We walked into your apartment today
and found you lying in a bed of snow
We touched you with the care of a mother
We washed away the stains of youth
You have that smile
oh, that contented smile
that is bursting with love
and lonely nights
Your hair is long and softly golden
your curls swirl around the broken mirror
that tried to cut your wrists
and that careless lock of hair
We watch you silently
your static face
fanned by the swirling light
and a breeze that chills the room
We fell about each other
laughing as our bodies rolled
and smelt of familiar perfume
of simple pleasure
jugs full of wine
and cigarettes burning in ashtrays
and on Persian carpets
jugs of foaming beer
and circus tents
elephants dancing for coins in our pockets
and lamps in French markets
empty cauldrons and witch’s brew
and fire and snow and spirits
and suffocation and rape
and fallen angels and prophecy
Lost Maps and Books and Scribbled Notes
We lost each other in Père Lachaise cemetery.
We were looking for you. We were looking for him.
We will find an unstoppable reality.
the maze there
where pilgrims are lost
dancing in ghost like circles
We found each other
like you might claim a locker
in a railway station
filled with mementos, hair clips
lost maps and books and scribbled notes
of love and lust and fortitude
Our torments were seen on toilet walls and streetscapes
where angry artists flogged their trade
We wrote scandalous poetry and smashed the boundaries
in shattered angry drunken nights
that left us homeless but not afraid
Art galleries and libraries were our shelters
our homes of panic and release
We travelled together penniless and free
We rolled in the mud in the Bois de Boulogne
We lit each other’s Gauloise cigarettes
We read the same books at railway stations
Passing one to the other as the last word was read
Railway libraries were our sustenance
Camus Flaubert Beauvoir, Collette Genet Sartre
You still whisper the beat of his lethal wish
He still searches for you in unpublished books
Counts the pages to retrace his life
His poetry shakes like a frightened child
while time flees its hourglass
He will find the riders on the storm
You will see the terror in his eyes
the fabric of my dress my life my art
the thing that I own need want lust for
i don’t want the shiny house
the shiny car
the diamond ring
the shiny life
the shiny poem
if they fell into my lap
i would reject them
if you fall into my lap
i will not reject you
you are not the shiny one
your material is flawed patchy
you have no possessions
except maybe your dirty laundry
your lonesome heart
If you fell into my lap
i would probably kiss you
make love to you
The Sweet Sadness of Sanctuary
My body feels rough today
Like a tired old grape vine
Leaves, browning at the edges
Lifetimes of neglect
I’m hiding away in the sweet hills of melancholia
The terrain is
A sharp smell
Of the coming of the rain
Mould gathers at my feet
In a childhood memory
A body always open to sadness
Fuels the lengthy line of despair
Joy in sadness sours the grapes
The terroir fights for growth and harvest
She grows and harvests her melancholia
She presses the dead fruit against her breast
The hopeful child prepares the pyre
I resist, then head toward the storm
The sun plays a melody for the steadfast gum
The frets, the threats of a blackened sky are gone
The troubled breeze swings to the perpetual melody
The branches respond to a slow heavy beat
Meandering roots spread their wings
Like strong women stretching after heavy sleep
Slithering serpents searching for sustenance
Swimming languorously through resistant mud
Lovers wander aimlessly beneath the tree
Climb its mangled twists and turns
They sense the tangle of its creeping desire
They remember the craving for silent rain
All poetry @jsimpsonartJay Maria Simpson was born in Sydney, Australia. She worked as an English, Drama and Music Teacher for many years in schools, TAFE and the University of Newcastle. Jay has been a writer all her life. She moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2011 following a personal tragedy. It was then that her poetry exploded.
In her poetry she explores reality, change, sorrow, sex, anger, death, love, escape and memory. Jay pushes the boundaries in her writing. She often writes from a dangerous, fearful place where you will find raw honesty. Her poems might also dance in a happy sexual fairy garden. There is no pretension.
She is recently published in ‘Voices from the Fire’ Anthology Vol 9, Dumpster Fire Press, The Writer’s Club, Horror Sleaze Trash, Fevers of the Mind Showcase, ‘Ukraine: The Night and the Fire’ Anthology and ‘Bedroom Anatomy Lessons’ Anthology, Dumpster Fire Press.
