Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

Category: Poetry

faith n’ flickers

Listen to me read this poem in the embedded player below or on SoundCloud:

 

he lay there
gasping for the numb to end
his was an unfelt pain
all in his head — er, heart
that’s what these romantics swear by
their cardiovascular deity
but I took pity on him nonetheless

his red carnivore gravity
thrusting up and out
believing it could warm infinite sky
believing every spark must rhyme
and life is but a matter of
finding other halves
ignoring that some flickers fan a flame
that feeds on sympathy & naiveté — but
he bared himself regardless
hoping that girls like me
were wrong

and even laying here
shattered by another blonde
he fed the earth with lyrics of his blood
the starless sky with breathless faith
melted eyes begging to not be in vain

this — is how a nonbeliever negates herself
in the presence of expiring chance
with a lipstick bandaid
to heal his hunger for affection
bred by one acid kiss
from another inspired miss

Replenished Purr

another soul / napping on you guarantees / you will feel more loved

a melted art

Once upon a Cold, we painted with
our Breath, drawing grand designs with Frost.
We thought the Ice would last
all season, comfort of our white Chrysalis
wrapping Crystal dreams.
We antici-
pated  each  coming  day
like a Snowflake waits
for infinite friends to follow
it’s unique descent.
We didn’t fear starry hours
or burned out sky
because even that
was Bright.
And one morning whispers with a
drip. drip.
delicate palaces rush into consciousness.
new chrysalis cries
as every brick of what we built
becomes a warmer, wetter winter tear.
collapsing towers, liquid architectures dancing
deep in ear canals, all flowing castles of the fall.
Tall empires all return to sea level.
farewell, foundations.
goodbye, stuck moments.
take care, cold friends.
hello, invisible breath.
now fleeing into pavement rivers,
moving as if only motion was alive,
sunlit course corrections,
shifting midstream to not die.
but I weep for our grand designs,
no solace in the warm survival of their parts,
impermanence courts chaos
in what’s left
of a pair
of frozen hearts.

Edgemoor

Night is like a song that you can’t see
so you make up scenery to fill the gaps
between fluorescent highways. and forests possible.
Figments of figs twist with twigs into
nocturnal architectures of confusing beauty.
Headlights slice into your eyes and ruin
the surprise so you return to sound
of foggy rain and smoky tears,
trying to fit between the droplets
without feeling cold or found. and failing.
World exposed as just imagination but
your faith blooms, believing
makes the secrets breathe.
Traffic rolls across eyelids like
tracks of fading bright and wet tails
across the windshield. and when
you peek again you find only rubies
staring back like mute, unblinking fireflies
and you know you’re driving blind
no matter how wide your spies are open.

Listen to me read Edgemoor:

(If you don’t see anything above, listen to the track on SoundCloud.)

Blinks of Awe Beyond the iPad

So far only poetry lovers with iPads have been able to read blinks of awe, my new poetry book. People without an iPad can now get a better peek at the poetry in the book, which you can see, touch, and hear. I also want to learn where else people want to experience this kind of work. So please check out the samples below and voice your opinion!

Read the rest of this entry »

#haiku

On a re-reading of my previous post, I realized the end of the poem contained a haiku:

On the shore’s blue blend
men become boys again
toes plucked from the sand

That made me smile, share it on Twitter, and look for other #haiku tweets. Here are my favorites:

~

and add another of my own:

sound of summer night
singing into empty warm
dancing, with my sweat

Ripping Current

I return where I was born, not physically
Driving a machine that didn’t yet exist
through the sleepy streets nocturnal
every intersection bursting with memories
Past overgrown trees surrounding
an elementary school I can’t see
Thrusting into radio static songs
names scenes all unfamiliar
except the change drums as
predictable as heartbeats
On the sandy road between a home
and the soundtrack of the sea
where I lingered now, and then
Walking by a mother n’ son and waves ending
that’s called sea foam, she said
walking by a memory being formed
On the shore’s blue blend
men become boys again
toes plucked from the sand
and it’s years before the tide returns them


Inspired by the shores of Virginia Beach, VA

Expired Eyes

The scars you leave on me are just tattoos that
no one else can see, they’ve bled ad nauseam,
invisible ink pouring from the pores of lashes
and old sores, a tale of muted agony tailed by
the climax of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I knew.

