On Reading Poetry

I believe poetry means what it needs to mean to the reader. I remember reading poetry while in college and listening to the professor dissect the work. Often I would disagree. I think if a reader takes from a piece something of value, something that might even help internally, then the piece has accomplished a service in that moment for that reader. Even if what the reader took from the literature was not what the author intended. This is simply my opinion.

When someone reads a piece that I’ve written and expresses their understanding of that piece, I appreciate their expression. Even if had nothing to do with what I was thinking while writing it. It doesn’t matter. Not to me.

I’m curious, do any of you also think about this?

Matt

 

Poem

I enjoy reading books at pubs.
I enjoy the atmosphere, the noise,
the celebration of life via
conversations over drinks.
I’m comfortable hearing the
constant commotion while filing
through the lines of whatever
book that is in my hand.
I love the smell of the different
foods being prepared in the kitchen,
and the visual of the steam following
the order to the table where it’ll
be enjoyed. I can squint my eyes
and barely see the words I’m reading,
or I can leave them wide open and
take in the moments my peripheral will
provide. Either way is fine with me,
though sometimes it depends on the book.
As though they demand somehow an
existential variation concerning a costume
they wish me to wear, and though I shake it
off, at times it drapes and I do don it for
a small while to satisfy their needs.

-M. Taggart

I’m a terrible comment maker

Howdy! I’m awful at finding time to comment on your blog. Pretty much for all of you. I suck. I know that I do, so at least there is that.

A few days ago I was shoveling our driveway. The storm was an ice/sleet/snow mix. It was eight degrees outside and I needed to get the driveway cleared before it was too late. For my snowy friends out there, you know what happens when it’s too late. Having a driveway of solid ice isn’t exactly what I want. However, I stopped to read a blog post written by a writer who was wondering why more people weren’t commented on their posts.

I really wanted to comment, but I was literally outside shoveling. It was terribly cold and windy. Yet, I did read your post. And you write well and Please don’t think that you don’t. I wonder if it’s like this for a lot of us. I have so little time to comment, that I find I don’t. I won’t sit here and make a profound statement proclaiming to become a frequent comment creator, because that would be a lie. I like honesty. I’ll do the best I can. I read as many posts as I can. Even in snow storms while my nose is dripping and my hands are shaking. I like to read. Hence my little saying, Read on. It’s good for the brain.

I’m thankful I didn’t write, “Comment on. It’s good for the brain.” My brain would have shriveled and turned off.

For those of you who are gifted at commented, I cherish you. I have seen many of you. I don’t have that gift.

Cheers everyone.

Matt

A Simple Kiss

I used to read books
While walking the UMASS campus
in Amherst, Massachusetts
I’d walk and read
and maneuver through crowds
Going from class to class
then back to the parking lot
Sometimes it was so windy
I couldn’t hold the book open
And one time
a tall, beautiful girl, kissed me
Flat out kissed me because I was reading a book
I guess
I’m not entirely sure
I didn’t ask her
I kept walking
It was a simple thing
I suppose it was an odd thing
but it was a nice thing

-M. Taggart

 

Time Goes On

Short Story
Written by -M. Taggart

 

‘She was 83. She had three more days. They told her that. We had just left the cancer center.’

It was cold. We stood next to the dumpster. I heard squirrels.

‘Yeaaah, She told me one thing. Only one thing during our drive from the cancer center to her home.’

The squirrels rattled on. Uncaring.

I raised my head with understanding. Trying not to look at any one of the squirrels.

‘I remember it like it was yesterday. I tell you. Don’t blink. I know you watch your son all day. I see you with him and how busy you are. But don’t blink. It’ll all be over. Time just goes by and I’m a lot older than you. I look at my hands and I don’t know who’s hands they are.’

He used the word just. Where are the squirrels.

‘My mother said, “It happens so fast.” And that’s all she said. For the entire drive. She knew she was gone. I guess after someone know’s they are gone there’s not much to say.’

‘Time is a funny thing.’ I said, ‘It’s not real. We created it to fit out personalities. When you rock your infant, who has a double ear infection and croup with a fever while he’s screaming for an hour, you pray to God to help him feel less pain. That time is standing still. That time you’ll remember and it’ll never stop. No. Time to me is a funny thing. Light is not straight. You know this.’

The men next to the dumpster laughed.

‘So anyway, Matt, my mother was dying and I was driving her back from the clinic. She had only three days left on this Earth.’

