Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Window To The World on Life of A Poet Week 17: A. B. Thomas

 Can you tell us about yourself?

 Some spend their life pondering what the core nature of man is; I spend my time lamenting the core un-nature of man…and attempting to find Nirvana within the cheesy nectar of the mighty chili cheese dog. I spent almost thirty years under the belief that my time upon this plane of existence was borrowed; merely a tool for others to use, much like a cruise missile – sure a person pushes the button but after that, what responsibility do they have for the course it takes if their measurements are a smidgeon off. I was told that by forty I would be nothing but a corpse collapsing back into the earth so I lived my life connected to the world but keeping a good distance from any depth that would cause anyone to notice that I was not there.  When I turned forty and discovered that no hellish, or angelic, depending on whom you talk to, had not punctured my chest and pulled from it my beating heart, I decided that perhaps the waking limbo of booze, carnal imbuement and impersonal relations was inane and pointless so set a new path away from the nothingness.  I am still terrible at the social aspect of being a part of society rather than on the edge of it; I am still far to blunt and I do tend to snarl “and what exactly makes you think that I won’t rip your head off and piss down your throat” when people continually pester me about the certainty I have of a course of action I wish to take, but on the flip side, I haven’t had to write a woman’s name on her breast so I would not have to call her “babe” the next morning…..

 Which country do you live in now? What’s your profession? be general, no need to specify your location...

I am proudly Canadian, though somewhat embarrassed by the actions of our federal government. To be more specific, I am an Albertan, which in Eastern Canadian terms assigns me the stereotype of being the gun totin’, moonshine swillin’, Gawd fearin’ hillbilly of the Canadian population. Eight months ago I could have stated what my profession is but at this point I suspect that it is not only me but my company as well that has no idea what I do.  We had a major re-structuring where it was ‘out with the old and in with the new’ – meaning new production staff and new office staff with only three of us ‘old guard’ left standing.  The other two were quickly placed in the new assigned ‘way of doing things’ but I have been left to amuse myself and drift without any designated position.  I’m not a salesman though I sometimes do sales; I am not the production manager but sometimes I tell the crew what to do; I am not shipping/receiving though I do it sometimes; I’m not the draftsman/engineer though sometimes I create the blueprints; I am not quality control but I do sometimes reject the products based on my own parameters. Some people may consider my lack of parameters as a dream job, but when there is a screw up anywhere, be it at the shop or on the job site, invariably the person they look to is me to explain what went wrong and a way to fix it.  Without being specifically designated what I am responsible for means that everything is my responsibility by default. Limbo is very draining, particularly on the creativity side when so much of my energy is spent on attempting to foresee and adjust for possible screw ups.  What I do know is that we are considered “oilfield supply sales and manufacturing”.

 We’re happy that you have been part of Poets Rally as a participant, what has driven you to where you are in this particular community? 

It is the art that drives me to wander the links in the community. My work immerses me in a world of black/white resolutes and linear direction.  I love how the different artists weave their words to create not only shades of grey but kaleidoscopes of thoughts, emotions, opinion and facts within a unique perception of interpretation.

How long have you been blogging? Do you think being part of a poetry community contributes to your creative writing?

It’s been a few years now, I think I did my first blog back in 2005.  I had stumbled upon Yahoo one night whilst drinking Bailey’s and coffee while pondering what kind of project I should do for an Early Childhood project. I don’t think that being part of the community doesn’t help the motifs or underlying tones of my writing but it vastly impacts the subconscious structuring and presentation of the pieces.  The primary allure of the community is to be exposed to so much creative talent, artistically articulated life experiences and perspectives that in my small corner of the world one just doesn’t come across.

Why poetry? Do you write fiction too?

Poetry for me is the here and now; a snapshot of my mindset which allows me to express a gamut of emotions without the onus of thought of who is reading it. The short stories, cartoons, novellas or articles I throw myself into have limitations of having to think of structure, the back story, ramifications of the present towards the future – poetry unleashes me from these thoughts.

Please share 3 to 5 blog links you enjoy reading most, give 1 or 2 sentences to tell why you love their creative process.

This is a hard one to give, mostly because I rarely stumble upon an artist that does not have something that appeals to some part of my psyche. But when push comes to shove….

I like the variety that he presents; there’s an air of mischievousness within the writing that gives the impression that he could at one moment be sitting around with a brandy snifter speaking about the high falutin’ stuff cultured folks tend to sit and ponder then the next moment be doing belly shots off a waitress.

I really like how there are so many layers within the write.  She is one of those artists that sometimes after I read I tend not to leave a comment because I feel that it would somehow bastardize the beauty of her work.

Like c.c. champagne, Chinmese is one of those artists I tend to hesitate to leave comments on.  There is such a delicious mixture of wanton waspishness, stern severity and an aura of wanting to understand even in pieces where the wording is expressing such a linear direction.

I’ve always had, uh, issues, with playing well with others – mostly when egos are in play so the actions taken are not always the best for all but most hospitable for one.  The folks at Subversify, Mitch, Karla and Grainne in particular, have never let their own views stop someone from expressing their opinion or creativity.  It is not often that poetry is published on Subversify but when it is, it is outstanding.  Subversify has also allowed me to experiment with Dr. Phal, writing humour and expanding my research skills with articles that I take an interest in.

