It's here! It's finally here! All my poems! In an anthology! For the fabulous MagicalJoey
's anthology contest!
Here are the details - there's still time: MagicalJoey's Anthology Contest II
Please enjoy! And if you have any more questions about the poems, please feel free to comment down below. I'd also be interested in knowing which poems were your most and least favorite, and if the anthology flowed together nicely as a whole.
For the purposes of submitting my work to thewrittenrevolution, here's a link to a critique I did for Rarified Word by Same-side: comments.deviantart.com/1/6749…
And here's the link to the status I promoted this contest in, so I can get those sweet juicy bonus points: lifeofsherman.deviantart.com/s…
Every poem in this anthology was based on the songs in order on my favorite album of all time: The Velvet Underground and Nico (except for the last one, which was kinda based on the cover). All of these poems are also autobiographical with particular focus on my experiences with clinical depression and the stuff that led up to that. Yes, cheery topic I know, but I've got to get this out of my system somehow! I also wanted to go back to some poetic forms that I loved and also try out a few new ones, so each poem has a different form.
And now, a brief explanation of all the poems:
For Once (haibun - based on Sunday Morning)
I love the dreamy feel this song has, but it turned out that Lou Reed wrote it about the paranoid silence you feel when you've spent all night partying and then everything is quiet when the next day arrives. I wrote this after spending a long night doing homework at the last minute and spiraling down into a depressive episode in the process. It's that feeling of being so tired you're soothed and yet being super paranoid at the same time.
鬼佬 (cinquains - based on I'm Waiting For The Man)
This one probably has the least connection to the song it was inspired by, but I wanted to slightly replicate the consistent rhythm of the song in the cinquain structure and the line that goes: 'hey white boy, what you doing up town?' made me think a little about city life in Hong Kong, and eventually I decided to write about the closest thing I can call a group of friends that I have, and how they might see me and how I want to fit in with them.
Oh, and the title is pronounced 'gweilo' and is a Chinese slang term for white people which is usually derogatory but in a fun jokey way, like referring to someone as a stereotypical white person.
Sapiotroph (sonnet - based on Femme Fatale)
Pretty straightforward, really. The song's about a dangerous woman, I wrote from the perspective of a woman who's dangerous in a different way. This is also kind of based off the subject of the next poem, too, but it's also commentary on the sort of bullshit I hate seeing in real life and in characters from YA novels.
The title is a portmanteau of 'sapiosexual' (people who are sexually attracted to intelligence) and 'saprotroph' (an organism that feeds on dead organic matter).
For Jacki (rhyming poem - based on Venus In Furs)
Honestly this poem's been coming for a damn long time, and the link to the song is pretty straightforward again. This song's about BDSM, I wrote about BDSM. The relationship I was in wasn't all that serious (hell, we never even kissed) but at the time it was ridiculously fast, confusing, raw, arousing and ultimately really disappointing. This person and I aren't really on good terms now, and I don't have a problem with that.
There Are No Charge Ports In The Woods (song - based on Run Run Run)
Clue's in the title. The weird way my anxiety works is that it latches onto the weirdest things to worry about for no reason: from trypophobia and my weight to running away and general hypochondria. I've always been anxious, which is why I wanted to run away from a while. The title comes from the fact that I used to imagine travelling on trains listening to music and being free...until I realized that there'd be nowhere I could charge my ipod.
If anyone wants to come up with some instrumentation for this, be my guest and send me a note.
Ping (villanelle - based on All Tomorrow's Parties)
This one's about two things: the struggle of choosing between looking good to make myself feel better, or looking bad to hide myself from everyone else, and the anxiety that comes with talking to people and trying to get approval, especially on social media. The girl in the song reminded me of just how pathetic I can be sometimes.
Kerosene (free verse - based on Heroin)
My favorite song on the album. For Lou Reed, it was heroin. For me, it was cutting and burning myself. The poem's supposed to be a tad more ambiguous, so I won't say any more about it.
Chirpy (ghazal - based on There She Goes Again)
I love the rhythm of this song, especially when it syncopates towards the end. It always puts me in a good mood, and I was trying to convey what it feels like and just how much of the world you notice and experience on the rare days when your meds work and you actually feel connected to the world. The first couplet was also based on the ending of A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen.
This Bref Double Will Make You Twitch (bref double - based on I'll Be Your Mirror)
This is for someone who I love very much but doesn't like me back. The poem's deliberately awkward and bizarre as hell because that's generally what both of us are like. He's been a very big help for me during all my own crap just simply for being a consistent, warm positive, funny and smart presence, and he doesn't even realize. I'm super grateful for him, and it's okay that he doesn't feel the same way, but I think we're both gonna have to deal with the fact that I'm not going to stop admiring him for a long while.
Elegy 3: Storm Boy (prose poem - based on The Black Angel's Death Song)
I wanted to replicate the fast onomatopoeic stream-of-conciousness feel of the song.
I wrote this one for my grandpa, who died from skin cancer almost a year ago. In many ways his death kickstarted my downward spiral and we both had a love of literature that I'll never forget. I love him, and I'll never forgive myself for not being able to go to his funeral.
Sherman In Europe (sestina - based on European Son)
I've always wanted to write a sestina but never worked out a good narrative for it.
I also deliberately made this one super long because the original song deliberately has hardly any words. Irony!
Sherman is the pet name I give to my depression, and the relationship I have with it is complicated. Of course it fucking sucks, but at the same time there are moments where I don't want to get better because it feels good to be sad and cathartic sometimes or I feel like I deserve it. Personifying my illness has given me a greater connection to it, which is a massive double-edged sword, so consider this kind of a weird fanfiction about the aftermath of my depression leaving me to go to Europe.
Peel Slowly And See (rondelet - based on the album cover)
Just a nice little rondelet that I thought rounded off the collection well. It explains what I want to do for people and yet can't seem to manage right now.