Welcome to The Pen Bleeds where poetry is more than rhyme, more than reason, more than words flowing with rhythm; it’s a combination of jagged thoughts, feelings, actions, and a unique language opening minds to see the world from a different perspective.
This Month’s Featured Poet: Sean Burton
It’s a pleasure featuring Sean Burton, a poet who delves into those caliginous places; the eerie ones where hell equates to being overtaken by a succubus while the body is at rest. His writing demonstrates a side of poetry that is more than love sonnets dressed in niceties making the heart flutter. Instead, it exhibits an intense and chaotic shadowy side, which intentionally preys on the fears of the living. Do you dare to embrace the darkness in all those dreadful crevices? We posed seven questions to better familiarize our readers with his creative vision and intellect.
Q&A with Sean Burton
Seven: What is your favorite genre of literature to write about?
Sean Burton: I really get into the darker side of writing. The macabre, taboo, and sins. That sort of thing.
Seven: What inspires you to write?
Sean Burton: My poetry is usually associated directly with whatever mental state I am in. If I have a feeling of heartache, fear, lust or anxiety I write. I find this better because the words literally just flow and there’s no thought process to it until it comes to editing/proof reading.
Seven: Who is your favorite author and how do they inspire you?
Sean Burton: I’m a huge Lovecraft fan. He is undoubtedly a linguistic genius. He has this way with words that just drives my imagination to insanity and when I read it, it just becomes sudden inspiration.
Seven: Are your writings primarily nonfiction, fiction, or a mixture of both?
Sean Burton: Both actually. The nightmare pieces are nonfiction. The poetry comes roughly half and half but a real life experience rooted them.
Seven: Do you have any advice for writers who want to improve their craft?
Sean Burton: Always keep something to write with nearby. I can’t tell you how much I hate being struck with inspiration and I don’t write anything. It never comes out nearly as good. The reader can feel your inspiration and passion through your words and as always, keep writing. Never stop.
Seven: Can you write on command about any topic or is writing more spiritual for you?
Sean Burton: Both. I write for a few fitness magazines locally so I’m often asked to write on a timeline and I blog about both fitness and my personal writings. Needless to say, I get a lot of practice.
Seven: What are your views on freedom of speech and why do you feel “The Great American Boy” is a prime example of standing up for ones beliefs?
Sean Burton: Freedom of speech is something I feel everyone cherishes, yet very few take advantage of due to repercussion or criticism. Imagine not having it for a second. It’s the essence of where we are as a nation and men and women have died for it. He who possesses the will to stand against the masses for a belief they cherish, and let it be known, has the same will our founding fathers possessed.
Sean Burton is a resident of San Antonio, Texas, who is a freelance self employed personal trainer, poet, writer, blogger, and jack of all trades. He staunchly opposes mediocrity and conformity; he has a unique style all his own. Everything he does is fueled by passion, fortified by knowledge and carried by faith.
For more information on Sean Burton please visit:
Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.
-Justice William O. Douglas
Freedom of expression is the single most important right all humans should be privy to. Unfortunately, not all governments allow this right and even in the United States it is limited.
A true democratic society supports an environment where its citizens are free to voice their opinions and ideas openly without prejudice or punishment. I believe in fostering a populace of brave free thinking people; people who not only embrace dissenting viewpoints, but also challenge any system of beliefs, government, or set of actions that may clash with their own.
Only the brave or free thinking are willing to go against the status quo, being willing to speak up and take action on behalf of the community and the world. These individuals raise the bar and lead by example. One of the greatest proponents of free speech was free-thinker, essayist, scholar and social activist W.E.B Dubois. He challenged his peers ( Booker. T. Washington and Marcus Garvey) and incessantly went against the grain to confront injustice in those oppressive and dreary places. Dubois made it his mission to fight for social and economic equality for blacks; demanding access to proper education and equivalent defense under the law. Even when the government scrutinized Dubois for his political views he never wavered in his beliefs. He remained steadfast in his fight to end racial issues and worked tirelessly towards world peace. That’s a bit of a history lesson on one of my favorite outspoken free thinkers.
Now, from my own observation of America in the twenty-first century, I can easily say a large majority of us are severely handicapped. We place ourselves at a great disadvantage by not taking advantage of certain privileges bestowed upon us from birth. People in other countries are sacrificing their lives and fighting for such rights. We’ve allowed ourselves to be “dumb down” by mainstream culture; we’ve become lazy and dependent on our government to think and act for us. By placing emphasis on the unnecessary, rather than what is needed in order for our country to thrive, America has become weak. We are no longer the respected power house we once were many years ago. The United States isn’t the blue print of an idealistic democratic progressive society. You may say that statement is un-American, but it’s true. You may not agree, but I embrace dissenting view points of others. In fact, I dare you to challenge that statement. In the words of W.E.B. Dubois “If there is anybody in this land who thoroughly believes the meek shall inherit the earth, they have not often let their presence be known.” Make your voice equivalent to the sound of a sonic boom; sending shock waves throughout all who become affected by its presence.
