Short Answers

 I’ve never been much for talking face-to-face with people I don’t know. Can’t say where this aversion comes from, but what I do know that I have a fear of saying the wrong thing. Which is why when asked questions about myself, I usually go with the short answer.

Just a few of hundreds every night

Camshafts. Just a few of hundreds every night.

When asked what I do, I give the short answer: I inspect engine parts. It’s boring. And it sound boring enough to others that I’m rarely asked more. Which is a good thing because all I do is examine hundreds of parts for defects. It’s so boring that five minutes into my shift a fog settles over my mind, and I usually get lost in the fog for the duration. Regardless of how I feel about my job, however, it pays the bills.

What I usually don’t tell people is that I’m also a poet. I love to write. I love words and how they fit together to form images I can only see with my mind’s eye. I think about words when I’m inspecting parts, mowing the lawn, and even when pretending to listen to my wife. I cannot not think about words.

I don’t tell people I’m a poet because of the questions that follow. The first one is about the stacks of cash I make writing poetry. Well, I’ve been writing poetry under a pen name for fifteen years and have sold over 200 individual poems, but I never wrote a poem that paid a bill.

Questions about subject matter soon follow. The short answer is that I write speculative poetry. However, the short answer usually elicits strange looks and more questions. Questions requiring answers of increasing length and difficulty. And with these answers comes the fear that I will make a fool of myself trying to explain what I love. So, when it comes down to it, that’s the purpose of this blog.

So what is Speculative Poetry?

The short answer: Speculative poetry is poetry that incorporates science fiction, fantasy, and horror images and themes. Here is an example:

by Kurt MacPhearson

A nebulous toddler
woven over epochs
into blubbery orange and yellow swirls
with blazing green quasars for eyes
and a single curly tuft of blue
upon its bald, lopsided head
sits as a greedy Buddha
at the edge of spaceSTRLNJLGST2010
gobbling galaxies
like peanut clusters
and ignoring the dark matter
stuck between its two gaseous teeth
as it reaches for red giant crumbs
with tentacle fingers
squeezing avaricely
till knuckles form
all the while broadcasting
a collective mine-mine-mine!
in gamma ray belches
from deep within its black gullet
as a warning to the cosmos
should it learn to crawl

Originally appeared in Star*Line, 33.4

Long answers about speculative poetry are soon to follow, along with plenty of examples, thoughts, writing tips, and just about anything else relevant to promoting what I love. I hope you will join me and come to love speculative poetry as much as I do.



15 thoughts on “Short Answers

  1. This may seem like a dumb question, but aren’t poems supposed to rhyme? Maybe I just haven’t learned enough about speculative poetry yet. I can’t wait to read more of your work though! It’s very different and intriguing. Thanks for sharing!


    • Rhyme? Not necessarily. A rhyming pattern (scheme) is just one way construct a poem. Poetry, for me, is more about timing (meter), how words fit together, and the imagery these words evoke.

      I’m going to delve into the mechanics of poetry in later posts. So, even if you don’t care for the “speculative” nature of the poetry I write, perhaps you can still learn a little about poetry in general.


  2. “I love words and how they fit together to form images I can only see with my mind’s eye.” These are my favorite lines… I love how words fit together and how the world form images in my mind. Being a photographer I sometimes forget that not everyone sees the world in images. I am going to have to read the poem a couple of times to get it. But the imagery is surely beautiful. I hope that I can write something that could be considered speculative poetry sometime. I look forward to keeping up with your blog this semester…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never been good with a camera, but I see how photography and poetry relate in capturing images. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them. It’s not often that I get feedback about anything I’ve written (not that I’ve sought it out — but that’s a different issue…)


      • As a fellow artist and a photographer I completely understand. I love to write poetry but am averse to sharing it for sure, I think though for most of us that come from the purely personal nature of the thoughts that we express. In regards to my photos though I think that it’s more of a fear of what negative reactions I could receive. But I really don’t receive negative comments on my photos. It’s a goal of mine to share more regardless of my fears! Care to join me on this quest?


  3. I agree with you about the short answer responses. I feel through writing I can often express myself more, but through speaking I am afraid of saying the wrong things and too many things run through my mind at once. I am very interested in seeing more of this speculative poetry, this one really intrigued me and felt quite beautiful reading through it. The descriptive word use is what draws me in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love to write, but poetry has never been my forte. I think I’m just too dense; it seems like I’m never able to find the “hidden meaning” in the words. In my creative writing class, we’ve been working on poetry. I’d like to think that I’m learning to enjoy it, but I think I’m just kidding myself. I plan on reading your blog and I hope that it’ll help me appreciate and understand poetry more.


  5. I completely understand what you mean about not liking to talk to people face-to-face out of fear of saying the wrong thing, I am the same way. It is so cool that you found a way to get your voice out there. I have always been impressed by people who could write poetry, it is an amazing talent. I met a guy the other day that could make up a poem about anything on the spot, it was unbelievable. Im intrigued by speculative poetry, I’ve never heard of it before.


  6. Pingback: Unreal to Real | A Speculative Poetry Blog

  7. Hi Bryan – a pleasure to “meet” another blogger of Speculative Poetry! I’m looking forward to reading your blog and perhaps learning a bit of something. It’s funny the sort of misconceptions much of the world has about poetry in general and that most people don’t even know that Speculative Poetry exists. It looks like a few people are about to embark on a wonderful adventure! Thanks for leading the way!


  8. Pingback: Reading and Regret | A Speculative Poetry Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s