Press Play to hear the entry

Hi and welcome to Jar of Poetry! I’m John-Anthony.

As you can see, no poems today. I wanted to take the time to introduce myself, reflect on September, and what you can expect from this blog.

Background Music: Quiet Time

Royalty free music from https://www.fesliyanstudios.com

I don’t consider myself a poet, believe it or not—not anymore. I’d rather go by an enthusiast. I think the title fits a little better. It’s a one-person operation—from writing to producing the audio.

I’m from Guam, a little island in the Pacific Ocean. It’s where my curiosity of the world began, as did poetry.

Growing up, I always imagined what the world would look like from the other side of the horizon of endless ocean and sky. I was one of those kids who would read his school textbooks, just to get an idea what it was like living in those countries foreign to me. That’s why I love researching and sharing what I’ve come to acknowledge as a plausible answer to an open-ended question. I wanted to travel and experience life the way other people did. From different viewpoints, accents, especially food—I mean, anything I didn’t know, I wanted to experience and try.

As for poetry, it was back in middle school when I received a class assignment to write a poem. Being fact based, I wrote and turned it in. It was my first lesson in poetry—and my first failed assignment. My teacher’s exact words were, “There was no emotion or imagination in your writing. You’re too factual, loosen up.” I remember going home and looking up everything I could on poetry. We didn’t have a computer yet. So, I resorted to using my encyclopedias. From then on, I would practice and practice until finally, when we did get our computer, I submitted a poem to a poetry contest online. It was a few weeks later that I received a letter in the mail saying that I was getting my poem published in a coffeehouse book! I was so excited and remembered priding myself in that accomplishment. But, I didn’t take criticism too well, at least in my earlier days because of that pride. It wasn’t until recently, I found that poetry was as endless as the same ocean and sky where everything began. I consider myself a student now to its vast knowledge and philosophy hidden within each line.

When I started Jar of Poetry on September 2, 2019, I was actually really hesitant! I had a poetry blog before and after a few months of writing in it, I stopped. I burned out. I didn’t want that to happen again but I also didn’t want to just put something up for people to see. I wanted to share an experience that I know other people go through when they write. I also wanted to experiment with how my audio versions would be. (I’m a part time audiobook narrator—but we can talk about that later.)

Looking back on the entries, I can tell you from my heart that I am truly happy. I am easily fascinated by the thoughts, stories, and imaginations of so many people. At times, I feel like a hindrance when I leave a comment on someone’s work. But honestly, I really am amazed by their piece and would like to know more behind it—without pushing too much. When I write, I really am free. And being around others who write, I’m proud to be alongside those who are also free.

Going forward with Jar of Poetry, the idea behind it still fascinates me. Being able to see what poetry is in my eyes and sharing it with you, is what I feel was missing from my writing. Expect to see more stories, thoughts, and imaginations behind each poem I publish or that people care to share. I can tell you that I am looking forward to doing more entries and for October. For this entry though, I just wanted to spend some time with you and talk about this blog for a bit. My only hope is that you’ll stick with me so we can grow together as writers and learn from each other.

With that said, thank you so much for your time today. If you haven’t already, consider “Following” or stopping by from time to time. New content will be published on Sundays, Eastern Standard Time (EST). I’m John-Anthony and this is “OUR” Jar of Poetry, take care.

Rules

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  2. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger(s) asked you.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers and make them happy!
  5. Makeup to 11 questions and ask them to your nominees.
  6. Notify your 11 nominees.

A very sincere “Thank You” to Salman Wani (Kash Voice) for nominating Jar of Poetry. Though at a distance, our words and passion for poetry make us one.

Here are 11 facts about me

  1. Proud father of a nine-year-old boy who loves reading and writing
  2. Became a published poet at 16
  3. I’m afraid of glass breaking
  4. My cat tells me when to sleep
  5. My first name (John-Anthony) is from both my grandfathers. They inspired me through their stories and memories.
  6. I started journaling at 9 years old from the Nickelodeon show, “Doug”
  7. Paddle boarding is my favorite sport
  8. While recording, I make funny noises so I’m paying attention while editing the audio
  9. I wake up at 4 am every day (yes, even on weekends)
  10. I never attended my high school graduation
  11. I take myself seriously—and realize how funny it is
  1. What real happiness means to you?
    It’s a genuine feeling that you are obligated to keep and share at the same time.

  1. Comment on “Life, a journey”.
    Just keep going, take breaks in between, and enjoy the things you experience.

  1. How much respect is important for the foundation of relationships?
    Definitely a lot. It has to be strong and stable to last eons beyond lifetimes.

  2. What parents mean in your life?
    My perfect imperfectionists that give insight on how to live life. I love asking them for advice!