Her new manuscript, a book length anthology, is being reworked with new poems, themes and ideas. She is also putting together a chapbook of selected poems dedicated to her daughter, Kate.
Jay loves poetry, art, music, satire and black comedy. She also loves recording and reading poetry publicly.
She is the Creative Director and Author at ‘Living Dangerously’.
Here what several important great people have to say about this upcoming book by editor/poet/writer David L O’Nan
Writings by David O’Nan is a special treat to poetry lovers. He often uses prose-style openings to draw in the reader, such as “I met the supernatural near this river by Osage Mint on a wet June day, fertile ground full of footprints” (from “The River Near the Osage Mint”). Then just as we start to get comfortable, O’Nan has a certain knack for dropping in piercing lines such as, “Our moment became shrapnel” (from “Noah and Satchmo”), or “Love like the sad” (from “Cardiac Weekend”), that becomes a sort of push and pull technique, moving the poem and reader along on the evocative journey each of his poemsprovides. –Samantha Terrell, Author of “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” and “Keeping Afloat” among other books and creator of the poetic trinitas style of writing.
David O'Nan is an artist, a poet who explores the interesting and sometimes astounding facets of life through his work. In 'Cursed Houses' David writes in a style that is immediately engaging, sometimes humorous, always thought provoking. In his poem 'Utopian Window Blinds', he writes: "Beautify my broken heart. Look into my mind and tell me. I am Magical." That is precisely what David gives us, the reader. – Jay Maria Simpson is a published Australian Poet out of Perth, Western Australia who loves poetry, art, music, satire and dark comedy.
Cursed Houses by David O’Nan swirls with dynamic imagery at a manic pace. Its long probing lines are propelled by maddening spirals of rhythm and rhyme. These poems bob and weave, teasing dreamscapes out of rich details inhabited by a host of characters and situations earthly and un-. Love, lust, loss, bewilderment – degradation of the human spirit coupled with the uplift of having experienced something wholly holy. Cursed Houses offers room after room of astonishment wrapped in acute observations: standing outside, lonesome and creepy, a piercing inward gaze.
- Tony Brewer, author of psithurism and Pity for Sale
David O'Nan's poems are beautifully haunting, a landscape of Historical and Pop Culture memories. From death to Sunsets to homes of broken glass and even Andy Warhol, O'Nan's poetry will shake and stir you as the colors of his rhymes will resonate long after you devour each one, with verses like "The Feast" you will be craving a taste for more.
- Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, author of La Belle Ajar & We are the Ones Possessed amongst other collections.
The willpower is a long highway.” ~an immortal line, akin to Tom Petty’s But love is along, long, road.” David O’Nan has rock and roll in his soul.
“Spending nights in plastic neon blue and wondering why you didn’t know who’s hand was the knock on your door. Was it Mr. Peasant or Mr. Posh? All that you knew was a new daughter was calling you a mom.”
Like no other, David understands and exposes the plight of a runaway mother, perhaps a fixture of the 1980’s, the unsung heroines, the debris of the 1970’s
“I paint pictures for the cages of silence”
David O’Nan speaks for a disinherited generation left to suffer the sins of parental and cultural disintegration
“Old Satchmo at 49 smells vaguely of gasoline and some extinct cologne from 1989”
David O’Nan captures the zeitgeist of the crumbling American west, it’s bravado on it’s knees, still trying to please some long lost need.
“The devil has your shoelaces tied to the wrong feet”
An apt description of a runaway on the streets struggling to find their footing. An epic and strong poem describing what happens to the disinherited, disenfranchised in American society. Thrown out, as Jim Morrison said “like a dog without a bone.” Better than any other poet living, O’Nan describes the struggle of losing in a pre-apocalyptic America.
“We are powerless and the army has no artillery.”
Reminiscent of Neil Young’s “Helpless” lyrics is O’Nan’s vision of a dystopia left to carry on alone, abandoned and helpless, it’s government having long abandoned the field.
