encyclopoetic by Yrik Max Valentonis

gray concrete with quotes on pavement
photo by George Kourounis


poet robot
churning out verses
mechanical rhythm
metronome progression
electronic algorithm
pre-programmed imagery
looping tropes
inserted throughout stanzas

My blood is poetry
every scar an epic
each cut drips haiku
coursing through my heart
everything is poetic
cybernetic fusions of biological, mechanical, and emotional
processed and digested
manufactured from pain and pleasure and thought and action

writing an epic poem
about the intricacies of banking
as complex, detailed, and interesting
as a legal contract
jargon and lexicon and doublespeak and acronyms
to befuddle and obfuscate and confuse and misdirect and bewilder

how shall I contrive
playing mutable linguistic games
plot occurs upon reflection
this theory is false, not right now, but will be eventually
the aftertaste, a minor key lingers
psychic algorithm calculating the future

2 poems from Yrik Max Valentonis

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Yrik Max Valentonis

Poems by Yrik Max Valentonis : Lost in Urban Landscaping #2, #6, #46

2 poems from Yrik Max Valentonis

Path, Stones, Pavement, Area, Side Walk

photo from pixabay

Seems Like Yesterday

Every King and Queen had an astrologer.
Plagues ran rampant through the world.
The world was going to end.

Oscar Wilde died in 1901.  A millennium year.

The change from 19** to 20**
A mathematical shortcut, leading to a 
logical error.

Setting the clock back will not raise the dead.
but it will allow for Shakespeare and Cervantes to be born on the same day.

Will setting the clocks back kill?
or will my birthday be re-assigned?

The thing is…
there was no year 0.
but there was a beginning
We don’t know when.
	(some of us disagree0
Will there be an end?

Our Mythology is composed of movie monsters and video game faeries. 
Our heroes appear in comic books with capes rustling in the wind. 
The storytellers of our tribe.
Merchandizing of plastic menageries. 
Lessons learned re-enacted, mass-produced. 
Repeatable. Copied. Xeroxified.  
Industrialization through henry Ford’s assembly line, cost effective mementos of a cultural event.
A tie-in, a spin-off, the sequel.

The more scientists learned about the human mind and its processes, the more artists explored it.
The Arts has become the study of studies.

The joy and pride of accomplishment is what makes the labor cost effective.

Success is a monkey piling up the furniture to reach a banana.
Victory is a weed shooting through the cracks in the pavement.
love is matching socks with static cling to each other.
reward is skinny-dipping in the woods after a long hike.
Achievement is sweat.
Truth is a side-long glance into someone staring at you.
Praise is a small fire on a chilly night.
Life is what you feel.

It is important to know who your friends are.

Lost in Urban Landscaping #9

And words of wisdom

scientist philosopher 
writing the humanity manual
codes every emotional variable
logic of actions
explanation of motives
list of assumed truths

my grandmother watches the magick 
of my computer the gold 
of her icons carries a code 
of arcane user input
faith in the unknowable 
projections of outcome

And in a word

generating commentary
firm beliefs with proofs and denials
accepting minor variations 
inconclusive rationale
an evolution of theory

questions that arise and
means to find answers for
every dilemma a person 
to speak with and
tools for testing whether
I can live with myself

And the word was

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Yrik Max Valentonis

Poems by Yrik Max Valentonis : Lost in Urban Landscaping #2, #6, #46

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Yrik Max Valentonis

with Yrik Max Valentonis:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

YMV: I started seriously writing in High School. I had my first poem published in a local lifestyle magazine in 1983. My earliest influences were E.E.Cummings, Lord Byron, and Anne Sexton. At first, I was attracted to Cummings use of the space on the page and his designs, but as I read him more closely, I truly fell in love with the musicality in his poems. Byron, of course, was the heroism and Romantic ideals. He will always be an iconic Rock Star for poetry, he lived those exuberance and excesses. And he exemplified the faults, failings, and problems of being a Rock Star. Anne Sexton, with her perfectly crafted rhymes and meters, showed me how to Artistically bear one’s innermost raw emotions. No matter how personal, tragic, or unique her subject matter was, she crafted it into an approachable and universal imagery.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

YMV: I have been reading a lot of VisPo and Asemic writing lately. The past few years, I was reading a lot of Bizarro works. I still read comic books (new and old – big name & indie).

I have been reading as much as I can by Harryette Mullen, Kevin Young, and Amy Catanzano. I love their approaches to language.

