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Poetry Mixtape by Clementine von Radics

In putting this mixtape together, I tried to show all the influences over my writing as I see it. This means many of the pieces are not poetry, but they are poetic, and inform my writing greatly.

1. How Do You Write A Poem
By Nikki Giovanni

and simply sit with a cup
of coffee and say to you
“i’m tired” don’t you know
those are my love words
and say to you “how was your
day” doesn’t that show
i care or say to you “we lost
a friend” and not want to share
that loss with strangers


-This was the first poem I ever remember loving. I read it in an anthology in the 8th grade and have read it so many times I still have it memorized. It’s remarkable in its ability to describe the comfort of long-term romantic love, a subject poets and lyricists tend to neglect because we deal in absolutes and passion. But the comfort, the honesty, the intimacy in this piece is inspiring.

 2. Grape and X-Rays
By Eric von Radics

You say you envy those people
who are strong and thoughtless
who live lives of peace
and die like noble beasts
But lucky for you, being happy
can be complicated too


-A sentimental choice, but isn’t everything? My father is a songwriter, his songs are the soundtrack of my childhood. I have head his songs hundreds of times, and so of course they inform my work as an adult. My father focuses on narratives, small and simple stories; often sad ones. He is masterful about telling whole stories with concrete details. Watching him play guitar as I grew up taught me the work and dedication it takes to become truly good at anything, and I am grateful to him for that.

3. Oh Mistress Mine
by Shakespeare

 Trip no further pretty sweeting.

Journeys end in lovers’ meeting,
every wise man’s son doth know.


 -I believe every person should have a handful of Shakespeare passages memorized. Complicated, lyrical work is good for you. A gracious medicine.

4. Goodbye to All That
by Joan Didion

I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again.



 -Many if not most of the influences on my poetry are not poets, and some must be included, and of those included Joan Didion must come first. A disciple of Hemingway, Didion’s relentless quest for clarity is inspiring. Simple, declarative statements in the first person, exploring your inner life and motivations as a means to explain the world, I learned all of that from Didion. I’m still learning.

5. Angels in America
by Tony Kushner

Harper: In your experience of the world. How do people change?


Mormon Mother: Well it has something to do with God so it’s not very nice.

God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and then plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your bloody tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can’t even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled and torn. It’s up to you to do the stitching. 

Harper: And then up you get. And walk around.

Mormon Mother: Just mangled guts pretending.

Harper: That’s how people change.


 -This play embodies and is maybe the origin of many of my obsessions: Queer history and survival, the flawed and failing experiment that is the United States, and the personal as it relates to the universal. If I have a bible, style guide, or desk reference, it is Angels in America.

6. Communion
By Jeanann Verlee

 I think I’m hurt, Dad. I think I was the tough girl for too long. My body is a wafer, a thin, soft melt on a choir boy’s tongue.


-This was the epigraph of my first chapbook. Jeanann Verlee was my first slam poet love and I love her still. Writing about coming from somewhere poor and small and surviving abuse, are you kidding? I feel such a kinship.


7. Untitled
By Anais Nin

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.


 -Anais Nin is my patron saint. I love her. I am a writer because of her. I have written about that here and here.

8. Party Girls
By Kristina Haynes

they stare heavy-lidded 

into reflections of themselves through store-front 

windows and say please god let us be real.


 -Kristina Haynes was the first poet I followed on Tumblr, I built my career in her shadow. I admire how stark and intentionally feminine her work is. It’s such a brave and vulnerable thing.

We asked A. Degen to provide us with a playlist to accompany the mostly wordless Mighty Star and the Castle of the Cancatervater and he provided us with your weekend soundtrack and this most excellent image. Enjoy!

1. I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos

2. Mr. Egyptian Hologram - Otto Von Schirach

3. She (1977)- The Misfits

4. Me Ting Is Mine - Fitz Vaughan Bryan and his Orchestra

5. Je n'avais qu'un seul mot à lui dire - Serge Gainsbourg

6. Geek Down - J Dilla

7. Side 8 (Big Gums Version) - Tobacco

8. Cruel - Enon

9. アイツのテーマ - ゆらゆら帝国

10. Born to Love One Woman - Ric Cartey

11. Last Night I Had A dream (promo 1969) - Randy Newman

12. Metal on a Gun - Lansing Dreiden

13. Can You Get To That? - Funkadelic

Poetry Mixtape by Meggie Royer

1. Other Lives and Dimensions and Finally a Love Poem

by Bob Hicock

A love poem that travels across hands. We never really realize how far the journey between bodies is until we’re apart from touching. This poem asks us what we could have meant to each other if we had turned down a different road, or ended up in another universe.

