Friday, November 30, 2018

Odd Jobs & the #WritingCommunity

Odd jobs will always be a thing that writers will have to deal with.  Writing doesn't always pay the bills, and friends with ends to lend, ain't always around.  In this new age of self/desktop/immediate publishing, there is still the need for the odd or creative way to gain financial independence.  Some of these odd jobs may include bus driver, campground host, hotel clerk, cutting hair, or substitute teaching.  Whatever you do, it's suggested that you find a job with a high wage, so you can do it part time.

For me, I've found working in education and human services/mental health fields to be rewarding financially.  At times each have not been rewarding emotionally.  In education I deal with youth, it can be hard, they can be lazy, and everyone makes bad decisions.  Mental health has it's moments too; intense situations, arguing patients, issues with family members, etc. etc. etc.

However recently I put out a tweet I didn't expect to get much from.  But there it was, writers from

all over talking about their wonderful and/or horrible side gigs.  I am still amazed, still in awe; to date there have been over 8000 impressions and counting.  Now I'm not sure if that's viral (probably not) but it does make me feel damn good about the wonderful #WritingCommunity on Twitter!!

I mean there were teachers, SPED teacher, professors, field engineers, HVAC technician, legal assistants medical assistants and students of all kind!

One person checked in and said they worked in hell (ha!)  Not really, their hell was a call center; but if it had goats, then it would be a different story.  There was another who said he was a male dancer--I understand, it takes all types. There were even some lobbyist (for non-profits), and sufferers of PTSD and CPTSD. There was even a guy there who like me, who busted out two jobs--think he was a firefighter and doing construction.

Connections are amazing!  They are the beginnings of our stories, or little reminders that we are not alone, or reads that make us chuckle, then get back to the grind.  It is good to know that the community is strong, and though there are obstacles (like hellish jobs) we continue to write.  We continue to imagine, continue to write, continue to connect with each other in weird and wonderful ways. 

So keep banging out those odd jobs, pay the bills, and write till the blood in your veins is nothing more than the word you have left on your paper.  I go by poet402, and I approved this message!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

This is father-hood

It is 16 hour days split between two jobs; a classroom full of teens, and a milieu full of crazy--schizophrenic patients to be p.c.  It is a toddler who was a preemie, who you can't say no to, even when she says 'ma-ma' with a French accent repeatedly.  It is 25 minutes in the morning, 50 minutes in the afternoon, and about  40 minutes past 11, smoking wonderful cigarettes behind the drivers seat of a 99 Cadillac, riding.

This is father-hood.

There is no such thing as time off, no such thing as true rest, no such thing as me time.  It's no longer about me.  It's about the girls.  By the time old number 19 rolls in right after 20, there will be three. Two under 2, one over 18 (have no worry that's the beautiful wife), and my old ass, the only man in the house, with locs graying with each giggle, thud and diaper change.

This is father-hood.

The house is constantly rockin',  me up at 6:30 (if lucky), gone by 6:55; Mom coffee at 7:15 (if lucky) then it's toddler time.  PT, OT, up the steps, down the steps, waddle waddle waddle, play-date, lunch time, laundry, and if she's lucky, the toddler naps.  There are texts at lunch, sometimes a call, sometimes face-time on the road to "crazy", but rarely there is time for us.  I miss her, and at times thinks she misses me, when she has the time; we play dominoes sometimes, and other times shadows touch gently behind closed doors.

This is father-hood.

There is Saturday morning when she gets to wake up, and I am there.  The soft da-da wrapped in a toddling French accent is there, bright and early on a day I could sleep in.  But I haven't heard that da-da live in 5 days, so it's like ice cream for my ears.  I am always happy to hear that sound. Usually tired, usually wanting more sleep, or time alone, I am happy to see her face, and have coffee with mom.  Time is like a T-Rex bone, you don't run across that shit every day.  Saturday mornings are good times.

This is father-hood.

It is ensuring the roof, the lights, the heat, the floor, and fluffy blankets (more for comfort than warmth), are there.  It is enjoying smiles other than your own, all under one roof.  It is knowing things could have gone another way; being happy it didn't, even when times are bleak, or when emotions are angry.  It is missing mom and baby's face, as pay days create waves that bring us closer to "forever houses".  It is easy and not, responsibility and being silly, learning for her, mom, and me; it is joy.  It is something I thought I knew but never had a clue.

