Friday, June 24, 2011


     In 1995, at nineteen years old, my life was guided by a continual need to question authority and structure.  The disassembly of scaffolding of self was often manifested into forms of societal rebellion.  As a young writer and poet in high school, I was accustomed to writing in set rhyme scheme and meter.  My favorites were and still are, works written in the Romantic and Victorian periods of English literature- moving from the wild to the tame.

     In 1994, a creative writing class at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) was being taught by a renowned local poet, Michael Fallon.  He was somewhat of a sensation and seemed like the guy to cozy-up to if one wished to grow as a poet... Why waste time? I had little desire to learn from academics with no real-world experience, so I vied for a seat, as a freshman, in his hugely popular class.

     Fallon ripped me apart after the first week of class when I brought one of my sonnets in for him to read, "This is antiquated writing, nobody writes this way in contemporary poetry... rhyming, hmm. You have to get rid of the rhyming."  I was devastated.  I was a rhyming machine and damn proud.  My ego was smashed to bits and at first, I thought Michael Fallon was a jerk.  I mean, he didn't like my poetry? What the Hell was wrong with that guy?  But I sucked it up and thought that maybe, just maybe he knew what he was talking about.

     I started writing with no rhymes.  Fallon told us, and I've never forgotten, that a single line of poetry must stand alone as its own poem.  Meaning, that in the few words that comprise a single line, the words must be descriptive enough that it causes the reader's senses to ignite, without any other lines to support it.  Glancing back over assignments marked by Fallon, I still think he was a bit harsh and too fond of succinctness.  Everything had to have a point and flowery language was not tolerated; however, his lessons helped me grow and learn to be more bold, stepping out of imprisoned form and embracing the free.

     After leaving UMBC, I moved back to New Jersey and my parents found me a little condo in Smithville.  It was my first experience living alone and the Internet was a fantastic new way to gather information, including the Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide.  So, I ordered psilocybe cubensis spores from a place in Washington state called Psylocybe Fanaticus and after several weeks, played guinea pig and tried them.

     They were good.  And while journeying with myself one day in 1995, I decided to write in a stream of consciousness and here's the result.  I'm not sure Michael Fallon would like it, the words are too chaotic for his taste, but he'd definitely dig it a lot more than my sonnets and iambs:

Ask me can you feel the pain
shadows across the wall flightless in my outside into my conditional wipeout of dreams and reality gushing with the secrets of life's endless battle of wits and to which I am is no more isolation into the darkness of solitude binding hearts to souls in the seductive sensation of hope and wisdom allocating thoughtfulness every-other-day time and punctuality are not allowable partners in this relationship time is of the essence and ethical standards remain hostage to other people's inquiries into what life is truly about giving into the game of rules of the establishment forgoes and leaves us to guess in endless mind trances into the canker sores of life's twisted design for truly freedom rings its bell in the cracking embraces of the feeling misery incorporates dividing truth from a bunch of desolate desires and ambitions giving into the threshold of puzzle parts that the greatest artist in the world could not put back together again if destiny conducted assessments of each and every one of a hieroglyphic anecdote of symbolism and incongruities that would like to end its time amongst the white plains of the flower trees and apple blossoms in springtime amidst a retreat of the conscious and a festival of the senses delighted by the frequent sounds of laughter and weightlessness of the everything... 

p.s. I still love writing poetry in form and find the discipline to be an art.  It is much more difficult to write a line of descriptive, metered poetry than it is to write in free form.  After having a discussion with a friend, we agreed that poetry is supposed to make sense of the chaotic, wild world, not add to it.

Photo by Katrina Mayo


  1. live in a world that makes sense and yer missing the point which is all you preconceptions are just cowardly avoidance of REALITY UNBOUND! and "Nick" too just a flimsy sandwich of likes and dislikes imbibibbed by impressionable curiosity from wise-seeming teachers--imbibbing, imbibbing, imbibbing self like milk from the world, sweet, bitter, imbibbing vinegar, wine, poison I will die from, drinking, eating love biscuits, hate cakes, taking in the world, sucking and milking this world for all it's worth: sweet and sour, you are what you eat--minus what you excrete searching for beauties, for kicks, for knowings, for juices in all the right places...Jesus Christ, when is this shit gonna wear off, Jungle Girl? When am I ever going to come down from this?

  2. Fuck, I love you, Nick. Best response, ever.

  3. We live in a world where mediocrity is rewarded with sticky stars and real talent, creativity and genius go unrecognized. You, my beautiful daughter, have real intellect, creativity and genius, and should be noted as one of todays great writers.

  4. This is awesome, G. Poetic and deep, and reminding me of thoughts paved over by the steamroller of time. Space opens, flowering with possibilities, as it was always open--and the possibilities are realized.

    We'd love it if you posted this as a blog over at This is right up our alley!

  5. >nick herbert said...
    live in a world that makes sense and yer missing the point which is all you preconceptions are just cowardly avoidance of REALITY UNBOUND! <

    I hate to say it, Nick, but trying to make sense of this world is what we have evolved to do, and being able to do so, to our individual satisfaction, is one of the reasons we are still here. Making sense of this world need not coincide with reality as we would perceive it with more information, and has certainly nothing to do with "REALITY UNBOUND" to be of benefit.

    Reality unbound: The search of the cowardly who lack the courage to live with the unknowable.:-)

    >Christ, when is this shit gonna wear off, Jungle Girl? When am I ever going to come down from this? <

    Only God knows! :-)

  6. Hey A, I just saw your comment, thank you so much! I will definitely post it! You know I'm a member of PR- actually, I'll add a Project Restoration link to my page, so others can check it out too! XOXO

  7. Reno! I love you and I agree with you, but I also want you to know that as a contrarian, as I began agreeing, I also thought of an alternative answer which is- All living things interpret their reality, or their world. The means by which they do doesn't matter, because the perception of the individual or collective selves is relative. While one might say that human means are more evolved than others', arguably, that is from a human perspective, so naturally, the human would make such a claim. :-)

  8. that a single line of poetry must stand alone as its own poem.

    How old fashioned. Each word, each letter? each molecule of carbon MUST stand on its own!

    Poets, in my experience, cannot teach anything about poetry, and the vast majority of great poets never wrote much worth reading after age 25. Go take a look.

    But the adoring gaze of a fresh young coed, ah this is pure poetry to a guy spouting horseshit a selling "fresh newly recycled apples. Organic!"

    Let us go then, you and I
    when the evening is spread out against the upper atmosphere
    Let us go through certain half deserted streets
    the muttering withdrawal
    of restless nights in one night cheap hotels
    and sawdust restaurants with oyster exoskeletons

    if only TS culda met da guy soona.
    any relation to Jimmy Fallon, whose comedy (if we are allowed to take poetic license here)
    lacks both rhyme, reason and humor.

    A technical question: that stream writered is that two lines?