***

-M. Taggart
copyright 2018

 

A Pub Walk – New England Pubs

I enjoy pubs. I enjoy reading. I combined them and learned I am addicted to reading while at pubs. Listening to the drone of public speak, mixed with arguments or laughter, I’ve found a gem of solitude and happiness. I have even met great friends.

In New England we have a number of hidden pubs. When asked how to get to one of these gems, some might answer, ‘You can’t get there from here.’

First, The Book Mill. Seated on the bank of a river in Montague, MA. Before this converted mill housed a pub (The Lady Killigrew Cafe), my brother and I would walk this river and watch our father fish for trout. Get there early and grab a seat overlooking the river. Outside seating overlooking moving water stirs imagination. Go here. They have good beer and oddly enough good rice. There’s even a bookstore next door.

Outside Brew

bookmill1

 

Next up- The BridgeSide Grill, Sunderland, MA. Ah, Yes! I cannot write this without mentioning some good friends. I would embarrassingly stay at this cozy family friendly hide-away until closing time. At times I would help them vacuum. These were my bachelor days and the owner and staff were incredibly kind to me. They never kicked me out while I read and drank their beer and held up a seat for hours. In fact, I miss doing that to them. I lived close by. I walked there. And I would walk home. The BridgeSide Grille has a nook style bar and outside patio. I once was able to talk the owner’s son into selling a piece of art work he’d created. His painting was once hung on the wall of the bar. I really should give that back. When visiting BridgeSide be sure to also drive to the top of Mount Sugarloaf. BridgeSide Grille is located just on the over side of the bridge.

B Side Bridge

 

And moving on- Rhode Island has many pubs. One of which is The Twisted Vine in Westerly, RI.. Along with a great name, Pat and her employees were amazing to Megan during her pregnancy. The Twisted Vine has a NYC feel with the comfort of New England. Exposed Brick, properly lighted, with wood floors and a fire place- you cannot go wrong enjoying a drink here. Especially in the winter. Seat yourself in one of the high back leather chairs near the fireplace and enjoy a cocktail named after a famous author, such as my favorite, Ernest Hemingway. Just before Christmas I once walked into The Twisted Vine to find a Christmas party ongoing. It was packed. There wasn’t one seat left at the bar. Everyone was dressed very well. I was wearing a hoodie, blue jeans, and boots. I was even wearing my beat up Boston Red Sox hat. In my right hand was a book. I turned to leave. While walking toward the door, someone grabbed my elbow and said, ‘Where do you think you’re going?’ Pat, the owner, had observed me leaving. She wasn’t about to let me feel out of place. And it worked. She placed my butt in a seat and told me to enjoy and read. And I did.

I took the picture of The Twisted Vine’s floor just after Pat had them sanded and urethaned. Pat had seen me walking down the street and waved me in to have a look.

photo (58)

porter

And instead of my sub par photography I’ll post a picture that shows how gorgeous The Twisted Vine is.

Vine.JPG

Vine O

 

And lastly, simply because I’m running out of time to write, The Haversham. Also in Westerly, RI. Within The Haversham you’ll find a large sports pub. You literally can’t get there from one side of the road. You must first fight the Rhode Island road system before being able to enjoy one of the best sports pubs in the area. And when you do, ask for Shane. That man you will not forget. He may, or may not, be slightly crazy. Which I consider to be a word of wisdom and I’m flattered when I’m given the compliment.

It’s simple- if you want to watch a Patriots game and shout at the top of your lungs while drinking beer, this is where you need to be. You will have a rowdy good time. I’ve taken too many pictures of myself cheersing a new friend while at the Haversham. I’ve read numerous books and talked at length about authors, town happenings, and even politics and religion.

H Q

And slightly crazy Shane. The beach is just down the road.

Crazy S

I use the term ‘Pub’ loosely in this article. Each establishment I’ve written about has it’s own brand. I call them ‘Pubs’ because I hold that word close to my heart. To me, it’s an expression. A compliment. When I ask a friend if they’d like to go to a Pub it is because I would like to create a memory over a pint. I would like to charge forward and dive into a conversation that might never be forgotten. I want to cheers to them and to the moment and take a long pull just as Hemingway may have done.  And remember- Don’t ask permission to live your life. Live and be well doing it.

Thanks for reading. If interested in reading more you’ll find information on my self published short story via the link below.

https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

Cheers.

 

Share Your Work Freely

I pounded sand looking for a hole to drive deep enough to care about.  Then, I stopped.

