Before I Go I Want to…


Before I go I want to …

Not be dependant any more on my meds
End the pain within my head.
Not lie about how I feel like a fraud
Conquer the petty set backs that get me annoyed.
Remove all the monkeys from my back
Give optimism another crack
Be proud to display my scars
Escape from my illnesses’ prison bars.
Find a grain of hope in which to believe
Wear my heart proudly on my sleeve.
Recover my long lost inner peace
Have just one night of uninterrupted sleep.

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Nirvana’s in Bloom, a chat with poet Tina J. Cox.


I first met Tina J. Cox at an open mic and workshop, where I enjoyed her powerful poems and performance. When I recently learnt she was publishing a new book of poetry entitled “Nirvana’s in Bloom,” to be released on March 13th, a book I’ve been privileged to see an advanced copy of. I thought it would be great to have a chat via email. Here are the results of that and I hope you enjoy it.

Q1. Please could you tell readers about your new poetry collection “Nivarna’s in Bloom,” where did you take the inspiration for the title from and what poems can they expect to find within its pages?

From the moment we get up till the time we close our eyes on the night, everything is sensory, rather than emotion, I have tried to capture everything felt through the day as that, although there is emotion in there too. Emotion is always important. Surprisingly, the inspiration for the name didn’t come from Nirvana’s brilliant Song called ‘In Bloom’….I actually felt that everyday we work towards our own idea of a Nirvana every day. What your idea of Nirvana is perhaps different to mine & that is completely fine, but I think I have covered pretty much everything in there of morning to evening. Right from rising in the morning, our heaven will be there at the end of the day and it is in bloom.

Q2. Although this may be hard do you have a favourite poem in your new collection and if so what is it and what was the inspiration behind it?

I have to be honest and say, that one is really difficult. However, I can pick one out that is further into the book, which is based on a complete overloaded day, it is called Overload also, in every which way possible, visually and audio. I do try to convey also how it is for someone on the Autistic Spectrum. It’s very difficult to vocalise emotions & feelings about something as we have to take a little longer to internalise and process things. It’s great being in a position, where I can create poetry that keeps everyone informed too, in different experiences or feelings of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. Albeit, we all handle these experiences differently.

Q.3 You’re a very prolific writer of poetry books what else have you written, and could you pick a favourite from among them that you think sums up your feelings towards poetry?

The very first two books that I produced called ‘Feelings, Stuff & Things’ and also ‘Rhyme & Reason with Autism’, were actually written before I knew I had Asperger’s Syndrome and was on the Autistic Spectrum. So, I would have been in my twenties/thirties. There is a BIG difference in my poetry, I find then, perhaps, compared to now, immature and I can see why younger readers have found them more appealing than adults. It’s also, from a time when a lot was going in my life, my children were young and I was experiencing difficulties in a relationship….so those two books, were, I didn’t realise at the time, therapy. It is quite one thing to be able to look back in life at events, remember them again. But, to know that I captured certain times that mean a lot to me regarding my children growing up and also how it made me feel at the time, is blissful.

‘Kieran & Kristian’, is the one I am referring to. I remember sitting up in bed and writing that, on an evening. While the boys, were in their room watching T.V. When I completed it, I called them in and read it for them. It made my oldest, who was then only about 8 fill up, with tears.

The cover to Tina’s new book

Q4. How did you get into poetry and how long did it take you to start writing then start publishing books?

I have always been creative, in my teens I could do stories much more easily than I can now, but later in adult life, during difficult times I wrote poetry and as previously said the first two books, ‘Feelings, Stuff & Things’ and also ‘Rhyme & Reason with Autism’, I wrote in my twenties and thirties. Although, not formatted in any particular way, they were sitting on my laptop and I decided to take everyone’s advice, who had previously said about publishing and did it in April 2018. Within a matter of weeks, because they were already ‘there’, I had two books made.

Since then, I haven’t stopped.

