'Take me to tokyo where the lights may blind me' by Stuart Buck is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘take me to tokyo where the lights may blind me’ by Stuart Buck, a regular contributor to Write Out Loud. In a quick Q&A Stuart said his principal poetic influence was Charles Bukowski, adding that “other than family, poetry is the driving force in my life”. He also said that Write Out Loud, “the work it showcases and the feedback you get from all types of poets, is the main reason my writing has improved”.



Is poetry an important part of your life and can you remember when and why it became so?

Poetry is a huge part of my life. I got to it fairly late on, only about three or four years ago (I am 31 now), mainly due to the classics being taught to me in quite a monotone way during school. I think that put me off. I started writing haiku after a stress-related illness had me off work and after submitting a few and getting good feedback I tried some longer work. I would say other than family, poetry is the driving force in my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s such a wonderful, cathartic way to get the bad stuff out of you and translate it in to something people might enjoy reading.


If you could only have one poet’s work to read (desert island book) which one would you choose and why?

Charles Bukowski. He is as controversial a figure as you can get but his books were the first I read from cover to cover and really connected with. He found beauty in a world that many of us would never even survive and I think that is the truest form of poetry. His writing style also helped ease me in to a subject that I had previously found impenetrable.


How do you think your poetry style has changed since you started writing?

Well it’s definitely got better!, I think, excluding haiku, my first attempts at longer poems were genuine, maybe too revealing and showed very little skill in terms of language and structure. I do sometimes read them back and frown/redden. I'd like to say here and now that this site, the work it showcases and the feedback you get from all types of poets, is the main reason my writing has improved. That and absorbing every poem I could for three years!


Do you perform your work and if so, what advice would you give to other poets like yourself just starting out? If not, do you plan to perform in the future?

Yes I perform fairly regularly at open mics and little festivals. The best advice I was ever given came from our very own Laura Taylor which I shall attempt to recall word for word:

Practice - this is really vital, I went in cold the first time and it knocked my confidence and my hubris. Don’t drink - Alcohol detaches you from your words whether you notice or not. Definitely drink afterwards, though! Take deep breaths, before or during - people are there to listen to you, they will appreciate you more if you take your time and enjoy yourself.


What inspires you most when gathering material for new poetry?

I absolutely love reading something that kicks me in the gut or makes me appreciate something in a new light. If I want to write something, the first thing I do is spend an hour or so reading through the latest issues of magazines, old books I forgot that I wrote and Write Out Loud, as the quality of work on here is often superior to the stuff you find in “reputable” journals. I also find the happier I am within myself the darker my writing gets and vice versa, so it all depends on my mindset at the time.




by Stuart Buck 


I am smoking in bed and reading an article about 

The human soul weighing the same as a cigarette 

While my daily allowance of untapped clamor 

Forms snow like crusts on the eggshell sheets 

How do people keep it together in this world 

When only sleep winds back the ball of yarn 

That unravels slowly throughout the day 

A wet thread of fatigue that snakes through my house

There are sounds that only occur in silence 

A childs tears drying on shellshocked cheeks 

The days sneak under the sun, over the moon 

People knock on my door and tell me about jesus 

How he died for my sins and is waiting for me  

He must have died a thousand times 

For what I did to you 

Curly hair matted with sweat 

Discord on the radio





◄ Kate Tempest on shortlist for £5,000 Costa poetry award

Centres of Cataclysm, 50 years of Modern Poetry in Translation, Bloodaxe ►


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suki spangles

Thu 1st Dec 2016 23:04

Another belter Stu. I also really enjoyed reading your interview. I have said this to you before - I am a sucker for titles, and if a Poem Title of the Week existed I'm guessing you would have won a few times. Some of them pure Captain Beefheart!!

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Stu Buck

Thu 1st Dec 2016 16:02

thanks both!

laura - you need to join the hubris club. we get a badge and everything!

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Laura Taylor

Thu 1st Dec 2016 13:43

Hurrah! And hurray! DOUBLE HURRAH! About bloody time 'n' all ? Beltin' poem this!

Aww, ta for the mention chuck. I never use the word 'hubris' though I did tell you to practise ? Do you mean that YOU went in cold? Tsk. Now you have learned much, grasshopper ?

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Emer Ni Chorra

Wed 30th Nov 2016 19:10

Wonderful poem Stu and well deserved poem of the week. Keep up the great work, I enjoy reading your pieces. ?

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Stu Buck

Wed 30th Nov 2016 15:14

thanks dom, much appreciated.

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Dominic James

Mon 28th Nov 2016 20:40

Well done Stu, those first two lines open the book for me, a beautiful content settling in to thought. Where else is that easy, complete style... shall I compare thee to a summer's day? no, of course not. Keep them coming.

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Stu Buck

Mon 28th Nov 2016 16:24

thanks guys! i'm genuinely made up with these comments, its because of the feedback i have received on my work through the last couple of years that i feel i have grown as a writer.

poetry is something i take very seriously and i always try to write from the heart. i'm really glad this piece resounded with so many people and i look forward to getting back to writing, contributing and commenting more freely once i have finished this bloody awful book i have decided to write.

you are all too kind!

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Mon 28th Nov 2016 12:24

Justifiable matricide Stu. Blindingly great in so many ways. You should now have a badge for POTW - they should really make those, just have a whip round! Some fine comments on the blog site and I am so pleased for you they are justifiably right . All the ingredients of angst and a sort of pleading for resolution make this a very personal offering. Wonderful lines, weaving thoughts as they come.



Sun 27th Nov 2016 23:36

..just thrilled to see this here. I have to agree with Graham--I look forward with special anticipation to reading each piece you post.

Much deserved recognition to you, Stu.


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Martin Elder

Sun 27th Nov 2016 20:07

Many congratulations Stu. Not before time. You are an excellent poet and this just showcases your work. I am glad to see you going from strength to strength. Keep on keeping on.
I look forward to more


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Graham Sherwood

Sun 27th Nov 2016 19:15

I can't agree with Robert. There's so many good words in this I'd finish up critiquing the whole damn thing. The soul and the cigarette are brilliant but the last six lines do it for me.
I think you're justly one of WOL's best writers Stu. As Robert says, keep it real?

<Deleted User> (13762)

Sun 27th Nov 2016 15:01

Congratulations - a worthy POTW winner in any given week. My two favourite lines from this piece by a long chalk:

When only sleep winds back the ball of yarn
That unravels slowly throughout the day

Robert Mann

Sun 27th Nov 2016 12:23

Stu - personally don't think this one ranks among your personal bests, but its decent enough! Congratulations on the 'accolade' of POTW. Stay real.

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