Comicality: – Happy September, you guys! I hope you’re being safe out there!
We’re going to switch things up this month, and we’re welcoming a new poet to the Imagine family! So, give him a warm welcome, everybody!
Michael, you are actually our first featured poet here in Imagine
Magazine, and I’d like to know why poetry is your preferred medium of
choice? When did you first discover your passion for it, and when did
you start to pursue it on your own?
Michael – Glad I am the first poet to be featured there in Imagine magazine but for everything there is a first, I guess.
Poetry is my preferred medium of choice because music is a mystery to me. I can read music but can’t write music. I was 12 and I played lead guitar several ways each in the first of 2 gay boy rock bands when I was 12-15 and so were they. There were the 4 of us introverted, loner, nonconformists. We called ourselves Rough Riders because the school we went to was Theodore Roosevelt Jr High in Westfield, NJ now just Roosevelt Intermediate School. There was me, Jimmy, Kurt and Andy all 12 and gay. When Jimmy and Kurt moved me and Andy formed the other gay boy rock band at 15, they were all gay too 12-14, mostly 13 for the high notes and their sexiness. And we called ourselves Gold Metal because we were golden haired and played heavy metal; disbanded when me and Andy moved here to go to university.
Comicality: – Well, that’s just about the most awesome thing that I’ve ever heard! LOL! An all gay heavy metal boy band? Wow! So…what would you say was so different between writing poetry and writing music? I’d think that both art forms would be closely related.
Michael – That aside, writing poetry and songs (lyrics) are pretty much the same but while poems can be any length songs (lyrics) are usually 3-5 verses and a chorus or 2 choruses max. The chorus first or between or after the verses. Songs can also be about a person, place or thing in the 1st or 3rd person i.e. Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown; Alaska or Yosemite and Frosty the Snowman. A great example in the 3rd person is John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High (He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year, etc). He was singing about himself.
Comicality: – I’ve tried poetry myself, but I am TERRIBLE at it! LOL! How do you
find the words to write what you write? How do you go about translating
your emotions into a poetic structure?
Michael – The words came to me from my heart when flying over America before this pandemic and camping in Yosemite National Park before the current wildfires there in California. Lately from guidewords by the Salesian Society or word lists in word puzzle books otherwise I roll a poem by rolling a single die; a 1=a person, a 2=a setting & a 3=a situation, a 4-6=extra persons, settings & situations. For other settings I pick one blindly (without looking) out of a road atlas and then google it and study up on it, even refer to YouTube videos of it to get a feel for the area. That’s how I go about translating my words into poetic structure.
Comicality: – Do you feel a slight lack of inspiration since the current pandemic has made travel and exploration a bit more difficult these days?
Michael – It is frustrating and hard for me not to travel because of this pandemic I don’t believe has spread like the CA wildfires from one man eating a bat like Ozzy Osbourne. I believe the virus has been weaponized and is being flown in America nightly by drones and dumped on so-called hot spots. Why is the virus concentrated in America? China’s president for life is hard up to rule the world and I wouldn’t put it past him to kill all of mankind so he would not meet any resistance, he is that mentally ill it seems. I watch music and travel videos on YouTube on Saturdays for inspiration. If I knew how to fly and had my own plane I’d fly myself for inspiration. I miss traveling round trip by air and Amtrak coach.
Comicality: – Are there any writers/poets that you feel inspired you to start
creating works of your own, or who challenge you to get even better at
Michael – Yes, Jimmy Buffet and John Denver and Lennon & McCartney and my best friend Vaughn whom I met in November 2016. He’s a senior citizen and a poet.
Comicality: – What challenges do you face as a writer? Are there times when you
have to go back and edit and agonize over your work? Or does it just
come out better if you let it flow naturally?
Michael – Yes, writer’s block. Yes, I’m a perfectionist. Yes, sometimes it comes out better when I let the words flow naturally.
Comicality: – Writer’s block can be a tough issue to deal with. How do you go about handling an absence of ideas or inspiration? Or do you simply wait for it to pass and write again whenever you feel ‘ready’?
Michael – I mostly sleep during the days between meals and I am wide awake until 1 or 2 or 3 AM. It is summertime after all. Otherwise wait for it to pass and write again when I am “ready.”
Comicality: – I’m the same way, so I get it. Hehehe! What advice, if any, would you give to someone who might want to
give writing poems a try? Are there certain do’s and don’ts that they
should follow as a guideline for the art?
Michael – Yes, I would advise him or her to read lyrics and poems already written to see how they are written, even read and rewrite Letters to the Editor in their local newspaper (for the word count only). To keep their emotions/feelings/words private they should buy a box of colored pencils and graph paper and pick out 26 different colors or a different color for each letter and color in each square leaving the spaces between words black or white; images of rugs found online so as not to be so obvious and they can leave them out. But nonsense math/military/nuclear codes are also very helpful if they are taking notes for school or homeschool, to save paper & time. That’s how I was able to graduate from high school with honors at 15. Poems don’t have to be long or rhyme like rap lyrics.
Comicality: – Do you have any websites or social media that you would like to promote while you’re here? So that people can find you online or possibly contact you in person if they want to give any feedback or have any questions?
Michael – I will get a facebook account soon. My username will be ask michael/71121 or I can come up with a better username and password so others can contact me online only with feedback and any questions about anything and I shall answer them. I’ll have to get photos of me with or without my Autoharp, dulcimer, guitars or ukulele.
Comicality: – So, what’s next for you? Hopefully, you’ll be getting a bunch of new fans in the near future, who will be looking forward to seeing what more you have to offer. Would you think about a book of poems? Or maybe giving music and song lyrics another shot? Where do you see yourself taking your talents from here?
Michael – I am in fact writing a book of my poems/song lyrics with photos to enhance them to be published and sold online by kindle publishing or national park gift shops. I hope to make or have made YouTube videos of me talking, telling jokes and playing & singing cover or my own songs this December. If I do get a YouTube account my username will be Seagull/M4 or Gsus4 very likely. I received a Seagull M4 guitar just last month. Like a mountain dulcimer but held and strummed like a guitar. Mine is a mahogany model tuned in the key of G so I can play with other stringed instruments in that key. I hope to form another band gay or straight, in the next 5 years or so. Best to publish Christmas In Alaska and Christmas in New England in the November issue unless you already printed it in the October issue. Christmas In Alaska like Morning Has Broken. I write lyrics and set them to public domain music.
Comicality: – Alrighty then! We look forward to seeing what you’ve got to come in the near future! Thanks for the interview, Michael! And the rest of you can check out ‘Michael’s Poetry Corner’ every month, right here in Imagine Magazine! Send your love and support when you can, and let him know what you think!