This month’s theme is all about the first amendment, free thought, and freedom of speech. We’ve selected a few poems from artist whose poetry embraces the spirit of the first amendment and the right to peaceably assemble. First up is our featured poet Sean Burton who submitted The Great American Boy, an ode to Mohammad Ali when he refused to go to war in Vietnam. Next is Wake Up a poem by K.S. Pratt dedicated to America and my frustration with the current state of affairs. Last but not least we introduce you to author, social activist, and founder of Activist Poet Round Table Steve Bloom. We selected Warriors a tribute to the strikers of Stella D’oro Bakery, and Statement of Context a short verse on the inhumane treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The Great American Boy
The stage was set for a man to take his solemn duty within his hands and make his way to far away lands. Yet today this boy became that man. Not the man wanting to venture unwillingly to far away lands. Nor the man to take the wishes of others’ ignorance into his own hands … but the man to keep to his morals … to make his stand. But as his higher power served greatly , admired by few yet hated by many. For the man he is now has been labeled a criminal. A coward of will. His legal duty duped by his moral appeal, he stands before the masses chanting in tongues giving lashes. The camera turns on and the lights heat up as it’s his time to confide his thoughts to the world in rhyme.
” You know who I am, yet you seem surprised lately. Am I still not the one to dance all night? Am I not the man that came to fight? No, I will not fight … not for the own selfish ignorance’s of those who can only experience what pain is like from the side, despite their own desires and virtues, they send the poor and hide in fright.
I am not a puppet of the man who thinks because I obey the law set that I will follow my brothers blindly into that darkened hell to gamble my being and talent simply for your will. No, I am not that pawn. I will not be pressured nor convinced ; I will go on! Do what you will with my name.
Take my titles and destroy my fame, but you will never break my spirit and you cannot throw me off my game. I will come back stronger and I will be back fast. I’m bigger than this and I will take this moment and throw it in my past. For I am the greatest, and nothing can stop me. I’ll still float gracefully across that canvas mat, and I will sting harder than ever when I get back. Send me to jail, there’s light at the end. For what’s broken can always mend”
The boy has now become a man of the hour, the solid statue of standing firm for belief and value. An endless figure sealed within our history in stone,
How long will you be
Content with fine cars and
fancy homes and think that you are free?
Your freedom cannot be measured in material things.
How long will you look at what you have and
Think that you are free?
The slave drums of the past beat for you.
The forests through which you run are the concrete jungles
Streets of the city.
Can you hear the rhythmic drums beating?
Can you hear our ancestors calling out for us to wake up?
Oh my people!
Listen to the drums and know that you’ve been lulled.
You cannot be free because you are blind.
And so you’ll never know
That the jungle drums beat for you.
And so they cry out
“Wake up, Wake up.”
Open your eyes and see!
While you blindly sing and dance,
The chains of oppression have been tightened.
Tightened by the past.
Tightened by the present.
Tightened by the future.
How could you let freedom escape you?
How could you allow generations yet unborn
To suffer the untold misery of the chains?
It is time for us to wake up!
You’ve let the concrete jungle
Lure you into a state of complacency.
It is time to stop the music!
Dance no more!
My people! My People!
Wake up! Wake up!
–by K.S. Pratt
You dwarf the words of the poet: you,
the warriors of Stella D’Oro.
For the best I might ever do
is recount this story which your deeds
have already written.
The end, it seems, was composed by others—
who have more power but less humanity.
A toast, therefore, to all still holding
heads high, proud of their humanity.
For this is the common cause any poet
might share with those who fight
Each one of you will always have
your humanity: the many-thousand acts,
small and large, of sacrifice and sharing,
the comradeship, the sheer magnitude of what
you have achieved.
Not one crossed the picket line. No,
For these things can never be taken away
no matter how much equipment
is dismantled, moved to another state—
just as the poet will always
have the written word, even if
our world might not be ready yet
It seems you spoke too soon, you
the warriors of Stella D’Oro,
before our world was ready to listen.
Still, I refuse to lose heart, assert
that one day the bosses and billionaires
will spend a little time of their own
on the unemployment line—after
the working people of New York City
have taken control.
And then we will turn that old building
in the Bronx (you know, the one that used to be
the Stella D’Oro bakery) into a must-see
destination, marked on every
tourist map, a shrine which pilgrims
can visit in their millions to learn,
remember, offer a tribute
to your struggle—writing, thereby,
an alternative ending to the story
of Stella D’Oro.
And the poem that you have composed for us
during this strike year of 2008/2009 will touch
their hearts as each one listens to its words—
overflowing with your humanity, the many-thousand
acts of sacrifice and sharing, the comradeship,
the sheer magnitude of what one,
work-place was able to achieve
and finally understand.
Yes, each one of them will,
Statement of Context
“Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter
has said the Palestinian people
trapped in Gaza are being treated
He is wrong, of course.
If you treated your animals this way
someone would come
to put you in jail.
© 2013 Seven Magazine