First Week of Classes | Updates that Suck

The first week of classes is officially complete … and, holy shit, am I tired.

My first class with Cornel West was on Tuesday, and his presence is… stunning. He holds forth in the classroom, and like the best of Baptist preachers knows how to move his body and use his voice to draw you in, raise the energy in the room and hold that energy for three hours. He is intellectually powerful, and his spirit is Titan. Coincidentally, I met him on the street after class. I was smoking a cigarette while speaking with another student when he stopped to have a chat. I was amazed by the change in him; he was gentle, and very, very PRESENT WITH YOU IN THAT MOMENT.  And I don’t mean present with you like you feel you’re under a microscope – I mean that he is THERE. The only time I’ve felt that way is a few years ago when I was running from soldiers with a group of teenage boys in one of the conflict zones I work in — we were running, and I felt totally in my body but at the same time to totally present with these boys…. we were TOGETHER.

These brief interactions with him gave me a lot of food for thought as I rode the train to my room that night. I was thinking about how so many of my seminarian friends perceive me —  as the loud mouth that makes them giggle in delight. I never particularly understood that last part – why my sassy mouth would bring such glee. As the train was cutting through the city I thought about the contents of what I say – that my “loud mouth” is often a product of my frustration. You can say I have a particularly low tolerance for bullshit – and you know some shit is about to go down when I say something along the lines of, “let’s call a spade a spade,” which is always followed by me calling it how I see it.

And then it hit me; my goal in coming to this particular seminary was to “find my prophetic voice.” Prophets, as Heschel described them, are the scream in the night. Over the last year I’ve gotten less and less patient, which has caused me to become louder and louder in the classroom and elsewhere. Paralleling that, I’ve noticed that my care for offending people, pleasing them, comforting them, their judgement or their discomfort has plummeted to zero. I just don’t give a FUCK. I have no hesitation in calling someone or something out on their bullshit. I’m done.

And that’s when I realized that I’ve found my Prophetic voice. That I’ve become so deeply rooted in my own work and message, that everything else has burned away – that I can see clearly and move forward.

Now what?

What’s Coming | Updates that Suck

Hey ya’ll,

Just want to give you a heads up on what’s coming down the pike.

Summer is coming to an end which means that school begins shortly. For those who are new here; I am a Master’s Candidate at Union Theological Seminary in NYC (my degree is, officially, an M.Div). It’s my final year – which, for the first time in my academic career, I am excited about. To say that I am tired is the understatement of the century.

For those who have been with me for a while, or since the jump, you know that this tends to be a slow time for me posting and writing since all of my time is wrapped up in school work. (Six mother-fucking classes, ya’ll… SIX). What you all haven’t experienced yet, since we’ve been in pandemic, is the fact that I travel 16 hours (one way) each week in order to attend these classes…. did I say I was tired? Despite wanting to have classes in person and to see my friends and beloved faculty – I do have hope that classes will go back online given the upsurge in COVID caes. I HATE travelling by bus every week (I did it my first year, and it was FUCKING AWFUL) and would like to be spared that again this year. I doubt that will happen, though.

So.. six classes, travelling 16 hours a week, homework, writing some poems when I can…. what else can I add on to that flaming shit pile? OHHHHH a PhD application. Yeah… which means writing a thesis.

So yeah.. what does this all mean for you?

I’m suspending reviews until January – simply because I do NOT have the bandwidth to do all this shit, and review books. I will then continue to review in January, and then suspend them again in February so I can focus on finishing out my last semester. My last review until January will be Stephen Gold’s “Love Like Bleeding Out” which will come next Friday.

I will continue to post life updates, and – of course – poetry/prose. I just won’t have a schedule for this. They’ll come when I have space, time, etc.

I just want to thank you all for an amazing summer… a chap release, a handful of publications, a strong Twitter following. Ya’ll are so amazing and supportive – THANK YOU!

xxx

L

Birthday Blues | Musings that Suck

So…

I turned 38 last Thursday…. and it hit pretty hard.

I’ve been questioning doing my PhD – something that I’ve been adamant about doing since I began going back to school 10 years ago – but in the last year I’ve begun to question it…. and, for me, that indicates something’s “wrong.”

I haven’t thought much about it, not until the night of my birthday when I realized that I’m questioning it because I’ve hit mid life (let’s be real, few people live to 100 so 38 and 40 is about middle aged).

I knew this because of the questions I was asking myself; not whether I am capable of the coursework and research (I very much am) but whether I want to spend another five years of my life in school and whether it will give me any further edge in my field.

I can feel it.. ya know? Feel that I’m in some liminal space. That some huge change is coming because my thoughts are changing …. which indicate that what I want from my life is changing. The thing is… I don’t know what I want, at least not right now.

I’m still applying to the PhD (because I love school, and I love the environment of learning), but I just don’t know what I want anymore. Which means that I have to think about what I want… how do I want to spend the next 40 years of my life?

