I first wrote this poem in 2007 in my first semester of college. The draft was the first time someone in a collegiate academic setting told me I should consider being a professional poet. I’ve never succeeded in publishing it, but those words still encourage me. Listen to your friends – let them be the voices in your head when you desperately need them.
We Are Nothing
we are nothing, but nothing – razor-edged souls cutting through time with a steely gasp of twilight before our instant sunset, packaged in a plastic microwavable container with a label stating, “just add water” we a single individual with many minds and parts – societal schizophrenia on a rampage. perhaps the voice of muscle spasm can sear through your tyranny, as you have trapped creativity and youth in oppression, tearing them from their families as though they were meant to be institutionalized with bars on the windows and locks on the doors. Keep faith, children! For there is always an alternative route grasping for a mind that could fathom his existence. Outside the window is a world darkened by a starless reality, yet lit by polluting city lights. Red, Green, Blue Straining for that chance to say, “Coca-Cola” in Times Square. But this – this is nothing.
Please feel free to comment your personal experiences openly and freely below- I reserve the comments section for that.
It’s a poetry collection I’ve been working on since 2007. I initially published it in 2008, then pulled it immediately after receiving the proof copy. This time I’m trying to do it right. I have beta readers, I’m editing my poetry, and I’m getting a proper cover designed by a childhood friend.
I promised my grandmother I would properly publish the collection at one point. While I still plan to publish one off poems on occasion, I’m not sure I plan to publish another poetry collection for another 12 years or more.
What Kinds Of Poetry?
My poetry is influenced heavily by the works of Billy Collins, e.e. cummings, Allen Ginsberg, Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, Maya Angelou, Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, Esther Popel, Philip K Dick (yes he wrote poetry too), Sylvia Path, and probably any other poet I learned about.
An incomplete list of the styles of poetry include:
free verse – word art
For more information on types of poetry, Writer’s Digest has a great list here.
Do You Consider Yourself A Poet?
Kind of? I used to consider myself primarily a poet, but over the past 10 years I have found myself more drawn toward writing. I’ve been writing non-fiction for quite some time and then switched to writing fiction. I tend to isolate my poetry to specific places, such as my author page on Curensea. They even interviewed me back in 2019.
What Publishing Method Do You Plan To Use?
Initially I had planned to publish through Inkshares. This meant that even though I said “Coming Summer 2020” that was for preorder.
2020 has thrown curve balls for us all. If I wanted to increase turn around time I would self publish instead of going through a hybrid publisher, but I am notoriously an overachiever in most aspects of my life if I’m in complete control of the deadlines. I’m considering what other options there are and am also considering completing the manuscript and submitting for traditional publication given that many of these poems are submitted for publication elsewhere.
Part of why I’m reconsidering using Inkshares? Inkshares is a hybrid publisher that requires authors to achieve a minimum number of preorders for the book to go to press.
Is This Why You’ve Been On Hiatus From Reviews?
Partially. Some of the hiatus has been related to other aspects of life as some people may have gathered. Some of the hiatus has been related to focusing on my writing because creating has been more helpful for sanity than consuming media.
Some of it has also been avoidance to see if a separation period improves this automatic response I keep having. When I try to write a review or read a book with the intention to review, my heart races and my mind clouds. Taking a break has been essential to review books fairly and honestly.
I have been constantly afraid of encountering more authors that aren’t looking for honest reviews from people that use their own money to buy their books. Or ask for honest reviews from people they send books to.
Perhaps I do not have the spine needed to write book reviews. I have a commitment to finish the books I currently have. This was never meant to be a source of stress or anxiety – it was meant to be a source of interaction with a community I love.
There are other projects in the works besides “A Hundred Different Skies”:
Short story collections
4-6 shelved novels
The “descendants project” – the digitizing of old photographs with names and evidence associated with them used to archive it to allow those searching to see the faces of their great-great-great grandparents for the first time as I come across these photos in my historic photograph projects
A book on historic photography techniques and the link between photography and American religious/spiritual movements (as well as the earliest examples of the American manufacturing of false evidence).
An ever growing personal photography portfolio that needs to be curated and shared in a gallery show. I recently obtained my first set of prints for framing.
Gluten free recipe development
Two “toy” / “art” manufacturing projects (I will be running contests for giving away prototypes as I perfect the process).
Not to mention Jacob and I are landscaping the yard and redecorating the house.
If you are interested in supporting or following any of my other projects please let me know which of the above interests you most. I’m happy to post more information and updates.I’m curious what formats people would prefer these updates in, so please include that information in comments below.Liking and sharing helps to get the word out about the upcoming release of A Hundred Different Skies as well as my other projects, but this post is mostly for the people who already read this.