  3. How do you balance criticism and appreciation?
    By treating them the same. It’s given to you for a reason. Acknowledge it, learn from it, and keep writing.

  4. Which is your favorite book?
    The Hungry Caterpillar

  1. What are your ultimate aims in life?
    To show my son that nobody knows our limits except ourselves and to enjoy the memories of all the things I’ve done in life.

  2. Write one thought of yours?
    If tomorrow is a day, then why does it end in a “W”?

  3. What message do you want to give to people out there?
    Words, food, and thoughts are the few things people should kindly share. Granted, some of us may not know how to write, cook, or express the same way but at least acknowledge their efforts.

  4. How you see death?
    Another chance at a different life.

  1. What is a responsibility?
    A destined duty that we are to fulfill. 

My Nominees

  1. Sand
  2. Distilled Silence
  3. Holli Gibbs
  4. PJM Caporn
  5. Luna(tik) Enigma
  6. David Ferland
  7. Auroraborealys
  8. Connetta
  9. Nunesable
  10. The Beth of Both Worlds
  11. Jstarwriter85

Here are your questions

  1. Which fictional character would you like to sit and chat with?

  2. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

  3. Where do some of your ideas come from?

  4. What is your biggest fear when you write?

  5. If you were to be transported into a story, which book would it be?

  6. What’s your favorite time of year?

  7. What word do you like to use the most when speaking?

  8. What’s the most spontaneous thing you have ever done?

  9. Which chore do you like doing the most?

  10. What is your favorite “Go-to” snack?

  11. Do you have a unique talent you would like to share?

Press Play to hear the entry

I’d flutter like a leaf
pretending to be a butterfly.

I’d glisten like lacquered branches
to kindle a dying light.

I’d leave ink-blotted tears on a page
to be later thrown aside.

I’d express my love and devotion
as if it were the sweetest little lie.

So, why?
Why such ambiguity and tone?

It’s who I’d be,
if I were a poem.

Audio background is by: https://freesound.org/people/Philip%20Goddard/sounds/170405/

The only modification was adding a voice over their  recording. The individual responsible for the audio background is neither affiliated nor endorses those who use their work.


It’s been called by many names.
Fantasies. Illusions. Epiphanies.
Whatever it’s called, it plays an integral part in literature. Let’s take a look at how imagination is used in writing.

Care to join me?


Hi and welcome to Jar of Poetry! I’m John-Anthony.

Just to cover myself, I’m not an expert in the field of psychology or anything related to cognitive behaviors of the mind. My sole purpose for this entry is to focus on how imagination is used in writing.

This particular topic is an interesting one to me and for good reason. Imagination has many faces. Yet, like a reflective rainbow from a capsulated prism, opinions and views as to what it is and how it’s used, vary so greatly.

Imagination is the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses (Thank you Oxford dictionary online). The first thought when we hear the word, imagination, is something unrealistic.  Many fantasy books use this concept to orchestrate their story. So do myths, legends, and poetry. Writers throw static and dynamic situations to their characters or readers for them to resolve a problem and in the process, making the impossibility a reality. What’s so unique and addicting is the writers’ ability to intertwine imagination and real-life events making that unachievable goal—attainable. (A happy ending—if you will).

But what would happen if that outcome isn’t what we wanted? Which leads to the ever-plaguing thoughts of, “What if?” We can recount a troubling experience and wonder how we would’ve reacted differently (Playing out scenarios in our minds). Believe it or not, that thought process is another form of imagination! (Crazy, right?!)

Now that I have those thoughts swirling around in your mind, how does poetry incorporate imagination?


The featured poem, “If I were a poem”, is my attempt at understanding this enigma. Writers and poets use imagination to help with adding an essence to their work. They construct a “What if?” scenario and formulate an ending, suitable for the readers/listeners. As writers, we can outline as many times as we want, put our experiences in the throes of vulnerability, and justify a suitable outcome. Imagination grants us that power to do so. Whether it’s taking the form of an inanimate object and personifying it or revisiting an experience had we approached it differently, is what gives our work its personality. (You wouldn’t believe how many times I had to rewrite this paragraph and make sure it was grammatically correct.)

Being imaginative has its perks. We can use it to improve a product. Inspire others to see the world a little differently. (I mean, the list can just keep going!)

However, being imaginative also has its downfalls. Remembering those passed occurrences in our lives that we try to forget about, normally ends up at the front of our minds. How we felt at that frame of time is like living in the past but in the present. Then there’s the consistently questioning whether the choice we make is right or wrong. (I’m guilty of doing this constantly.)

Like I mentioned, Imagination is a powerful thing. For as fickle as it can be, it’s our innate ability to handle it and confine it to our writing and every day lives. One of the things I’ve concluded is that the scariest thing in the world is our imagination. It’s where our fears and phobias originate. But it’s also the greatest comfort to have because, without those fears or insecurities, we would have no real emotion to put into our work. How we handle our imagination varies so greatly, just like our writing and opinions.

