Today we chat with Matt from his Alternative Darkness blog where love, grief, and malice all intertwine to create insightful poems. Let’s dive into the dark now:
Has writing poems about death and grief been helpful in the healing process? Would you recommend writing to others grieving?
Well, I don’t write poems about death because I’m dealing with a healing process, at least not in that way. I’ve had people die in my life before like great grandparents and stuff like that and a friend I didn’t talk to much anymore that was hit by a Mo-ped pretty hard and killed on his birthday but that’s the farthest thing from the death in my writing. The reason death is such a big thing in my writing is because it’s a pretty big part of life.
Relationships, people, pets, emotions, friendships, places, and memories all die. A lot of them just waste away and some are accidents and some are killed whenever people feel destructive and hateful. A lot of what I write deals with these losses and sorrows that seethe into life every day. In a way I give my blood to my poems because that has been therapeutic, and I let myself and these different heartaches and rages topple and flow into my work. Everything I write about has made me feel a certain way and every subject has influenced me either first hand or through some medium.
As far as recommending others to find some sort of outlet for all the shit inside of them then yeah writing works and so do a lot of other things. The only advice I can offer others who are looking for an outlet weather it’s constructive or destructive Is 1. To not hurt others or destroy other peoples possessions against their will (for example if your outlet happens to be, I don’t know, fighting only fight people that want to willingly partake like boxing or whatever but don’t beat on just whoever or whatever). And 2 That whatever you do should come naturally. You might have to practice it but you should have some naturally good inclination at whatever you do, but it should never feel forced.
If you try to force something you’re going to do it poorly and probably ruin your confidence and self-esteem. I see lot’s of writers who force what they do and honestly I find it a little insulting. What they write isn’t original or new or done in a very unique way which art should always be unique and not uniform. And that’s why I think print media is suffering now because of shitty books and other written materials in general. It’s such a high majority that it’s really suffocating the voices like yours and mine in literature, past and presently now, from making a helpful impact on anyone’s life. But, yes, people should have some sort of enjoyable and productive activity in their life weather grieving or not and writing or not.
You have a great poem that contrast elements like love and sinister details but they mold so well together, why do you think poems that compare contradicting elements work so well?
I think that there’s a duality with almost everything in life and many of these dualities are naturally contrasting. There’s no such thing as perfect love for example and the sinister details are sometimes there for different reasons. Sometimes there’s flaws in each individuals personality that can be abrasive to each other or work together, sometimes it’s the setting. It’s also a stylistic approach, the darkness and coldness is the actual love communicated back. I don’t want the love that I project, that feeling that one has for another individual to be any of that Jack and Diane bullshit, y’know. It’s not the perfect love story of the jock and cheerleader or whatever or the successful whatever and handsome to boot marrying the most perfect and beautiful woman and them having great perfect kids and go to church and everything is leave it to beaver.
I’m sure for some people it’s like that but for me to write that would be phony because I interpret love the way I write it, not like that. People are fucked up and sometimes people don’t reciprocate feelings, people stalk each other, they die and get sick, they disappoint and hurt each other’s feelings, they fuck up their chances with someone, they cheat, they aren’t successful, at least not the way our society expects success with money and all that shit, and they just enjoy memories together of walking places or conversations over cheap meals and coffee or whatever. And love doesen’t have to be all screwed like this but It can have darker elements and people can still work together as a couple and create something that’s darkly beautiful. But in short variety is the spice of life and when you contrast your experiences you make it that much more exciting. That works well with anything really not just writing.
You have some religious and political themes in your poetry, why is it important to have poetry that speaks to current issues in society?
Well, to follow from that last question to contrast this, I have heard people argue that being socially conscious is a real “cope out” as opposed to using your platform ( music in the case that I heard this individual referring to) to I guess talking about heavy metal fantasy worlds with dragons and nude women and macho bullshit or conversely weed, money, and whores. I think this is completely ludicrous and absurd. I’m not saying that’s bad to use your art on but for me looking on that its truly entertainment and nothing more, just amusement. It’s fun but when it’s all over you have trouble holding it close and dear to you if you have any kind of intelligence because it’s not relatable. It’s like the American dream or people that really love the lottery and daydream all day about winning. It’s like sticking your head up your ass. I think the logic there is that life is hard so lets go home and forget about all that and be taken away for awhile and be comfortably numb and a little ignorant.
But after all the fun the problems are still there and you’re left there sort of looking like an idiot because whilst there are artists and people speaking out and trying to make a change and talking about their past and how that has affected them and maybe many others to and how we can come together. There’s to much in life to want to stay out of it all the time and for me to say that is going a far way because Me of all people has hated a lot of moments in life but I still don’t tune out like some of these people. It’s an adventure. I think every artist no matter their craft I love today has influenced my work as well so I mean telling things they way they are and having someone say hey you’re right and deciding to share themselves is the circle of life of expression and creation so to speak.
Do you prefer to write in silence or do you have a writing soundtrack?
Yes I always write to music. I don’t have a soundtrack necessarily bus some of the artists I like to listen to are Deicide, The Cure, Seraphim Shock, Switchblade Symphony, Joy Division, Lorde, Skinny Puppy, Poison, Alice In Chains, Pantera, Danzig, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Type O Negative, Tiamat, Rollins Band, Bad Religion, Life of Agony, And Black Veil Brides.
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