutic sure, but personal poetry versus poetry for the masses are two different things.  Write whatever you want personally, but when it's brought out -- then it's judged to be validated or invalidated as a poem.

As  I left, I saw the dejected competitors lost who and I was wondering if they saw me as a judge of their struggles which I invalidated by not voting for them.  I am not the judge of that.  Poets are not their poems.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Six: The Favorite Poems Project

I graduated with my BA in English and a minor in Creative Writing in Fall of 2007.  I didn't expect to graduate at all, but it happened.  At the time, I was deeply involved with my school's creative writing club -- The Poets and Writer's Coalition (PWC).

Everything was going through a transition then: different presidents, different ideas, and different directions.  Well, not me per se.  Theoretically, I could've gone back to my retail job after I graduated, but instead I decided to "search" for a job while helping out the PWC.

At the time there was a transition to a different president.  I'm not talking about the future of Obama -- I'm talking about organization.  It has to happen.   And with different presidents come new ideas and directions.

One side wanted to put resources into one event, Favorite Poems Project, another side wanted to put resources into a different event, Howl -- a public reading.

But to create events, resources would have to be taken account, but weren't.  In the end, I spent a whole bunch of my time helping set up the Favorite Poems Project.  Not that there wasn't help, but I was the one that followed through with what fell through the cracks.

It was my first time being frustrated, so much so that I said, "I could've had a job instead of doing this" to the organizers.  But of course, there's no money -- experience is worth something, right?

Here's some things I learned during that time frame:

1) Grants are set in stone.  We received a grant to perform the Favorite Poems Project.  And no amount of me pleading that we need more time would be dismissed.  Grants wait for no one, just like audits.

2) When push comes to shove, family can make up an audience of speakers and listeners.  For the Favorite Poems project, I asked a friends brother, sister, aunt, father, etc. to perform their favorite poems.  They were great.

3) The figurehead receives praise from the community.  The coordinator receives praise from the figurehead.

4) Success is what the grant states as successful.  "How many people did you think were in the audience" "I don't know" "60 I think 60."

Both events were successful.  After the event, I had 700 dollars in my bank account to last me five months until the start of grad school.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Five: The Self-Fulfilling Retail Prophecy Part 2

There was no Poetry Center San Jose summer camp for 2014.  I'm not going to focus on the reason why, but it just didn't happen.  I didn't have the time to make it happen.  At this point, I was going to graduate with my AA/Certificate in Legal Studies (yes, I was deferring my loan by taking Community College classes for that long).  and I needed to find a full time job, but, me being me, really just wanted a stable part time job and continue doing events for Poetry Center San Jose.

Now, my teaching job was and still is not a stable job -- hours are scarce because of cancellations, seasons affect student sign ups, cities don't have a budget for classes -- these slight disappointments I got used to.  For the Spring of 2014, I only get two classes on the weekend which were cancelled leaving me with nothing.  Perfect timing to find another job.

So I go interviewing at places -- all teaching -- and was starting to apply for Paralegal jobs when my boss calls me in for an interview for a stable part time job.

I dodged many times.

Not because I wasn't interested, but I was busy -- doing things like Authorial Intrusion -- which was a reading series I set up at the Billy DeFrank Center, taking my final courses for my AA/certificate, applying to places, going on other interviews.

Finally, I just had the time and did the interview.

I told my boss that I helped start a summer camp.  I thought nothing of it -- people start summer camps every fall. 

My boss wanted to hire me to do marketing.  But I was hesitant at first.  I have no experience marketing and all my experience is in event coordination.  So we left it at that.

One night,  my boss calls me in and says I'm hired -- to which I decline at first.  I asked to talk to him face to face 

So our second meeting we talked and this is what he said to me (paraphrased):

"Darrell, you do all these things for the community, but what has the community done for you?  It's nice to be helpful, but being helpful doesn't pay your bills.  They are using you Darrell.  They are using your time and are not paying you.  At least here you will be paid.  You deserve to be paid."

I took the job.

Four: The Self-Fulfilling Retail Prophecy Part 1

One day I decided to myself -- I think I can do a Poetry Summer Camp.

In the winter of 2012, I taught at summer camps for at least 3 months. And all throughout Poetry Center San Jose, there were calls to have a summer camp for kids.  I volunteered myself to set it up for Summer 2013.

I'm educated, but I'm not smart -- at all.

Things I learned:

1) Doing a summer camp for kids wrong and based under a grant could go horribly wrong.  If they audit the accounts and not all the papers check out -- that's some child endangerment.

2) It's so much easier to be a teacher of a summer camp than to actually set things up -- here are somethings that need to be taken into account:
      a) insurance
      b) pricing
      c) marketing
      e) data entry
      f) parent communication
      g) student communication
      h) management communication

side note about the above: yeah, I'm not the strongest person to do these tasks.  I did have some help which I am grateful for, but, yeah, for someone who had a part-time job and had to pick up the slack if something didn't get done -- there were many sleepless nights.

3)  I was happier when it finished then actually going through with it.  Sure the kids might have learned some poetry and express themselves, and something was right in the community, and the event was appreciated by many.  But, well, I'll say it wasn't worth it.

Financially speaking.

