My Poetry Blogging in 2015 (A Year Here, in Review)

Hey Folks,

So the WordPress stats-helper computer-monkeys were kind enough to prepare a 2015 annual report thing for my poetry blog/website. Now while I do prefer the words, numbers also mean things (at least from time to time). As such, here are some fun highlights from my writings this past year.

HARD NUMBERS:

  • Number of Views: 5,916
  • Number of Visitors: 2,899
  • Biggest Referrer: Facebook (with 1,509 hits)
  • Number of Likes: 465
  • Number of Posts Published: 122
  • Number of Comments: 84
  • THE TAKEAWAY: Put your stuffs out there so it can be found!

And now that science has been sated…

SOFT NUMBERS (with fun analysis):

  • Fun fact: Everything I posted this year got at least 3 views!
    • [I’d like to thank my mom, my brother, and my rotating cast of 3 friends who regularly read my stuff for pulling this off as a team.]
  • I viewed my own page more than 4,000 times. #Vanity?
    • [Doesn’t count toward total views, imaginary haters. :P ]
  • People from 68 different countries read my shit.
    • [Mostly my American homies. Gotta up my international game next year, it seems.]
  • This particular poem of mine — “To The Rich White Frat Boys I’ve Been Mistaken For” — got the most attention (152 total views).
    • [Y’all liked those heavy buzzwords, huh?]
  • Thursdays at 10pm is when y’all like to get your poetry digitally fed to you.
    • [Not sure why, but this bit of info tickled me the most.]
  • My site’s busiest day was July 17th (131 views), which was when I had my first major publishing on Rattle.
    • [My milkshake brought all the boys to the yard, at least once.]
  • My gratitude for your readership and support: BOUNDLESS.

Thanks for reading, folks. And here’s to looking forward to a bigger, better, and more poetic year come 2016!  [clinks drinks with self]

— Justin / LWM

 

It’s Apping Season, Y’all

Pavement Poet (Flickr, Daz Smith)
[Photo Credit: Flickr / Daz Smith]

Hey Folks/Readers/Writers/Supporters/Mom,

Just a quick note here to let you all know that I’m standing on the edge of the grad school pool once again, preparing myself to dive headfirst into the application process a second time.

(So if I have a posting hiatus, please do forgive and understand. I’ll try to share new word things again with the world once all my digital app pigeons have departed on their separate journeys. And if I’m kind of out of it, gone from the world, or wrapped up in my own for the next 2 weeks, know that it’s me, not you, and that I like food and beer and would love to grab either/both with you after the app season has passed.)

But, know that I’ve been training these damn pigeons all year for this. I’ve put in a shit ton of hard work this past year — like writing 120+ new poems, taking a handful of writing classes (poetry and otherwise), reading a bunch of books (poetry and otherwise), performing around Atlanta and elsewhere, and even having things published in real-life journals — to better my odds of beating the odds. Like the literal 5-7% acceptance rate odds. Like “as hard as getting into med school” kind of odds. Like “damn son, you crazy” kind of odds. Here’s to hoping that maybe the crazy will be enough this time around.

And know that I’m extremely grateful for all my friends, family, and mentors who’ve helped me along in this process, each in their own ways. Despite our preferred love of alone time, us writerly folk do like the companionship, too, and you’re good people.

Catch y’all on the flipside.

— Justin / LWM

(P.S. – If you’ve got any good resources about MFA Creative Writing apping to share, please send them my way!)

Gap Teeth (for Uzo Aduba)

#105 - Gap Teeth (Motherjones.com)
[Photo Credit: MotherJones.com]

Growing tired of my persistence,
my mother sat me down.
Uzo, I will not close your gap.
These American braces are not for you.

You have my family’s teeth, the wide signature
of our village, our Nigerian home.
People know us by our gap.
No, they revere us for it –
our sacred sign of beauty,
of royalty and intelligence.

Others pine for it,
pray so desperately to have it,
but they weren’t blessed to be born
with our family’s perfection.

Our pride, our history
is in our mouth,
and this new country’s standards
will never leave teeth marks in you.

Something Like a Love Letter for the Geography Bee State Champion

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA
[Photo Credit: Flickr / Sherri Lynn Wood]

If sole has never touched soil,
then these shifting grounds might as well
be ocean waves lost at sea.

In high school, I dated the geography bee state champion –
a girl who’d earned her accolades by studying
the topographies and histories of countries she’d never seen.

If I have not climbed your mountains, have not swum your depths,
have not tasted of your bazaar, then how can I be trusted
to trust myself to love you from afar?

She could recite a random nation’s capital, square mileage, and population,
but ask her how the pineapples taste in Belize, and when she would say “the same
as they do in America,” she would be wrong, and state champions are rarely wrong.

If I have not known you, then it’s hard to love you,
to find your face on the map, finger tracing your ridges,
to stumble over your rigid limits, remembering your imaginary lines –
as made up and irrational as nationalism.

But I, too, have been wrong like a champion – too content to sit
on stone walls and point fingers at foreigners, eyes wide and watching
as my small existence meant nothing to her,
another lost grain of sand on the seafloor.

If there is a gap in my love, and my knowledge of it,
then remind me how to walk again, show me
what broken steps to place where so I may behold you
like you were always meant to be held.

I thought I’d love her, like them, for being other,
but I’ve always been stoic and silent as they crumbled –
never able to point out where in the world,
and how far, they had fallen.

Night Ships Docking

[Photo Credit: Flickr / Ryan Lowry]
[Photo Credit: Flickr / Ryan Lowry]

When she leaves me again this morning,
this I in me will be more forgotten,
and her absence shall harbor frozen rings
around the worn port of prima noctem.

So many ships have passed me in the night,
the light in my eyes ushering them all
to safe shelter for their hearts, and then plight
dashed like promise upon sheer-faced rock wall.

How many sailors has she been with now?
How many tavern wenches have I?
When we dock here this evening, will her brow
raise like her tattered sails as day is nigh?

The sun shines, I remind myself not to care –
our sea was always meant to be shared.

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." — Henry David Thoreau

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