The stars you leave me with are just dreams that
we abandoned, racing to prove they once existed
recalling how it once was like to be kissed by light
before bleeding across a generation of galaxies
to exile in your soft, cold cheeks as pale. I knew.

The jars you leave me in are just the parts you
want to be, containers of convenient, misfits for
what really happened, they leave nil to breathe:
for fusing crimson curiosities, building empires
of what if, or asking. Only me in pieces. I new.

I’d lose you.

 

Partially inspired by Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s
“The Walls Keep Saying Your Name”

Without Tomorrow

The glass cracks before my eyes and I
admire the fractal patterns. Branching limbs
reaching for the edges, just to find them. Nails on
endless rows of fingertoes too short, too close,
too hurt. So hungry for an end
they forget to taste.

So soon we’ll suffocate.
But now will never breathe again.

Tomorrow we expire.
But now already has.

Forget the next. It’ll still come.

As long as there’s no tomorrow, we can
rise to enjoy the fall. Smile before the reasons flee.
Abandon all perspective. Escape causality.
Dance with silence before it shatters.

Color Me Synesthesia (audio)

Here’s a recording of a poem I published a month ago, Color Me Synesthesia:

(If you don’t see anything above, listen to the track on SoundCloud.)

before, I was but a pencil line
_______________, simple little stroke,
lacking even a squiggle but you
you traced me well, gave me depth & Definition
a flair of ink, a dash of curve~ discovered
fingerprints with graphite, the shade of skin
with lead of many shades of gray,
revised my irises until they
were circles perfect, filled the lashes black
until they could.blink.perception, molded my cheeks
in the sculpture of touched joy or bliss,
trimmed my hair into a shapes of soft,
kissed grayscale lips until breath dribbled deep
inside and I learned to sing, tickled my ears
until they began to touchWords, danced by my nose until
   inhaling became a new addiction,
crosshatched an outline of a heart,
and looked beyond the eyes until/blinking/wasn’t/necessary.
And then I tasted color.
It warmed my skin until a sunburn was seductive.
Red seeped in and seduced my bloodstream,
pumping passion to the corners of existence.
Spilled blue all over my jeans. Flung yellow
at my skin to make orange orbs that shrunk into
peach pores covered in light brown forests of “oh”.
I heard every hue. And touched invisible.
Turned up the volume until I saw green waves of sound.
Showered me with lights until I tasted purple.
Danced with scent into a real dream.
Morphed my background to a limitless canvas. Created new dimensions to
raise me
from
the page. Invented time. so I could. slow down. and smell
memory. We peeked at infinity
the day you started to color me in.

euloJune

Today I learned to breathe
and the air was full of fragments
that tasted like the moment.
I didn’t dare hold on.
Just inhaled all I could and waved
at dusk-soaked curtains and darker ocean folds
and warmer nights stretching into tomorrow.
A summer fever collapsed into a
delicate ember with beads of sweat,
pockets of cool breath, ice cubes
succumbing into wet,
all gentle ephemera.
Watched the flames flicker
a familiar lullaby,
the only patch of color in a forest noir,
debuted and left us where we are
lonely in a moonless dream
fed by memories that were just lived.
Sat idle, welcoming the dark
nose tickling with last hints of smoke
whispering a thousand ways of saying g’bye,
and then, I exhaled June.

 

Inspired by Delerium – “Apparition”

uncatchably

Recorded the sound of rain
but can’t hear when it repeats repeats
repeats, is every rain drop unique
like every snowflake, or are
they just reflections of
a somber surround?
Took off my glasses for a blurry fog
but can’t see where it retreats retreats
retreats, a gorgeous mess of
color, is every splat alive like
feelings want you to believe?
Yawned to create time
but the moments can’t be captured captured
captured, amorphous as those
pretty blurs, slipping
between thoughts
like raindrops,..