It’s just a weird and uncomfortable feeling… I don’t love uncertainty.

But… I did hear that women’s sex drives take a moon shot in their 40’s… so that’s a bonus, right?

Site Updates !

Hey ya’ll,

I wanted to reach out and let ya’ll know that I’m taking a step back from PTS.

I know I’ve been a daily poster for a long time – pausing only for a few months when I was writing FUCK IT – but, I’m feeling super burned-the-fuck out right now and the pressure of daily posting is a bit overwhelming for me… plus the new semester looms large on the horizon.

So, I’m down shifting into only posting 3x / week – with “themed” posts.

Mondays: (My) Poems / Prose that Sucks

Wednesdays: Musings that Suck (just basically a catch all for me to keep you update on life, books, rants and raves.

Fridays: Reviews that Suck.

With regards to reviews:

  1. I have reviews booked (no pun intended) until 11/12 – which means there are only SEVEN slots left for the rest of the year. If you’re interested in getting your book reviewed by me (it MUST be either self or indie published! I absolutely WILL NOT read anything published by the big pubs), post your links below.
  2. Come January 1st, 2022 (jesus fucking christ, where did time go???) I will be taking an actual break. About 1 month from posting ANYTHING. That will be when this next semester ends, and I already know my brain will feel like scrambled eggs.

That’s about it… Poem post to come here shortly!

Books ‘n Shit | Life Updates

Hey, hey fellow perverts, degenerates and all around good-ass people!

I wanted to hop on and check in on ya’ll to see how you’re doing. How ya been? How ya doing? What’s new? You got any cool successes? If so, drop ’em in the comments and let’s celebrate that shit with a drink!

The semester is over and I’ve taken a month to revert to my vampire’s sleep schedule, so I don’t feel like a fucking reanimated corpse anymore. It’s Cancer season, baby, and I’m feeling vibrant as shit right now!

I heaved a huge sigh of relief the other day; I submitted my final manuscript (which needs desperate arrangement) to my dude over at Newington Blue. We got a title, and we’re working on author pic and cover art now. I’ll be the second release over there, so I’m thinking the fall or something. I’ll keep you updated!

For now I’m trying to bang out the rest of the Song of the Sister for Budget Press which is turning into a real fucking beast on my end. Initially I was writing with my usual chaotic energy, but something shifted and I’m getting real intentional with it. It’s, for sure, the most structured writing I’ve done outside academia and it’s taking all my brain power, talent and writing skill to get it done.

Anywho, I hope you’re all having a good summer. Let me know what you’re up to.

Shit n Stuff n Things | Life Updates

Hey guys,

I just wanted to reach out and let you know what’s going on in my world – and to apologize for the lack of posts these last few months.

Many of you know that I’m working on my Masters – which leaves little time for me to sit down and write poetry. When I do have the rare moment to sit down and write poetry, it’s been to fulfil my obligations to Newington Blue and Budget Press for the two books of mine they’re producing this year.

With regard to the Newington Blue book; my editor heard my wish to incorporate more exclusive pieces to that volume, so I’m happy to say that there will be nearly 30 new poems that you haven’t seen before incorporated into that work.

I think I’ve said this before about my chapbook with Budget but it’s worth repeating; we’re looking at about 14-20 pages of ALL exclusive material. It is very much a themed piece – an idea that I’d been playing with for quite sometime. Last update I revealed the title : Song of the Sister – but I don’t think I told you the premise.

So, there’s this book in the Bible called The Song of Solomon – and it is essentially biblical porn. Meaning, it’s an 8 chapter long erotic love poem to his new bride whom he dubs ‘Sister’. My chapbook acts as a response to that – the woman’s response to the male – with a more modern, rough twist to it. I showed the editor two of the pieces that I’ve written so far, and he digs… so we’re good so far!

Updates on the shoulder: I’ve finally got it sorted out! I ended up buying a brand new memory foam pillow that has helped relieve the pain immensely. I’m also working more on my laptop which doesn’t require me to extend my arms as far to work. So, all in all, I’m pretty good.

End of the semester is coming this time next month, so you will probably see more posts coming from me around then!

Thanks for all your love and patience!

L

News and Updates | Life Updates

Hey ya’ll,

Just wanted to stop by and give you all some updates on what’s happening on my end. I know I’m still not posting a whole lot, but there are reasons for it.

My shoulder/bicep is still hurting – though, it is getting slowly better each time I get a massage. I haven’t been able to book one since the last post, so I’m still kind of at a standstill with it. I’m hoping to book soon and finally eliminate this pain. I still have no understanding of what’s causing the issue; neither my massage therapist nor I can figure it out. But… we’re working on it.

This has, of course, affected my ability to write. It’s impossible for me to write poetry (or anything else) solely on a computer screen. It feels wildly inorganic to me, and it’s just not something I can do. Holding a pen, and sitting scrunched up to write has been… significantly painful. With the semester having started a month ago, I’ve had to limit my writing as much as possible – and save my efforts for school work.