2.  Love Letters from Helen of Troy
by Elisabeth Hewer

This is the Helen they don’t teach you about in mythology classes. This is the Helen who seeks revenge, who’s more than just a pretty face. She’s not only the daughter of Zeus, but the conqueror of kingdoms.

3. sound machine 
by misha brandon speck

This poem is grief in the shape of survival. It’s messy and complicated and dabbles in the feelings we try to shy away from. It’s despair, and it’s something that altogether can’t quite be named. It makes me want to stay.

4. How to Fall in Love 
by Susan Elbe

 Start by leaving home. It’s not where the heart is,

but where the hard edge is. When ice begins

to ebb from shoreline,

freeing mangy marsh grass,

leave.

And as you pick up speed, let your life arc out

away from you.

Realize that you don’t know where you’re going

and that the weather changes often.

Steer between the stars

like songbirds coming back at night.

Listen to the whirring

of a thousand, thousand miles of dark.

Remember you are ancient,

that once you walked out of the sea

and in the trees became another thing.

Know you can again.

Become three kinds of lonely.

Light a torch.

Leave a trail of handprints on the walls.

Or start by staying put.

Be a whisper looking for a mouth: luna, luna, luna.

Sit underneath the porch light.

Eat walnuts and persimmons.

Spread your red-edged wings.

‘Calling time’ begins near midnight.

Be hungry. Want.

All the instructions for finding love are housed inside this poem, some with seemingly no connection to love. It teaches us about weather and sound and the darkness living inside of us, all the kinds of darkness. Maybe it helps ease the loneliness.

5. Once
by Ocean Vuong

This poem can’t be called anything other than an opening. Some slow longing to be alive again after so long wishing to be dead. Sometimes it’s the beautiful things that open us; other times what’s beautiful is also what’s frightening. Like the lilac that unfurls every morning, its wounds on full display.

6. Men
by Jeanann Verlee

Self-explanatory. A small poem with hurt that spans miles and miles across in diameter like the earth. It makes me wonder how what happens to us is chosen. All these women I know, all these women full of all this brave, and how so many of them came so close to being destroyed.

7. All Night No Sleep Now This
Jeffrey Morgan

This one reminds me of Rilke- “Let everything happen to you/Beauty and terror/Just keep going/No feeling is final.” So many of the humans who live inside this poem are sad. All this survival we could earn, and the poet just keeps writing about the moon; the moon is out of reach, like the things we need the most.

8. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
by Dylan Thomas

A classic. Excerpts of this poem were recited aloud in the movie Interstellar. Strange, how when I close my eyes and remember this poem I think of light. All the galaxies the shuttle flew past in the film, how stars burst like apricots outside of their windows. I think of this poem, and I think of all the voids we willingly enter, and who eventually pulls us out of them.

9. When You Are Old
by W.B. Yeats

A poem about the beauty aging instills in us instead of the damage. How soft we become, how loving, how full of grace and sadness for what used to be. I only wish that when I am old I will read this poem still, and remember.

10. Oannes 
by Chris Herrmann

 

This one is written by a great friend of mine. Memory is a talisman in this piece, how we slowly let go of its hold. Inside this poem, the soft pain of forgetting those important to us and those no longer important but still possessing the power to hurt us, how this loss of memory sometimes tastes sweet.

Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, Winter Tangerine Review, Chanter Literary Magazine, Literary Sexts Volume 1, Hooligan Magazine, and Rib Cage Chicago Literary Magazine. In March 2013 she won a National Gold Medal for her poetry collection and a National Silver Medal for her writing portfolio in the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She also has three published poetry books, Survival Songs, Healing Old Wounds with New Stitches(Where Are You Press), and The No You Never Listened To (Words Dance).

Too often in these recent debates, “DIY” felt more like it was a brand—like Apple or Bernie Sanders—with prognosticators that think its presence is charity enough. Anything it does wrong or problematically doesn’t matter. And I would add that it’s time for the term “DIY” itself to be recast. When we say “DIY,” we implicitly mean white artists making a certain kind of art. The so-called black “chitlin circuit” of the past, or the black jazz musicians that traveled the country in fear for their lives because of racism, or Baltimore rappers pressing their mixtapes and flier-ing cars, or Young Moose’s OTM store, are all “DIY” too, we just don’t call it that. What was normal for black artists throughout history—a dogged, almost self-destructive dedication to their art against all odds, defying the authorities and empiricism and capitalism—became a well-branded badge of honor for mostly middle-class whites during the punk era who just had it way easier.
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( https://soundcloud.com/djvhorrorflick/sets/maniac-4-revenge ) My Name Is Dj-V. Fuck Yo Mixtape. Fuck Yo Press. Fuck Yo Negativity. Fuck Yo Taste In Music. Fuck You And Everyone Else That Wants To Hate On My Movement. This Is Who I Am. This Is Me.