An interview with poet Paolo Montalbano

Paolo is a lovely man with a gorgeous girlfriend who has brought his life together. He believes life is for living but he has been through great turmoil. He has a tattoo which for him is a covenant to God and a constant reminder of where he has been.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Watford in 1973 and have one brother. I had a very happy family life. My parents changed our religion when I was 5/6 years old from Roman Catholic to Born again Christians. This had a big effect on me and I was baptised at age 16 and spent every Sunday in church and I am still very religious now and I still go to church often and I love going there. I like being part of that congregation. It keeps me grounded and they are very good people; there is light for me there and I feel lifted.  At 19 I wrote a number of comic books. I designed different comic characters. In my 40s I started to write poetry. I have a big relationship with God and I know he has brought all the good things in my life like Silvana.

When did you start writing poetry?

I wrote my first poetry at age 40 when I was depressed after the break-up of my marriage. All the depressing incidents needed to be expressed and I did this through my poetry. Poetry was a way out of all the many complications in my life. Between the ages of 40 and 43 I went through a dark period. I just felt lost, so poetry helped me to re-orientate myself.

Where do you sit and write your poetry?

I write a lot of it while at work when I get a break and I have time to articulate my thoughts.

Which poets have influenced your own style of poetry?

Biblical psalms, about distress, influenced my own style of poetry and in particular the historical psalms of King David who went through a lot of turmoil; he committed adultery and ruined his family. Song of Songs was a great influence and prayers are an influence on my poetry.

What has most recently inspired your poetry?

The love of my girlfriend and religion.

Do you have a favourite poem out of all those you have written?

I have two favourites. There are two sides to everyone – the yin and the yang – so one poem “I Am” is typical of this. This was written during a depressed time and I can read it now and know exactly how I felt then. But now I feel differently to so my second favourite shows me how I see my world and it’s called “In Darkness”. It also shows how God has influenced things and made me stronger. He is always constant in my life and always around me. I’ve had depression since I was 14 years old but I am very stable now and Silvana has contributed to that.

Do you write in English or Italian?

I write in English.

Do you have any plans to publish your poetry?

I’m not sure how to do this but may look into releasing my work in e-book format.

Where can people read your poems?

I have a blog: pmon17@wordpress.com so please visit it to see how I think.

 

Here are the two poems Paolo mentioned in this interview:

I AM
I am pain.
I am the emotion that consumes me.
I am grief.
I am the feeling that is overwhelming my thoughts.
I am invisible.
I am how you made me feel.
I am numb.
I am the sensation that erodes me from within.
I am submissive.
I am who you want me to be.
I am darkness.
I am where you left me.
I am the undead.
I am what I have become.
Yet…I am still here…
My heart still beats…
It pumps through my veins.
My blood boils and I am the rage.
You want to control me…
Think again.
You want me back in my box…
Never…Never again.
Fuck you and all your toxic bullshit.
Because I am done…
So fucking done.

IN DARKNESS
Even in the Darkness…
you are there…
Even when everyone has Left me
you are there…
Even when i am lost…
you are there…
Even in my self-hatred.
You are there..
Even when i am done…
You are there…
Even when i want so much to be forgotten.
You are there…
Even when i try…
You are there…
I’m scared…
Anxiety hits me like a hurricane.
Desperation strikes like a blackhole.
Leaving me cold and numb.
I try to swim but i am swimming in quicksand.
The more i take a stroke.
The more i sink…
My head just grasping for air…
I can’t move…
I’m struggling…
But you are there…
Aren’t you?
Near my side.
Reaching out to me…
Whispering in my ear and telling me not to panic…
Telling me to breathe, close my eyes and Just trust you…
So here i am…
I trust you with every breath i have left in my lungs…
I am Not alone… I just can’t see you.
But i can very much feel you…