It is the best position I will ever hold.

This is fatherhood.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Gonna Edit My Smile Back

Lines from edited and unedited's my poetry, I'll do what I like

is rarely golden for
any artist--
especially one, infatuated, elated, & motivated
by word play, tones &
For every action...
Would love to give you
2 bits of poetry,
2 bits of can--
be convoluted in can't so much
you'd be giving me
one helluva hand...
I've been celebrated & cherished;
corrupted, co-opted, & hated
But when I look in the mirror
I can still see greatness...
We work,
like ants marching
from recently used picnic grounds,
with gathered particles of nutrients
nestled on our backs...
Renew the belief
& grab the pad &
never left, just sat back
in shadows.
Now's the time
to be--

When those final winds
come whipping down, you thought you had it
But that cream came rising to the top
toppling your dreams...
And life changed
as the country changed
and the ship that
seemed to Hope,
couldn’t float, and like waves
we took to the street—...
would not adequately describe
the feeling
if a conversation ensued about:
being rooted, or
belief, or extension of belief
or, or life’s journey, or progressive thought &
perceptions, or commitment...
For we are
the people,
& poets, protestors,
& victims of 
amassed by 
factors, the federal gov'ment

Monday, October 15, 2018

Poetry. Yep, Just Poetry

Untitled (10/12/18)

Ask me if I care today
But only
if you’re seeking honesty;
For I can & will be blunt
like a downtown Denver dispensary
w/adversarial undertones
tied to sharp knives
just to dig under your skin.
Today ain’t the day for
sun-rays & laid back,
“nothing bothers me today”
response to the masses…
Today asses is grasses
& giggling psychotics can
get on their knees &.....

Some days we want to quit, & say
fuck it, I give in.
But the little pieces of our soul
which was broken in bad situations says:
fuck That.
We are here to play on!
So we say
play on,
to overplayed miserable marriages,
& do it for the sake of
forsaken children.
We say play, on
to power plays played by
erratic employment bosses
in un-winnable situations of
under-value & faux appreciation.
Play on lil playa,
see, we play for keeps,
so you can keep
lazy, foul,
excuse riddled reasons for
failure in your mother’s pocket-book.

Because it is not our job to
work harder for your success
than you will.

There are days,
when we wake and are like
fuck this, fuck that;
and other days
just before we slumber and we’re like
to hell with that; tomorrow will be here
with new sun rises,
new rotations.

But it is us, who will be
stagnant, or
It is us who will taste sweet flavors,
or savor the bitterness
of defeat.

So today I rock me,
uncaring with contorted face from
insufferable flavors, knucked deep
on my tongue.
Accepting my despair, but not
moving in, not getting
comfortable, not unpacking and
living there.  Just
having a small cup of coffee,
rising up from the hole
I created…
then moving on

Untitled (Completed sometime this month)

4:30, eyelids getting heavy
like they are
enormous boulders on eyelashes
Energy crashing; need
caffeine pick-up like
pick-up line partyers
use when nose candy
goes scarce.
But this ain’t about those stairs;
we get high in different ways.
Blaze up that app
& place peepers on
numbers representing
phat bank accounts.
We work twice
for the amount.
Don’t need no accolades
just make sure that
full amount hits direct deposit
on pay-days &,
that way, we won’t
have no problems.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Why I Am With The Movement #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha

A few years back, I was at work (on Twitter) and it happened to be Sunday.  I came across a hashtag that was blowin' up my timeline.  It was #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha I was immediately intrigued, because so many people were hashtagging and posting.  So I started to check out the post, and to my surprise, they were all these super positive, uplifting quotes--and I LOVE quotes!

Since my curiosity was peaked, I wanted to know who Marsha was, and if I wanted to be a part of this "movement".  So I decided to follow her and check her tweets out, peep her website, and all that.  Come to find out, she's a entrepreneur, author, and brand influencer (and she was a
black lady with a English accent--nice!)  

I was sold. Tweeting out positive messages on life, leadership, being an entrepreneur; these were all things I could relate to.  At the time I was a supervisor at an all girls youth treatment facility--and positivity was at a premium.  After doing research on the hashtag, the one rule was that you could not tweet about yourself or you business etc.  It was just positivity for the sake of positivity and upliftment.  So I got on the bandwagon and started tweeting out positive quotes.