I searched the web for a place to drop links.  Turns out there isn’t a place to do so.  It seems to me people create online communities with rules that often include an agenda, which only help the person who created the community.  Fuck that.  I even searched on Facebook for a place to drop my links from WordPress.  Nope.  Not gonna happen. Well it can- sorta. For example, I spammed Donald Trumps facebook page with my link to my short story on amazon.  His team let is stay.  But for the majority, you can’t just stumble upon a facebook page and drop your link hoping for feedback, views, or..well anything.

I started a group on facebook today.  It’s purpose is to allow creative works to be shown and supported.  Drop a link whenever you want.  I don’t care if it’s a link directly to your sales page on amazon.  Do it. I dare you.  I double dog dare you. I hope you gain sales.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/204996876504537/205073659830192/?comment_id=205083236495901&notif_t=like

For this group to work it needs to grow.  If you’re into this kind of thing drop by and say howdy.  Drop your link and let’s see what comes.

As I often say to many of my closest friends, ooga.  More likely it would be, Ooga! That’s my version of cheers and sometimes possibly a head butt.

Here’s the link to the group on Facebook.  Drop a link!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/204996876504537/205073659830192/?comment_id=205083236495901&notif_t=like

Reading for Recess

While in college I took as many creative lit courses as possible. For me it was recess.  I was a business major and the books were my escape from numbers and strategy. I found it odd when an English major complained of their work load. Reading wasn’t work.

I found the classes to be easy. I became bored and would ignore the professors assignments. Instead, I approached each new English professor with an option for me to create my own assignment. Though they didn’t know, it was the same assignment I gave myself for each English class.

I’d ask the professor if I could dissect the literature on my own terms.  The terms were for me to decipher when an author was overstepping their characters personality and inserting their own.

I became very aware of hidden agendas and found the best authors were the ones that kept these agendas away from each character and let the character be themselves. Unless the book was clearly identified as an agenda laced piece of work. If that were the case, I’d accept it for what it was, and admire the honesty of the author.

I have one author in mind that seemed, in my opinion, amazingly sloppy with this technique. Yet, her work is constantly on the best selling list and endorsed by many.

I feel if an author writes the story well and accurately the agenda will take care of itself.

I’m done randomly rambling for now.

Cheers.

Musings – Thanks to Steinbeck. He’s fucking good.

Time doesn’t exist. Thoughts do. In Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath I’m reminded of my opinion of Time.

Walk in my mental hallway a moment. Below is an excerpt from The Grapes of Wrath published in 1939.

“For a moment she hesitated uncertainly. “Well,” she said quickly, “why ain’t you prayin”? You’re a preacher, ain’t you?”

Casy’s strong fingers blundered over to Grandpa’s wrist and closed around it. “I tol’ you, Granma. I ain’t a preacher no more.”

“Pray anyway,” she ordered. “You know all the stuff by heart.”

“I can’t” said Casy. “I don’t know what to pray for or who to pray to.”

This is significant to me. This book was published in 1939. The great depression had destroyed family bonds attached to land that never ought to have been taken from them. What stands out the most within this small sample is Casy’s struggle with his faith. In this book, Casy, had been a preacher. His line, ‘I don’t know what to pray for or who to pray to.’ Rings as loudly now as it did then. And, I’m sure, was among the reasons this book was banned at one time.

I’m not done.

Man-vs-Man. We all know this, along with Man-vs-Nature, etc within writing. Not two pages later Steinbeck put this thought to paper helping it to live on forever.

“Pa said softly, “Grampa buried his pa with his own hand, done it in dignity, an’ shaped the grave nice with his own shovel. That was a time when a man had the right to be buried by his son an’ a son had the right to bury his own father.”

“The law says different now,” said Uncle John.”

Again, published in 1939. Do you see? Here’s what I see. Forget the man-vs-man shit, I’m seeing humans. I’m seeing people having the same thoughts over and over and over. A friend of mine might say, “What’s the country coming to? When I was a kid I…things aren’t like they use to be…The Laws Are Different Now.”

Really? Are you sure? Let’s play pretend. Let’s say that my friend who complained about the country was 38. Let’s say my friend stopped their education at 18 and seldom read. Let’s pretend that my friend didn’t start to have an awakening of the mind until 26 which helped them to actually see the world around them for what it truly is. In this theory, my friend has been an individual thinker for twelve years.

Steinbeck has given us a glimpse into the past with his thoughts. Some of his thoughts are the same thoughts many of us have now. It’s possible another fifty years will pass and I’ll be saying thing’s like the characters in Steinbeck’s book. I doubt it. I think I’d rather prompt the individual probing my mental hallway to read a fucking book.