Coordinates of Friendship

words {sifted} from among the rubble
and darkness brought forth
into the light

searching for meaning

in distance / time
(= speed)

refraction of light
allows us to see each other
clearly, but not

*the future*

this space between our two points,
the geography of your mind,
this vessel navigates by heart

determine the equation
for happiness,
graph it on the Cartesian plane;
finding longitude and latitude,
set our course.

The shortest distance between two points will always be a straight line,

but

I’d                                                                                                     rather

circumnavigate                                                                             the world

with you.

 

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A Thank You to George S. Schmidt

Upon being asked recently when I began writing and who my favorite writers are, I recalled a specific book of poetry that I’ve kept in my collection for a considerable length of time and have periodically returned to throughout my life. I believe the book came to me around the age of 8 or 9, but how it became mine, I’m not entirely certain. Most likely I picked it up at a yard sale or library sale as I do know that it was not a new book when it came to me. Its pages had already begun to yellow at that point.

From the first time I read the book, there were some poems that I enjoyed. Not every verse was of interest to me (as is still the case), but one poem, “Sunlit Yesterdays,” stands out in this collection as a poem I’ve repeatedly read to the point of near memorization. I have no idea what exactly drew me to this particular poem as a child since it is the poet reflecting on his life in old age. But this poem has always drawn me in. There are a few others I’ve always enjoyed within the collection as well. The book is entitled Random Rhymes, which seems rather nondescript and ordinary.

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However, my most recent re-exploration of this book focused not so much on the poetry itself, but I was curious about the background of the book and its author. I made some interesting coincidental discoveries (exciting to me anyway), and I wanted to share them.

So the book was written by George S. Schmidt and it just so happens that he was from York, PA, which is only about 30-40 minutes away from where I live. This information intrigued me, and I have been digging for more details. The forward of his book indicated publication in 1928. I was able to find a copy of the book for sale on Amazon. Even more amazing, I learned that this was Schmidt’s second book of poetry, the first was entitled Vagrant Verses.  Mr. Schmidt was a business person and lawyer in York; he was born in 1861 and died in 1935.

George S. Schmidt appears to have had a sense of humor that I quite appreciate. In the forward he says, “I am transmitting this booklet to the individual members of the Order, and to a few other of my friends, at a time when their hearts are so throbbing with goodwill towards men, and their eyes too dazzled by the lights of Christmastide, that their vision is impaired, and the manifold defects in these random and disconnected rhymes may ‘to some extent’ escape them.” I find this amusing. It appears that he gave this book only to a small circle of friends (it was privately published) and told them that even though they received the book out of his love and affection for them, they were in no way obligated to read all of it or any of it for that matter. A man after my own heart, he was.

I am sure none of this is of interest to anyone besides myself. However, I can’t get over the idea that I’ve kept this book for over 20 years because it marked the beginning of my love for poetry and, in part, inspired me to write poetry myself. So for the past 15 years, I’ve been living within miles of the author’s hometown. The book traveled over a hundred miles to get to me as a child, only to land close to home once again.

So, in conclusion, I thank you my dear departed friend, George S. Schmidt for your many years of companionship. I have indeed read each poem in your collection, and though I do not like every poem, I do appreciate your work.

Writing on an Empty Stomach

Writing on an Empty Stomach

Coming here on an empty stomach is good for the soul;
I’m hungry, but for more than just a good meal. Forget the
Filet mignon! I’m hungry for the words that come so fast and thick that you can’t
catch them all,
and then just as they arrive,
they dry up
and slow
to a
mere
trickle
as the night moves onward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Lament

Earlier this evening I was lamenting to a friend how I enjoy sharing my writing with others; however,  if I want to send my poetry out to literary journals/magazines for publication, they rarely allow “reprints” which means if I’ve published it on my blog or on Facebook or anywhere else, they won’t accept it. Though I understand why I find this frustrating because part of me just wants to share my work, but I also like the idea of being published. It was at this point in our conversation that I began to question my own motives. Why? Why does it matter if my poems are published in some obscure literary rag in the darkest recesses of the internet?

It was at this point in our conversation that I began to question my own motives. Why? Why does it matter if my poems are published in some obscure literary rag in the darkest recesses of the internet?

As much as I’d prefer to bs the answer to this and just say, “because it just does damn it!” That is a massive cop-out, and I know it. It doesn’t really have anything to do with publication, but it does have a hell of a lot to do with a need for validation. I am a validation whore! There, I said it.

We all want to be appreciated and told that we’re good at something. It feels good when people recognize us. It feels good when you can point to your name in print (and not just in the police report column of the local paper) and say, “I wrote that.”

But here’s the problem, I recently was fortunate enough to have that very opportunity. I did the thing! My name is in print alongside some amazingly talented friends! So why do I still continue to send my work out to various publications?

What my answer boils down to is that I have this nagging little voice in my head that keeps telling me I am still, somehow, not worthy to call myself a writer or a poet, though I know I most certainly am.

I need a plan of attack and it just so happens that my dear friend gave me an excellent solution, though I didn’t see it at the time. He said that I should post a verse a day and just tag people who enjoy my writing. At the time, I was only luke-warm to the suggestion, and I said I’d “try;” he replied, “do or do not, there is no try.” Ugh. Fuck it. Alright, I give in. I responded, “fair enough – I will…and now because I told you I will, I must actually do it.”

So now I have a challenge, but also an opportunity – to share; and maybe, just maybe, I’ll come to realize what I already know to be true; I already have all the validation I need. I write; therefore, I am a writer. It doesn’t matter whether others think my writing is “good enough” or not; all that matters is that I keep writing.