“All You see is the bones rise up when the moon hits the shine of the lake”
O’Nan describes perfectly the perfidy of the illusion of normalcy in what is in fact the toxic waste dump of America’s forsaken landscape.
“Maybe the king lives within the waters to drown your narcissistic glare. The River, the River near Osage Mint”
O’Nan reflects tangentially on the tortured history of the rivers cutting through the heartland of America, how they meander, the dangers they pose, the dams that feed them, while soul searching and reflecting on the American dream, much like a latter day Jack Kerouac. One wonders what chain of events drew the poet to leave near this place. The nameless “River near Osage Mint.”
If you were to read only one poem from David O’Nan, I would suggest Mandolins and Shrapnel. I personally find it on a level with Ginsberg’s best exuberant howlings. Mandolins is a tour de force. One feels oneself spinning with the poet down the highways and through the wastelands of post-industrial America littered with billboards proclaiming hell and damnation, torn through the middle by predatory birds, symbolic of lives shattered and scattered like shrapnel on a battlefield.
“Oh, those billboards by the way are just a hole for the vultures to fly through. listen to the breaking Mandolins, as our skeletons become shrapnel.”
- Elizabeth Cusack -Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts, a poet/writer traveler from Los Angeles. A recovering actress.
"David’s worlds always open new channels for looking at life. They are so often inventive stories that hold a spilling of truth – like the hull of a ship sloshing about on an unpredictable ocean – a world with a multifaceted cargo, perfect in every detail – in fact, a fusing of all details – making them oil each other to enhance their experience and their free passage. They are a generator of energy for the listening ear. From lyrical and beautifully sung – to hard and colourful poetry, told "like it is" – and that "is" always leaves me thinking I have moved forward in life’s puzzle of experience by reading these poems. So many wonderful lines – so many wonderful characters and their various situations – whatever your interest in poetry, you will need to read these poems to pass go.
David L O’Nan is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best poets of this moment and due for greatness in the longterm. – Peter Hague author of Summer With the Gods, Gain of Function, Hope in the Heart of Hatred & more.
David O’Nan is a poet but he may be a sorcerer in his Cardiac Weekend. Or into a world of dreams in Screams, Tears, Tennessee Voodoo. In Small Deaths and My Burning Bedsheets, he fashions his death and exhorts us to give a reason for him to continue his furtive imaginings in word and paintings. Do you have the power or are incited to provide reason for such as him? In Noah and Satchmo he colorfully tells a story of two grimy men in a way that MUST make you feel better. It is a story of confirmation, to send you on your way of superiority, as you love their place, so much lower than your own. Love Thy Neighbors describes a region of hell… Of voyeurs with horns and long tails being forced into your face. This is the world of O’Nan in fantasy and grime, incitement, and torment. You were minding your own business and this magician named David came along. Watch your step.
We are thankful no heaven can control or manage David O’Nan’s poetry. His work is not designed for the comforts of heaven or the torments of hell. David’s poetry breathes with us, and sustains our present, that we may whisper our lives to one another. – Giulio Magrini is a longtime writer living out of Pittsburgh and is receiving wonderful reviews on his new book “The Color of Dirt”
Having elsewhere demonstrated his prowess and capability in shorter forms in this collection prolific poet David L. O’Nan proves definitively he is every bit as skillful and interesting with more substantial, robust constructions, applying his inventive flair for language and provocative willingness to delve deeper into the fecund muck of Americana than the majority dare, exposing our culture's at times less savory underbelly in a manner which is never dull, but rather consistently as thrilling as it is in equal measures illuminating. Through diverse approaches and fearless examinations of subjects deeply personal as well as endemic of societal concerns, rooted in the immediate and timeless both — harkening back occasionally at, paying exciting homage to our era’s most qualified bards and lyric laureates, from Cohen to Dylan to Joni Mitchell, in the most constructive, charged manners — readers will be hard pressed to find a finger more firmly pressed to, descriptive of the stilted, erratic pulse of Western ennui and the dark winter of postmodern societal discontent embroiling contemporary existence than in the pages of Cursed House. In our age of urgency and desperation, David L. O’Nan emerges resolutely from the fetid swamps of struggle with an important viewpoint and mission which our imperiled species would be well served by reviewing and reflecting upon mindfully at length. A rousing book of works appreciative of the gravity to our prevailing crises, by a poet who twigs well there is not a moment to lose.
