Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Posts tagged ‘perception’

baggage (at a loss)

so life. this journey.

in the beginning.

you look at the world. and the world, well intentioned and vicious, looks at you. on a walking tour, you take pictures of the world, stuff your luggage with souvenirs–shrapnel, torn flesh, and bricks wrapped in (more…)

Prying Loose My Thoughts

Reality and Perception

I see me as reinventing myself, in a manner of speaking. But what does that mean? Is it changing my hairstyle, revamping my wardrobe, rearranging the furniture, taking a different career path, altering my lifestyle, shifting priorities? As I do these things, am I really becoming somebody different or am I aligning myself closer to who I really am? I think of the lyrics of a Beatles song, “Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged.”

Isn’t It Comedic Tragic Ironic

The better I become at writing,  the harder it is to do.

You Really Like Me


Kalyani Magazine has accepted two of my poems for publication. I took them down from the blog but some of you may vaguely remember them: “7 Haiku: Geese” and “they said.” I’m really excited because this type of recognition of my poetry has eluded me for years. Although it’s good to believe in yourself, it’s nice to have a little external validation once in a while. And if any self help gurus are offended by that statement, you have just proved my point!

The Poetry Business

976300_52203064I have a regular freelance writing gig with a magazine that features profiles of entrepreneurs. Having interviewed quite a few of them for my articles, I’ve come to admire the ability of those in business to talk positively about themselves and to promote their brand. They brag about revenues, awards, and milestones with no pretense of humility. And whoever doesn’t like it can kiss their asses all the way to the bank.

I think about myself and other poets who are trying to sell books. Very few poets make money writing poetry. Part of that is because the buying public doesn’t place much value on poetry, not realizing that the world would be barren without it. Are actors, pro sports players, and novelists really more essential than poets? If poets are ever going to be paid what they are worth, the demand has to come from the public. But there are not enough public relations spinners out there telling the masses that they need poetry.

And don’t hold your breath waiting for poets to make the case, either, because money is rarely a motivating factor for us. We poets are compelled to write poetry whether we get paid for it or not. It only makes good business sense not to pay us for it. It doesn’t get any more pathetic than that. We are our own self-deprecating enemy.

Madness in the Method

When I sit down to write poetry, the thoughts seem to occupy a physical space in my brain (the location changes from poem to poem). I have to tunnel through to extract the thoughts. I always worry that I’m going to lose my way, or if I’m able to get to that space, I won’t be able to pry the thoughts loose. Even if I accomplish those two things, I fear that I won’t be able to find my way back out again.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2013

Am I a Black Poet?

As I reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr’s’ birthday today, I think about the notion of a postracial America, which I believe is the same thing Dr. King talked about in his “I have a dream” speech–a world where race doesn’t matter as much as individualism does. Unfortunately, racism is still alive and well. But despite that fact, the world is still evolving.

What I mean is, black people used to be thought of as a group, not as individuals, lumped together due to the circumstance of slavery. Once slavery was abolished and we were able to move about freely, we still maintained a close-knit group identity even amongst ourselves, generally speaking, as we were still bound by hardships.

Over time, through the struggles of Dr. King and countless others, known and unknown, we became more diverse through education, travel, and the like. We began to pursue our individual dreams. Eventually, the once unthinkable happened with the election of a black president, voted in now for an astonishing second term.

3c7786aa5cf6d12e4584b65d0e2bdc77When I was a kid, to my mind, black poets (more…)

So There

Even in grayscale
We live in a world of absolutes
Where the spot on which we stand
Is indivisible
So here
Yet how to explain the déjà vu
Before it happens
Color coordinated sentiments
Words in your head
Escaping their lips
The memory of cut grass
Littering today’s sidewalk
Like green confetti
Smelling like spring
Thoughts loosed
Virtually sight unseen
So here yet so there
Or is it so called
To ascribe meaning
As one day grays into the next

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2012

Life Without Limits: Is That Possible?

In my last post I said that I no longer want to limit the possibilities in my life or box myself in through labels, such as wife. mother, or what have you.

However, one of the comments to that post brought up some interesting points, though it may have been slightly tongue in cheek. Here’s the comment, in part:

“But can we avoid being boxed in? What about the label ‘poet’? Is that a box? Is what we call ‘freedom’ merely the exercising of our right to choose our own boxes? Are those that refuse to be boxed in unknowingly occupying a box labelled ‘those that refused to be boxed in’? Is there life without boxes?”