The result was AMAZING.  Not only was I getting retweets and all that, I was getting followers, and started engaging with them. However, I think the best thing about it was that I started feeling good on Sundays, and that energy reverberated to my staff, and Sundays got better. 

So I stay pushin' positive messages out there to folks.  I am an entrepreneur, a author, a leader, and tweeting out #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha reminds me of that, and the responsibility that comes with it.  So on Sunday tweet, get involved with the movement.  And if you get chance before that, give a shout out to @marshawright and give thanks to a lady who is doin BIG thangs to make us better.    

Thanks Marsha!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Most Horrible Book Titles

Good Day Writers!

I come to you today, hoping that all is well and wonderful in your world.

Now, on to the real stuff.

Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Have you ever had to come up with a striking title?
Have you ever failed miserably with titling your book?
(Ever have auto-correct fix tittling for titling?)

Of course you have because You're A Writer, or Aspiring Writer, or Someone Who Is Curious About Writing, or...just a great person who saw a link on social media (probably Twitter) and decided to click on it.  And yes I know, that was a run-on sentence, and you should not begin a sentence with the word 'and'.

But this blog is about Horrible Book Titles.  

These titles have not been Googled, I came up with them all by myself, so if one is the actual title of a book, my apologies.  It is not my intent to ridicule any other author or writer.

I've been thinking about doing a poetry book
               --well uh, yeah, you're calling yourself "Poet402" all over social media--Clarence!

So the poetry book will have different topics, but one topic that will be explored will be (drumroll please!)....Mental Health.  If there appears to be a theme within the list, that is why.

1. Shattered Dreams
       -This one fits on one of my planes of thought, however it leaves the remainder of the planes high and dry.  Plus I actually have a chapbook out there called Shattered, and I have a thing about going back and re-using stuff.  (titles at least)

2. Un-Liberated
       -This one just feels off, it feels off poetically, it feel like it misses the target.  But some how I like the Liberated portion and thought it would go good after an "Un".  Boy am I wrong.  However part of me feels that this book will be liberating for me, at least in some ways. But Un-Liberated? No terrible— NEXT!

3. True Marketer’s Guide to Independent Wealth (not really, it’s a poetry book)
-Now while I love the sarcastic tone of this title. I just know it’ll never work, plus someone has probably already titled a book like that deep in LuLu’s database. However if you’re reading this with the knowledge that it doesn’t exist anywhere (even the bowels of LuLu’s database) just PayPal me 5 bucks like I’m on fivver & we’ll call it square💕

4. High Fives with Four Fingers
-I came up with this title while at work. Now I wish I could say I had no idea what I was thinking, but unfortunately do know. We all want success, however we're all crippled by one thing or another; we all want high fives (success) but most of us only have four fingers (crippled). In the mental health field, there are always some type of hurdle our clients or patients have, and the same is true of us. We want success, but we have a drinking problem, or a fear problem, or we just don't believe in ourselves. It's not the worst, but still it's pretty horrible unless one can read into the title. And let's be clear, some won't and it'll be a loss.

5. Past, Present, & Future Lives In-Between the Lines
-Once again, a reference to life book title. I've been considering doing a poetry book that has chronicled my life through poetry. Sometimes I can create some pretty good life lessons through my verses. But ultimately I don't like this title because it's long and wordy. 

6. It Ain't Got to Rhyme to be Good Like Grey Goose
-A part of me really likes this a lot. It's reminiscent of my "Chicken Soup & A Shot of Jack" title. I think that's why I'm feeling it. It's of the vein of an "Alcoholic" series I've done with my spoken word work. However, in the end I don't think people will connect with it the way I want folks too...moving on.

7. Off My Rocker Rhythms
-This is not the worst, but still not the best. I think it fits the subject matter of the poems, but I'm also fearful that people will be offended by it. And I want them to at least pick up the book and be offended by some of the poems (lol)

8. It's Madness Not Metered Lines
-This one is a bit of a dig at the writing, and editors, and publishers. Poetry can be very snobbish, as can be editors and publishers. Not many people publish poetry books because historically they just don't sell, and when you couple the subject of mental health--it's a loser. Now granted making money is not a top concern, but I would like for this book to do well, so yea, "Madness & Metered Lines" I feel is a loser--NEXT!

