Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


Leather Boots

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You’ll come to me at midnight

Indecent and discreet

You’ll leave behind the hostile night

And bring the fever of the streets

You’ll wear the city musk

That suits you so well

And the resounding leather boots

That betray your secret trail

I won’t ask you to leave

But I won’t ask you to stay

I know that you’ll be gone

Long before the break of day

And later, there will be no pleasantries

Or even childish disputes

No, your thoughts will be on someone else

Before you’ve finished lacing up your boots

* * *

© Jerod Scott

* * *

Leather Boots is the first piece that I ever had published, so I am especially proud of it, but I think the real reason this one is special to me is because it said everything I wanted it to say. That rarely happens. But it wasn’t easy to write.

 It spent most of its early life in a drawer in my coffee table. I kept taking it out and working on it because I knew it had potential but I was very discouraged with it for a very long time. 

Leather Boots is about emotional misuse. Boots have kind of become my trademark in writing—I even put them in my fiction—and usually, they represent protection, preparation… being on guard.  You can wear boots in summer, winter, spring or fall and never have to worry about the weather; they are kind of like the all-weather tires of footwear.  So, this poem is also about being on guard, ready for anything… but the boots do come off very briefly in the end.  That is significant to me.

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Nine months ago, something happened that I’d been working very long and hard for: Beautiful Monster got published. It was picked up by Damnation Books, a wonderful publisher in California that I absolutely adore. There was much to be excited about as Monster went through the process of publication, and I didn’t want to waste any time. I immediately started planning my future as a writer. I began revising The White Room, a manuscript I wrote before Beautiful Monster which needed some work before being an acceptable candidate for publication. On top of this, I began an equally exciting top-secret side project—that I can’t really get into at this point—that I’m totally stoked about. Things were going swimmingly—my days and nights absorbed in the fictional worlds of my own creation—until, about three months ago, something else happened: I hit a brick wall. And it wasn’t writer’s block.

This brick wall was far scarier than writer’s block because at least there are things you can do to lubricate a stubborn story. What I faced was something I never expected to: doubt… and not the doubt that I could be a writer—that’s a given—but the doubt that I wanted to be a writer.

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So, I stopped writing—which given my life circumstances at the time—wasn’t all that hard. I was in the middle of moving—again—and I’d met some fascinating writers from the old-school who made me feel like one of them. It was easy to coast for a while, but in truth, I wasn’t coasting at all. I was thinking. I was wondering how, after so many years of dreaming of this, of working toward this, I could possibly feel this way once those dreams were finally coming true. But that’s where I was at, and it wasn’t very fun.

After a while, the people around me started asking questions. They wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. I never told them the truth. I didn’t want to be influenced in any way because I knew this was something I needed to figure out for myself. I was working, just not in any way that was visible. In those months, I produced nothing that would help my career in any way, but I did strip down the layers of who I am, and I did figure a few things out.

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I figured out that the glitter is gone, the shine has dulled, and reality has cast its shadow over the dream. I have a different understanding of what it means to be a writer now—it’s not a better understanding—just a different understanding. I figured out that writing is—in truth—a lot of time spent sitting in front of a computer. It’s picking up the thousands of little pieces of a scattered story and spending hours, days, weeks, and months trying to fit them together in the most cohesive, relatable—and salable—way. It’s sacrificing a lot of time with friends and family. It’s being asked outright in public settings how much money you make. It’s work. It’s a daily decision to sit down and create something that may or may not ever even see the light of day. It’s the choice to devote a lot of time and effort to an entirely unknown outcome. It’s a risk.

I realized that the glamour of being a writer—if there ever was any—doesn’t shine quite as brightly as the world would like to believe. I’ve met my heroes, and they’ve now become my friends—people I talk to on the phone, exchange emails with, and discuss the most tedious details of my life with. This doesn’t make them unglamorous, this simply makes them real. It makes all of this real—and that’s not a bad thing—it’s just a different thing.

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In the beginning, when this was still a dream, I made some conscious choices. I would steer clear of any unattainable expectations. I would not put anyone on a pedestal or hold my heroes to superhuman standards… and in truth, I’m neither disenchanted by the path nor in any way disappointed in anyone I’ve met. But the dream, as it manifests into reality, is grating and unsettling… it feels a little like walking off a ledge. It made me decide I needed to take stock. I needed to step back and look at writing from a realistic perspective. I needed to then ask myself if this was ultimately going to make me very happy. So, that’s what I did… and the past couple weeks have finally brought things into enough focus that I can proceed in what I’m confident is the right direction.

Ultimately, nothing has changed for me except my approach to it. The dream is still intact. Somehow, I still want this, but now I know that only the love of this—and nothing else—is strong enough to withstand the demands and lack of certainty that writing requires. There isn’t enough ego to uphold this—there isn’t enough money to justify it—and there isn’t enough comfort to sustain it. But at the core of who I am, this is what I do—what I’ve always done—and it gets me closer to happiness than anything ever has before. And perhaps the greatest persuasion has been the incredible and unbearable gnawing, gnashing need to write even when I’ve given myself permission to break from it for a while. If nothing else, this has slowly convinced me that my writing days are far from being over. I’ve made some great self-discoveries these past months, but that hasn’t stopped the stories from tumbling in, the characters from blathering on, or the fingers from seeking the keys.

