Do You Ponder Me Yet (Writing as Curiosity)

Photo taken from the WEB

Photo taken from the WEB

 

DO YOU PONDER ME YET?

When the rain ceases to guide
The exclusive waves to your concern,
Do you still ponder my good health?

When the scent of my estranged
Presence is lost in your nightmares,
Do you still ponder my whereabouts?

When the last remnants of ache
Dry upon your dehydrated cheeks,
Do you still ponder my embrace?

When the brave flames of ardor
Tire and powerful crackles resonate,
Do you still ponder my chaste warmth?

When the fine blades of your betrayal
Are nourished by my countless tears,
Do you still ponder my broken disposition?

© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity
ISBN: 978-1-312-46796-5
Published by Lulu.com and Spilt Ink Poetry

© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr. Writing as Curiosity ISBN: 978-1-312-46796-5 Published by Lulu.com and Spilt Ink Poetry.

© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity
ISBN: 978-1-312-46796-5
Published by Lulu.com and Spilt Ink Poetry.

Advertisements

Confessions of a Hopeless Romantic now available on Lulu.com!

© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr. Writing as Curiosity ISBN: 978-1-312-46796-5 Published by Lulu.com and Spilt Ink Poetry.

© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity
ISBN: 978-1-312-46796-5
Published by Lulu.com and Spilt Ink Poetry.

 

Good morning, Poets and Poetry Lovers! Today, Confessions of a Hopeless Romantic is officially available over on Lulu.com! And beginning in Mid-November, the book will be available for purchase on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com! Check it out now!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/charles-banks-jr/confessions-of-a-hopeless-romantic/paperback/product-21839154.html

Here’s the synopsis for the book:

“Classic poetic forms combined with the modern confessional of free verse, these poems inhabit succinctly woven rhymes, verses and stanzas while professing the profoundest faith in romantic love–entanglement, desire, erotic sharing and compulsion. This is a “hopeless confession” filled with the irony of hope in love. Soft, gentle, fearless and shameless admonitions of losing oneself in the other are no threat. The delusion and sacrifice towards the profession of love remain an insignificant pleasure. The confessions here return to Neruda’s erotic–loss of self parallels and postulates entirety. Love resonates as the opposite of self gratification and self preservation. There are no boundaries. A poet speaks in tandem with the ancient scribes of Egyptian Love Poems–sharing an exotic papyrus of altruistic love.”

*As Written by Poet Sonia Di Placido.

My Guardian Angel (for Simone)

thPhoto taken from the WEB

My Guardian Angel

I remember taking that dreadful one-mile walk thirty-seven times. Most of those mornings were sunny. Though, in my mind, they were the gloomiest, murkiest, and haziest of my life. I remember the building, modern in its outward appearance, and the uninviting smell once I entered. I remember the patients that sat in the lobby who greeted me with cheerful smiles. But I quickly learned that behind those forced, almost customary gestures of kindness, lingered specks of doubt that could never fully wane. I remember the array of colored candy in the glass jar on the counter next to the magazines about all things cancer. I remember the nurse calling my name and taking that long walk down the bright hallway filled with medical certificates and degrees and pictures of former patients on display. I wondered if all the plaques and certificates were supposed to somehow ease my anxiety, and if the pictures of former patients who had come back to offer thanks to the doctors were supposed to give me hope that this moment in time would eventually cease to exist, someday. I remember the darkened room where a large machine sat in the center, and the chill of the slab that was attached to the large machine, and that god-awful mask, perfectly molded for my face.

Every day that I endured radiation treatment, I clenched the side of the slab with my left hand. Somehow, this ritual brought me closer to my guardian angel, Simone. She lost her battle with cancer a year and a half prior to my diagnosis, and in witnessing her rapid deterioration, a part of me died with her. The other part endured a similar fight seventeen months later. Simone did not have many material possessions in this life, and the few she had were kept in a black backpack as she traveled from residence to residence. She did not have a ‘home’ in the typical sense. Sure, she had children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and sisters and brothers, and a host of friends and others she affectionately referred to as family. Simone and I connected when I was thirteen over a similar passion for books and tastes in music. I enjoyed how our casual conversations about the most mundane of things always turned into deep-rooted debates about life in general. She never judged me, just listened, and offered her suggestions. There were no proverbial walls, constructed by my utter distrust of people.

Simone was a cook at a small café in downtown Long Beach. And though she loved cooking at the café, she loved cooking for her friends and family even more. She cooked for her family on most every holiday. She had a gift for arts and crafts, always making homemade Easter baskets for her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She made the best homemade cheesecakes of all-time, too! Every year on my birthday, I sat and watched as she beautifully crafted a special one just for me. Her main ingredient was love, always love. No ulterior motives, no hidden agendas. Just love!
She taught me many lessons before and after she died. But the one that will sustain the tests of time, “You are not your condition!” She always said that. She never made excuses for herself, or allowed anyone to feel sorry for her condition. Simone was many things in her life: a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a friend. But she was my guardian angel. I held her hand thirty-seven times on that cold slab, donning that mask, that uncomfortable mask. And I always whispered to myself, “I am not my condition!”

by Charles Banks, Jr. (Poet/Writer)

Between Dusk and Dawn (Writing as Curiosity)

Photo taken from the WEB

Photo taken from the WEB

 

 

BETWEEN DUSK AND DAWN
 
If I should die
In the hours between
Dusk and dawn when
The silence of howling sea breezes
And melancholy of chirping crickets
Prevail—
I will sing a song of contentment
While sipping from a hot cup of tea
In my grandpa’s old rocking chair
By the open window.
 
© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity

Burdens Q & A (with Charles Banks, Jr.)

