Sunday, August 16, 2015

LOVE LETTERS TO GHOSTS




I've been dreading this post for a long time, simply because I am adamantly against self-promotion.

Despite the faux brashness that I sometimes  project on my blog, my desire to indulge in blatant egotism is non-existent (or nearly non-existent).

It is with genuine humility that I'm announcing the second edition publication of my poetry book Love Letters to Ghosts. It should be available on Amazon sometime next week (it's presently on their Coming Soon list).

Love Letters to Ghosts was originally published about four years ago. I decided that an update was necessary, to make minor revisions and to add eight more poems. The new volume contains 54 poems and 112 pages.

No Kindle edition is yet available but it probably will be at a later date (although I personally dislike e-books, especially for poetry).

About 95% of the poems have been previously published, during that distant time in my life when dark drama and youthful romanticism invaded my sensibilities. I seldom write poetry now, although a future volume is not completely out of the question.

These poems are resurrected laments of my past: the haunted memories of lost loves, lost lives, and distant places that I once knew.

I'm certain that my poetic style will not be appreciated by everyone. As stated in the introduction:

Much of my poetry is composed in minor keys: melancholy, sentimental, somber. They are often tainted nocturnes of lonely midnight streets and one night stands.

If I had to critique my own poems with absolute honesty, I'd have to say that there is a bland sameness about them with little variety of style - - yet it is my genuine voice, so I'm reluctant to apologize.

I designed the cover myself, which was a maddening endeavor - - since I had to try dozens of images before getting one with the perfect visual texture and resolution. I'm no graphic artist.

After viewing an incredible amount of published poetry book covers, I was determined not to use the usual trees, sunsets, flowers, or puppy dogs. A fragile cobweb was more suited to my literary intentions.


I soon plan to revise my book Notes From the Midst of December, which deals with the subject of death, loss, grieving, and the final three weeks of my mother's life. This book has been previously published in a private edition, but it needs a revision before ever being publicly released. Problem is, the entire heavy subject is too emotionally taxing for me to deal with.

More than anything, I want to complete my memoir as soon as possible (untitled as yet). This will be a raw, honest, lengthy, unapologetic account of my turbulent life - -
actually a bold, self-sacrificial endeavor in which I will cut veins and offer my blood.



Sample poems from Love Letters to Ghosts

(Sacraments is one of the early poems, written when I was 21)




SACRAMENTS

You have not given your blessings here.
They are singing on the steps of the altar,
Breeding darkly through weary confessionals.
This morning I accepted your finger on my tongue

And the bread lingered there like a lie.
All the while the room grieved in silence
And your face was masked with that of a saint.


Tonight you are whispering a litany of words
That shimmer like candles in the alcoves,
Words that burn only for me and my possibilities.
The silence around us echoes.
Muted ghosts are kneeling in empty pews.


The heavens have become a burden.
Outside the night is trembling
In the wake of thunder washed ripe with rain.
It is too easy to become intoxicated
With the numbing wine of your words
The sweetness of your tongue
The voiceless music of our embrace.
In the shadow of an altar,

In the flutter of slumbering candles,
In the presence of tear-stained saints,

We have begun our own private sacraments.





WHAT I WAS TO YOU

I will soon be an old man
that you may not remember,
a vacant ghost lingering
in all the memories you've forgotten
the photos you've lost
the letters you've discarded.
The name you once called me
is on the tip of your tongue
but your palate has other reasons
to ignore distant tastes.
The fabric of what I was
is now unclear,
the threads unravel
and the thoughts
you once perceived as absolute
have dissolved
into a percussion of uncertainties.
I will soon be a young man
on the edge of your faulty coherence.





BEING SEDUCED

It is simple at first.
The night will caress you
encourage you
whisper what you imagined
you wanted to hear.
In time she will tempt you


to taste the danger
of your desires.
You enter her possessed:
the anonymous rooms
and unwholesome haunts,
the empty womb


of hungry, desperate places
buried in neon-winking streets.
When you have exhausted
all the possibilities
she will taunt you.
Despite your protests


she will force you to retrace
the paths of her loneliness.
Soon she becomes brutal.
You suddenly wake
to find her gnawing the years
from your astonished flesh.









Note:
There's a new post on my photo blog
Cars of the 1950's

http://cabinetofcurioustreasures.blogspot.com 


 

16 comments:

  1. I was looking forward to "Love Letters" availability ... and there it was! (Amazon says I should have it in my mailbox by August 21.) These samples are all good, but "What I Was To You" especially resonates.