– Jerome Berglund is a writer and has worked in Cinema-Television production and worked in the entertainment industry before moving back to the Midwest. Jerome writes many haiku, senryu and haiga online and in print. He is an established award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been shown in galleries in New York, Minneapolis & Santa Monica.
"When I read a rational, well reasoned, logical, objective argument I laugh and sing and dance through the gaping holes.
What fools we are to stand pounding our chests preaching to the sun and everyone else that we are right, we have the truth.
What is truth? Do you know? We move forward by the aid of created symbols and we change those symbols as we move forward.
What gives you the right to deny the beauty, the honesty of poetry. There is no such thing as an endless straight line.
The shortest distance between two points is poetic distance. Poetry is the way. No one makes it through any black hole of night
without the morning light of poetry. The debate over whether formal or informal, Latinate or colloquial is best is meaningless.
Critics and Judges are the greatest fools. Poetry is the journey, the adventure in and through the valley of the shadow of death.
Poetry is birth, the journey, and death. Poetry is Alpha and Omega. Poetry is life. Life is poetry. The word was the same
in the beginning as the word is now. Say the word. Be the word. Be poetry. Be the poem you write. What else is there?
In his brilliant new book, CURSED HOUSES, David O'Nan is the poet of birth, the journey, and death.
David O'Nan is an original. One of a kind. I can't recommend his work highly enough."
--Ron Whitehead, Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Whitehead
"David L O'Nan's Cursed Houses is a lyrical poetry book that carries so many themes, it's hard to select a few. O'Nan transmits storytelling, narratives, and short story genres within his poems with brilliance. Poems about love, society, death, loss, small town Americana, and loneliness stand out the most. At the heart of these poems is O'Nan's ability to make you feel how the memories of past loves can still be felt in the present time."
- Christina Strigas, “for all the lonely hearts being pulled out of the ground”
David L O’ Nan’s new book, Cursed Houses, from it’s haunting spooky cover to the end prose-piece, is a scorcher – a work of narratives and lyrics, an anxious mythic exploration of landscapes of broken shattered people; some likeable, poignantly portrayed, others monstrous, the walking-living Dead; their political screed like larvae spreading hate, the drunk military fathers, farmers, drifters and grifters, the abject young women and older matriarchs, full of hope and lies. Almost Biblical, its a book of character studies exploring upended toxic glamour, hopelessness, the cracks inside America where people fall.
The book richly escorts questions and trades in entropy, about the lives lived in adrenaline-fueled fantasy where excess drugs, false promises, hallucinations, and lament intersect. In Sinking Prison the narrator’s pain and violence follows him right into the afterlife: “You/were found and punished and/ become a nameless gazelle/in a jungle full of hungry/lions on your trail.” Ruminative and ferocious, David exposes families, meditates on life-lessons, draws from the personal, revels in a search for metaphysical meaning. The lines are alternately clipped and expansive, musical, Intuitive, folk tales told by a raconteur for a lion’s den.
We see ourselves and others, our stories and-our-not-stories in a calm-frenzy of bardic, balladic currency and lyrical leaps. In a poem to a dead brother, the narrator speaks beyond despair, of “Popping firework amphetamine pills, dragons watch the alleys/The abusive and abused in corners and in jars./Oh lonesome traveler, a blood kissed jewel.” Tangled and mournful – this book’s rapid-fire pulse is a circling, uniquely crafted, blistering collection. Bite down hard, get one, roam through its outlaw pages. –
- Robert Frede Kenter, author, visual artist, publisher of Ice Floe Press.
