Category Archives: Poetry

“Unity (We the People)” – a would-be song of protest

Late this spring, curiosity and recollection started pushing in my head toward music and what was going on in the political and social spheres. This isn’t the 1960’s but with how much upheaval has been playing out regularly – race attacks, propaganda, lies and distortions, pitting business and profit over the welfare of the country, and the protests tied to them all – I was left wondering what those in the music industry were doing about it?

I mean, really, with how much was produced that was just tinged with the social stuff from the ‘60’s, you’d expect 2017 to be filled with songs inspired in some way or another by what was going on – some offering calm, others decrying certain aspects.

In June I put down my own song lyrics of protest. My intention at the start wasn’t to directly protest as so much make a social decree or write something based off of what was ongoing… but it turned into a generalized summary of the status-quo of 2017.

What really leaves me in awe is how things have played out to make the words more relevant. This was penned before Charlottesville and other strife of the summer.

A key line in the chorus is still a truth here in mid autumn 2017: We must defy the great divide. We stand strongest as a society and as a country of the world when we stand together. When all sides come back to this truth, that will be when the course will plot in the right direction.

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The plight of a newbie lyricist marketing a song demo

Even if they aren’t into country music, my friends have been impressed. I’ve already unveiled it but here it is, all over again! A nineteen-year old poem converted into a would-be pop/country song! Slowly, Her Name Fades Away:

Okay, so now what?

Seriously, now what? Continue reading

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Silence and song; the musical demo of “Slowly, Her Name Fades Away”

How does a deaf composer get the attention of the music industry? Think about that for a minute, would you? It happens to be a serious question asked by a man who is currently sitting in an unsound situation.

I’m not Ludwig van Beethovenfar from it – but I can say that my toe is in the proverbial water of the music industry at the moment. Okay, actually it’s actually my entire foot up to my ankle or lower shin (that comes by way of me having spent time trying to promote the Pretty Voices over the past year). It goes by way of words and actions, not so much plucking piano keys and writing orchestral symphonies.

See, I wrote a poem back in the fall of 1998 (a long long time ago in a galaxy not-so-far away) that I’ve clung to over the years. It’s a poem I had intended for inclusion in a self-published poetry book… It’s also something I thought could be done in a musical arrangement to make it into a song.

So, when I got frustrated and vastly slowed this past spring, and while I still had thoughts tying said-poem into a musical arrangement, I made an inquiry with the Nashville Song Service if the lyrical-verse really could be done as a song. Indeed, it got the green light. Continue reading

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At Loss to More

(Written with remorse and in memoriam. Rest in peace, Sir Roger Moore)

At Loss to More

More today is sad to see
Somber sorrows and infamy
Less renown is our grief
A nostalgic remorse from years gone by

More today is gone tomorrow
To the halls of memory and accolades
Spied upon from days gone by
Reveled in with amounts of majesty

Less be more, the status quo
What comes after is without
Blessings from the might that was the more
Shall broaden the reach of what will be

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by | May 19, 2017 · 12:26 PM

Lyrical hopes and poetic dreams for the immediate future

I’ve been going through older poems that don’t appear on the site, I’ve been going through a collection of my works over the decades . Things I wrote as poetry sure sound like songs (or at least look like them, and I can imagine melody to go along with them). I’m no musician though, no composer, or I’d try to put together a full song and get things on the market (not me as a performer, me as a composer).

I will admit right now that I do have a poetry/lyrical verse manuscript and am hoping to have a self-published book out in 2017. That’s still in the process of being honed out though. There are aspects I haven’t even explored yet with that, and those I have asked to review my work (as editor types) have yet to get back to me with any input.