I think the "profit" we made was $1000 dollars.  Remember, I wrote I volunteered, so all the months of planning brought success, but $1000 dollars going towards Poetry Center San Jose wasn't really cost effective.

So this is why I didn't want to set up the summer camp for 2014 -- it wasn't cost effective for Poetry Center San Jose, but more importantly (and selfishly) it wasn't cost effective for me.  I asked for 2,000 to set up the 2014 one knowing that Poetry Center San Jose couldn't afford it.

But, Darrell, it's not in the budget.

I know, I know.  Poetry and Poetry events are never in the budget.  

Three: Crap, People Actually Read My Poetry Analysis Blog

When I think about my poetry analysis blog, I think about this song:

The Killers "Mr. Brightside" -- it was supposed to something simple and something entertaining for me.  It started out me reading a bunch of poems, analyze the ones that I think are interesting, write about it on why it interests me, and then write a blog about it and then good times.

The first couple months of my blog I only got like 100 views a month.  I was so happy with that because I was getting picked up by spam bots.  But then it turned out to get bigger and bigger and now -- well -- I think I wrote a blog post on how big it is now.

I've been re-tweeted by poets.  I've been corrected by poets.  The majority of the response to my blog is positive.

This is why I haven't updated my blog -- I've been thinking about deleting it.

I appreciate all the support and new friendships I made with my blog, don't get me wrong.  But I don't  want my blog posts, which only takes forty-five minutes to write, to be taken as credible scholarly readings of poems -- or rather, not be taken too seriously.

If I keep on the track, then perhaps my analysis could be relevant to the community, but that's what I fear the most.  Instead of just my random blurts and thoughts on poetry, I'm afraid that either:

a) People will take it too seriously and quote it in their essays (and not in the ironic sense)
b) That my blurts and thoughts  would be "the analysis" for some people and just take my word for it.

No, please don't take my word for it.  I'm not Levar Burton.

So what do I want from my blog then -- I wouldn't have made it public unless I wanted something, right?

I want people to read poetry and write their thoughts on it.  Yes,  I know your poem got published, congrataz, and, yes, I know you're doing great things for the poetry community -- it's sorely needed.  But I rarely see people talk about poetry.

Or maybe it's me and I'm not seeing it.

Two: My Poetry Analysis Blog Started As A Respone to Occupy Wall Street

Back in 2011, jobless and questioning how I could pay off my student loan debts, I enrolled myself back to community college to defer my payments -- $300 for 6 months versus $300 a month -- simple mathematics.  One morning, I turned on the news and saw that Occupy Wall street was going on.

A public forum to speak grievances -- that looks interesting.  I followed the movement everyday in order to figure out what was going on and where this movement would go.  I started my blog as "A Retail Life After the MFA" to discuss what I'm going to do in order to survive -- go back to retail in order to pay my debts since I have more experience selling things than anything else.

But my first article that I wrote -- the first one "How Higher Education Affects Lifetime Salary" - A Response was angry.  Angry about my situation when I thought I did everything correct, but, well, I couldn't sustain this anger.  Much like how movements die out, I let it go -- not so much the debt.  Not through my own will, but by a snide comment.

I was posting a whole bunch of political articles and news on Facebook and someone I used to work with, David Lam, commented something like this.

"Yeah, there's bullshit in the world and shitty things, but the world has funny shit  as well " Something like that.

And as I thought about it, I noticed that the majority of the poems I read from Occupy Wall Street had some mention of the movement, but had more to do with personal strife -- yes, life is bad -- yes, there's some sense of therapy by writing it down, but is that it?

I grew bored of being so angry.  I grew tired of circlejerk conversations on "how I did everything right, but its' not fair."  Like my former boss would yell to me and maybe perhaps David, "you're a fuck up."

And being a fuck up makes me laugh.

So what I decided to do was analyze poetry since I had nothing to lose.  I'm a fuck up nobody that, even if I wrote the most tainted salacious review, no one would care.  But at least I'd be entertained.

One: My Parents Don't Know About My Published Work

My family does know I write poetry though.  They know I graduated from college with a degree in poetry and that, now, I have a job.

My father's favorite poem is "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" by Christopher Marlowe.  He was supposed to recite the poem and his wedding ceremony but backed out last minute.  I only showed him one poem.  He asked me why it didn't rhyme.

My mother reads mystery/romance novels.  Her library is full of JD Robb and Nora Roberts.  Before she goes to bed at night, she'll read about solving mysteries. I once showed her a story of mine and she told me she didn't like it because it didn't have a happy ending.

My parents enjoy reading for enjoyment purposes.

And my work doesn't fulfill that for them.  So every time I get published, I'm actually shocked that someone finds enjoyment or something in my work to put their magazine name behind and show it to an audience since, I'm pretty sure, my parents never had.

In my room, I have a small stack of physical magazines with my poems in them.  In my mind, I want to send them out to my Dad who lives in Hawaii or have my mom read them, but again, my work is not for their enjoyment.

When I graduated with my MFA, I had two graduations -- one with my fellow MFA cohort and the bigger department graduation.  I showed up alone and recited some of my work.  I invited my family for the bigger graduation.  In this way, I'm the most distant from them.  In this way, I can write about them.