YouTube Tuesday: The First Lesson

Welcome back to YouTube Tuesday! Today’s poem reaches back in time to November 2013, and the first time I ever taught English – to a class of primary school kids, who still somehow managed to terrify me. Please check it out below, and let me know what you think either below or on YouTube.

The First Lesson

What great fear paralyses you?
There are those who fear spiders,
Innocent as the majority are;
Others who feel faint up high
When they look at the ground below;
Some whose concerns are amplified
By the close proximity of a crowd;
Mine strikes me down when I need strength:
A presentation leaves me with chills.

So why then did I gravitate towards them?
Teaching, whatever age the students,
Is all about presenting information:
Public speaking I have always despised,
But I try never to flee from a challenge
And, aware that my uneasiness had
Total control over the person who I was,
I chose to force myself into a position
Uncomfortable to me, so I could master fear.

I would be a liar if I claimed
That it had been easy or enjoyable
To teach that first lesson, when not only
Did it frighten me, but I also had
No skills, no practical training to speak of.
But if life is not for diving in head first,
Then what is it that we’re living for?
I worried, I stumbled, I quaked from head
To toe: my hopes of victory seemed pathetic.

In a moment gripped by our fear
We can be quick to condemn ourselves
To fates most unfitting, early deaths, or
Embarrassment that we imagine to linger.
And so in that first lesson, I believed
That my time was already up.
But afterwards, observed what errors
I could look to correct – and had proven
To myself that fear can be defeated.

© Laura Marie Clark

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: — or find it on Amazon


Estrangement Isle by Stacy Gleiss


I live on the Isle of Estrangement,
mourning the one who sent me here,
with the words “I’m cutting you off.”

The mainland Normalcy–
a place where people forgive and talk things through,
is sometimes visible through the haze.

If I thought I wouldn’t be turned away,
I’d attempt to cross the frigid straits,
As it is, with no beacon, the one with the boat must return.

In the meantime, I worry all those who visit,
this private space where I grieve,
will tire of my sad face.

So with a sense of desperation I teach,
of how it was I came here to exist,
hoping they will stay a while,
on my island of exile,
this place called Estrangement.

About Stacy

Stacy Gleiss has lived a life immersed in Japanese culture—a culture vastly different from that of her home state of Michigan. In her experience as the teen bride of a traditional Japanese man, Gleiss found inspiration for her memoir, The Six-Foot Bonsai.

Visit Stacy’s blog here:

And here’s the link to her book, The Six-Foot Bonsai, on

YouTube Tuesday: Moving In

Welcome back to YouTube Tuesday! I’m really enjoying posting my poetry to YouTube, it’s a new challenge that lets me revisit old poems and look at them in a different way. This week, I present “Moving In”, from my book of poems “City of the World”.

Moving In

The thunder of busy roads becomes a constant reality,
Litter on the streets attracts a plague of misery;
Unwelcome guests can crawl inside underneath your door
A padlock is the only thing that keeps your home secure

There’s a three-lane motorway at the end of the street,
A shopping centre down the road with great places to eat
From western favourites to untried eastern delicacies;
All desires catered for with exquisite recipes

This narrow street feels separate from everything around
Lonely motorbikes and busy chatter are the only sounds;
Drive up the ramp into your house, park it in the front room,
Four or five bikes stood together in the gloom

The building is four stories high, a balcony at the top
The spiral staircase in the centre seems to never stop;
Ceilings high, spacious rooms, simple decoration,
Designs that do not fail to suggest a temporary location

This is not a place where you would have expected to live
But the more time you spend here, the more it seems to give;
Empty walls provide no more than a room to rest your head:
Your time is spent out in the city, occupied instead

A hotel home shared with others, also there to see
Everything that is on offer in this vast city;
Possessions few, a suitcase full of clothes and favourite things
But within this community you will feel like a king

Money aplenty to spend on food, on fun, on booze;
You’ll be surrounded every day by a world to amuse
And once you’re comfortable in this intriguing place,
You’ll find it hard to picture anywhere else as your base

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: — or find it on Amazon

5 Things Not to Worry About When Writing Your First Draft

Creating the first draft of a novel is a long and complicated process. It is easy to become distracted from what is important: consistency, logic, and readability are typically my main focuses. Here are 5 things not to worry about when writing your first draft so that you can keep your attention fixed on the story you’re trying to create.

  1. Spelling/Grammatical Errors

Writing ‘their’ instead of ‘there’ or ‘the’ instead of ‘then’ is something that all writers do. Ignore the spelling errors when you spot them, and fix your attention on the world or the characters you are trying to create. You won’t be able to get them all – that’s what the editing process is for. And you’ll go through several (if not more) other drafts before you even get to that stage. For a first draft, readability is of more importance than these little mistakes.

  1. Missing Words/Punctuation Marks

Sometimes, when you return to what you were writing after a break – a cup of coffee, a sleep, a holiday – you notice words or punctuation marks that you missed (or duplicated) the last time you wrote. Don’t waste your time going back through what you wrote to find and correct these errors – focus on the content of your writing, and return to how it is written at a later time.