I assume no impartiality as I sit to write this acknowledgement and blurb for David. Having known David the editor, the poet, and the human has been the best creative gift of creative brotherhood I’ve grown to treasure and proudly parade. Cursed Houses is a world on its own folded neatly into a book cover waiting for you to unfold like a handkerchief concealing delicacies. Forget what you know about titles foreshadowing content and even casuistic usage of natural elements to convey sentiments as metaphors or similes because David layers natural elements to give you poetic suspense in every piece and theme. He is the magician’s tarot card of allure and demure – yes because poetic talent is in strategically controlling your subject’s emotional experience. Clarity is nice but with David, heavy and surreal is the vogue because Cursed Houses is a hex that will keep your mind spellbound as your lips pitter patter with magic, nature, love, mentality, and life’s other themes on duality. Cursed Houses is a book of personal causes for both the empath and the introvert as well as the curious and the bratty. In this book, his styles vary in tone and emphasis in a manner that gives symbolism and personification another dimension one that is holistic not elemental. The power of his imageries are not localized in a stanza or a part but throughout the whole piece. Have you seen a mood unfold like a jalousie window controlled with two lines to control shadow and light? David’s poems give out this effect because the first time you read a piece, you read it to take in the meaning trying to coin the aesthetics with what you’ve seen previously. However, upon reading his work for the second time, you will realize your heart and mind are the ones controlling what you are seeing whether they be extremes of light and shadow or even pain and beauty. For instance, in his piece “Womanizers”; David allows the reader to explore his subject’s cares and sentiments by showing how their antagonists envision or deal with them. By doing so he reveals his subjects’ points of strengths, advocates for them and showcases them in the light of humanity. Meanwhile in his piece “The Whole Mythology is Collapsing” David’s musings of spirituality are inclusive of dallying in engaging activities whilst touching base on the struggles of finding balance between the material world’s circumstances, the people’s expectations and prejudice and his desire to find peace and clarity. In this vein, the piece “If Masterpieces Were Bloodshed”, has left me in awe because If brushes had hurricane categories for thickness and aftermaths for handles; this piece is the epitome of the creative mind’s agony. He is able to take elements of magic and nature to project anguish and struggle for perfection. And last but not least in “A Botched Sunset”, David’s piece offers a lover’s despair as a palette of experiences in shades of confusion, denial, and unrequited love. Elements of nature speak in this poem for the poet’s lack of visibility and his reluctant bitter surrender to accepting the fate of being forever invisible and rejected like a sunset that was botched. My only wish is that everyone who stumbles upon Cursed Houses gets cursed with awe from David’s work. So, there you have it, Cursed Houses, your new poetic dopamine. Now go and get yourself a copy because you deserve it. With my Utmost Poetic Respect
Pasithea Chan (poet, contributor, artist)
David O’Nan creates mesmerizing imagery throughout Cursed Houses with lines like “You popped bubbles in the hot flames,/in flamenco streets with bleeding trains that lead you/from the whistles to the cheating rainfalls.” It’s easy to want to savor the poem 10 Years “We Are Hummingbirds in the South Wind” with its haunting stanzas that contain potent prose “Through Winter roses and the bleeding Spring flowers,/the Summer storms and the Autumn leaves rustling/Each with a threatening torch in our blessed hearts.” This collection is a must read.
Marisa Silva-Dunbar, author of Allison, and When Goddesses Wake
Bio: David L O’Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana. He is the editor for the Poetry & Art Anthologies “Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art. and has also edited & curated other Anthologies including 2 inspired by Leonard Cohen (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold) and Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Inspired by Bob Dylan. He runs the http://www.feversofthemind.com website. A wordpress site that helps promote many poets, musicians, actors/actresses, other writers. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” “The Cartoon Diaries” & “New Disease Streets” (2020).”Taking Pictures in the Dark” “Our Fears in Tunnels” (2021) a collection of poetry called “Bending Rivers” a micro poem collection “Lost Reflections” and new book “Before the Bridges Fell” & “His Poetic Last Whispers” (2022) David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Voices From the Fire among several other litmags. He doesn’t enjoy the process of submitting constantly however. Twitter is @davidLONan1 @feversof for all things Fevers of the Mind. Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group .