    PS - "Notes" has piqued my interest, but I would strongly urge you not to try and push through any emotional barricades.

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  2. Hey, Myra - I'm greatful for your support. It's good to know I'm not in this thing alone.....

    As for "Notes", it contains an enormous amount of very raw personal sentiments that probably need to be refined before offered for public consumption. I would actually prefer to unleash my memoir first.

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  3. Good luck to you with "Letters To Ghosts". The cover seems to fit nicely.

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    1. Many thanks, Paula - I'll need all the luck I can get.

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  4. Thanks for this pointer, Jon. I do, in fact, read an awful lot of poetry, and have done so daily for some 50 years - every morning three poems from a general anthology and another three from a particular poet/author (currently Dylan Thomas). Although I can't say with certainly when I'll acquire your publication - the only thing holding me back being my daily shoestring budget - I'll certainly bear it in mind for being included among the dozen (at least) book I want to buy.

    My first reaction to the poems above is that there's some very vivid imagery - a lot of it unambiguous, which is more than can be said for a lot of the more modern poets where one has to guess what the f*** they're on about - Thomas, I'm afraid, being one of them. They may need several more reads before my mind settles on the 'angle' and viewpoint that your writing from. If I have anything worthwhile to say I will be saying it.

    Best of luck with carrying out your further hopes and intentions. I'll be watching.

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    1. Ray, thanks for your input and your interest. I also appreciate the fact that you read a lot of poetry. I've discovered that when the subject of poetry is mentioned, many people get frightened and run for their lives.

      Much of my poetry was written long ago, in my early 20's, when I was immersed in an enormous amount of drama and romance - - and when I roamed the tainted midnight streets. Almost all of my poems are inspired by true events. I'm certainly no skilled writer but my efforts always come from my heart. My sentiments are a curious blend of love and loneliness.

      I can FULLY relate to your "shoestring budget" ...... and I don't want anyone to feel obligated to buy the book - especially since books are so expensive nowadays. I haven't looked at my book on Amazon yet, but I think Amazon offers a "Look Inside", which gives people a chance to read some random pages for free.

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    2. Thanks, Jon. I'll follow up your Amazon tip. I might add that the only books I can actually afford to buy are second-hand paperbacks from market stalls. That 'Helter Skelter' mentioned recently I picked up for the equiv of less one dollar!.
      I also wrote poetry many decades ago (who didn't when young?) but I'm glad I trashed them. Even now the memory of the kind of stuff I'd written embarrasses the hell out of me.

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    3. I just found out that the "Look Inside" feature for my book won't be available for approximately two more weeks.

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  5. I'll be the first to admit Jon that I don't read a lot of poetry. And yet I found myself drawn to your words in a way I didn't expect. Very well done. The cover works very well indeed too, congratulations on the design.

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    1. I appreciate the positives, Craig.

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  6. II used to visit a friend's house in the late '60s and read his books of poems by Brother Antoninus --Wm. Everson-- and it's not everyone who can remind me of work that good. You do. The passion and courage to face personal mysteries of the past and future is not a common combination. I don't have that. I appreciate those who do, and can express it literally without their syntax going all to hell --like Everson's would, and mine. Not yours, you stay on course and lucid. You are not faux tough guy: you ARE a tough guy. Your work, what you've shared of it over the years, reflects a reliable resilience. You are remarkable. My compliments.

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  7. Geo. I couldn't imagine a finer compliment. I'm not only grateful and flattered - - I'm blushing (not often done by a tough guy.....).

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    1. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read any poetry by William Everson (Brother Antonius) but you've certainly piqued my interest to do so.

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  8. I am so impressed Jon. First that you have published work and secondly that you have the talent to write poems. I never got poems. I hated poetry in high school, all that pentameter stuff. However, I must say the poems that I have read of yours I can recognize your talent. They are very lyrical. I hope your publication is a success.
    Ron

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  9. Thanks so much, Ron. Actually, I hated poetry in high school, too. I didn't gain an appreciation for it until after I was out of school. Writing poetry is mainly an emotional outlet for me.

    It's better than killing lions. (SMILE). Hey, did they ever capture that dentist??

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  10. I love poetry. Always have, and I own many many books of poetry. Your work is wonderful, Jon, and I look forward to purchasing a copy to add to my bookshelf.

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