9. Ranting and Rooting. It's OK To Be Me
-I really like the sentiment of this title, because I actually had someone refer to my poetry as ranting. And like every other poet and writer I've been criticized for a multitude of reasons. But I still have people root for me, and ultimately, I know, it's ok being me. Sometime you need to express that to others...but this may not be the right time and circumstance.

Well that's the list folks!  Hope you had fun reading and what-not.  And if you feel like I've made a mistake, and you really like one of the titles, please drop a comment, hit me up on Twitter and let me know.  I'm trying to not for the pure satisfaction of writing, I want to gain a following and have that following enjoy what is put out!  So hit me up and....have a great day!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The "Real" Mental Health Worker

I am.  One of the most powerful phrases in the english language.  A declaration to the world of where one stands. I am, an acknowledgement of presence, solid and stable in situations, prepared for whatever comes down the line. I am going to have patience, I am going to be safe, I am going to positively change lives, I am going to be successful. 

And I am, going to work with the mentally ill.

We are contracted by states, non-profits, and rarely, families to work with people with mental illness, and emotional issues.  We work in facilities, on units, in hospitals, and of course in the milieu. The milieu is where it happens; where frustration occurs, where request are made, and needs are met, where arguments appear, and resolution happens.  We are the counselors, mental health workers, mental health clinicians and nurses.

We are always there 24/7/365, we never rest. At times it feels like we disregard and neglect those
closest to us, because of “the job”.  It is tiring and frustrating; hard work with not enough pay, and makes us consider quitting every day. But we don’t, we try to repair our “outside” relationships while maintaining the ones we are paid to care for, along with co-workers.  We are the relationship gurus of the galaxy, juggling emotional support, with patience, and a willingness to do “the heavy lifting”.

We’re on the bottom, at times our opinion doesn’t matter because we’re the ‘worker bee’.  When the concrete of stability (the meds, the therapies, interaction with social workers) is being poured, we’re the wooden slats keeping everything in one place, safe and secure.  We’re knee deep in disaster at all times with the belief that we will help to make it better. 

We do not promise to cure, but we bust our butts to help our patients recover from their acute, mental illness. We understand the power in collaboration, listening to each other, and communicating, to decrease manipulation, and to remain safe in the milieu.    

The average shift is eight hours, ours routinely feels like 12.  We deal with the ridiculous, the repetitive request from unbalanced individuals way past office hours, and we always work when acuity is high.  We have to set the limit, to ensure not only safety, but healthy boundaries, both physical and mental. Being helpful is not hard, but being of service to someone, sometimes feels like being in service to them.  I am not your servant. Tensions seem to always run high. If it’s not the patients or clients, it’s members of the team, not getting along, not communicating correctly, being unprofessional, or creating a hostile workplace.  It’s psychologically draining at times, finding shovels to dig deep enough to finish the shift.

Easy it is to equate our efforts to little or none, we are after all, 
the worker bee.  

The one who holds down the milieu, who sets the structure, who uses the word no, who sets the limit.  The one who works the closest with the patient, or the client. At times we advocate for advancement of our patients, or residents, and it falls on deaf ears. At times we feel like a shoelace, holding everything together, but getting none of the credit for keeping the beauty of the shoe.

We know our clients, our patients; know their quirks, their likes, triggers, and things they despise. They've cursed us out, threatened us, pulled out our hair, broken our glasses, and assaulted us with bodily fluids. But we`ve also joked, and smiled, laughed, and stood up for each other. We’ve played card games, shared stories, and hugged each other in difficult times.  Staff and client, client and staff, it's a kind of relationship that is tolerated at times, appreciated at others, and misunderstood in the middle.

I am because we are. No one heals alone, and we all are worthy of help.  We are worthy of acts of kindness, and acts that keep dignities in tact. When struggle comes who will be the one to lend a hand, or have an uplifting comment--will it be you?  We know belief, understand it, lean on it, and at times breathe it. At times belief is all there is; for patents,
clients, co-workers, and self. 

We believe they will get better, we believe they will discharge, and have an improved life. It is because of this belief that we work in uncertain situations, risking health and healthy relationships, in order to better the lives of our fellow human beings.

I am because we are.  And we are all together in this.  If we are not, then this (whatever “it” is or is not) does not work.
But it works, because cooperation is there, trust is building, and meaningful relationships are the shoes that can walk through hell.

Mental Health Matters.