The beauty and joy that I see in you is
Every artists dream
Every singers struggle
Every poets inadequacy
All the beauty in the world
To be thrown into the air
For only me to catch
The Apples in her Eyes
Venus holds the calming apple and her cupid bow
She casts the apple high
And holds her arrow against her heart
As midnight chimes her sleepless night
She hears a rustling in the air
And looks to see a golden bird appear inside her window
Snapping at the golden apples upon her bedroom wall
Venus throws the precious arrow to disturb the pesky bird
That looks at her bewildered
But leaves behind a gift
Kate caresses the golden feather and crawls inside her bed
To dream of the glass mountain where there grows an apple tree
She climbs the glass mountain and is there just in time
To touch the Tree of Knowledge with her finger tips
Kate dreams of Isaac Newton and that slippery mountain ride
Of Alice in Wonderland’s journey and the undertow
Of William Tell, the masked man holding a cupid bow
Of Adam, Eve, Snow White and other fairy tales
Her mother says be careful don’t let go of my hand
But Kate sees the alluring apple and smiles
She gathers up the apple and her mother’s hand
Kate dreams of a girl called Florence
All blurred and dressed in white
Of the mirror mirror on the wall
And of all the vanities
Of a Nightingale whose song is lost
Of a tired moon in the endless night
Searching for the dawn
Of apples fallen on the ground
And of her mother’s hand
She listens to the words he sings
Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.
I watch your hand pass over the group handle
As you carefully remove any stray grounds
You perform a perfunctory task
With so much care and intent
I know that I love you and that you will do well in life
I feel settled and comfortable in that thought
As settled as the coffee grounds that you press down with force
Then slam into the group head
I’ve walked down to the café from work
A chance to see you and drink a coffee made precisely to my taste
You look up at me with surprise, gladness, love
We’re as comfortable together today as those fucking coffee grounds
The sour dough loaf is still warm
Our coffees carefully extracted
A precious moment in a time
More precious than I knew, more precious than I knew
Lifetimes have passed now
You no longer make me coffee
I leave the stray grounds on the group handle
And think of your hand
As my feet just hit the footpath
Your boss screams out
I throw up my hands in that weird way that I do, and call back
I walk slowly, gently back to work
Sure and certain as a mother ever could be
A million songs echo inside her head
They compete for you her daughter her obsession
A word a phrase a sound a force
A mystic melding of love melody and life
Her head spins she’s anxious and uneasy
Everything is magnified and blurred
The candles flicker out of control
The noise from the party nearby is deafening
A million visions turn her blind
They look for you her daughter
They see an old woman feeling around in the dark
Who trips on an accident of life
She looks around to find hope
But as she’s blinded there’s nothing there
She tries to picture a fragment but
Hits her head against the flaw
A million senses remembering
A life squeezed into a crazy corset
To stifle and prevent
They still sing their songs for you
She closes her eyes and you’re there
Saying ‘come on mum’ or ‘mom’ for affect
You reassure you tell your tale
You chop the fetta the olives the bread
You are Kate
You are her daughter
The anniversary of 18 July
Imprinted on our souls
Jacarandas losing their leaves
I look for you
To find my heart again
To write some inadequate words
To fill an unfillable void
To lie to myself that life is good
Knowing it can never be
To confuse the force
That forces me to smile at the people I see
Photos, photos, memories
In every crevice of life
To ponder what might have been
To dream against the tide
To swallow deep, to say your name
To call you back to me
To whisper quietly
To muffle my thought
So as not to scream
To see your number in my phone and your email address
To look at the door in case you’re here
Walking back to me
To understand the impossible
Seven years away
Photos, photos, memories
In every crevice of life
To ponder what might have been
To dream against the tide
Jay Maria Simpson was born in Sydney, Australia. She worked as an English, Drama and Music Teacher for many years in schools, TAFE and the University of Newcastle. Jay has been a writer all her life. She moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2011 following a personal tragedy. It was then that her poetry exploded. In her poetry she explores reality, change, sorrow, sex, anger, love, death, escape and memory. Jay pushes the boundaries in her writing. She often writes from a dangerous, fearful place where you will find raw honesty. Her poems might also dance in a happy sexual fairy garden. There is no pretension. Jay loves poetry, art, music, satire and black comedy. She also loves reading poetry publicly.
