Old Road Apples
I’ve got some friends who’ve been joking about poems and “pomes:” it’s not that funny, but we’ve been at it a while now and have become set in our ways. Pome, you might know, is bastardization of “pomme,” the french word for “apple.” It’s nice to think of poems as apples, bright and tart and sweet, even though some poems are more like radishes, others more akin to poblanos…. See where I’m going with that? Now, a ROAD APPLE is a beast of a different nature–they’re the little presents a horse drops behind them. I’m a fairly mediocre poet, so the metaphor is apt.
I’ve always loved poetry, and when I was young I devoted significant time to writing a large volume of very road apple-like verse, a small portion of which I’ve recently uncovered. This blog is a belated salute to that naive, enthusiastic kid–an effort to fix, or edit, some of this old crap without losing the spirit of the stuff, and to share it with–well, with you.
I expect there will be other posts, snippets of prose from fiction in progress and general whatever. No rules in my blog. If you happen to read something, take a second to say hello, or even take a big gamble and follow along. Hell, you can mock me mercilessly–I won’t take it too seriously.
More seriously, I stick a lot of photos on these posts–like many bloggers do–and it should come as no surprise that in most cases I do not know who made them, who the subjects are, or where they were originally published. I only use photos off of public sites–never from personal blogs and the like, and try to include a citation when it is clear where the original source is. This is a non-monetized blog–I derive absolutely no income from the site, nor does it promote any other interest through which I profit.
No, my mother wasn’t cruel–she didn’t name me Junk. My dad was cruel and wanted to name me Jeffrey Allen, but he was in Viet Nam when I was born in the dying steel town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a place more famous for being repeatedly flushed from the decimated river banks by a serious of catastrophic floods. I was named instead for my my grandfather, Charles, for which I’m glad, because he was a pretty cool guy and we liked each other a lot.
So “Junk Chuck”? What the hell does that mean? It’s a big of self-mockery, because I’m not a tidy guy. I sympathize with hoarders, and am probably about 12 degrees east of batshit crazy (which is way better than monkeyshit crazy, which in the worst) living with stacks of old newspapers. For me, it is books and old tools–the occasional vehicle sitting idle in the driveway for 18 months–I have a problem with sentimentality and nostalgia, and (alas) a very good memory. I also let email accumulate, which led to me having a special email just to hold all the crap, apart from the one that gets the important stuff. It’s email@example.com –get it? “Junk of Chuck?” I messed around with using Chuck Junk as an internet persona, but people kept thinking I was writing about, uh, you know, my junk Can’t have that.
So, think of the “Junk” like an adjective. Like Big Earl (a lawnmower I used to own), or Colossal Bob (a character in one of my stories) or Stinky Betty (no comment) or Fast Willie or, most famously, Bad Bad Leroy Brown.
But who am I? Like Whitman, I contain multitudes. I am a native, militant Westsylvanian (the first last best place), a laborer, gardener, and literary hobbyist (if by literary you mean “hack”). I’ve had a bunch of different blogs, probably four, due to a recurring compulsion to start over.
This incarnation, my longest and most successful (in terms of commitment) owes to a desire to dredge up the best entries of the worst little book of hand-scrawled poems I could ever dream of writing, salvageable excerpts from fiction both in progress and long-abandoned. and a smattering of whatever the hell seems to fit at any particular moment. At first blush, I was here just to focus on old, terrible verse, but I reserved the right to include…anything. And indeed I have. The poetry arrives rarely–I’m buried in fiction, working at a novel that needs to be finished–and this blog has become like my back porch, a place to have a figurative beer, shoot the shit, catch up, tell tales, and maybe talk about pulp novels or politics, growing garlic, the Pittsburgh Steelers, current events, and howling at the moon–both figuratively and, on rare occasions, literally.
Photographs and Images
If you are the creator and/or rights holder to an image I post here–know that your I used your image because I think it’s cool and deserves to be shared. I would be pleased as pie to add an attribution or credit line, and/or a link back to your own pages in order to promote your work. Or, if you prefer, I will never hesitate to remove a photo by request. Thanks. Enjoy….