Jeff Johnston has been writing poetry for a number of years. Most of his writing is done in the moment as opposed to manufacturing an idea. It is about the strong emotions felt at any given time, when the emotion prevails over the logical, and it must escape onto the written page. His poetry has been compared to Rod McKuen and Allen Ginsberg in his style of writing, Jeff Johnston has introduced us to "PoextS". PoextS are eight-line poems that have been texted to an audience for his therapy and their response. In this day and age of texting, Twitter, and other means of "quick communication", he has captured the moment with his own insightful commentary and received much feedback that he is speaking for a very wide audience...a society constantly searching for their own way. His website is www.PoextS.com
What does poetry mean to you?
Therapy. The releasing of the air building up in the balloon of everyday events, emotions, questions, and fears, before it pops, because that can be ugly. I have written what I call “long poems” for years but started PoextS after my first 2 week stay in a psychiatric ward for suicidal thoughts after my wife left me out of the blue after 13 years. As I am organic, this is how PoextS started: I was at work, zombiefied by medication, out smoking a cigarette when a line came to me. I somehow did not have a pen on me and no one else was around and I do not remember well at times. I sent a text to myself on my phone. This was November 12, 2011. When I got home, I was transcribing from my phone to my computer when I thought, hey, what if I wrote on my phone and sent in a text to a group of people. A poem sent in a text: PoextS. I continued and my group grew and after 1 year to the day I had written 1,000 PoextS. I investigated self-publishing. After doing 3 books of long poems, I published my first book of PoextS…PoextS Year One. People of all ages were enjoying, and I continued writing and at the end of the 2nd year I had 1,200 more so: PoextS Year Two. As long as “they” keep coming to me, I will continue to write. Yesterday I wrote #5,322.
What inspires your poetry?
I write organically. I can write about anything, but it bores me. I think, see, hear, smell, sense something, and words start appearing in my head. They continue until I get them down on paper. Well, now I use my phone.
Which are most important to you: (1) joy, (2) peace, (3) patience, (4) kindness, (5) self-control, (6) faithfulness, (7) gentleness, (8) love, or (9) goodness? If you can, explain why.
Joy, because when I was suicidal, I lost all Joy. Nothing mattered because at 53, I thought I had it all figured out. When my wife left me, I was done. I called both my children and said goodbye. My son said, “I’d hate to tell your granddaughter you killed yourself, Dad,” and I hung up on him.
Kindness is a close second. So many people are suffering with depression. They do not know what is going on and their loved ones have not a clue. Nobody wants to talk about it, so it becomes a silent killer. I put a very short book out called “Yes You Can Help But Not That Way” to attempt to help those involved.
What sort of things are you looking forward to improving this year?
My awareness of the Now. Depression is reliving the past and Anxiety is fearing the future. Suffering both to different degrees, I immerse myself in reading, meditations, and videos of the likes of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Abraham Hicks, Eckhart Tolle, Jay Shetty, Martha Beck, Richard Bach, and Don Miguel Ruiz, to name a few.
What is one big dream you have?
To have a “Batman Light” that shines in the sky for those with depression to see and know they are not alone and there is a place to go to get understanding.
As for my PoextS, to have Ellen have me on her show and hold up one of my books.
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