She is the Creative Director and Author at 'Living Dangerously'.
"There is so much stubborn hope in the human heart." Albert Camus
Jay Maria Simpson was born in Sydney, Australia. She worked as an English, Drama and Music Teacher for many years in schools, TAFE and the University of Newcastle. Jay has been a writer all her life. She moved to Perth, Western Australia in 2011 following a personal tragedy. It was then that her poetry exploded.
In her poetry she explores reality, change, sorrow, sex, anger, love, escape and memory.
Jay pushes the boundaries in her writing. She often writes from a dangerous, fearful place where you will find raw honesty. Her poems might also dance in a happy sexual fairy garden. There is no pretension.
Jay loves poetry, art, music, satire and black comedy. She also loves reading poetry publicly.
She is the Creative Director and Author at ‘Living Dangerously’.
Q1: When did you start writing and who influenced you the most now and currently?
Jay Maria: I think I always loved writing. Even as a small child, I would hide myself away and write on scraps of paper that I found. When my family was watching TV, I’d often be in my bedroom writing, mostly letters to family and friends. I always had pen and paper in my hand, never a doll, rarely a toy. When I travelled, I constantly wrote. For a short time, I rarely wrote anything – fulltime work, mortgage, husband, and family changed my focus.
I came back to writing, but especially poetry when I needed to deal with change and find the new. When my beloved daughter, Kate died in 2011: Katy, poetry and madness consumed me. I have not been able to stop writing poetry since then. It is my love, my centre. I was mostly influenced by life, music, art and lots of wonderful, challenging poets – Kerouac (of course), Bukowski, Plath, the list goes on.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Jay Maria: Probably the death of my daughter and the reaction to my poetry from other poets who valued my writing.
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?
Jay Maria: I appreciate a number of people who could see in my writing something that I was unable to see myself. Their support, encouragement, and belief in me is deeply appreciated. They are especially, Australian Artist Robert Williams – Perth Western Australia; American Poet, Victor Rainey – Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Irish Poet, Gene Barry – County Cork, Ireland and Italian/American Poet, Giulio Magrini – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?
Jay Maria: I grew up in Sydney, Australia. I come from a working-class background and a large loving Catholic family of 5 children. This shaped the person that I am and my ability to eventually shrug off convention and the catholic church. Travelling enriched my life and my ability to open my eyes to new worlds. To quote a friend, Kathleen Gilbert:
“Jay Maria Simpson looks the world in the eye and sees it as it is. She is intensely alive to the full range of experience, from deep love to unfathomable loss. She loves fiercely, and even in the depths of grief she keeps alive the light of positivity and hope.”
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
Jay Maria: My poetry – all of it
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Jay Maria: Art, music, family, long walks.
Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?
Jay Maria: Probably this, for now – from my poem ‘Tarantella’:
“We evoke your spirit, Vali’s spirit, the forever presence, the woman spirit
We care for your animals the hundreds that look for you in their sullen wantonness
We exist because you exist because art exists because we are the visitors of life and death”
Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or song that always come back to you as an inspiration?
Jay Maria: I don’t think I have one song or even a few songs. Music is often in the background when I write though sometimes, I prefer silence. I love 80’s rock – Patti Smith, Bowie, Lou Reed, The Cure, The Ramones; Contemporary Australian artists/bands – Something for Kate, Kate Miller Heidke, Megan Washington; Tool, A Perfect Circle; Jazz Ballads, Chet Baker and Cool Jazz à a la Kerouac; Classical, especially JS Bach.
Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote?
Jay Maria: I have sent my first Manuscript for a book length anthology to a Publisher and await the outcome of that. I am recently published in Voices From the Fire Anthology Vol 9, Dumpster Fire Press, The Writer’s Club, Horror Sleaze Trash, Fevers of the Mind Showcase, Ukraine: The Night and the Fire Anthology, Drought Gudkov and Bedroom Anatomy Lessons Anthology, Dumpster Fire Press.
Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey?
Jay Maria: That poetry could bring me to life and destroy me at the same time. I’m sure that is neither funny nor strange but there it is!