John Patrick Robbins and Unfiltered Poetry
We are fractured the same just too caught up in our own egos bullshit to notice the other bleeding in soul while existing in silence.
From the Poem Romance In A Nutshell.
John Patrick Robbins is a self-described barroom poet and stands as editor of four Ezine’s: The Rye Whiskey Review, Under The Bleachers, Drinkers Only, The Abyss. He has been a bouncer, DJ and probably held more jobs than he can recall or cares to. His work has been referred to as story poems and often is a throwback to a much older style, a style of hard living and drinking. Often dark, yet with heart and depth of more than just someone romanticizing self-destruction. His newest book Smoking At The Gas Pumps is an often dark yet humorous view of life and relationships that have long since gone south. John currently resides in Knotts Island. N.C. on a small five-mile island. His publications include The Mojave River Review, Red Fez, Ariel Chart, Angry Old Man Magazine, Outlaw Poetry Network, Romingos Porch, Spill The Words, Horror Sleaze Trash, Cajun Mutt Press, Blognostics. His work is always unfiltered.
First, what is a “barroom poet” – it’s the first time I come upon an expression like this?
My work is largely about bars being I have worked in them most of my life as a bouncer and D.J. You meet lots of people so my style is highly influenced by that environment. So I just started calling myself a barroom poet. For it’s the people I truly think my writing appeals too.
Oh, I see! Quote for me a poet you love?
Jail has the wrong kind of bars.
What makes you different from other poets?
I believe it’s my humor. Also in how I tell a story with everything I write I always blur a line between fiction and reality. I paint often a dark picture and prefer dark subject matter but I try to show the beauty in that. The humor helps because you can only go so deep so many times. I can laugh at myself and that shows a side some fear exposing. I am a train wreck of a person but least I am an honest one.
What does a train wreck of a person mean, why did you describe yourself in that manner?
I definitely am not scared to show my flaws. I never paint myself as perfect in my work. I am a drinker I don’t hide that yet I don’t wear it as a badge of honor either. Some people try to hide their imperfections I bare my scars openly and I think to some degree it connects with people. Well least I hope it does. Because it’s never an act I just am myself.
In what way is poetry better to you than fiction?
I don’t know if I would say it’s better. I am a writer. I tell stories some label them as poems. I love writing. It’s always been one thing that was there for me. What I do admire deeply about poetry is its ability to connect on a quick and deep level much like music.
I have written short stories they are just two different styles I would never say one is superior to the other as long as they connect to me that’s all that truly matters.
Would you define yourself as romantic, John?
I write to a great degree about relationships usually the downside of them. But although I can come off as harsh there is still heart and depth in what I write. I show the flaws in people not so much a fantasy. But there is beauty even in the depths of darkness. I enjoy more the dynamics between people than a typical romantic poet would paint things. But yes I believe in love although I probably have a funny way of showing it.
Have you ever tried to explain your feelings to a woman through poetry? Can you quote a bit?
Honestly, I never was that type of writer. Most of my work is usually more dealing with the loss of a relationship. But yes like any writer I have written a few lines for a certain woman in my life.
This is for her:
A Reflection Of What Could Never Be
I knew she was fractured much like myself.
I was a drunk but I was never blind.
She was my Silvia.
Very beautiful! I couldn’t help but notice that you use “shit” a lot in your work. Why is shit poetic to you?
Honestly, I don’t believe it is. I simply try to capture how myself or my characters speak once can be very crude at times. But that’s why I always say my work is unfiltered.
I know that great poetry is written by the ones who suffer most – in your life are you rather a positive or a negative person?
Well, honestly I think I am more a sad person than anything it’s why I infuse so much sarcasm and humor into my work. I always try to be positive I battle depression and often hide behind my humor. I’m honestly a deeply private person. But in life, I always try to remain positive.
You say you love flaws, but I can see you are trying to do your best with this interview. Are you actually a perfectionist?
I try to do everything to the best of my ability I am never happy with something being good cause I always know it can be better. So to a degree yes I am. But honestly, you have to be driven when it comes to the page. And one thing I am is extremely driven.
It’s Christmas soon. What do you wish for in life?
Just keep pushing my work as far as I possibly can. I eventually want to write a novel and most of all connect because if you’re not connecting with the reader on some basic level you’re simply typing.
Are you intimate with a different art except writing?
I am absolutely a music freak although not a musician. But music is it for me – if I didn’t have music I honestly would find extremely hard to write.
In what way are music and writing alike?
Both speak to the soul and evoke emotion. Expressing things often we cannot ourselves. Words are everything to me they always were no matter how corny that may sound. To me music and poetry are so similar it’s a very fine line that separates them. They connect with the soul and that’s what great art does.
This command you have over language must give you a special sort of pleasure? Can you describe this pleasure?
I admired great writers I still do. I am fortunate enough to know many modern writers I now call friends. I cannot say I have a command over the language. But I am good with my words and being able to connect with people. If it is to simply give them a laugh on a bad day, or make them look deep inside themselves dealing with my own vices is a reward in itself. All I ever wanted do was write and no matter how people view me they can at least agree on one thing:
I am a writer.
And that is a tremendous reward in itself.
Nobody seeks out the page.
It’s simply there with the madness.
And how can you know if you have that same sickness we all share?
You’re writing, aren’t you?
From the poem: You Are Here
What do you miss in your life?
Many things, friends lost in the past and the isolation at times as much as it can be an asset in losing yourself in the page: it is something that gets to you. I miss my closest friend I lost about two years ago. He introduced me to many great books and we both shared that same passion for words and music. I miss that part of my life. But we all have things we miss so I’m no different…
Anything I have not asked, but you really want to say?
That I just hope one thing people take from my work is beyond the hard living and often harsh words.
There is a heart in what I do sometimes I worry people get the wrong idea from my words. I’m not trying to make things seem more than what they are. I just show a version of a much darker environment that still although it is not perfect has a heart. We can’t choose how we are perceived. But one thing about it I take everything that goes along with that page a hundred percent serious.
I needed a drink.
I needed out.
I said nothing and screamed within.
Trapped in a room with a man who screamed through the night.
Whoever said misery loves company was full of shit.
From the poem Another Night On The Ward.
Find JR’s newest book HERE