Monday, February 11, 2008

JADE SHAMES - POET

One of the real pleasures of being a professional writer and of having been in this business for a long time (30 years and counting) is that sometimes you get to see young writers at the beginning of their careers and can watch them blossom.

I want to introduce you to a writer that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for his entire life (actually his dad directed the traveling production of GODSPELL I was in back in the late 1970s!).

His name is JADE SHAMES. Take a moment and get to know this young man.

He’s a poet, a playwright, a singer-songwriter, performance artist, and novelist. He wrote his first novel when he was fifteen, and it was a real killer about sex, drugs and psychological manipulation in high school. Not exactly Disney Channel stuff. Since then he’s studied playwriting and poetry in Paris and published a chapbook of poetry. He’s 22.

I first heard Jade read his poems at a night of spoken word we held at the Writers Corner USA. Words like ‘powerful’, ‘disturbing’, and ‘riveting’ seem inadequate, considering that most of the poems he read were written during his teenage years.

Here are a couple of examples...two of my favorites.

“REGULAR”

That guy at the bar
With that woman
With the cherry lipstick
And the stem of her glasses
Pinched between her perfectly white
Perfectly straight
Perfectly mint fresh chloride baking soda teeth
Letting her fingers slide out flat
Her cuticles rubbed with oil just a few hours ago
Her eyes locked and ready
Her nail polish
Her shampoo
Her blush
Her scent
Ready for him to take
That guy is Jim, a regular
He worked blue collared jobs
Until he became a famous poet
Where he wrote about his blue collared jobs
And regulars

So many times I..ve stared from across the room
Trying to sit like him
With his spine straight
Shoulders slouched
Fitted into a plaid red shirt
Beer in one hand
A grin so natural you..d think he had been grinning on the ultrasound photos
His other hand squeezing into his tight worn at the knees workman’s jeans
For another dollar
For another beer
For another woman
I am four thousand miles from him in this bar
Over with my friend, Thom
Who has one gimpy eye
Wild oil spill hair
Hunched over and hunched over again
Half a white Russian in one hand
And god knows where the other one is
A waitress with two handfuls of breasts keeps passing us
Keeps speaking in secret to a manager
Keeps pulling up her blouse and crossing her arms over her chest

And more than another drink
All I want is for everyone to be naked right now
And everyone would laugh
And be in love with everything.

For a moment I lose myself
And approach a blonde bartender with a LIVESTRONG yellow rubber bracelet
She looks busy but I get her attention anyway
..I would like to buy that guy over there another MooseHead,.. I point to Jim
..Say it..s from Jade,.. I say with a cranked smile
..From who?..
..Jade..
..Jake?..
..No..uh, you know what, never mind...

I sink back into my seat next to Thom who is now part of the furniture
..What the hell am I doin.. here?.. He says.

No matter how many times I come here
I will never be a regular.

***************
“TIME”

Time
Category: Writing and Poetry

I am staring at the clock.

Kara isn't home.
It's 1:15 AM.
She's out with someone else.

Last summer,
We decided to share the apartment
Even though we were breaking up.

Now it's winter.
1:18 in the morning.

She told me last night that she met him at the bar.
She told me about how he fucked her so hard
She bled.

I'm making myself little snacks
Of cheese and crackers and tea with honey.
I am watching commercials on TV,
To pretend that I am not staring at the clock.

And I told her this morning that I want her to see him again.
And I told her this morning that I want her to be happy.
And I told her that the reason I still say, "I love you" before bed,
Or before I leave, or hanging up the phone,
It's in the hope that those words will stay with her
Though out her day,
And make her life just a little easier to bear.
This morning she cried in my arms.

It's 1:23.
And time is moving on.
And I am not.

**********************

So...do yourself a favor: check out his page at http://www.myspace.com/jadeshamespoetry. Subscribe to his blog.

And support the arts and offer to buy a copy of his chapbook, MOMENTUM. Every page is a jewel.

Would I be saying all of this if I didn’t know him and just stumbled onto his stuff online? Yeah. Absolutely. Check it out. See for yourself.

-Jonathan Maberry
www.jonathanmaberry.com

3 comments:

cheks900 said...

wonderful!

OLED said...

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kelly said...

hey jonathan, i've been reading a lot of query letters from writers and would like to add that the query letter should also have an interesting open, or hook, and the writer should be leery of sounding too self-important.