Forever June (audio)

In the spirit of Why You Should be Recording Your Poetry, here is a recording of my last poem, Forever June:

(If you don’t see anything above, listen to the track on SoundCloud.)

Can’t it be forever June, forever new
ever curious, passion like
a just lit flame, faces, features
quirks all unfamiliar, all unremembered names
Can’t we be forever in debut, forever unexplored
a thousand little sticks huddled at the edges of the flame
Can’t the fire stay humble and stay hungry
Can’t fueling now be our only destination
Can’t the question marks survive
Can’t the sparks stay sparks
Can’t it be forever chapter one
more unlived, unread, more imagined rather
than embraced after it’s death

Can’t we take photos
never to look at them again
keep the moment uncaptured &
untainted from the concept : time
Don’t need memory if this energy survived
Can’t we remain untouched
just to taste initial contact, every sigh
Can’t we be new friends
and can’t friends never choose to die
Can’t we be young and foolish
unexplained souls bursting from inside
Can’t we stay simply undefined, unlabeled, uncertain by design

Can’t the mysteries remain
details unrevealed, curiosity perpetually raw &
daring in the moments before hearts collide
Can’t the flame burn forever muse
smoke forever twisting into sky
Can’t first waves roll on and on unbroken
Can’t leaves be bronze that never fades
Can’t snow be first snow every time
Can’t petals always be in bloom
Can’t it be forever June.

If you read the original version last week, you can see the poem has evolved even further. Recording is definitely a surprising part of the editing process.

Why You Should Be Recording Your Poetry

I hate voice recording. It’s time-consuming, error-prone, frustrating, requires a range of skills, and is easily ruined by fickle technology. That sounds just like voice recording’s  ugly cousin – video editing. But as much as I hate it, I’ve found voice recording to be an increasingly valuable and necessary part of my process of writing poetry.

Read the rest of this entry »

What Else Can a Poem Be?

The following snippet of Jack Morgan’s review of blinks of awe brings up some fun questions:

…it’s hard to judge his poetry by itself because it isn’t. Are we going to start judging poetry like we do films and plays, where every job is criticized on its own merit? Should I take the sound production on its own and talk about that? We get a lot of new questions from work like this, which might be why Klepchukov made it in the first place.

Jack is referring to the unique qualities of the poetry in blinks of awe: the book lets you see my visual representation of each poem and lets you hear how I feel each poem should sound. How do you judge poetry by itself when other elements are involved? More importantly, do you even have to?

Read the rest of this entry »

Forever June

Can’t it be forever June, forever new
ever curious, passion like
a just lit flame, faces, features
quirks all unfamiliar,  all unremembered names
Can’t we be forever in debut, forever unexplored
a thousand little sticks huddled at the edges of the flame
Can’t the fire stay humble and stay hungry
Can’t fueling now be our only destination
Can’t the question marks survive
Can’t the sparks stay sparks
Can’t the season never end
don’t need the middle of the story
or the denouement’s descent
Can’t it be  forever chapter one
more unlived, unread, more imagined rather
than  embraced after it’s death

Can’t we take photos
never to look at them again
keep the moment uncaptured &
untainted from the concept : time
Don’t need memory if this energy survived
Can’t we remain untouched
just to taste initial contact every time
Can’t we be new friends
and can’t friends never choose to die
Can’t we be young and foolish
ageless ignorance unwise
unexplained souls bursting from inside
Can’t we stay simply undefined, unlabeled, uncertain by design

Can’t the mysteries remain
details unrevealed, curiosity perpetually raw &
daring in the moments before hearts collide
Can’t the flame burn forever muse
smoke forever twisting into sky
Can’t first waves roll on and on unbroken
Can’t leaves be bronze that never fades
Can’t snow be first snow every time
Can’t petals always be in bloom
Can’t it be forever June.