Harryette has a great eye for common place imagery which can become philosophic and transformative. Her rhythm and meter sing and chant these images into a new existence.

Kevin is able to weave personal narratives, history, and cultural theory into a blues song/poem. He is a compelling story-teller who can dig into the core of his subject.

Amy has been doing interesting writing into current Quantum Physics research. She’s been actually going to research facilities and spending time with diverse scientists and poetizing the hypothesis and theories.

I’ve been privileged enough to have met and spent time with each of them.

Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

YMV: When I was a child I learned that actual people created the books I read. At that young age I knew I wanted to be a writer. After my MFA, I figured out that I wasn’t a writer of popular fiction, and I preferred the freedoms of expression that I had with small presses.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

YMV: The best help I recently had with my writing has been proofreading my son’s college history papers. He has a very deep appreciation for James Joyce sentence structures. He can compact a great deal of information into a sentence and has no problem with a two-page long paragraph. I absolutely love reading it, but I know that his professors are wanting more traditional sentences and shorter paragraphs. In pointing out where and how to change his writing, I have learned a lot about how to edit and revise my own writing. I highly recommend proofreading, editing, and beta reading for other writers, especially if their style or genre is different than your own.

I have found that a lot of writers are very supportive and into building community. Lesli Richardson has helped me edit several of my books. She is always encouraging me to write more. I’ve been lucky enough to get book blurbs from writers whose work I have enjoyed reading for years: Geof Huth, Kristine Snodgrass, Jeff O’Brien, and Martin Millar. I am a total fan of each of them and was over the moon ecstatic that they were willing give me a bump. And J.D. Nelson introduced me to you. A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with J.D. Nelson

That is just a sampling of people who have helped my writing. I love these folks for being so supportive.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

YMV:  I grew up in St. Pete Beach Florida. It transformed from a fishing community to a tourist destination as I grew up. I was raised by my Grandparents and spent most of my childhood in company of retired adults instead of children. I see in my writing the love of hearing a long drawn out personal tale which may or may not have a point or conclusion; the rambling story which has a bunch of asides to explain historic significance, cultural nuances of the Old-Country, minor characters which briefly randomly appear, and an unreliable yet charming narrator have all become part of my writing style.

I lived in New Orleans for a little bit which reenforced building scenery and history into my writing. I was naturally influenced by Blues and Jazz.

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

YMV: The answer to that is always the piece I am working on right now, which currently is a chapbook of poems about hurricanes.

I have a graphic novel in verse, Goblin Childe, that I am still illustrating that I think can become my most accessible work. I have a long poem, Lost In Urban Landscaping, which encompasses my poetic style and exploration. So far, about a third of it has been published in various journals.   Poems by Yrik Max Valentonis : Lost in Urban Landscaping #2, #6, #46

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

YMV: I play Dungeons & Dragons (and other RPGs) with my friends on a weekly basis for the past 15 years. I write many of our adventures (which some day I will edit and publish). I really enjoy the collaborative story-telling; because no matter how well I plan an adventure to go, the players will find a new way to approach it, at which point I have to go into a Jazz inspired improvisation to keep up with where they take the story.

I am active in a Viking Age reenactment group (Wyrd Vikings). We train in Historic European Martial Arts. We practice and spar with shield, sword, axe, and spear. I’ve been studying the Norse cultures and history of that time period, with a specific focus on the Skalds and their writing techniques. 

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?

YMV: from Desond Egan’s poem: The Pursuit of Diarmaid and Grainne

something you say unthinkingly sometimes
can chord the shadows of your words
surprising my most silent places
with a suddenness of music

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

YMV:  Last year Alien Buddha Press published my Bizarro Erotica novella, 120 Days Of Gomorrah, and this year they published a collection of my visual poems, Cranium Theatre.

And my poem, Tampa Brick Road, was selected in the City of Tampa’s National Poetry Month contest.