Q5. A lot of people would like to publish their own poetry collection, do you have any tips for them on what websites to use and how to go about it etc?

Whatever is in your mind, at that time, get it on paper. It doesn’t matter if ‘you’ don’t think at that time it’s good or ground breaking. We can always edit but sometimes when we haven’t jotted something down, it’s forgotten and cannot be retrieved. Also, your own particular style will change over time and to look back where you started to where you are now and in the style you now write is a way to almost gauge your own progress, I have found. It’s also nice to look back on ‘yourself’, in a I find nostalgic way.

Q6. Once the new book is launched what’s next for you?

Ahhh, I definitely want to ‘better’ performing them. I have so much inspiration from friends made since beginning this journey and even if I thought I wasn’t bad before, which I thought, to performing there wouldn’t be much to it. BUT I was SO wrong. From dealing with your own anxiety to intonation and pronunciation. I have such a long way to go, in regards to performing though. Also, definitely more writing. That will never stop.

Q7. If folk want to follow you online and read your poetry where’s the best place to find you?

I have a Facebook Page TinaJCox-Author
I have Twitter @tinajcoxpoetry
I also have instagram Tina_J_Cox

Many thanks for taking the time to interview me.

Thank you Tina for taking the time to answer my questions, if you want to see TIna’s collection of books here is a link to her Amazon page.

Sandcastle


Dark clouds are gathering behind my eyes,
inside my head an imperfect storm is brewing.
Black waves of thoughts froth and swell
then surge and crash
against my resolve.

A resolve that is a castle,
a castle built of sand.
Whose smooth walls have
withstood many storms and
although some of its parapets
crumble today the rest stands firm.

Once the storm passes I
lower my drawbridge, then
as for the rock pools of doubt
left behind, I tread carefully
round them.Wary of what
they might conceal.

Yampy


 

“Yampy,” my neighbours said about me when I was young,
as I rode my Grifter no-handed past their shocked faces,
laughing as I crashed into their beloved shrubs.
“Yampy,” they whispered from behind their windows
as I walked to school,
laces untied, shirt hanging out, head in the clouds.
Teachers echoed these taunts,
“could do better, must try harder, slacker.”
I didn’t care as I couldn’t change
as yampy was burnt into my DNA.
Fast forward I grew up – a bit – and discovered beer.
“He’s yampy,” after a few they said in my local,
“he’s yampy before he’s walked in the door,” was the reply.
Fag in my gob, pint in my hand I joined in the laughter.
When I met my wife she used to laugh at my bad memory,
“Come on you yampy bugger,” she’d say,
“Why can’t you remember my favourite drink?
Why can’t you remember my birthday?
Why can’t you remember your own poems?”
Us yampys do have memory problems it’s true,
our brains are like attics
stuffed with junk that we think one day might
come in useful again.
Then when we want to find something
we struggle to remember
where it is and what we wanted in the first place.
Plus we’re easily distracted in attics
Look an old school report
I’ll need that later in the poem.
Where was I…, that’s it
When my daughter was born people said, thinking they were out of earshot,
“I hope she takes after her mom.”
I ignored them as I cradled my new-born, writing a poem in my head.
Poetry again I know, I was surprised as you.
But us yampys are drawn to poetry like
a seagull is drawn to chips.
Snatching ideas and words, squawking them back out
cackling like the bird brains we are.
Poetry was one of the many plasters I applied to my brain,
I tried drugs legal and not but
yampyness cannot be cured only
lulled into drowsiness until
it snaps awake at 12 am demanding attention
like a dog demands an urgent midnight piss.
Recently I burnt all my school reports
then I burnt all my school photos,
plus I burnt all the mementoes of my teenage years.
But I didn’t burn my bridges
I’m yampy not stupid.

 

Yampy is a local term where I live to describe someone who is daft or losing the plot.

Quick plug this poem features in my latest poetry collection A Pigeon among the cats.

The UK version can be found here, paperback or Kindle

The US version can be found here, paperback or Kindle