Through a fortunate series of events and connections I’ve been getting more and more out there (in Bangkok) as a poet, as a performer and the like, and that’s been pretty cool. Almost every time I perform, a door presents itself. An opportunity appears and…I’ve done my best to Not Say No. I figure saying no kinda contradicts the whole concept of having AMBITIONS.
But so far, so (really) good. Just as I aspired and foresaw over a year ago, things are happening, things are crackin and coming together. I’m meeting cool people who see what I see (the potential of this art form) and little by little, we’re makin shit happen.
Understand, all I really wanna do is get it out there! I just wanna share what I have to share with the most people possible. That’s IT for me, that’s the end game. I really don’t care how this comes about, or what I get out of it in return (it’s not like I could expect much, we are, after all, talking about POETRY here!), but when I start getting invitations to do what I do and get paid for it….Well Alright, yeah, that’s pretty fuckin cool too! :-)
And that, my friends, is what has started happening. Last week I got paid for my poetry, which is a crazy sentence to say. However, the circumstances in which this happened are Even Crazier!
Guys, you’re not going to believe this, or rather, you’re not going to be able to imagine this, but somebody paid me money to recite LOVE poetry. LOVE POETRY! To people. Having dinner. IN THE DARK.
No. Joke. :)
This is what I did last week. On two separate occasions! WILDEST Fucking EXPERIENCE to ever come out of being a poet! Lol. It was SO crazy. So weird and so crazy. You might’ve seen my post on facebook about Dining in the Dark, this is what I’m talking about. Eating an entire three-course meal in absolute darkness, and then I COME IN, with some love poetry!
I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried folks. LOL.
It was pretty wild. I don’t know what it was like for the dinner guests on Valentine’s night, the first night, but it was bizarrrrrre as hell for me. Imagine doing what I do, and then imagine being led into a room that you’ve never been in before, a room that has not an ounce of light, in which you can hear people eating and talking like any other restaurant, and then YOU begin reciting love poetry to these people and no one can see anything! Weeeeird. But wild. ONE of a KIND experience. And all I can say is, WHY NOT?
Why shouldn’t that be happening somewhere in the world, and why not have me be in the middle of it? The world needs more poetry, that much I know, and I gotta do whatever I can to help feed that famine. ...Assuming that is how you bring a famine to an end.
It was a trip for so many reasons tho…
1). LOVE POETRY!?! Really?! This is how I’m going to make my first check in the world of poetics? LOVE POETRY?? HAHAHA, all I can do is laugh. The irony of it is astounding. I haven’t written a love poem since 2005! That unto itself could tell you all kinds of things! I would’ve NEVER Predicted this, not in a million years! A couple of those poems are from my teens and a couple I’ve NEVER shared publicly before! Not even online. And after all the work I’ve been doin honing my craft, sharpening my spear to fight the good fight against all the "evils in the world," when I finally get called to duty, “Uhhh, yeah, we just need a couple nice love poems. Think you could do that? Thanks.” Really world? REALLY??? That’s so funny!
(look, a picture of a couple pretty girls, to distract you from how much you're reading, ahhhhhh )
thanks for the pics Johnny!
thanks for the pics Johnny!
2). It’s IN THE DARK! So much for being a “PERFORMANCE Poet!” Lol, it’s like a violinist playing to the deaf! It’s a good thing my old love poems aren’t performance poems, that would’ve just been confusing. Plus I probably would’ve knocked something over. But think about it, all those hours spent practicing my performances, getting every nuance and hand gesture down and then, when the time comes to shine, “Uhhhh, actually, nobody’s going to be able to see you.”
*cue the sound effect* WAAwaaaaah.
3). MY LOVE POETRY??! MINE?? My love poetry ain’t NOTHIN great! It’s just not. I’m bein honest. It’s decent, it’s cool, but it’s nothin that I’m real proud of or would EVER show off as a great example of love poetry! God no. As if that type of poetry alone wasn’t unexpected enough, the poetry HAD to be memorized (no light!), and I only had about 3 days notice, which left me with one option: ME! WTF!? Lol, that was it, that was my immediate reaction to this situation that just lands at my feet.. I’m lookin up at God goin, “Really?? This is what you want me to be doin?” Cuz let’s all agree there is incredible love poetry out there, there are the GREATS. Too many to name, and I’m sure most of you know them. But I would’ve been 10 times more comfortable reading one of the greats. I mean these people are there celebrating Valentine’s day and their love and they deserve to hear the best, to be INSPIRED and have their breath taken away, not listen to my watered down cheesy shit! :-) I consider that a whole genre unto itself because it is SO HARD to do well. It’s just incredibly difficult to Add anything to that milieu that isn’t plagued with feelingless clichés. It’s all been said before. I wouldn’t DARE try to write a love poem unless I was crazy in love because you have to be crazy to think you can write something original or worthy of seeing the light of day in that one sacred context.