Burdens Q and A
with Charles Banks, Jr. (Author of Burdens)
 
dscf9476.jpg
 
 
1. What was the inspiration behind this particular project? There were a myriad of themes for Burdens. At its core, this chapbook of poetry is about loss—loss of identity, of naivety, of self. I think the speaker in this book is struggling to make sense of recent events. Black Angel is trying to use past experiences to make sense of his current frame of mind. For a lack of a better term, he’s become a zombie of sorts.
2. How did this particular project come to fruition? For the past five years, you have written primarily as Curiosity. In fact, your last three books have been penned as Curiosity. So why shift over to Black Angel for the first time since 2008 for an entire body of work? In hindsight, I wanted to explore who Black Angel’s voice was in poetry before I committed to another project. I was working on another piece of writing, and a couple of months into the process, the vision in my head did not match the writing. I was telling a different story than I wanted to. This particular writing told a far deeper story of lament and anxiety and discomfort.
3. Discomfort? In what way? Meaning a sense of being unsettled. It’s well chronicled now that I had cancer last year. I can’t think of anything else that would make one any more unsettled than a life-threatening disease. In the last year, I have tried to objectively, emphasis on ‘objectively’, analyze my life. I’ve learned some new things about myself. And I think some of those newfound realizations manifest themselves in Burdens.
4. How did you decide on the poem sequence for Burdens? Well, I like to focus on the beginning and end. Meaning, I like to choose the first and last poem initially, and work in the guts in between. I felt the most impressionable poems, the poems that wholly encompassed the book’s theme were “Bedside Vigil” and “Finale.” It’s interesting because “Bedside Vigil” was the last poem I wrote for the book, and “Finale” was the first poem I wrote.
5. How difficult is it to write about such an emotional, human moment in time like you did in “Bedside Vigil”? That was probably one of the easier poems to write. Though, it was difficult to determine how much detail was too much. I had a difference of opinions with my editor about specific details. She wanted more! But I wanted the focus of the poem on Tony, his fading grip on life, and the narrator and his early deterioration into regret.
6. How real is the moment you wrote about in “Finale”? It was very real to me. I’ve never spoken to someone who had contemplated suicide before about the experience. I can only reflect from my perspective. I wrote that during radiation treatment, which was the greatest test of wills in my life. I was mid-way through a 37 session treatment, and had lost a significant amount of weight. I went from 200 pounds to 126 altogether. I was depressed! The radiation had damaged my taste buds, so I stopped eating. I did not drink water either because it tasted like lead. So I ended up at the beach one night. I don’t remember how I got there. In my frailness, I walked two miles at 3 in the morning with a knife and a suicide note in tote, and I sat at an empty life guard’s post. And for that short window of time, I contemplated the idea of dying. At that moment in time, I did not want to live.
7. Why do you think you did live? The pros of living outweighed the cons. My life felt incomplete. I can say that because I was 24 at the time. I mean, whose life is really complete at 24? My narrative would be incomplete if I had died on that night. So I made a conscious decision, in the wake of the most unconscious moment of my life, to live. Sometimes, the act of living is a choice. I chose to live.
 
*Carla Westbrook
for Spilt Ink Poetry
 
Art by © 2014 by Fernando Gallegos
Art by © 2014 by Fernando Gallegos

Announcement (3/24/2014)

Announcement:

It brings me great disappointment to have to announce that I learned on Friday morning that my cancer has returned, this time in my right lung. As of now, the only method of treatment is chemotherapy. I want to first thank everyone for their support in the last year during my first battle with cancer. I will remain persistently busy with work at Spilt Ink Poetry, diligently helping poets publish their work, as well as attending college. I look forward to releasing Spilt Ink Poetry’s Inaugural Newsletter in April, as well as working on the (re)publication of Melissa Medina’s first book of poetry. I am also collaborating on an erotic chapbook of poetry with Elizabeth Castaneda. Further, I have also signed on as an editor for Melinda Cochrane International Motivational Magazine: Summer Edition, 2014.

As I mentioned, I will remain actively involved in publishing, and I will reign victorious in my second battle with cancer. Thank you all again for your continued support, friends, family, poets and poetry lover!

Respectfully, Charles Banks, Jr.

 

cropped-dscf9444.jpg

 

 

Beauty of Butterflies

I remember walking in haste
One sunny day in May,
As many of us often do—
Unattached from nature.
It was chance, I guess,
Or fate, I assume—though
I’ve always relied on the empirical,
That I stopped by this particular garden.
Rich in flowers and bushes,
It was like having an optical orgasm.
I fixated on a group of butterflies,
Five or six, resting on a bush with
Strange flowers. They were striking
Shades of red and purple and orange.
I found a connection with them.
“Maybe I am a butterfly!” I thought.
Maybe cancer is like the lifecycle of a butterfly.
Maybe my life before cancer is like
The caterpillar before the butterfly.
I remember smiling for the first time
In ages it seemed. I had something
To look forward to, life as a butterfly perhaps,
Colorful and vibrant, after the cocoon of cancer.

© 2013 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity
Published online at Cadence Collective: Long Beach Poets.

Solace (Writing as Black Angel)

Sad_Hoodie_Boy_by_consciousimage

 

Solace

To tune out the horrid sounds
of the outside world,
I will do anything!
It should be outlawed to openly discuss
celebrity tweets and political scandals.
Well, at least outside of coffee shops,
sports bars on Super Bowl Sunday,
and crowded Irish pubs on St. Patrick’s Day.
Such extraneous talk is not worth absorption.
I’ll settle for a dingy gray hoodie,
Beats headphones
blaring a symphony of Marshall Mathers
my encomium transmitters
of pertinent information
an outlet from impurity and bullshit.

© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Black Angel