To end this entry, here is “When I write.”

A quote from J.K. Rowling, “Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.


When I write

When I write, I’m free—
free to be and do anything.

I can lie or tell the truth
adding a dash of charisma too.
Line by line,
I debate the scheme to rhyme.

Still,
I’m free.

I abuse the structure of free verse
and consider it a curse.
Using adverbs clumsily,
elegantly, and undeservingly.

Still,
I’m free.

I admire my contemporaries
those crystallized rarities.
Keen eyes and grammatical structure,
sharpen my habits of conjecture.

Still,
I’m free.

All I want is to be free—
free to write and experience what I can’t be.

Audio background is by: https://freesound.org/people/FoolBoyMedia/sounds/333800/

The only modification was adding a voice over their recording. The individual responsible for the audio background is neither affiliated nor endorses those who use their work.


Thank you so much for your time today.
Believe it or not, I had some trouble with this entry simply due to the fact that it’s based on one person’s opinion. I may have also bounced around a lot but that’s just how my imagination works.

If you have some insight or your take on imagination, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment on the blog or email me jarofpoetry@gmail.com.

And again, if you like this, consider “Following” the blog or stopping by from to time. I’m John-Anthony and this is Jar of Poetry, take care.

Press Play to hear the entry

The world full of gladness,
there are joys of many kinds,
there’s a cure for every sadness,
that each troubled mortal finds.
And my little cares grow lighter
and I cease to fret and sigh,
and my eyes with joy grow brighter
when she makes lemon pie.

When the bronze is on the filling,
that’s one mass of shining gold,
and its molten joy is spilling
on the plate, my heart grows bold
and the kids and I in chorus
raise one glad exultant cry
and we cheer the treat before us
which is mother’s lemon pie.

Then the little troubles vanish,
and the sorrows disappear,
then we find the grit to banish
all the cares that hovered near,
and we smack our lips in pleasure
o’er a joy no coin can buy,
and we down the golden treasure
which is known as lemon pie.

Written by: Edgar A. Guest
©1917 From his book, Just Folks  Published by the Reilly and Britton Co
This public domain book is used for educational purposes and critique.
All credit goes to the writer.

Music by: reinsamba (https://freesound.org/people/reinsamba/sounds/54066/)


This—whoa… What? A poem about food?!
What was this guy thinking?!
Let’s take a closer look at the thought behind this.
Care to join me?


Hi and welcome to Jar of Poetry. I’m John-Anthony, your fellow poetry enthusiast.

Before we get into the entry, I would like to let you know that I’m not going to give you a lecture. (I’m pretty sure you’re better at researching than I am.) With that out of the way, let’s get into it!

Known as, “The Poet of the People”, Edgar Albert Guest had an ordinary life. (No joke—ordinary as it can get) He’s well-known for his Light Verses—thus, earning him that title among the generation. However, he wasn’t a popular figure to the poetry community. Writers and even authors ridiculed his work, despite having over 20 volumes under his name. (According to Wikipedia and Poets.org, that’s estimated to be over 11,000 poems—not bad for a guy who didn’t take himself seriously)

His “limited skill as a writer”, (quoted from Lemony Snickett’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, 11th book), landed a radio show and a television spot on NBC. Mr. Edgar Guest passed away on August 5th, 1959 at the age of 78, just 15 days before his 79th birthday.

So, what was he thinking when he wrote the featured poem, Lemon Pie?

Simple.

He reminded us of a universal memory we each have. (I have a soft spot for pie. I only eat it on my birthday— yes, it’s that special.)

When we choose to read something, it’s not because of who writes it but what our memory associates with it. We want to have a similar experience in sharing, with the writer, something near and dear to our hearts.

Food itself is a necessity. We each have our preferences and tastes as to what “good food” is. (Let’s all agree that mom’s cooking or your spouses’ cooking is the best, just to be on the safe side.)


Let’s also avoid the cliché, “Poetry is food for thought.” It may be for many and for others, it may mean something completely different. When you look at it, poetry encompasses so many things—lines, rhythm, message, and style. Food is no different—ingredients, recipe, and whether to serve it hot or cold. And just like food, poetry is something we can share with anyone.

Truth be told, it’s what I compare poetry to—most of the time. Whatever I’m in the mood for, I’ll glance around and partake in the writing for what it means to me. If it’s not what I’m really looking for, I’ll still try it. Believe me, I will compliment the writer and their work if it exceeded my expectations.

We write with our hearts, minds, and souls. In this case, Mr. Guest wrote with his stomach. (In my opinion, this man was a genius!) Don’t let an overly populated topic or an undeserving one deter you from reading or writing what you feel is right. Whether it’s about love or heartbreak to a soul deteriorating or awakening—a reader may be craving the words only you can make.