All of that said, here’s an example of that lyrical-verse/poetry that I had a habit of doing in the past. It’s something that is not going to be included in the book as it stands, but that could change. I’d appreciate feedback on this too. It has been on the web before, when my personal home page was on Tripod ages and ages ago. Different title then.:

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Musical Demo: Picture Perfect (aka Picture Perfect Love Affair)

In the late 1990’s I was a poet and lyricist first and foremost. You can find some of the poetry I wrote and have written over the years on the site (click the writing tab above and move down to the poetry selection). That’s not the point though. One poem I wrote, just a lyrical mash-up inspired a bit by Green Day, was “Picture Perfect Love Affair”, a crazy guy in love with a girl in a photo. In fact, that story sort of mocks me at the time, as girls from High School still mattered, and I only had their photos to look at.

Years later, I forget when exactly, I had a little edit of the poem.  “Edit” being the addition of a chorus to use between stanzas:

It’s a picture
Picture perfect

Picture perfect love affair

It’s a real simple build up and filler but it does the job that is expetec of it – it moves you forward and transitions you.

The summer of 2016 had me meet (online and off) Nick from the Pretty Voices. At one point or another I ran lyrical verse past him in a conversation and lo and behold, Nick delivered a demo of my work.

As it stands right now, I don’t think the Pretty Voices are going to record this thing, but it IS nice to have something I wrote put to music.

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Inspired by a picture

I’m only posting this on Stonegauge the site because I’ve discovered I placed a bit of my writing here that I don’t have hard copies of on my own computer. This poem was inspired by a photo taken from bed. I’d post the picture but I never know if the site is going public again or not, and the picture is private — not that kind of private! Get your mind out of the gutter!

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The weight of their worlds

Lay their hardships unto me
Their doubts, their fears
Their degradations

Lay their weights upon my shoulders,
Threats and harms
Leave them be

Steer them straight, right, and true
Deliver from evil
And to the promise of the now

Yes, lay their hardships unto me
And through my suffering
Spare them all

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Disappearing poetry act explained

I decided to take a shot with some of my written works, stuff that has never been published beore (sans on this web site) and actually submit them to a literary review. It’s been about a month since I made those submissions. It oculd be another two before I hear back from said literary review.

I’m skeptical on my chances.

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Waiting for Her Word

It’s been months since I posted anything on my personal blog here.  Where am I? Is this sitei site dead?

I’m busy more often than not, and no – the Stonegauge is not dead.  Just dormant.  When I have been writing lately, it’s been personal and it’s been in the mail (didn’t I once say that it’s great getting letters in the mail?)…  That or I am doing hockey stuff.

This off-season has afforded me more time for myself (which has been a good and bad thing).  I’ve found escape in writing, an ability to immerse myself in a thought or idea, or a feeling and a story.  It’s like a release, as it used to be when I would write a real good poem that conveyed something creatively.

Oh, I’m still doing poetry too.  Just not much of it, thanks.  That’s what this post is – a poem.  Something I wrote a few months ago for an absent face.

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The Unpublished Works

Everyone likes seeing their name in print.

Well, unless of course it’s trash tabloid-ism or an arrest warrant… But I’m not talking just-printed-on-paper but I mean a by-line of one sort or another. I can say that from experience as I’ve gotten that kick — seeing “John Fontana” linked to letters-to-the-editor, or being sourced/interviewed by USA Today, being quoted in The Hockey News, The New York Times Slap Shot blog and la-de-da.

But I can also say that wasn’t where I intended to go with writing when I started out as a kid.  My intention wasn’t to be a face-in-the-crowd (though no matter what you write or publish, you are another face in the crowd of literature) in the newspaper.  Not another source for magazines and what not.  Not a weblogger.  I planned on doing things creatively and having my own book.  Or books — plural.  Take your pick.

But that never happened.  See, when i was a teen I got away from story writing so much and was writing poetry most of the time…  a habit that’s followed me into adulthood.  Lyrical verse more-so than deep observations and perspectives…  Well, yeah they are perspectives but they are my perspectives.   Sometimes just pop, sometimes inspired by events or people or feelings  in my life.

