no exit here

There is a poetry competition that I took interest in. I don’t really take too much stock on competitions because I know that it’s really just based on certain individuals aesthetics — but I figured I needed to win some if I was going to get any sort of credibility and to help get more traction for my work. I am not much for awards either for the same principle. It’s no real measure for how good your work is because it all depends on whether you have the right judges who can judge your work fairly.

But I can see how winning them can really improve your career as a writer or filmmaker so I keep my eyes out for them.

So the other day, instead of my usual business, I began to work on some poems that I haven’t published yet because the competition required unpublished poems. Since many of my drafts end up on this page and even on a non-professional site like this can be considered as publication, I put two of my poems on my blog into private so it no longer shows on my site and then revised them to death.


Safe to say, I do not write like this all the time. I’d be too distracted by the city around me. But this is what I probably look like in my head when I am in the “writing zone.” (Photo by Tuchi Imperial, taken in 2015)

They were drafts, anyway, and it was time I came back to them and made them into proper poems. I tried to refine them and improve on them.

And then I get several of my Twitter poems and merged some of them and rewrote them so that they become organically intertwined and from four Twitter poems, I was able to form one new poem. It expanded the range and scope of each individual piece. It was quite a marvellous feat, if I may say so.

I was quite impressed with myself.

And then I took some poems that I had written on a notepad I keep beside my bed. These are poems that I haven’t even typed up into a document file and they are stream of thought pieces that just came out of me in the weirdest hours of the day. I found three that I could work with and revised and refined them to the point of finding a different style and voice that I’m not familiar with and I found the change as illuminating. I welcomed the growth. The three drafts became two poems that I could use, two of the pieces were torn apart and the best parts came crashing together.

At the end of the day — and it took me the whole day working on this — I ended up with seven poems that I decided to compile into a collection I called No Exit Here. They were meditations on life and death, really, and there is a darkness that is pervasive in each piece.

It’s a stark and scary collection. I think it has a lot to do with the feelings that I’ve been struggling with the past few weeks. There’s very little hope in these pieces and it scares me but it excites me as well. I feel like, artistically, I might have been able to cross into new territory for myself.

And I am so happy that not one of these poems is a poem about love.

I know there are probably hundreds of entries that will be coming in and I have no chance in hell. I’m not in the upper margins of the great young (or new) poets of this generation but it’s nice to have been able to use this as a push to revisit my old work and finally start improving on them.

If I win or not, it doesn’t really matter. I think I have my next collection of poetry that I can put together into a new E-book. I am going to start scouring my Twitter feed, Instagram, and this blog for more work that needs refining and revising and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have a new release.

The Thin Man is still ongoing but it will probably be my third outing. I want to put something out by this year. No Exit Here is the right follow up to Remnants and a great precursor to The Thin Man.

It’s what feels right.


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