Thank you for your support and for taking the time to read this. It really does mean the world to me.
I’m excited to share and feature 4 poems by Jordan Pace. You may know him by his Twitter or his new book Perfectly Imperfect. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jordan as a fellow author in the Writing Community and through Coffee House Writers. I love these poems, and found myself paying special attention to ASerpent’s Kiss as I broke down the complete experiences described. That said, I’m going to save my personal interpretation of each poem and what I took away from it until after. Without further ado, let’s begin.
We sat side by side It felt as if we were miles apart. Our cups dangled With our feet; We watched as waves crashed against walls. We talked for hours, Our words felt like whispers Was he hiding something? I couldn’t tell The breeze so strong The faint smell of salt air Losing my reason to care I leaned forward, my full intention to fall He caught me, his cup staring with an inviting glare I arrived at it, A feeling of curiosity washing over me Why does his coffee have no flavor? I look back again I wonder When did this space get so empty? Who was I talking to all this time?
The waterside imagery steals me away and I, too, am sitting on that retaining wall, feeling detached from the person I am with – wondering if I knew them this whole time. The metaphor of time and conversation to waves eroding the relationship and details of the scene overtime hits me in a soft underbelly place I haven’t thought about in a while.
Lonely, I am fine, quiet inside. a war rages on the other side. there are cracks in my armor, No perfect men wear armor. You, My imperfection, a variable I cannot account for. Your slithering, salty, sinking words burrow into me, like a bullet lodged in a dead man’s chest A bullet Cannot be pulled out without care. I keep it there. Holding fast to what remains of you, unaware of its effects. I see you in places you did not exist, a bad dream fades into reality. As I lay on the bed, there is nothing left to say. I knew the risk and how it would end. You watch over me, a serpent’s gaze. Has the poison taken effect?
The narrator first begins with a self assessment – he is an imperfect man: a perfect man would need no armor. Worse yet, his armor has cracks that left him vulnerable to abuse in this mind trick of self blame.
As the narrator continues to describe this ex-abuser as a venomous snake, it becomes obvious how appropriate the comparison is. Some relationships are toxic like venom, leaving lasting wounds in the form of trauma. He is holding it both intentionally and against his will.
But the narrator in the poem suffers the lasting effects of the relationship even if everything seems quiet on the surface. The lasting trauma is described as a “bullet lodged in a dead man’s chest” implying the depth of despair and destruction felt surrounding the trauma.
The last 3 lines may be the most impacting. “I knew the risk and how it would end.” The narrator describes the gut feeling paired with the inability to resist the relationship. It could be argued that with the comparison of the ex to a serpent, the narrator was hypnotized. “You watch over me, a serpent’s gaze.” The last line closes the poem with the hardest question of all – that of intent. “Has the poison taken effect?” Did the abuser intend this all along? Is this what they wanted?
Excuse me, baby, I’m tired, your hips swing with energy to light my world for eons. Excuse my language, But I think you’re a dime, a definite “jack of all trades” when it comes to working Excuse me for entering your life, Then exiting, by mistake
Apologetically, there are short lived relationships that can feel bought or traded. The narrator then mentions leaving unintentionally, apologetically, even though there is nothing wrong with the other party. There are many layers of guilt here.
I WAS CREATED TO BE YOU
You cannot relate to my pain- molded by fires, created through some ultimate desire. A mold, I was left to fill your desires and when it did not work, I was told to simply “get over it.” My world is torn asunder; my life unraveled.
Years of work and effort made to seem like less than the step forward it truly was.
All because it didn’t work for you? Was I never considered in your equation? Was I even ever a variable?
Lots of these things, I will never, ever know, but one thing’s for sure: I may have to spend the rest of my life defining myself.
To me, this poem screams of the struggles of the effects of a narcissistic relationship. I interpreted this as a parent-child relationship and what I call “bonsai children”. Bonsai children grow up with parents who carefully shape and mold every aspect of their lives so they are more like ornaments to benefit the parent more than individuals.
About Jordan Pace
Jordan Pace’s book Perfectly Imperfect is available for purchase here in paperback and on kindle. You can keep up with their writing on Coffee House Writers here. To keep most up to date, you can follow them on Twitter.
What did you think of these interpretations? Do you agree? Disagree? Did you find different meaning that I didn’t find? Let me know in the comments! Do you want to see more of these posts? Let me know by liking this post or commenting below.
As always, thank you for reading. Remember to keep supporting artists and authors during these crazy times.