Well, I’d have to say that (more…)

From the Outside Looking In

There are two types of bloggers: Those whose close family members read their blog fairly regularly and those whose families avoid reading it like the plague.

I’m a Typhoid Mary type of blogger.

To be fair, some of my family members read the blog when I first started it but have long since tapered off. They and others will read it if I ask them to look at a particular post. Others will promise to read it but never do.

Of course, I don’t badger anyone about reading my blog and for that reason I hadn’t asked them why they don’t read it–until recently. What I heard from two people I know extremely well was interesting.

One person said that they were happy knowing what they knew about me (which is a lot) and they didn’t felt uncomfortable delving any further than that. The other said that reading the blog is disorienting because of the difference between their perception of me and my thoughts as they are expressed here.

I probably imagine myself to be more transparent than I really am, though I’m positive I have improved in that area over the years. Is there something about writing out your feelings that is different from talking about them?

Assuming we are trying to be true to ourselves, is there any way to reconcile what we think, what we say, and how we behave? Do we need to observe all of these aspects in a person to form a complete picture?

Can we ever be who we think we are?

Do we ever really know each other?

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2012.

Shame, Embarrassment, Guilt: A Tricky Trio

What some people call guilt is really shame. As far as I’m concerned, shame is the perception that one is not enough–not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not creative enough, not productive enough, whatever. It’s a primal feeling of inadequacy; maybe it’s even preverbal.  While it has its roots in outside events and others may play on our shame to exert control, we perpetuate it in our own minds. Shame is useless and damaging.

Embarrassment is shame’s twin. I don’t think there is ever anything to be embarrassed about, particularly the everyday occurrences in life, the faux pas, the awkward moments, the trips, slips, burps, and farts.

But what about if you’ve wronged someone, you’ve stolen, lied, hurt, maimed?

Some would be embarrassed or ashamed to be caught in such activity. Yet they would live with with feelings as long as they are not found out. In this situation, what people should feel is guilt.

Real guilt is a necessary unpleasantness based on fact, not perception. Feeling guilty is the acknowledgment that you’ve deliberately caused someone harm. But instead of wallowing in guilt, the better way to deal with it is to rectify, learn, endeavor not do it again, take responsibility.

At least that’s what I think.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011

Is Poetry Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Up until now, I hadn’t really considered this question because the answer seems obvious. In my view, at least, of course poetry is fiction.

But recently, as I am promoting my little ebook of poems, the obvious answer is not so obvious to everybody. For instance, when I am registering to have my link added to an ebook directory, it’s hit or miss whether “poetry” is included in the fiction or non-fiction category. Sometimes, “poetry” is in neither category but in a limbo of its own.

Bloggers who provide book reviews often stipulate what kind of books they are interested in reading, which is something I scan carefully so as not to waste their time or mine by sending them a query. If they say they read all kinds of fiction, I assume they mean poetry as well. However, I have received followup messages to my queries stating the contrary.

To my thinking, poetry is (more…)

My 7 Links: Seekers of Truth

This is a blog meme I hope you will enjoy. I have to name my most beautiful post, my most popular post, my most controversial post, my most helpful post, the post whose success surprises me, a post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved, and the post I am most proud of.

(Note: I like the number 7. In numerology, people with a 7 life path are seekers of truth. I do not have a 7 life path, technically speaking, but I pretend that I do.)

Cathy Jones Tittle, a wonderful blogging friend and terrifically creative visual artist and writer, tagged me to participate in this exercise. Cathy did this on her blog, which is funny, serious, deep, and from the heart. She had great material to choose from. Please visit her at ~just my thoughts to see what I mean.

At the end of this post, just as Cathy did, I’ll invite 4 bloggers to chose their links and tag other people to do the same.

So without further ado, here are my 7 links (I excluded my 1 + 1 Wednesday posts  or any of my poems from consideration).

My most beautiful post (more…)

Hurricane Preparations

Sometimes I think I’m the type who doesn’t follow the crowd when in fact I am no different from anyone else.

Hurricane Irene is set to hit New Jersey pretty badly tomorrow. Until yesterday, as usual, I barely paid attention to the continuous news reports about the storm, particularly since I live a good distance from the shore.

But then, I started hearing that filling stations were running out of gas, even as far inland as we are, and my job formulated a contingency plan for notifying us of a possible office closure on Monday. I began thinking maybe I should prepare, even though I felt conflicted about potentially contributing to bottlenecks and shortages.

Be that as it may, like everyone (more…)

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