Friday, May 25, 2018

#18 Backstory of the Poem "ARTERIAL DISCOMBOBULATION" by Juliet Cook . . .

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***This is the eighteenth in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem. 

Backstory of the Poem
by Juliet Cook

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form? I can't be step-by-step process about it, because it was written several years ago, and I have memory issues, as well as a mild form of
aphasia - but I can tell you what inspired it. What inspired it was also somewhat related to my aphasia. The reason I have aphasia is
because when I was 37, I suffered from an unexpected carotid artery dissection, which caused an aneurysm, which caused a stroke. It resulted in some brain damage and it also seemed to result in divorce from my marriage, exactly one year later.  Following that combination of factors, I had discomfort and uncertainty and doubt and questioning and lack of trust related to true love and significant relationships, as well as fear that I might suffer from another unexpected carotid artery dissection/ stroke that made me immobile and/or even more disabled - that damaged my brain far away from the real me. 

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem? And please describe the place in great detail. What month and year did you start writing this poem?  (Right - Juliet Cook in December of 2011)  For similar reasons to the above, I can't describe this in a detailed manner either.  My brain has issues with dates and numbers,but I think the poem was
written sometime in 2011. I think it was written during theyear I was temporarily living with my parents, on the brink of and for several months after
my divorce.  I spent a lot of my time there inside a bedroom and the adjoining room where I had my computer installed. I
spent a lot of my time trying to write out my thoughts in different (Above Right:  Juliet Cook in her "Poet" socks) ways. My small space was filled with unorganized boxes and for a while I thought that was because I didn't have my own space during that time - and that once I
got my own space, I'd arrange itspecifically, creatively, uniquely, and in a clearly organized fashion.  But as it turns out, my current space, which IS my own space is still unorganized and cluttered. I am semi-frequently rearranging, misplacing, and
temporarily (sometimes permanently) losing hand written papers and notebooks and other items. For reasons such as these, I do most of my creative writing on my computer in recent years, because it's more save-able and find-able that way. 

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem?  Readers can take whatever they choose to take from it. Hopefully, a few readers will be interested in it and/or moved by it and/or relate to it on their own personal, emotional levels and feel less alone, despite their distrust of love and fear of non-existence. (Above Right- Broken Doll Head copyright granted by Juliet Cook)

Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?  
"What if my carotid arteries are predatory beasts?
What if they wish to slaughter my entire neck;
impale me?..."

"...what if
my whole personality gets impaled? What if
I can no longer walk, talk, dance, kiss, speak for myself,
read, or write poetry? What if I lose all my passion, lust,
interest and love?  What if another artery bleeds out
until it removes the real me?"

Nobody knows exactly what caused my carotid artery dissection, so part of me worries that I have weak or abnormal arteries and another serious health issue might happen.   A little over a year ago, I had a cat scan done to check my neck arteries and they liked healthy at that time.  But I still sometimes worry about suffering from another carotid artery dissection and either dying or existing as a body that doesn't have my own brain inside it anymore - or that does have my own brain inside it, but can no longer express my own thoughts and feelings.  (Above Left:  Poet's Eye attributed to and copyright granted by Juliet Cook) 

Has this poem been published before? And if so where?   This poem previously appeared upon an online site called Body of Words which published anonymous poetry and art and essays focused on parts of the body (and how they impacted one's mind on an individual level) and combined with a photo related to that body part.  My poem appeared alongside a photo of my neck. (Above Right) That site is now defunct, however.

The poem also appears within my second full-length poetry book, "Malformed Confetti", which is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press in 2018. (Left - Angelina artwork for the jacket cover of "Malformed Confetti" attributed to Simona Candini)

Anything you would like to add?  Semi-related to what I mention in this interview, after I had the stroke, I had to relearn the alphabet and relearn to read and write.  For a while, I could no longer read poetry - and for a while after that, I could no longer understand poetry, not even my own previously written poetry. (Right:  Juliet Cook on October of 2017 copyright granted by Juliet Cook)

 After I regained my ability to read and write and understand, I was nervous about attempting to write new poetry, because I was worried that I wouldn't be able to anymore. Thank goodness, I found out I still could, although it did emerge a bit differently than it used to. It still felt like me, but a shorter, more abstract, more visual variation of me. (Left- The Poet's Hand attributed and copyright granted by Juliet Cook)

BOBULATION"  includes parts of my language that feel abstract and visual combined with parts of language that are more basic and emotional. But prior to that particular poem, I created and self-published a tiny chapbook-sized collection of poems called "POST-STROKE" that are short, abstract, but creatively emerged from my healing brain.


Slip - gaps vs. slit - gasps.
I don’t want to be a weak shell casing;
a broken stained crème brulee;
an irrational shape shifting bog.
Blobbing, clotting, throbbing pupa strangulation.
What if poisonous insects live inside my veins?
What if my carotid arteries are predatory beasts?
What if they wish to slaughter my entire neck;
impale me? Was that a bodily tremor or
a body bag streamer?


What might be sticking out my neck,
bursting forth from my discolored throat,
and what if it explodes? Am I wrong,
misshapen, on the brink of another dissection?
Will I lose another lover, more power, what if
my whole personality gets impaled? What if
I can no longer walk, talk, dance, kiss, speak for myself,
read, or write poetry? What if I lose all my passion, lust,
interest and love?  What if another artery bleeds out
until it removes the real me?

Juliet Cook's (Left on April of 2018 attributed to Dianne Borsenik) poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, including Arsenic Lobster, DIAGRAM, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including POISONOUS BEAUTYSKULL
LOLLIPOP (Grey Book Press, 2013), RED DEMOLITION (Shirt Pocket Press, 2014), a collaboration with Robert Cole called MUTANT NEURON CODEX SWARM (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015), and a collaboration with j/j hastain
called Dive Back Down (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). Cook's first full-length individual poetry book, “Horrific Confection”, was
published by BlazeVOX and her second full-length individual poetry book, "Malformed Confetti" is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press. Her most recent full-length poetry book, "A Red Witch, Every Which Way", is a collaboration with j/j hastain published by
Hysterical Books in 2016. She also sometimes creates abstract painting collage art hybrid creatures. She also serves as an editor and publisher for a small indie poetry press, Blood Pudding Press. (Left - Horrific Confection flyer attributed to 
Kristin Mahlen)

Dianne Borsenik

The Blood Pudding Press blog  https://bloodyooze.

The Blood Pudding Press shop https://www.etsy.

Juliet Cook's individual blog  https://doppel

Juliet Cook on Twitter

Crisis Chronciles Press Facebook Page


Backstory of the Poem Links

001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

024  July 27, 2018
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s (It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”

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