Category Archives: Blackout Poetry

Blackout Poetry featuring Motion City Soundtrack


(photo credit: Joe Lemke at 9:30 Club, DC)

Earlier this month, I flew home and I caught one of the dates on Motion City Soundtrack’s So Long, Farewell tour. For those of you who might not know, they’re a band hailing from Minneapolis whose music slipped pretty easily into my teenage genres of choice, somewhere between emo and pop punk. They announced an indefinite hiatus earlier this year and I figured I owed to myself (or at least the part of myself that used to cry to their second album pretty regularly) to go and see them off. I grabbed a couple of my old high school friends, dug out my Converse and my black eyeliner, pulled on a band tee I bought at my first Warped Tour. It was a little like stepping right back into 2007 except during the downtime, instead of talking about classes and crushes and not fitting in, I was doing work on my phone.

Personally, I feel like there’s something about the bands you loved in high school that sticks with you. You never really get attached to music quite the same way again. It’s always there and it’s always important, but at that age you’re so desperate to find the thing that’s going to keep your head above water—or at least I was—that you never really let go of it once you find it. It was impossible to stand there listening to those songs without thinking about all my old fears about the future and not fitting in and the boys I used to kiss and the girls I didn’t have the courage to. A lot of those feelings are what fuel my own writing now, that need to combat my insecurities with words and carve out a space for myself.

I put together this entire article just to have the opportunity to say somewhere publicly that looking around that venue, being surrounded by all those other fucked up kids who grew up, had me crying before MCS even finished their first song. I know we all feel like we’re fighting the world at sixteen and maybe we are, but it was so reassuring at twenty-five to be in a room full of people who kicked back and fought their fights and won. Growth looked so goddamn good on every person in that room; all those Make Out Kids, all those Even If It Kills Me kids stumbling face first into a future that’s not far enough away to freak us out anymore.

For the first time since I’d heard the song, I was able to shout back the chorus to “Everything Is Alright” and mean it.

Anyway, in the spirit of a very small tribute, I made a blackout poem out of one song off of each of Motion City Soundtrack’s studio albums and the results are below:


Contributing Editor


Trista Mateer is a writer and poet living outside of Baltimore, Maryland. She believes in lipstick, black tea, and owning more books than she can ever possibly read. Known for her eponymous blog, she is also the author of two collections of poetry.


Poetry Everywhere You Look: Bill Hader’s Interview with Hazlitt, “Empathy Implicates You”





by Alexis Smithers

taken from Bill Hader’s Interview with Hazlitt, “Empathy Implicates You”

Transcript:

It was I think, like

Thank you.
(that’s the looking)
and then discover This.

what I’m gonna do with my life:
we watch.

having family and
explain them and
them saying “Very well.” and
going and
meeting falling in love, and
just…out of the gate you see this is gonna go awful.

the mistakes and the great and the start become bad things
and the bad become unexamined
and I found every kind of movement
I found touching
and
kind.

it is that, while you go,
–how can they and you can’t–
it has to exist.

it wants

but the power
is the fact.
it’s taking you know.


Contributing Editor

Alexis Smithers is a twenty one year old explosion of messes. They are queer black writer that was published in a book about how horses heal (Wild at Heart by Heather Kirby), and has work that can be found on theEEEL. Fun facts: they tied a pillowcase to their back and tried to fly after seeing Sky High, their mantra can be found in Wreck-It Ralph, The Babadook, or Orphan Black (depending on the day) and they’re terrified of mostly everything but art makes the fear easier to hold.

Alexis was invited to participate in the LAMBDA Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices as a fiction student in Los Angeles this summer! If you have the means to donate to help get them there no amount is too small & every share would be a blessing, click here to for the details. Thank you Lit Lovers! ♥



Poetry Everywhere You Look: Welcome to Night Vale Blackout Poetry from Episode 13



by Alexis Smithers


13- A Story About

“This is a story about you,’ said the radio
because you always wanted to hear about yourself

Welcome to this story about you.

you live out near the car lot, next to Josie.
Occasionally, she’ll wave you on her
for the Angels
Occasionally, you’ll wave back.
You’re not terrible
at night.
You can see the red blinking on and off of the human
the impeccable drop of stars and void.
You’ll sit with your back to the brightness
watching the hours.

But only you.

This story didn’t always live.
Somewhere else there were
more
more
you wrote dear
you wrote some good
this dreary world!
At last, not yourself!
Then you would delete that and
something else would be sent out and
not read by anyone.

You had a friend
and then
and then
–the same.
She sometimes.
sometimes you.

You touched.


“Look life is stressful. This is true everywhere.
[…] But when Cecil talked it was possible to let some of that go.”

(p. 24 from the Welcome to Night Vale book)


Transcripts of the show can be found here. You can follow their Twitter here, order the book here, and of course listen to the podcast here.


Contributing Editor

Alexis Smithers is a twenty one year old explosion of messes. They are queer black writer that was published in a book about how horses heal (Wild at Heart by Heather Kirby), and has work that can be found on theEEEL. Fun facts: they tied a pillowcase to their back and tried to fly after seeing Sky High, their mantra can be found in Wreck-It Ralph, The Babadook, or Orphan Black (depending on the day) and they’re terrified of mostly everything but art makes the fear easier to hold.


Blackout Poetry by Trista Mateer

Another round of blackout poetry by Trista Mateer. The first of which can be viewed here. This time all three feature Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.


Contributing Editor


Trista Mateer is a writer and poet living outside of Baltimore, Maryland. She believes in lipstick, black tea, and owning more books than she can ever possibly read. Known for her eponymous blog, she is also the author of two collections of poetry.


Blackout Poetry by Trista Mateer

Awhile ago, I thought it’d be an interesting project to make blackout poetry out of books I’d read as a kid. Something about making “grown up” art out of something “childish”. Something about taking a thing that had affected me at a certain time in my life and trying to find a new way for it to be affecting. Below are a few of my favorites ft. Eragon by Christopher Paolini and The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis.


Contributing Editor


Trista Mateer is a writer and poet living outside of Baltimore, Maryland. She believes in lipstick, black tea, and owning more books than she can ever possibly read. Known for her eponymous blog, she is also the author of two collections of poetry.