Author: JP Lake

I'm not Bukowski, I'm not Plath. I'm not Morrison or Rollins. I'm not ordinary, I'm not extraordinary. I'm JP Lake. An unpretentious poet and author.

What’s New

I’m still working on the project I’m using the working title “Sweet & Salty” for. It’s a project that started out of nowhere, just by sitting down to write whatever comes to mind, and it quickly has become the largest piece of writing I’ve ever worked on. It’s a departure from my normal poetry writing and even though when I last wrote about this project I wasn’t even sure if it was a play, a memoir or what but now as I work on it, I know what it is. It’s my first novel. Here’s a small taste:

 
The first time, my first time was on the floor in her parents living room. The movie A league of their own was on the TV but the TV was muted and music played from a boom box. I don’t know why we were on the floor and not the couch, it almost felt like she was afraid of the furniture. Maybe she was afraid of leaving a stain or something, I don’t know. I was afraid too but not of stains or furniture or if Dotty’s husband would return from the war or if Kit could pitch a win for the big game.  I wasn’t afraid of having sex, I wasn’t afraid of STD’s or of making a baby.
 
I wish I had a photo of the cashier’s face at the pharmacy when I bought a box of condoms. Thinking back on it, it’s funny but at the time, the look on her face when I was twelve years old buying a box of condoms. To this day, I have not been able to forget her. She was probably in her 60’s with white hair that was curly but thinned out enough that her scalp was immediately obvious. She was wearing a baby blue t-shirt and a yellow cost cutters apron. Her hands were spotted sacks of bones that once resembled an actual hand and they trembled slightly. She spoke no words. Her face said it all. Her blue eyes piercing out from over her sunken cheeks with too much blush stabbed me with the horror they felt. Her lips with too much red lipstick that had stained her teeth pink, her mouth closed aggressively from a gasp to a scowl. This forced me to break eye contact and look down at her name tag. Her name was Cindy. I mean was because she must be dead by now. Even dead, that face, that look on Cindy’s face it still scares the shit of out of me.
 
Silently, On the TV Rosie O’Donnell is eating hot dogs while catching foul balls and Gina Davis is doing splits while fielding pop flys. On the Radio, Linger by The Cranberries plays. The song was much longer than the sex. Much longer. The sex is basically just a side note to this story. From this point and through most of high school, one thing was true. One, She got me wrapped her finger ah ah ah do you have to let it linger, do you have to, do you have to, do you have to let it linger.
 
I was 16 when she became the first repeat offender. We were on her bed, in one of those small 2 bedroom, red brick apartments, so common in north jersey. The bed was right under the only window and outside the window was a small patch of woods. On the other side of those woods was the middle school, the school at which we first met. We were in high school now so I wanted her to know I knew what I was doing. I did something you are never supposed to do. I came inside her.
 
I was wearing a condom but I didn’t want her to think I was so ill prepared and unpracticed that I couldn’t last more than 2 minutes. So, I did my best to hide the silly orgasm look on my face and kept on humping. She asked me rather nicely if I had finished. I of course denied and boastingly asked: “I’m a lot better than I use to be, right?” I smiled and tried to act like what I thought a man would act like. Tough, proud, confident. I was none of those things. In my heart, I felt terror. What would Cindy think?

The Amazingly Mediocre

In lieu of flowers
please make donations to
The Fuck-Up Society of America

i have nothing in common with
the people i once called friends
most are married
spawning the ultimate remix of themselves
living in and clinging to
what’s left of
The Amazingly Mediocre
middle class
American dream

Some friends are dead
their only contribution to
the world now is
the distorted memories
of the people that knew them
my memories are
corrupt
tainted by my own imagination
or even completely created out of
bad dreams and misplaced thoughts
the memories of dead friends
influence me as my mind sees fit
facts not included
or necessary to participate

none of this is in judgment
i’m often jealous of said friends
my choices have never
and most likely never will
have me experience
such heights in life as
mediocrity
nor do i foresee any kind of
tragically romantic demise
in my future

what i have to look forward to is
a sub par
below average
not totally miserable
but not particularly pleasant
long and vaguely meaningful life

i accept that.

Little Man

i sat and watched
a stray cat play
in the trash today
he kept stopping
to peek over at me
i talked to him
out loud but quietly
you’re OK little man
i won’t hurt you
you’re a lot like me
sifting through
discarded memory
in fact, we are the same
we sift through the past
frame by frame
it’s sad but we will not
find the truth today
there’re no answers
to how we go this way
despite how much we dig
Little Man
we will always be lost
astray.

To “Love” Someone

Forest Gump
was not a smart man
but perhaps
smarter than me about
love
i thought i knew
i really did
but it seems i was wrong
dead wrong

there are somethings
i know well
like fear
fear of being alone
fear of not having that safety net
of not having someone to rely on
not having someone to do the things
i am too weak to do myself
fear is something i know

did i love her?
or did i just enjoy her tits
her ass
did i really love her?
or did i just love
being inside her
was i in lust?

self-loathing
it’s the thing i know best
i didn’t love her
i just liked having her around
because i disliked her
more than myself

it turns out there’s
a whole fucking list of ways
To “Love” Someone
you don’t even like
of course until
the inevitable breakup

while half crying and half yelling
you both explain to each other
why

You’re not a real man.
You never fuck me!
You just use me for sex.
What Sex? You just used me to get away from your ex!
You’re an asshole!
Tell me something i don’t already know.
I’ve already replaced you with a better guy!
Good! i hope he cheats on you!
You’re an ugly, pathetic excuse for a man who will die alone!
Break up sex?

In My American Dream, Love Trumps All

There’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going.

I made some jokes over the past few months about where I would move if Donald Trump won the presidency. Jokes that were based in fear of what that America would look like. I thought they were jokes because I honestly didn’t think the man could win.

As I watched on election night and it became clear that he was going to win,  my instinct wasn’t to fall back on that fear. Yes, I was shocked and sad but it didn’t make me feel like running. It just solidified for me, my pride and love for my country.

It made me want to write and write more than ever. It made me want to pursue and achieve what MY American dream is. It made me want to do that with more fervor and determination than I’ve ever felt before.

So that is what I’m going to do. I’m going to write and I’ve started putting together what will be my third book and I’m doing it a little bit differently. Does anyone remember the era of Zines? The title is, At The End of Entin Road, a title inspired by the loss of one of my dearest friends. My friend Jamie and I discovered music together, we learned about Doing it yourself and this “book” is going to be the most DIY thing I’ve ever done.

I don’t necessarily write about love or anything all that happy really. What I do write, though, comes from a place of empathy and compassion. I write to find a way to feel connected with people even if we disagree on certain things. I have learned when I write, I expose myself, and when I’m vulnerable is when I make those connections.

I can’t believe that my country is so divided that this feeling of being connected with others isn’t as important to everyone as it is to me. I’m an introvert who secretly loves people. Because of this, I have to do something I’ve only really talked about before. I have to take my writing on the road: put myself on stage and be more exposed, more vulnerable than ever before. I have to and I will.

I’m publicly declaring the following statements of which I expect all of you to hold me accountable for.

In the next four years…

  • I will visit, explore and perform at least once in every state.
  • I will travel and tour more than I ever have before.
  • I will publish at least one book per year.
  • I will publish my first novel.

American, I thought I knew you but clearly not as well as I thought. This is my promise to continue to learn and love you more than ever!

How i Cope with Depression

i’ve been wanting to write something all week and i just couldn’t get my mind around what i wanted to say. It wasn’t until i was writing an email to someone i use to work with, that i realized exactly what i wanted to say. She wrote to me, telling me about how she stumbled across my website and how she felt about me and my writing.

“Although some of your words are shocking and vulgar I adore your writings!”

What she couldn’t have known is the internal struggle i have been going through about my book and the things i have written. Her positive reinforcement was something i really needed with the launch of my book. She was very open and honest about her struggles, struggles i can’t help but relate to. I wrote… “As you know, to feel as low as we can feel in life sometimes is hard enough but i for some reason feel that absolute need to write about it. Not just right about but also share it publicly. it’s part of what helps me. To find out we aren’t alone.”