That being said, I AM still writing.

I’ve got a chapbook being released later this year by Newington Blue Press . The selection / editing process should begin here shortly, but the more I think about it the more I’d like to include more exclusive pieces (as of right now there are about ten). But, we’ll see what happens.

I’m also really happy to say that I’ve been asked to do another chapbook with Budget Press. Just today I got the go-ahead for an idea that I’ve been playing with for a little bit. The book will be called The Song of the Sister and will contain all new pieces that are exclusive to it.

The title, and the project, is a riff on the biblical book of the Song of Solomon. Now, I know you want to stop reading right there…. but know that the Song of Solomon is an ancient, erotic love poem. Yep…. biblical porno. Did you think I was going to go all soft and theological on you? Nah.

So, instead of hearing Solomon’s song, we’ll be hearing the Sister’s song. The sister being the female that the poem is written to. I don’t think it’s really his sister, I think it’s just creative language. That being said, while my response to Solomon’s song will biblical format (meaning, 8 “chapters”) it will contain modern language, modern situations, and … well… FILTH.

I’ll let you guys know more about this as we get closer to publication. I still have to write the fucking thing, afterall.

Anyway, hope all is well with you all. I’ve been surfing through my reading page and really enjoying what so many of you are writing. Keep writing, keep submitting and keep being real.

Leia

Life Shit & Shoulder Pain | Life Updates

Hey guys, 

I want to apologize for the lack of updates. I’ve been experiencing some significant shoulder pain in my dominant arm that’s making it difficult to turn my head or sleep, and it’s caused a bit of trembling in my hand. 

I did see a massage therapist about two weeks ago, and she helped get the range of motion back in my neck. Now the pain is concentrated right under my shoulder blade, and is migrating up to my shoulder itself. Overall, it feels like terrible burning. I have an appointment with her, again, tomorrow. So, hopefully, I’ll be in better shape. 

I also want to talk about something I’ve been ramping up on lately: submissions. I recently began submitting my work all over the place – and I want to encourage you all to do the same. I know it seems daunting, and the prospects of rejections is a little terrifying at times …. but you should do it. Submit. Go for it.  We need diversity of voices in this genre – and you can bring that diversity – in your experience, in your style, in your own way. Do it. Submit. 

The worst thing that can happen is the editor says no. But guess what? Your skin is still on, and you’re still breathing. Look, I submitted to several places this month and here’s the results so far: 

  •  Feral: Rejection (no reason)
  • Versification: Rejection (no reason)
  • Trouvaille: Rejection (didn’t feel my work was right for them)
  • Floodlight: Rejected (no reason)
  • Sublunary: Rejected (isn’t right for their aesthetic)
  • Ample Remains (not a match)
  • Once Upon a Crocodile: Accepted
  • Claredon House: Accepted
  • Anti-Heroin Chic : Accepted
  • Vailent: Still waiting
  • 1870 : Still waiting

I honestly expect the remaining two mags to reject me – and that’s ok. Despite our best efforts – reading the submission guidelines, spending time reading through the issues to feel out whether or not your stuff matches with theirs and typing shit up – shit just happens.

I want to say this; even if you feel that your work would fit with a lit magazine after reading through the issues and they reject you … don’t take it personally. Aesthetic, theme, etc.  is subjective, and editors are going to pick what speaks to them (and what they like). And, again, THAT’S ok, too. You don’t like every writer’s shit, right? 

I want to make a distinction here, though. 

There is a large difference between style and technicality.  My style, for example, is minimalistic realism. I’m writing about shit that happens to me, without sugar coating it and without any flourish or embellishment. It’s one thing for an editor to not like your STYLE – it’s another thing if you can’t write for shit. 

So do it. Submit! Let’s celebrate the acceptances and rejections together.  And let me know in the comments what your experiences have been with rejections.

L

A Gentle Reminder | Life Updates

Hey guys and gals,

I just wanted to remind you that, come Sunday, I won’t be posting daily any more. Like I said in a previous post, I have a chapbook coming out later this year and want to focus on writing content exclusive to that. I also want to focus on submitting my work to more places – I’ve had some good luck so far, and want to see how far I can ride that train. It’s kind of a morbid curiosity 😉

There are also some other avenues that I want to venture forth on – namely expanding my presence on Instagram (my poems are posted there with some visuals) – maybe starting a Patreon and …. my friend is trying to convince me to go on Tic Tok which, I gotta say…just makes my skin crawl. Either way, I’ll let you know what’s happening.

Rest assured, I WILL continue to post here – just not daily. I’m thinking maybe 2 or 3 times a week – maybe more or less depending on how I feel. In the meantime, I invite you to go through the archives – there are just under 90 poems here…. which is kind of mind blowing to me in a way.