And to think, this all came from an ordinary guy who simply loved to rhyme.

To end this entry, here’s my food poem, Angel Food Cake.

Anything can be poetry. And poetry can be anything.


Angel Food Cake

My sinful little angel,
adorned with bleeding berries
of a new moon.
Your whipped wings pattern the plate,
awaiting a delectable doom.
Cherubs scowl at every bite,
such a rapturing and glorious delight!
A feeling we have,
that’s easily gone too soon.


Thank you so much for your time today. I really hope you had as much fun as I did with this entry! If you liked this, consider “Following” the blog for new content posted every Sunday or stopping by from time to time.

I’m John-Anthony and this is Jar of Poetry, take care!

Press play to hear the entry

Oh
Jar of Fireflies,
how you burn intermittently bright!

Your neon glows in fields of dark.
During the day, it silences in the jar.

Bringing such joy to me,
what’ll happen if I set you
free?

Ideas and passions will fly away.

Hopefully,
others will love you when I release you today.


How did this poem reshape poetry for me and help invigorate something new? After reading through the pages of last year’s journal, only now did this poem show its truest form. Join me as we look more at the story behind the poem.


Welcome to Jar of Poetry. I’m John-Anthony—poetry enthusiast and the one responsible for the featured poem.

Written in 2018, Jar of Fireflies was the first of a few poems I put any real effort and thought into.

When I wrote it, I had been unemployed for two months and was living off a dwindling tax return. Despite the situation, I really enjoyed my time reading and contributing to the WordPress Poetry community. Surrounding myself with other poets and writers of all walks of life was like a much-needed rain to cool off from the hectic job interviews and resume writing. It was my present-day escape as compared to when I was a kid—hiding in a bathroom and writing in my spiral notebook.

I wrote about love, depression, nature…you get the idea. Pretty common topics that poetry is known for. However, there was an element to my writing I felt was missing. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure it out!

I would blame it on not having a job or enough creativeness—which turned that anger inward.

Why can’t I write when all I did to escape from life’s issues was to write?! I remember being so frustrated that evening, I didn’t hear my son come into the room. He looked at me and asked,

“Daddy, wanna catch fireflies?”

I knew that taking a break from writing would help ease my mind from the frustration. But there was another problem—I didn’t know how to catch fireflies. I grew up on an island okay, cut me some slack. I didn’t know if they stung or bit. Chancing the unknown, we went outside with our jars and chased these flying creatures. One by one, we would hold them hostage and then release them back into the night. The look in his eyes, mixed with starlight and neon glow, made for a great night. After about 30 minutes, it was time for us to go in and shower before bed. I turned to call him in but there he was, right in front of me—staring at his jar of fireflies. I watched as he lifted his hand and the little orbs escaped once more.

After putting him to bed, I sat and reflected on what happened. Witnessing what real poetry was, took its toll on my soul. So, that night I wrote and edited “Jar of Fireflies.”

The analogies used are of the mind—fireflies representing ideas, dreams, and passions only we can see. “The fields of dark” can be interpreted as two things—the abysmal mind and the fear of the unknown. “During the day...“, is showing the reader that we often delay our dreams or passions because of some reason or another. The last line, “Hopefully, others will love you when I release you today“, is about finding acceptance in a society that can easily overlook you.


My old poetry blog no longer exists—and I’m glad. Reading some of my old poems are a little cringe-worthy, to be honest. I wanted to give you, the reader/listener, a more personal experience that you’ll have to look forward to from my writing.

We, as writers, hope to move a reader emotionally and provoke silly or contemplative thoughts. The art of deciphering the piece, being in that particular moment in life, and how you relate to the writer is what I enjoy the most when I read and write.

That’s why I decided to start Jar of Poetry. I wanted to share more than just a few lines with endless meanings. I want to share the experience(s) I had that helped motivate the work. And all it took was looking at life through a jar, marveling at the story behind it.

To bring this entry to an end, here is, “Like Poetry.”

Regardless of what you do or where you turn, poetry is right there performing in plain sight.


Like Poetry

Like treated or natural cloth,
Poetry can be made and interpreted
into anything.

Like an empty plate,
Poetry is harvested, seasoned, and served
by the hand and imagination of the writer.

Like a transparent rainbow,
Poetry is a dismal entity.
Thoughts need not transcend too far to see.

Like in everything,
Poetry takes a balance of courage and failure
to live a life most memorable—
Like Poetry


Thank you so much for your time today! It is an honor to have you here for Jar of Poetry’s first entry.

If you like this, be sure to stay updated by Following the blog or stopping by from time to time. I’m John-Anthony and this is Jar of Poetry, take care.