Thursday, July 16, 2020

john compton : writing process

the sun peeks through the curtains. with this i know it's time to feed the dogs, all eight of them, and cats, four of those – and prepare myself for bed. we sleep with four of our dogs, my husband and i, so getting the covers ready and everyone in their spots is always delightful. i'm a night owl. the night is peaceful. i enjoy the peace night brings me.

i wake a few times to check on the puppies. the fear of them being squished always looms in my head but they are never in harm's way.

between 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. i wake. i grab my phone and vape and lie there with my glasses still on the table. my husband still asleep and the dogs raise their heads like bobbers on a lake, up then down. i check my messages and social media. i reply to comments and scroll through my feed.

i linger a bit with the vape in my hand before i take my first inhale. i always contemplate what more to post on facebook, but then i tell myself that my poetry and pictures are good enough. that is me: poetry and husband and furbabies. 

the room is dark except the nightlight and phone. the air buzzes and the coolness is heavenly because my phone tells me it's already 86 degrees outside. i wait for responses from magazines daily, anticipating acceptances though i know i'll most in likely get a rejection. my biggest goal is the Copper Canyon Press email. such thrill and fear.

time continues. my head is always spinning with words. the threads are images and the needle is verse. i always say my head is an auditorium filled with the dead poets of the past. poems are being written even when i'm not conscious of them. 

when i began to write, i start in the draft area in my email on my phone. once i feel they are finished, i transfer them inside my manuscript, in a word file.

the latest poem i've written is based on an image with two lovers having cloth bags over their heads. after careful contemplation i decided that they were in a plague where touching someone kills both people. intimacy in any form is death, an execution. i am finished with the writing of the poem and now i reach into it and begin the editing process. i edit as i write but some things need percolating. an example: above i wrote "intimacy" which made me realize my word "love" in the poem was wrong and needed to be intimacy instead. why? because you can love someone from a distance but you can't be intimate in that way. and i don't mean just sex. holding your friends hand as they grieve is intimate.

as i lie in bed i hear my dog whine. this is not new. he sits at our bedroom door when he wakes and whines. he is spoiled; all our animals are spoiled but he knows this all too well. 

i write sporadically. there is never a moment when i just sit to write. i write whenever i feel the need. i write while cleaning or cooking. i once wrote while i was taking a shower. i got out, dried my hands and sat on the toilet. the shower water hitting the bottom on the tub gave me a rhythm. 

i write to be alive, to learn and to grow. i love imagery, metaphor, simile, abstract language. i love sounds. i love when one word can drift you into another direction. i love playing with words, creating texture and emotions.

during the day i read poems. single poems from poets or poems from my array of poetry books. those keep me fed when i don't write. 

john compton is a 33 year old gay poet who lives in kentucky. his poetry resides in his chest like many hearts & they bloom like vigorously infectious wild flowers. he has published 1 books and 4 chapbooks: trainride elsewhere (august 2016) from Pressed Wafer; that moan like a saxophone (december 2016); ampersand (march 2019) from Plan B Press; a child growing wild inside the mothering womb (june 2020) from ghost city press; burning his matchstick fingers his hair went up like a wick (summer) from dark heart press

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