Haikubes, again

Haikubes are a small collection of blocks you can use to write haiku. You can roll two inspiration dice and write on that theme. I played around with these last month and dug them out again tonight. Here’s what I came up with when I rolled [ die 1 ] and [ die 2 ]:

[ a reflection on ] [ my work life ]
(programming or writing late into the night)

[ a vision for ] [ my family ]

 


Color Me Synesthesia

before, I was but a pencil line
_______________, simple little stroke,
lacking even a squiggle but you
you traced me well, gave me depth & Definition
a flair of ink, a dash of curve~ discovered
fingerprints with graphite, the shade of skin
with lead of many shades of gray,
revised my irises until they
were circles perfect, filled the lashes black
until they could.blink.perception, molded my cheeks
in the sculpture of touched joy or bliss,
trimmed my hair into a shapes of soft,
kissed grayscale lips until breath dribbled deep
inside and I learned to sing, tickled my ears
until they began to touchWords, danced by my nose until
  inhaling became a new addiction,
crosshatched an outline of a heart,
and looked beyond the eyes until/blinking/wasn’t/necessary.
And then I tasted color.
It warmed my skin until a sunburn was seductive.
Red seeped in and seduced my bloodstream,
pumping passion to the corners of existence.
Spilled blue all over my jeans. Flung yellow
at my skin to make orange orbs that shrunk into
peach pores covered in light brown forests of “oh”.
I heard every hue. And touched invisible.
Turned up the volume until I saw green waves of sound.
Showered me with lights until I tasted purple.
Danced with scent into a real dream.
Morphed my background to a limitless canvas. Created new dimensions to
raise me
from
the page. Invented time. so I could. slow down. and smell
memory. We peeked at infinity
the day you started to color me in.

I’m Now a (Self-)Published Poet

blinks of awe cover

I’m so thrilled to type these words: blinks of awe, my first poetry book, has just been published in 32 countries!

Blinks of awe is an interactive book of poetry, or as I prefer to call it, a poetry experience. It’s only available on the iPad but when you first open it, you’ll see why. There’s no boring, black, left-aligned, serif text on a tidy white page here. Traditional poetry isn’t boring; it just doesn’t leverage what’s possible today. I’ve pushed the technology further than I’ve ever seen in a poetry book so that the medium truly complements the content. In the future, I plan to write more about iBooks Author, the main tool that made this book (and the textbook I designed earlier this year) possible. But in the mean time, I need your help!

This project began as a “wouldn’t-that-be-neat” idea on a late January weekend. What I thought I’d throw together in two days and nights ended up taking two months. In the process, I learned a lot about self-publishing ebooks, from formats to ISBNs to imprints to copyrights to pricing to working with Apple. I learned the joy and exquisite pain of trying to record your own voice, from replicating the way it sounds in your head to how it sounds on various kinds of speakers. I pushed my vocal limits and made voice recording part of my editing process. I went through numerous design iterations of every single poem. I leveraged my best personal photos, my pencil and digital artwork, and royalty free photography to put together designs that I’m damn proud of. To keep myself motivated, I started a Seinfeld calendar with six friends and worked on blinks of awe every single day for 55 straight days. And now seeing it published just made it all worth it.

I have little experience in marketing. But I know that if I don’t try everything I can to share this book, all this hard work and wonderful, late-night inspiration will be for naught. So take a chance on something new. I think you’ll be surprised.

Buy blinks of awe in the iBookstore.

Hello, June

you wake from a sweaty slumber
and send a quiet wave past the
illuminated curtains. she’s here.
ignore the clocks
sleeping in shouldn’t be a secret
you won’t miss her gentle, warm debut
it runs through us in waves
until the school bells chime.
but you don’t think of that end
so far away from today’s balmy skin
you shed your sheets and rise to
sunny heartbeats free of worry or
the chill of risk.
you stand at ease,
wind warming you naked
shadows blinking, dancing across
your chest from a thousand trees
all lost in bloom and
even their shade is but a snug embrace
the smiles across your face emit the
first sound of the season:
“hello, June.”