But yeah, there’s no way I could memorize 4 poems in a couple days, so I had to go with the couple I already had memorized from back in the day and couple I had memorized back in the day and could learn again real quick. Good enough, I guess. I mean, I wouldn’t have agreed to do it if I thought that they were bad, but…I felt like they’re good enough for public consumption so I went along with it. Cuz, fuck, you never know until you try. And this is definitely worth a try, if not just to write a blog about!
4). Comfort Zone = Ground Zero. I could easily run out of adjectives trying to describe how twisted that experience was. You CAN NOT Imagine what it was like! Standing there, in the dark, trying to impart some semblance of romance to the air of these people with words that probably are not endowed for such a task. Wow, it was just like Wow. One of the most vivid experiences I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t see a thing.
But you know what? I did it. I knew it’d be crazy and weird and uncomfortable, but I still said yes and went along for the ride and became that much more experienced AND shared poetry with a few people who might not have heard any for a very long time. Woo-freakin-hoo, that’s pretty cool.
I’m on a journey, one I never thought I would ever embark on, but embark on it I have. And I knew from the beginning that it would take me to places I could never dream or imagine as I went on my wordy way, most of which would be so new to me that I couldn’t help but feel uneasy, scared, or daunted by it. But there’s something I’ve been doing a really good job at keeping in mind, and I remembered it that night too! “When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” That---is----it. I gotta keep that in mind, otherwise my comfort zone and inhibitions will trip me up or slow me down. Bear in mind, there is a difference between integrity and comfort zone, I’ll still stick to my principles, but I know there are other parts of me that will be challenged, and they should be challenged.
FEAR, be damned!
So yeah, there you have it, you now know a poet---Who got PAID! How unbelievable is that!? There is Hope my friends, there is hope! For this world, for us, for doing the right thing, AND for POETRY! And if we just keep working together, we can work some of these kinks out, and there will be a little more harmony, a little more understanding, and (no…yesss…No..yesss, I’m gonna say it!) a little more love.
I gotta especially thank Adam Sharpe and Benjamin Baskins for seein potential in this art and making use of it and supporting me as an artist, givin me opportunities to show unsuspecting people what I can do in unexpected places. Them along with the rest of the guys behind LUSH definitely get thanks, just for being open to such a crazy incorporation as Poetry into the cool things they do. I don’t care why you do it, or what you think about it, I think in the big picture of things it’s an admirable thing to do and noble too! The world NEEDS more poetry, and could really make use of it too. In this fast paced world where fewer and fewer people are developing a love for literature and reading (and attentions spans shrink like shrink wrap), this is such a digestible, accessible form of art that can get in people’s heads, plant seeds or spur thoughts into action.
There is room for poetry, we can squeeze it in.
I’m really happy to be involved in the art I happen to be in. I really think it CAN make a difference and it has so much potential for growth in the consciousness of everyday people. So much room to grow, and I am ecstatic to help it do that in all the ways I can. It’s a great cause, for the people and the kids who find their voice in it, much like myself.
It’s only February, folks. I’ve told many of you this is just the beginning, that this year will be huge for me. And it will. This was just a road mark, much bigger things are coming that won’t need to be celebrated with a blogpost because they’ll be a celebration unto themselves.
Like I once told a friend, there’s two ways that you can really get people’s attention: you can either do something they’ve never seen before, or you do something SO WELL that they can’t help but take notice. Obviously, with a lot of effort, I’m trying to the do the latter, but luckily I happen to be doing it in a place where this really hasn’t been seen before, so that’s working to my advantage too. Either way, This IS Happening, guys. Make no doubt about it.
Thanks to all of you who are coming with me (90% of which probably read this whole thing! ♥ you guys), and those of you who are working behind the scenes (right now) to help me get there. You know who you are. We’ll pop bottles when the time comes. ;)
My success is your success. If we’re in this together, how could it be any other way?