 How do you know when a poem is done? your own experiences need to be shared here...

The moment that the words or the drawings leave my head and are splurted onto the page I consider the piece done.  Once it is down on paper it either gets discarded in its entirety or I end up typing it out.  I am not a very structured poet; I write about what my mind says I should at that particular moment and altering that moment is somewhat, in my belief, lessening what that moment is supposed to signify.  Most of the time a piece won’t make a whole lot of sense later on, but since I’m not capable of time travelling as of this minute, that piece encapsulates, no matter if it does appear trite, where my emotions and mindset were located at that given time.

 How do you decide when a poem is "good"? Do you redo your own poems after they’re posted? it could be poem someone else written...

This is a simple answer – I don’t know if it is good or not, I just know that it feels right.  There have been a few instances where I have looked at a piece that I have done and just got the pangs of regret but I don’t go back and revise it for the reasons stated above on knowing when a piece is done.

Do you think music and poetry are related? Why?

Everything is connected as long as there is a congruent flow through the mind, spirit and body of the person. Poetry and music, along with any artistic or creative effort, if not being directed solely for mass market digestion, it an extension of the person at that particular moment in time. If there is congruency, even if a person is flipping burgers for dinner has that rhythmic flow that most associate with music and poetry.

What issues are closed to your heart? Women’s rights, child abuses, etc.…name one…

This was a hard question to answer as the majority of the articles I write for Subversify are my outlet for concerns I have.  Before marriage and the boys I would have answered unequivocally that trials and tribulations of the Canadian First Nations peoples would be foremost on my mind, but with the marital status change came a change to looking at issues facing families, especially in terms of the education  system. I spent many a year being considered knowledgeable in identification and strategizing educational/social needs of people with disabilities – yet, as the former principal of the school the boys attend blatantly told me, I am just “a parent” and should keep quiet and let the professionals decide what is best for the boys.  When a child does ‘wrong’ in society, the first assumption that arises is that they must have had terrible parents, never what a terrible school system they must have been in. Should parents be responsible for their children? Of course, but once the children reach school age, particularly when that child has been labeled “special needs” the responsibility has to be spread to the other system that is influencing the values and beliefs, self esteem, self worth and where a child stands in society to the educational macrosystem from the family microsystem.  They say “you can’t beat the system” – but that is because the system attempts to have no face by using terms that take personal responsibility of teachers and educational administrators for the decisions and actions they take.

What’s your other hobbies besides writing? Do you have pets? Give us a picture if you own a pet.

Hobbies?  The only thing I do when I have a free moment lately is sleep!
I find myself struggling to find time (and lately losing) to write and with three very rambunctious boys with my wife expecting a baby girl in the middle of March, I’m too busy trying to survive long enough that sometime in the future my body may stumble upon the mind that was lost some time ago! I married an independent career woman (translation: grew up as daddy’s little princess who had magical elves and fairies who attended to her every need), the ramifications of this action has meant that the only domesticated pussy in the house is a slightly overweight and ornery cat named Jasmine that has left meal preparation, house sanitation maintenance and laundry left in my hands. I could get away with not doing any of the cooking but I’m pretty sure that the boys would soon get deathly ill from a strict diet of tuna sandwiches and “Kraft Mac and Cheese”, the two entrees that are the pinnacles of my wife’s cooking skills. After the household chores are done I tend to spend time with the boys.  Growing up I felt very isolated and distant from my family – emphasized by the fact that my father did not learn that I had been in a punk band when I was a teenager until about eight years ago – so I am attempting to circumvent the kids from feeling that way about me. It is not as easy as I thought it would be; the world is a far different entity than when I was their ages. My world was one of doing morning chores then expecting to disappear into the sun until night chores were to be done.  The boys are growing up in the world where not only does every strange car possess the capability of being the carrier of evil but even the sun is their enemy. I am a very outdoors kind of guy; thanks to mass media needing to terrify the public in order to get the ratings required for funding/advertising dollars, the boys are terrified of stepping out of artificial light. I had a single channel on the television; they have 345. I grew up with toys with the limits being your imagination; they have toys with detailed instructions on how the toys are to be used. Every once in a while I can convince the boys to play a board game or cards with me, but often our quality time is them kicking my butt on one of their many game consoles or watching one of their shows. By the time their bedtime rolls around, after getting everything set up for them the next day, my mind is completely fried. I’m thinking about a career change so perhaps if I find something that allows me not fixate so much on work related issues I will once again find the promised land of creativity that a miss oh so much.
As for pets, I mentioned before I have a cat named Jasmine and the wife and boys have what they tell me is a dog though I suspect it it may be a hamster force fed HGH named Oreo. Though I have not personally seen them, I have heard the ground thundering presence of a herd of elephants with the collective name of “I dunno” when I have asked the boys who was running down the hallways and dislodging knick knacks from the walls….

 Please list your blog links below, share 1 or 2 poems that represents best of your poetry talent…

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