Poems by Yrik Max Valentonis : Lost in Urban Landscaping #2, #6, #46

worm's eye view of concrete buildings

Lost in Urban Landscaping # 2

I stutter out children’s verses in my Grandparents’ tongue
strung on genealogical trees, the curses of sins
of fathers and wars, cremated kins
of history floating in a sea of blood
angry adolescent words, small scale genocide
back turned and eyes closed
a simple relocation
& once again alone

Eating all ancestors sins to see where I went wrong
the victims’ fearful new faith
repelled my beliefs: my gods and desires died out centuries ago
where has my family gone

children in Poland play
Cossacks and Gypsies
as I join them
is the imaginary blood
we spill
my own
or on my hands

working through recurring problems forever unresolved
old wounds which never heal
the burden of keeping alive impossible dreams
does it benefit me to know how fragile life is
trying to sleep at night

childhood toys become a household shrine
striving toward the phantom cargo of
innocence imaginary past crashing amid isolated
tropical isle sand grain plantation washed into
estuary mangroves– the shipment of memoirs worshiped
and misunderstood

the museum within the mind catalogs
and shelves every minor nuance and the only wisdom
exhibited– dust

gathers together discussing the phenomenological
meaning of time, the cyclic nature which has a grown man
attempt to entertain himself
with the progression of an arachnid traveling
along a waterspout
how not to be bit by the memory
of the fall

going to Las Vegas to play high stakes Solitaire
betting my soul on the next draw
It’s kinda like when you’re drowning
and you gouge out the lifeguard’s eyes
the only land nearby is under thirty feet of water
once you get over breathing, you can stand on solid ground
the freedom of possibilities lifts you away from gravity
the situation of drifting through life keeps a phalanx
of angels stationed at every cliff, lover’s leap
a bungee jump flinging you in the air and
sling-shot back to the abyss
eventually you are left hung by your feet over a gorge
like the Sword of Damocles just waiting
for somebody to pause underneath

climbing the tree
Ragnarok approaches my mind

eternal is before
& birth is over
all remains, a short wait
& trying to return

Lost in Urban Landscaping #6

i died
the doctor said
to me
we had to reboot

No white light. I haven’t become a new man..
The route I walk is simple: hubris of complacency.
The folly of the day is that it will be like yesterday.
I knew something like this would eventually happen.

When talking to ghosts 
remember, you will
eventually be a guest 
in their home.

Frankensteined together, scarred;
no plastic surgeon can enter my mind. 
And to think, I attempted
suicide once;
questioning my maker.
Ritual scarification,
in becoming a man.

Playing a video game, I search for the
reset button in my life.
What’s the score?
I don’t know what level I’m on, facing intangible
monsters with random violent tendencies,
the monsters will stomp upon my body until
no one remembers that I had ever been programmed.

The body quilt hung on the wall
all usefulness lost.

Lost in Urban Landscaping #46

I am my parents’ son

I wrote my Grandfather’s obituary.
I wrote my Grandfather’s eulogy.
I used to write down the stories
	he would tell me.
I used to make up stories
	for him to read.
His eyesight went
	he couldn’t read.
His hearing went
	he couldn’t listen.
He died.
He was my best friend for as long as I can remember
His other friends were gone.
They either died or got tired of his shit
	He was a cranky son of a bitch
I was his best friend

He couldn’t see the numbers on the phone 
to call and apologize
Except he didn’t call even when could 
and he didn’t apologize
even when he wanted to

I lost my GrandFather, (“Dad”) and my best friend when he died.

He woke up one morning just to
let out his last breath
my Grandmother
tried to put the air back in
the paramedics
tried to put the air back in
the doctors
tried to put the air back in
defeated  ------  deflated  -----  deceased

Yrik-Max Valentonis is the author of Cranium Theatre and 120 Days of Gomorrah. His comics and writings have appeared in magazines, e-zines, radio broadcasts, art exhibitions, the chapbooks:  iDEAL and this is visual poetry; the anthologies: the Alien Buddha’s Block Party, the Alien Buddha’s House of Horrors #3, the Alien Buddha’s Snail Mail, Animal Blessings, Beer-Battered Shrimp for Cognitive Ruminations (forthcoming), Divided Again, Heat the Grease We're Frying Up Some Poetry, the Last Time the Alien Buddha Got Sooo High, Sinbad and the Winds of Destiny, and Zombie Nation: St. Pete. He illustrated the book: T.B. Farmer’s Guide To Living: Without Gout!. He won Tokyopop's 2008 Sumo Manga art contest. Had artwork included in Domo: the Manga. Appeared in the art exhibitions: Art Within, Cuban Sandwich Show, experimental skeleton’s Funny Pants, Image Brewery's Flammable Art: works on Paper, Nuclear Anatomy: Iconographic Reconfigurations, Sandspur (a Titanic Anatomy project), and Why: Art about the attack on the World Trade Center & Pentagon. He earned a BA in English and American Literature from the University of South Florida and a MFA in Poetry & Prose from Naropa University.