Chimera Poetry: An Appreciation
by Anthony Servante
The Chimera is a multi-headed creature that has been described in many ways by many cultures. To some, it is a combination of reptile, lion, and goat; to others, it is a dragon, lion, and ram. For Jaye Tomas, it is a melding of art, words, and friends, and the occasional troll.
I discovered the Facebook group by accident. I traced a picture back to its source and found myself at this magical place with mesmerizing graphics and enthralling poems. I immediately sought out the leader of the group, and to my amazement, found that it was Jaye Tomas, one of my favorite poets and a friend on Facebook, in that order.
Next, I asked her if she’d like to talk about Chimera Poetry with my readers (who may as well be her readers as her poetry always attracts big hits for the Poetry Today column). She agreed, and here we are. I posed a few questions for Jaye and let her write her own column about her poetry page.
So, let’s get to it. Without further ado, here’s Jaye Tomas.
How did the idea of Chimera Poetry come to you, as opposed to your text only poems?
Well, as in most things I did it backwards. I did the page first as a showcase for my poetry. A place to collect and display them all in one area. I envisioned having a convenient spot for a few, supportive friends and family (you know, the ones who HAVE to like you) where they could come to see the latest scribbles and give opinions. I never saw it growing like it did, never anticipated strangers liking and sharing it. It has both humbled me and made me a bit bolder. There has been a certain amount of “trolldom”, but the Internet is a breeding ground for that unfortunately. Mostly, however, there has been a tremendous show of support and affirmation extended. The kindness has been overwhelming. Meeting and making connections with other poets and writers has also been invaluable, the sheer talent out there is unreal. Joining the online poetry groups is a great way of honing your own talent while helping other people. A good group will offer writing positives; critique (constructive not destructive) and guidance. And that makes me work harder, extend myself more. It makes me willing to put more of myself out there, on the line. It has been a good experience personally, a way of building my confidence and developing my craft at the same time.
Where do you get the artwork? They are haunting pieces. I often just look at the art and then go back and read the poetry. Do you pick the art for your poems or for the art itself? Or a combination of both?
The artwork is truly a double edged sword. I think it adds to the poetry, to the overall affect – but there is always the chance of it overpowering the writing. People are visual creatures and some will like the pretty picture while passing over the poem itself. It’s difficult when someone comments about the “great painting” and says nothing about the verse I just dragged kicking and screaming out of my head and on to the paper. A conundrum.
I find it….oddly enough….on the Internet! I spend a lot of time finding the right image. I have to feel that “click”. I was surprised how long it sometimes takes to find the artist name to be able to properly credit the images.
Most of the time I find something to match AFTER I have written. Occasionally I will see an image that hits me like a ton of bricks and inspires me on the spot. Lente Scura is one who does it to me allllllll the time. Sorell too. Unique and amazing artwork on a consistent basis.
Do you find a big difference between writing from a source (the artwork) for inspiration and writing from the muse alone? How does the poetry differ from different sources of inspiration, if in fact it does?
Not really. My muse is a loud mouth, nagging, insomniac with an abysmal sense of timing. Write or die.
I don’t know how it differs really, very hard to say. What the artist creating a painting or photo is seeing might be light years away from what my perception of it is. It’s very subjective . In one case (“My Shroud”) the artist paid me the highest compliment ever, saying that they were “…taken aback on how clearly you saw it’s meaning and how you were able to communicate it via words.” It really doesn’t get any better than that.
You haven’t missed that much! The Facebook page hasn’t been there that long – since June 2013. The blog since August. I think it has evolved because all things do really. Not from any conscious decision on my part. I am a little more comfortable now, not so worried that something is too long, or too short, or too…..“me”. I have laid out the truthful person, the truthful questions and pain I deal/dealt with. People respond to that truthfulness I think.
Or….in the case of my darker, more paranormal pieces….they just like monsters. Heh..heh…
As for the future, I hope to keep adding and growing. To advertise my Very First Book being published soon would delight me. Watch that space!
He comes to you in shadow
and in secret
not quite seen
a calm confident voice
whispering your insecurities
erasing parts and replacing them
with crimson painted smile
broken bits of heart
old letters and faded photos
bound into a body
about by jerky marionette strings
he has remade you
in his vision
and you don’t know how to feel
with someone elses broken bits of heart
The Moon Smiles ~
Check the small print one more time
before you sign the deed
the marketplace may not be buying
what you think you’re selling
in this place of instant freeze dried aspirations
where every chicken seeks to be chanticleer
and all full moons rise with smiling faces
dreams and delusions are separated by a line so thin
that the angels dance across it when tired of the pin
no ring to rule, no drink to make you larger
to swim in the water of Lethe
may deaden your fears
but feeds them too
until grown so large they become master
and cringing, you look to the sky
to see that the full moon still rises smiling
it never was just for you.
Within the Dragons Dream ~
Molten gold runs through me warm as blood and lifts my wings
spreading with thunder
and power like the lightning storm
to be within the dragons dream is to be wrapped in scarlet and memories of a mighty fall
the shock of plunging
plummeting cloud clad
the wind may whisper adversary
but I scream my defiance back into it
and let my wings carry me
to farseen mountains where even the air is strange
my heart and my resolve hardening
as the fire kindles in my veins
the scent of gold and blood lures me
sings to me in siren tones
and I will go where that song leads me
full of heat and spice and shining like a morning star
resplendent in gemstone armor
as terrible and beautiful as the crimson dawn
I will remember who I am
and I will fear no living being
for dragons do not bow
I pull the darkness from the air
feeling it sink into my skin
swirling as ink through my veins
surfacing in the patterns and runes and markings
that my yearning called from the other planes
the other levels
the deliberately unremembered
tattoos rise in beaded symbols of power and love and loss
a call across obscured spaces
calling to some not awakened yet
and to those who have slept forgotten for long years
I am a living archive, a breathing record of my tale
it is not enough to tell my story
I want to become
I need to become
expanding with darkink and consciousness risen
like a tidal wave, I pull more
and I rise, imprinted
unfolding into all I am
and will be
knowing not how it ends
or what transformation this journal will require
but for now
the writing of it is sufficient
and the ink soothes and spreads deeper into
under my skin