My life is like a revolving door, people come and go. I’m always there for people, but when it comes to me they never show. People joke with me, look me in my face and smile. I’m oblivious to knowing that their intentions are venomous and vile.
At times they are difficult to read, disguising their manipulation and filling me with frustration to get me to take care of their needs. Now they try to hug me, and act like I’m their buddy. Pretend like they love me for an opportunity to ask for money. Using their charm and wit to get me to commit to something for their benefit.
They find nothing wrong in using me like a pawn, but when I need things, they’re long gone. When I ask for help I’m left to fend for myself, but then they put on their best behavior, and have the audacity to be asking me for a favor. They’re never satisfied with what they have; they always seem to want more. They take everything from me like that’s all I’m ever good for.
Even though I expect this from them, I still never see it coming, and it’s a feeling that I loathe and dread. The words my mother said were embedded in my head, and the advice was universal “don’t let too many people into your circle. Keeping too many around, someone is bound to hurt you.” By the time I realize they are fake, it is too late. I bend over backwards and afterwards I end up wishing I never made that mistake.
Well I’ve had more than I can take. More than I can stand. I won’t give out another helping hand. They’re on their own. No more loans or any sort of support will be given out. I’m no longer about giving handouts. I’m cutting off all my loose ends. I have no time for fake friends. No longer will I be abused. I’ve grown tired of being used. I was once blind, but now I can finally see. No more will I let people use me.
About the Poet
Ben Burgess Jr. is the author of the new novel "Monster" and the author of the poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange." He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr. uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youth to strive for what they believe in and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book, "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" is currently used in two schools in the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Business Management, and a Master’s of Art degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.
UBAWA: When did you first realize your attraction to poetry?
Ben: My English teach Mrs. Marcus gave the class an assignment to write a poem about something we loved. My poem was on basketball. I don't even remember what I wrote but I remember she was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. It felt good to feel like I was good at something. She was one of my most influential teachers and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her (She was Jewish and had family in it). I continued to write throughout high school and college, but I never did anything with it. I had college professors who told me I had talent, but I didn't feel like I was that good at it. I went to open mics and performed and people cheered for me. I decided to write a poetry book. I wrote "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" in 2008 that is currently used in two schools in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
UBAWA: Tell us about the very first poem you have ever written
Ben: The first poem that I have ever written was about basketball. It was so long ago that I don't even remember what I wrote, but that sparked the fire in me to write poetry. The first poem that I have ever written and performed is a poem called "My Environment" which is included in my poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange"
UBAWA: Do you have a favorite poet? If so, who is he/she?
Ben: My favorite poet is Craig "Mums" Grant. He played "Poet" on the HBO show "OZ." His spoken word performances always inspire me and amaze me.
UBAWA: When you’re writing poetry, do you think in terms of genre?
Ben: I don't really think about a genre. I like to write about a specific topic and try to use my words to make my readers/listeners feel what I or my character is going through. Sometimes it rhymes, sometimes it doesn't. I write it whatever way it comes to me in my head.
UBAWA: Some people say writing poetry is like writing a rap or love song. Do you agree? Why/why not?
Ben: I think that it can be compared to writing a rap or love song. I like to create my poems in similar styles to songs because I feel people will be more receptive to them and most importantly because I like them that way.
UBAWA: Are there certain styles/techniques/rules of poetry you adhere to in your writing? Tell us about your writing style.
Ben: My writing style is free verse. It doesn't really follow the traditional rules or styles of other poets because I'm more of a spoken word performer.
UBAWA: What poetry books have you written?
Ben: I have written "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and for all the fans of my poetry book, in my new novel "Monster" I added a bonus section of my latest poems called "The Everyday Struggle."
UBAWA: Have you performed any of your poetry pieces on stage? If so, please share your experience(s) with us.
Ben: I perform my poetry regularly. When you see the faces of different races, genders, and cultural backgrounds eager to listen to your words, it's euphoric. You get a rush from feeling the positive energy when people are snapping their fingers, nodding their heads in approval, or smiling and sometimes even crying because of the work you put together. To see that something you worked on and put together can move people, is an awesome feeling.