  1. Writing a Story from Beginning to End

Stories, essays, articles, poems – lots of things that you read, whether online, in books, or in journals, has not been written by the author going from point A to point B all the way through the point Z. Authors can jump in and out of scenes and parts of the text, then piece them all together to create a first draft. So long as you have a plot outline for each section, you can move around when you write, according to your inspiration – this helps a great deal when trying to create a consistent pattern of speech for individual characters.

  1. Filling in the Little Plot Holes

Big plot holes are a big problem, but small plot holes are more difficult to identify, especially when working on a first draft. Eventually, you’ll want to get rid of these niggling little issues to create a more logical narrative, but if you spot them during a first draft merely make a note in the document (or somewhere else you will spot it) and come back to it later. Focus on the glaring points that need to be made for your story to progress towards its ending.

  1. Creating the Next Best-Seller

It would be awfully nice to see the cover of your book in shop windows, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, sitting and daydreaming about it won’t get your story written, and it won’t get it any closer to being published – whether independently or by that publishing house you’ve got your eye on. You can’t create a best-seller every time you write. If you’ve never been published before, then your first book is unlikely to leap off the shelves into readers’ hands – that’s why you have to keep writing!

Remember: your first draft will likely be very different from your final draft. There will be things to add, things to remove, and things to alter – but those things can come later.

YouTube Tuesday: City of the World

Here’s a short one for this week. The first poem from my book “City of the World”, also called City of the World:

City of the World

So many faces, so many names!
How am I to immortalize them all?
The marvels, the jokes, the many joys
That belong to every one?
Around the globe, from East to West,
We came to sample the fruits
Of the home we found together
Far beyond our simple beginnings

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page:

The Motorbike Taxi




Zip here

Zip there

Pick up speed

Slam your breaks

There’s always a path

Through the traffic

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om



Turn here

Turn there

Don’t indicate

No time for that

So hug the driver

And don’t look back

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om driver rules the road

Forges a path with his bike

Xe om driver has no fear

Gives you the ride of your life

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om driver does not falter

Knows his way to anywhere

Xe om driver’s bold and reckless

Swiftly moves without a care

Xe om driver’s price is heavy

For those who do not know

Xe om rides should be cheap

Wherever you wish to go

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:

34 Authors and Growing

Check out all of the authors who have been published through Creative Talents Unleashed and find your new favourite up-and-coming author today!

Creative Talents Unleashed

CTU Authors

It started off as an idea because of Raja Williams’ love for writing, and her small publishing company is blossoming every day. She has given writers the dream of seeing their work in print and uses her free time to promote them all, while juggling a full time job and raising a family. We THANK YOU Raja for the hard work and dedication you put into the entire CTU collective.

Share the love she puts into Creative Talents Unleashed by checking out these 34 authors who have decided to share hearts and souls via poetry, with the entire world:

Adam Levon Brown

Allison Grayhurst

Amanda Hoppes

Anne D. Salyer

Billy Charles Root

Christopher Allen Breidinger

D.B. Hall

Damon E. Johnson

Daryl P. Hall

Debra McLain

Demitri Tyler


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One Bucket Woman


What’s a vodka and lemon bucket?
Okay, I’ll have one. Is it good?
It’s good?
Then I’ll have one.

It’s like a miniature fish bowl.
I didn’t expect it to be that big.
I need two hands to hold this bucket.
Oh – oh my!
Did they put any lemon in this?
Are they always this strong?

I think I’ll drink this slowly.
Don’t want to get hammered
On my first night out.
I don’t even know how to get home.

Actually, it doesn’t taste that strong now.
I might have another
After I’ve finished this one.
You were right.
It is good.
And no –
I don’t feel drunk!

Nobody appreciates my dance moves?
Whoops –

Wow, the floor got really close
Really fast.

Do you know –
No, no, listen to me –
Did you know –
Oh, man –
I just love you guys –
Did you guys know that?

You’re leaving?
Oh, come on! The night’s still young!
No, no –
It’s fine,
I can find my way home.
I can –
Don’t you know that?

Oh, man.
Where am I?
Oh, man.
My head’s really throbbing.
Oh, man!
I’m not touching
One of those buckets again.

You’re drinking
Vodka and lemon buckets again?
Oh, go on then,
I’ll just have one …

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:

Tet: A Meal …


Lunar New Year is a time
For relaxation, celebration, salutation
And great joy for all. Flags unfurl,
Hanging from every building,
Swaying with the same energy that infects
Everyone below.

We take a break
From all our efforts, joining
Together to observe the celebrations.

There’s a large meal put on
For all the teachers, organized
By our boss, enough
To impress
The stockholders. We inhale
The scent of good food
And our stomachs answer in earnest,
Begging to try everything.

Tables laid out in perfect design,
Each a splendid replica of the last;
Vivid pictures in our minds
For years to come.
Melting on the tongue,
The food takes centre stage,
Lighting up our mouths with
Unique and wonderful flavours.

Then the drums begin
From somewhere behind us,
Confusing our ears
As we search for the source
Of the sound.

Thud, thud, thud
And thump, thump, thump
And rat-a-tat-a-tat;
They make our fingers tap.
The sounds infect our bodies
Until they feel as though
They come from inside of us.

Where is that noise coming from?
It grows in volume, intensifies
Until we could explode
From the vibrations coursing through us.
Then through a door
That bursts wide open
Comes the evening’s entertainment.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure: