I suppose I have to announce that I have a new poetry book out. Yes, at only 37 pages in length, Atlantean Wavelengths is a rather compact volume. However, it is condensed and (in my opinion) substantially better quality than much longer works I have released previously. With a few font and spacing tricks I could have easily stretched it out to 100 pages, but I wanted it to be read at a certain kind of pace, and that meant making sure that a number of important poems would fit on single pages so as not to disrupt the rhythm.
Originally titled Little Mallets, I began writing this book around the summer of 2020. While sitting around and watching The Magus (the widely disliked 1968 film adaptation of John Fowles best-selling novel) hundreds of times, I had decided I wanted to write something that had a classic, exotic, romantic and slightly haunting feel. Slowly over the course of the next few months, I began to integrate various “Atlantean” motifs to represent certain themes and moods. I drew inspiration from a number of Atlantis-related films (I always have old movies playing in the background while I write), most notably Journey Beneath the Desert, (1961) Warlords of Atlantis (1978), Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis, (1961), Beyond Atlantis (1973), Atlantis, The Lost Continent (1961) Man From Atlantis (TV Series 1977-1978), The Fantastic Journey (Atlantium episode) War Gods of the Deep (1965), Goliath Awaits (1981) and most significantly, Operation Atlantis (1965). There are subtle references to many of these, which a handful of obscure-minded readers will surely be able to pick up on.
There is no real political content in the book, so those who are seeking out that sort of thing should probably not bother buying it. In fact, Atlantean Wavelengths should be viewed as my attempt at trying to break back into the “mainstream” (indie) literary world and appeal to less deranged audiences. I’m hesitant to even promote my book in the circles that it’s easiest for me to generate sales in, because the last thing I need is to attract more lunatic “fans” (who will inevitably cause problems for me somewhere down the road) just to sell a few books. I don’t really recall having a “change of heart” moment or anything like that regarding my views. It would be more accurate to say that I simply lost interest in fringe politics. I somehow seemed to have grown out of it. The way I’ve described my trajectory to others, is that I basically went through a depraved, Twilight Zone dark right version of when young, idealistic and radical boomers in the 60s evolved to become Volvo-driving yuppies, Reagan republicans and Dukakis democrats in the 80s.
None of the factions and personalities currently associated with dissident politics interest me at all. Back in 2012-2016, there appeared to be a growing online intellectual movement centered around bold, yet ultimately rational ideas, with a lot of intelligent writers and creative thinkers genuinely trying articulate solutions for the world’s problems. However, the post-2017 political landscape looks increasingly like a garbage dump of dumb memes and astroturfed talking points. The most prominent and influential figures are embarrassingly stupid people (seriously, I would take William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal over the whole lot of them), while most of the ordinary dissidents strike me as mentally ill, abrasive, unhinged, lowbrow, stalkerish or having just plain terrible personalities. There are exceptions of course. You know who you are. Also, the ideas themselves have changed, with the tattered shreds of what remains of the dissident right now rallying around beliefs (sunscreen conspiracies, homeopathic healing, eating roadkill, etc) that are completely alien to me but wouldn’t look out of place on a 2004 Gwyneth Paltrow congressional campaign platform. I actually marvel at how some of the sincere, genuinely gifted people from the old days continue on with this stuff without seeming to realize or care that they’re merely toiling around in raw sewage at this point. Maybe it always was raw sewage, and it’s just my perspective that has changed. Nevertheless, good luck to them, and have fun with all that. My time is better spent reading vintage copies of The Wall Street Journal and watching 1970s tv shows.
Anyway, back to Atlantean Wavelengths…You might be wondering how it could have taken me two and a half years to complete a 37 page book of poetry. The answer is that after the initial few months, I set it aside and ended up coming back to it two separate times. When I started writing, I had certain settings and ideas in mind but was not really sure where to go with them. The book required an emotional, sentimental component, and I could only return to it at times I felt I could add content that would complete the picture I was trying to paint. As such, the book really has three “phases.” I don’t mean chronologically as in the beginning, middle and end. These phases are interspersed throughout the entire book, even within individual poems. The first phase of the book is the ambitious, energetic, phase, characterized by a relentless “can do” attitude and no holds barred embrace of material advancement and fate-defiance (mostly written between May 2020 and December 2020). The second phase is the romantic one (written betwen January-March 2021), which incorporates themes of sentimentality, anticipation, empathy and ambivalence. The third phase is the tragic (written from September-December 2022), which deals with regret, mistakes, fate, nostalgia, time, stubbornness, and will. Each of these phases was necessary to make the book whole and authentic. It would be a betrayal to champion the pursuit of fate-defying ambitions without acknowledging the tragic, comical and sometimes unremarkable consequences that can result from experiments that attempt to stretch the boundaries of human capacity. Sometimes you’re going to run into a brick wall. The ship that is built to be unsinkable sometimes hits an iceberg and winds up on the ocean floor. Sometimes you spend an hour trying to move a paperweight with your mind and nothing happens, but if you’re stubborn like me, you might try for a few more minutes.
Purchase Atlantean Wavelengths on Amazon.