UBAWA: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of love?
Ben: Trusting and caring for someone immensely.
UBAWA: Are you currently dating someone, married, or single?
Ben: I'm married.
UBAWA: Do you think success is a matter of chance or a matter of choice?
Ben: I think it's a matter of choice. My English teacher in high school told me to remember these ten words: "If it is to be, it is up to me." I live by that. If you want to succeed, it will not come easy. You have to fight for it. You may have a lot of trials and tribulations, but if you are persistent and you keep fighting for what you want, push all of the negativity a side and keep working hard, I think you can achieve your goals.
UBAWA: Inspiration for a new poem can come from the strangest places. What inspired you to write your most recent poem?
Ben: My inspiration comes from people watching and requests from fans. I take requests very seriously and I love to do the research to get the emotions just right for the poem.
UBAWA: If you could go back and “right” any past wrong in your life, which one would it be and why?
Ben: I would correct playing with so many women's emotions when I was younger. I reflect on life often and I regret hurting those women. My novel "Monster" is based off of my own life and experiences, and I tried to use that book as a means of atonement to the many women I have hurt.
UBAWA: When you’re not writing, what are you doing?
Ben: I'm usually spending time with my family, working out, or working in general.
UBAWA: There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a poet’s life, fill us in on what one typical day for you is like.
Ben: I wake up at 5am to get ready for work. While traveling to work, I read different authors, or write for different projects that I'm working on. I get to work at around 8am and handle my responsibilities. My job is very stressful and I never know what can happen that day, so I come home at different hours often. When I travel back home, I read or work on my projects again. I work out for at least an hour and a half, and then I spend the rest of my time with my family.
UBAWA: If you could create the “perfect day,” what would it be like?
Ben: Spending time with my family, having all of my bills paid, and still having extra money left afterwards would be a perfect day. LOL
UBAWA: What do you do on the weekends?
Ben: On the weekends, if I'm not working at my Law enforcement job, I work as a Personal Trainer at Synergy Fitness. After working, I spend my time with my family.
UBAWA: Do you hang out or go to clubs?
Ben: I'm not a club person. I'm into less crowded places, like lounges and coffee shops.
UBAWA: If you could visit any other country in the world and take one other person with you, where would you go and who would you take?
Ben: I would go to Egypt and bring my wife Lauren.
UBAWA: Tell us about one challenge in life that you had to overcome. What was the challenge and how did you get through it?
Ben: When I was in the 4th grade, I'll never forget her name. Her name was Mrs. Keith, and she was my fourth grade teacher when I lived in Queens Bridge. She told me "You're never going to amount to anything." Back then I had two choices - I could prove her right or prove her wrong. I wanted to prove her wrong. Experiences like that alone with a couple of heartbreaks have turned me into an overachiever because inside I never felt good enough. I've always doubted myself and I never felt that I was really good at anything. I've gotten better with that, but remnants of it still exist. I felt that to be happy I had to overachieve to "prove" to people that I was good at things. In reality that never helped me. Internally I didn't believe it. Writing my poetry, and fulfilling my dream of completing my first novel, has helped to improve my confidence. I'm happy to say that I'm very close to making the Amazon and NY Times Best Seller list with my new novel "Monster." I may never be #1, but just the fact that I feel that I'm finally good enough, the feeling of accomplishing my goal of writing books, and having a story that people are feeling, makes me happy. Last month, my favorite author Eric Jerome Dickey, the man that inspired me to finally write a book, bought my book off of Amazon. I finally feel good enough. I finally feel like I proved my 4th grade teacher wrong.
UBAWA: Before you leave, tell us one thing about yourself that we may not know.
Ben: You may not know that my dream is to one day own my own gym business.
UBAWA: Do you host contests or giveaways?
Ben: Yes. I will start doing giveaways on my author page on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BenBurgessJr/info
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