'Take me to tokyo where the lights may blind me' by Stuart Buck is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week
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.
TAKE ME TO TOKYO WHERE THE LIGHTS MAY BLIND ME
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