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I now have what I believe is a deeper, more accurate understanding of being a writer. It’s not pretty anymore, but it’s mine, and it’s real. I’ve learned that even when I’m “not” writing, I’m still writing, and so—at the risk of sounding melodramatic—how can I possibly not write? I can’t, but I do have a choice in how I proceed. I can either gather up the scattered pieces of story, glue them all together, and try to make something out of this that matters… or I can return to the days when jotted-down descriptions, disjointed dialogue, and fragmented portions of plot and poetry haunted me from hundreds of loose scraps of paper that invaded and overran any space within ten feet of me.

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For me, that choice is clear. After giving my soul a thorough strip-search, I’m realizing there isn’t really anything else I can do and be happy. The dream may be over now… the real world may have settled in… but there are still stories to be told.

And I’ll do my best to tell them.


~I’m older this time…

Wiser than I was the last time I walked these narrow halls

 And roamed these careless rooms

Where nothing of my own surrounds me…

Again.

The ghost of the other me–the younger me–

The me who caught the dream by its wings and trapped it in a mason jar…

That me drifts down the corridors of this towering house

And presses tight against the walls,

Merging with the darkest shadows of the unkempt, lamp-lit den,

And unfolds only in those fleeting, fugitive moments

Just before the bloom of sunrise licks the tips of the mountains~

As if to remind me

Of the thousands of days gone by

Since I was still

And dreaming for the sake of dreaming.

Thousands of days.

My eyes crinkle when I smile now,

And silver’s deft and silent fingertips have found the cleft of my chin.

 I don’t remember when I last anticipated the morning,

Or smiled back at my past-tense self

As we passed on the stairs.

And inspiration comes hard these days…

I write ~

But it’s not about me anymore…

It’s about you now.

Maybe it always was.

But this is what I wanted.

Yesterday,

I dreamed my heart hollow.

Today,

I pushed the dream down without even enough affection or care

To check it for a pulse.

And tomorrow,

Maybe then I’ll wake up…

But tonight…

I don’t want to dream anymore.

~June 19th, 2013~


firecracker1

 The blackness of my heart’s in bloom

The room turns red with rage

I watch with steady, deadened eyes

Fury takes the stage

From the heat that surges from my skin

Rise mirages of control

But behind these eyes I’m wild and

Unworthy and un-whole

A ruptured firecracker makes

Less sound than my mind

Hot beneath the collar now

I am rancor, unrefined

A breath to steady my revenge

A smile to smudge the stain

A glimpse within those righteous eyes

Diagnoses me profane

A cigarette with trembling hands

And a silent vow outside

That ever if you walk my way

All grace will be denied

 © Jerod Scott

 


hands

Hands

I can still remember your hands

So well-tended and pristine

Painting the world with patterns and

Colors I have never seen

And still imprisoned in my mind

Every detail, fair and flawed

And hopes of touches cruel or kind

By fantasy or façade

And handcuffed in famished quicksand

Sits my wish to set you free

I can still remember your hands…

Although they never touched me

 © Jerod Scott

Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/thejerodscott?ref=tn_tnmn


mercy kill

Mercy Kill

I saw you in a dream

At the top of the stairs

Your lips were sewn shut

To stifle your prayers

Your skin looked so tight

You looked so afraid

You looked so bewildered…

You looked so betrayed

In a hot panicked frenzy

Devoid of all grace

You were trying to scream

While you clawed at your face

As dark scarlet red

Dripped from your lips

 I tried to find answers

With blind fingertips

But as inert as a painting

I stood there so still

Thinking murder’s a mercy…

An act of good will

  © Jerod Scott

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butterfly

 

Cracked Butterfly

 

Where flame and fatal devil-reds

Are bleached by night’s demise

The quiet is as black as hate

With wings of lace and lies

 

You wear a cracked black butterfly

On what sickness you can’t fix

And secrets wish to drip from lips

Like candle wax from candlewicks

 

Cut your eyes out, Baby Doll

As the butterfly’s black wings

Spread wide and dark on Paradise

And turns toxic all these things

 

Then lock-down all your lullabies

And pray God you will be saved

Until the soil’s ever-settled

Upon the secret’s grave

 

 

© Jerod Scott

 

 

            Because creative writing seems to have a mind of its own, it’s difficult sometimes, even for the writer, to decipher certain works.  Most times, you are standing back, looking at the finished product with a first time reader’s eyes, and sometimes, wondering what the hell it was you were trying to say.

            It sounds strange but each of my poems seems to have a life and personality of their own.  Most are amiable and tell me their story with ease and good manners.  There are exceptions to this though… and Cracked Butterfly is one of them.  If this poem did have its own personality, it would be stubborn, rude, self-indulgent and distrustful.  Throughout the entire process of writing this one, I had the distinct impression that the poem itself was criticizing me and that even in its rare moments of silence… it was hovering over me… just waiting for me to screw up.  Also, this poem was very possessive with its voice, revealing to me only the bare minimum of monologue in tiny snippets over the course of several hours.

            One theory I have about this kind of writing is that the subject matter is premature, and that it will flow more easily and clearly at a later time, under a different name… but the truth is… I really don’t know.  What I do know, is that, reading this back to myself, it all sounds very crazy… and maybe it is.  Or maybe, (I’m hoping!) this is a relatively normal account of the poetry writing process.  ???