Over the years, I’ve had some of them available to the masses through the web…  Certainly you can find a couple of them on this site and probably elsewhere on the web…  But they’ve never really been published in the sense of print.  Never published in the sense of being out there for any traditional form of mass consumption.  I haven’t bothered to take the time with sending out poems to magazines who have niches all of their own (and aren’t available unless you pay for a subscription or pay for a copy — while you’re not getting paid for your contribution).

I ought to put together a manuscript and do something with it.  But I’m hesistant.

Catherine Durkin Robinson, local blogger and Creative Loafing contributor, has written two book manuscripts.  Her first one is being published, chapter-by-chapter, on a blogspot site.  The other, a more recent work based on her life as a teacher in Hillsborough County, is being sent around to literary agents in hopes someone will pick up the work and mass-market it.  Sadly, that has not been the case and the rejections have been comical at best.

Their loss.  I’ve read the book and it’s not only a good read, it’s provocative and controversial enough to be read widely by those fearing school-district scandals.

I also have another friend, in the Pacific Northwest this time, who went out and self-published her first novel.  The book, Steel Goddesses, is currently available on Amazon.com for purchase.  It takes a lot of courage to go out on a limb like that and self-publish any work…  But it sort of cuts out the middle-man of having to appease literary agents who tell you what a proper market for your writing is-or-isn’t and tells you to change your work to fit that niche.  At least that’s what I’ve seen with rejections served up to Catherine.

So the idea I am kicking around is actually putting together a manuscript of poetry I’ve written over the past decade and self-publishing it.   I realize that poetry is not exactly a hot seller and not going to lead me to riches…  It’d cost me more to publish than the commissions I’d get in the long run from doing it…  But it does what I have long sought to do — take the writings jammed in Mead notebooks that I’ve carried around since High School and take some of those verses and show them to the masses.  Will people connect?  I have doubts.  Will strangers read what I’ve  written?  Even more doubts…  But it’s mine, and it’d be out there.  My claim.  My piece of literature.

My book.

It’s a thought, at least.

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Filed under Books, interweb, Poetry, Raw Charge, Tampa Bay, The Life, The Stonegauge, Writing

This Bitter Month

Boring weekend with too much downtime and the end result is me posting a poem I meant to keep private. Yeah, Kate, you can get on my ass for being a morose m’fer (as you did last time 😉 ) but I thought this was good even if it was muy triste.

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Uninspiring: Let Me In

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything rhyme-based. In fact, despite all the hurt and emptiness — I haven’t been inspired to write shit. Usually the hurt, the pain, the anguish, the longing… It all drives me to write. It (or usually the source of everything inside) becomes a muse. I’ve had some great muses in my time (I’m talking people here, not instances of anguish) where the longing was what drove me to scrawl out lines of internal conflict and what not. Three above the others. And one trumps all.

It’s odd, though, that Current Source has inspired almost nothing for me. Here and there? Yeah. But nothing profound… The only poem that I had written was months old.

While I like the rhyme and the declaration — which goes beyond the obvious call for someone to drop their emotional wall and let someone “in” — it was foreshadowing of sorts. A warning sign I kept ignoring.

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Slowly, Her Name Fades Away

Well, the daylight slips away,
And I start to forget her name
She loved me for such a long, long time
Unlike any other lover of mine
She was so different,
But in the end, the same
Slowly, her name fades away

Our time just passed,
I thought it’d last
But my mistake …
She’s one and the same.
Well, she couldn’t cope,
A lover on a rope
So I must say,
Her name fades away

It’s guaranteed
That her and me
Would have run away some day
But as time went by,
That thought did die,
And our love passed on a Wednesday
Miracles forge —
and also disrupt
Slowly, her name fades away

What she meant to me,
I now can’t comprehend
I thought it was love everlasting,
At the end, it was just make pretend
Our love was once a fantasy,
A tale that I did once believe
But it’s sad to say, she’s gone away
Slowly, her name fades away

©1998 John P. Fontana

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