Performed by Michelle Alexander
Get to know the poet:
What is the theme of your poem?
It’s meant to be internalized: Learn from life’s lessons. Don’t repeat the same energy-draining and futile cycles that put you back where you started every time. There’s a different way. Don’t resist life which can seem tumultuous on the surface and in the external, and don’t be a slave to voices of fear posing as you in your thoughts to guide you. Don’t stay in your comfy shallow end where you are barely alive. Plunge into the deep waters i.e. Life to find the peace beneath the chaos, exposing the lies on the surface. The chaos will pass over you like a wave you dive beneath. It’s hard to swim out into the water when you try to run through breaking waves or jump over them. Dive underneath them and let them pass over you. As a metaphor for life, when you do this, life doesn’t have to be such a struggle. As the apostle Paul said “But none of these things (his troubles) move me .”
He’d had an epiphany. The bolt of lightening striking down a water spout – which is a terrifying sight- a tornado reaching from the ocean to the skies is symbolic of a channel. I put “Lightening Rod” in parenthesis because the subject in the poem gets hit with a powerful realization from beyond. He becomes conducive to getting hit with a powerful charge of Light when he swims into the deep waters fearlessly.
How would you like people to respond when they read or watch your poetry reading?
However they want. If they really get it, and each section deals with different internal struggles, that’s awesome. Most people won’t, but some part may speak truth to them whether they totally understand why or not. It’s a contemplative poem, meant to be internalized. Even a poet, speaking for myself, doesn’t always know what their poems ultimately mean, nor does the wisdom in their poems reflect their ability to be an expert at practicing what comes through in the process. So I’m as much a contemplating reader as anyone else. I just happen to be the channel this one came through.
How long have you been writing poetry?
Everyone writes poems in class when they are children. I was very good at it as far as winning best in class or being sent to some conference when forced by a teacher to write it. I only use it now when I am procrastinating writing my novel or as a warm up to writing it. I am speaking to people who think you have to be some bookish kid who wrote in journals from the time they were in diapers to pursue writing. If it’s a calling it’s a calling. If you have talent you have talent. We can a hone our talents for sure.
I never did any of that with poetry, though a novel is a different animal which requires help and guidance. A nagging voice to write never left me and so I finally decided to shut the voice up and pursue it. I don’t work at it (poetry) it’s just something that comes very easily to me. I don’t put any effort into becoming a master poet. Some people can paint without effort or play the piano brilliantly without formal lessons or practice. I can just do this for reasons I can’t explain. It’s natural.
Do you have a favorite poet?
Honestly I don’t read a lot of it. My life philosophies are very similar to Coleridge and Emerson. I love Kubla Khan though I haven’t a clue what it means and neither does anyone else. It just says something true I can’t quite grasp. And I love that. It hits me. Whoever truly wrote the Emerald Tablet, that is an epic deep poem someone could spend a lifetime studying. Isaac Newton and many others transcribed that thing. It resonates with Truth.
And let’s not forget music. Pink Floyd, especially for me, wrote beautiful and contemplative lyrics. Philosophical. Bob Dylan is a poet. The ideas in lyrics and the beat and melody of a song often directly influence poems like this. Without a particular Pink Floyd song, I wouldn’t have written this poem. I sort of spun it off tangentially from one word of a song. So don’t forget the lyricists who are poets and the musicians who they are in synch with. A lop of rappers are amazing poets as well.
What influenced you to submit to WILDsound and have your poetry performed by a professional actor?
Sounded fun. I saw that WILDSound would accept poems for free, they’ve written phenomenal reviews for a short screenplay of mine “Cuckold Picasso” which is a short film on the festival circuit doing quite well. I was curious to see how well I measured up with others who submit poems. I have a confidence, not a cockiness, about writing skills. I was testing their validity haha.
Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?
I’m revising my first novel. I wrote the 128k word first draft in ten months last year. I’ve written a short film script (it’s a film now) and I will write a feature film based on the novel when I’m finished with it. And yes, I used my poetry in the short film which I did not expect to do. And I love that, and they are the best lines in the film. It’s not a short film thats a poem reading. I worked a couple lines into the dialogue and it adds a powerful creepy element to a disturbing scene.
What is your passion in life?
Seek out and do that which is a little scary for me. I want to connect with people through my talents as a writer, poet and filmmaker. To communicate things that resonate universally. I want to connect to the Almighty. Last year, writing my manuscript, I realized that writing brought me closer to God. My novel is very dark, my short film is dark. But there is always a light there. Writing a novel involves a lot of trust especially when you’ve never done it. Staring at a blank screen and trusting that something will come through is critical. So it’s spiritual for me, even if I’m writing about horribly violent things. Things I’m dragging into the light subconsciously then consciously. Poetry is very much like that.
I’m not the source of any of it, it’s the truth. The best thing for me is to stay very humble and grateful when I get 500 pages when I wasn’t sure if I could write 50. Once the ego gets in the way, and I start thinking it’s me, I’m toast. That’s a personal philosophy. That’s when people experience writers’ block. I feel no pressure because my well-spring of creativity is eternal. Humility and gratitude are the keys.
So in life it’s connection (human and spiritual) and a strong desire to stretch the boundaries of my God-given talents. He planted the seeds. It’s my job to listen and act on my instincts. The little voice that tells us what to do. We need to listen to our gut more than our heads. Poetry helps me do that because it is very impulsive and I never set out to make some statement. I just write a line that is unrehearsed. Very simple. That it builds from there. The line doesn’t have to make sense either.