“To see, after working with you, your great love and respect for the people you work with is inspiring!”

I wrote to her about how most of the feedback i get is positive but ironically it’s the people closest to me that have the hardest time trying to understand. It’s easy to see why especially when you are the subject of the words. How could you be objective about what you read when you are reading about yourself?

“Reading your words made me feel more understood and less alone in that time in my life”

i know that what i write at times will upset people, it will hurt people, people who i love and people who love me. This was and is my biggest struggle with releasing my book but it’s not my biggest struggle in life. Sometimes people don’t understand my choice with how i cope with depression. In my letter,i wrote…”their intentions are of love and caring but what i don’t think they can comprehend is that just a moment of relating with someone who understands is more helpful, more powerful and healing for me than any doctor or prescription.”

And from there i continued to pontificate about life saying…”Life is not all bad, not even close. There are times where it’s hard to see the sun through the clouds and impossible to feel warm in the rain. Some days are hot and other days or brutally cold (well maybe not in FL). Sometimes the wind is harsh and sometimes the breeze is perfect. Sometimes i laugh, sometimes i cry, sometimes i feel nothing and all of if this is beautiful. Life is beautiful and i use words to try and remind myself of that.”

and… “We might not all have the same experiences in life but we all have a story, a past, a secret, a lie, a bruised spot on our heart that never seems to heal. Just another thing that makes life beautiful.”

“After reading your writings I realize someone understands. Someone I adored and looked up to at work understood me and my situation.”

i realize now, that i must continue to use words as medication. The worst thing i could is to have upset and hurt people close to me for no good reason. All of this has a purpose and through the hurt and pain, i think it will make life taste a little sweeter for everyone.

“I just wanted you to know that your writing has had an impact on me, you had already had an impact on me. Your words have an impact! Never forget that, as you clearly often do.”

i have to say thank you for this letter and thank you to everyone who has purchased my book. You have inspired me more than ever and now that i’ve put myself out there, i must push harder and do it more. i want to put this show on the road, why can’t a poet open for a band? i think taking the words off the page and delivering them personally would be absolutely terrifying but potentially the most rewarding thing i could ever do.

 

 

Audio Excerpt

i was messing around a little on garage band and youtube today.

#WhoAreYou (part three)

The Interview (part three)

Do you think it’s possible your writing could give people an unfavorable view of you?

What you’re asking me is will people think i’m an asshole, and yes i think there’s a very real possibility of that. i reveal a lot about others and not always in a very kind way. My family will be horrified, people who were co-workers, bosses or my employees will be shocked, ex-girlfriends/lovers might be flattered, embarrassed or completely outraged.

Is it your intention to be shocking.

Like i’ said before, i never set out to be controversial or shocking. i just wanted to be as honest as possible and it turns out honesty is shocking. While is was in the writing process of The Lies That Cause The Cancer i was completely unaware of how what i was writing could make me look. It wasn’t until the editing process that i became aware of how self-absorbed and even misogynistic it could come across. There are definitely lines in the book that still make me cringe and i’ve been living with these words for a few years now.

Why not edit the book to put a better light on you?

i made a conscious decision to respect the words and the moments. Self-editing can be very tricky, there’s a big difference between editing and rewriting. Trust me there was plenty of things i wanted to omit but i knew then it would just be a book of lies. In hindsight, i learned something about myself. Nobody judges me more harshly than i judge myself and i think that’s why my words can make me seem so shitty. It’s because that’s how i felt about myself when i was writing them.

 

 

 

Official Amazon.com Release October 15th

cropped-keith-book-cover-3.jpg

This is a poetry book or an unpoetry book. JP Lake is brutally honest in this freeform collection, taking a long, unblinking look in the mirror.

The Lookway

Why, when driving on the highway and someone passes you or you pass them, they have to give you a look. Is everyone on the highway subconsciously hoping they pass someone they know? It’s not a mean look or a friendly look. Is it a look of judgment? Am I driving too fast, too slow?  Don’t judge me, yes I’m singing at the tops of my lungs while picking my nose! Keep your eyes on the road lady!